Midtown continues to get cooler by the minute. Tony Fortuna spotted the trend and, relocating his wildly popular T Bar from East 73rd Street to a sleek town house on East 60th Street, furthered it along. Smart move: T Bar is now the latest addition to New York’s unofficial restaurant row, which includes Le Bilboquet, Philippe, and Avra, to name a few. Fortuna, who was born in Cassino, Italy, has built a cult following over the last 27 years for his steaks (but don’t call T Bar a steak house) and the homemade pastas he grew up with.
“We’re not a restaurant that changes the menu every day,” Fortuna says, “because our customers love what we offer.” Those customers include titans of New York business, media, and real estate. Think Donny Deutsch, Steve Madden, and Howard Lutnick. “They know everybody and they’re all table hopping,” Fortuna’s partner Derek Axelrod mentions. “But what’s nice at the new location is that we also have a much younger, downtown crowd that’s coming uptown because they’ve heard about the new T Bar.”
It isn’t just the crowd that feels more downtown. Axelrod oversaw the design of T Bar, making it sexier and more modern — with dark lighting and a private club feel. He added a live DJ on Wednesday and Thursday nights. “It’s louder, cooler music. It’s a more fun atmosphere to dine in,” says Axelrod. “Places around here used to be a ghost town at 9:45 PM — now we have people dining at 11 PM.”
But the clubby energy of the new T Bar isn’t confined to Midtown. Every summer season, it transports to Southampton, where outdoor tables are booked weeks in advance. And stay tuned: T Bar is planning a location in West Palm Beach in the next year.