The renovation of a 2,225-square-foot restaurant located on Saint Mark’s Place in the East Village.




Lined with hundreds of shops, restaurants and bars, Saint Mark’s Place is one of the most chaotic streets in New York City. Serving as the main pedestrian artery into the East Village, the street has generated a history of bohemian life and urban interactions. The site for Taberna 97 is one of the last setback areas, and includes a large blind wall which serves as important visual signage. In contrast to the intensity of the street, the site provides a quiet, spacious garden, shaded by three large trees. The restaurant operates as a half-sunken passage, five steps below street level, leading out to the luminous garden in the backyard.

Taberna 97 and Noz 97 will share the facility as a dual program for in-house dining and catering. The catering service occupies the restaurant in the morning hours, while the Portuguese restaurant operates in full-service from early-afternoon into the night. The restaurant occupies two floors—connected by a new concrete staircase—with the kitchen and restaurant on the main floor, and storage on the basement level.

Given the low ceiling height in the main level, this project required a strategy of layer removal. A trench in the cellar was dug to expand the usable space, while the ceiling on the main floor was stripped down to reveal the joist. The strong presence of the existing joists, bricks and stones in the walls are contrasted with the new layer of Portuguese tiles. The blue tones of the geometric patterned tiles are reminiscent of the seaside, while the variations of wood beams from the ceiling recall a wooden boat structure. The restaurant operates as a passage, with a 24-foot-long onyx bar which leads visitors through the restaurant, into the calm backyard.