Pommes Frites, a favorite New York City spot for fries, is again open for business, a little more than a year after its East Village location was destroyed in a fiery explosion that killed 2 and leveled three buildings.
The restaurant opened its new location on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village to applause from fans at 11 a.m. Monday, 14 months after the March 26, 2015, blast that leveled the building where Pommes Frites stood for nearly two decades. The building also held two other restaurants. Two men, Moises Locon and Nicholas Figuoera, were killed in the blast that originated in a ground-level sushi restaurant next door.
"We are very grateful that we're here to day at MacDougal Street and that our customers and employees were OK that day," said co-owner Suzanne Levinson.
Five people, including that building's landlord, were arrested on charges including manslaughter earlier this year after investigators determined that the gas lines had been tampered with to bypass a Consolidated Edison meter.
Eater New York reported that Pommes Frites' new location, which has a old-world feel and is just southwest of Washington Square Park, features additional seating and more fryers in the back. That should make for shorter waits for the late-night spot's famous fries.
The first customer, Janice Wright, said she has been waiting 14 months to taste the fries again. She called the reopening a "wonderful tribute to the resiliency and tenacity of New Yorkers."
"This is just a typical New York story," Wright said. "I love it. Typical good New York story with good New York values."
The restaurant warned on its website and Facebook pages that there would be limited staffing while they get things up and running at the new location.
"It's like a long long journey," said co-owner Omar Shorshi. "A lot of up and down."