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BLT___Credit_to_Molly_Tavoletti.jpeg Molly Tavoletti
Last year, Karim Raoul and his wife Jillian Fracassi opened their own family restaurant, Revelie Luncheonette, directly across the street from Raoul’s.

Team behind NYC’s Raoul’s dives deeper into the ‘cool kid’ dining experience with Revelie Luncheonette

SoHo’s new upscale diner combines the grungy vibe of New York in the ’70s with classic French and American foods for all-day service

New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is a very different place today than it was in 1975 when now-famous French bistro Raoul’s was founded. Back then, the grungy and artist-filled neighborhood was a haven for those who wanted a more creative life. Today, it’s a clean and bustling neighborhood known more for its tourism than its creativity.

The neighborhood may have changed, but the dining has only gotten better.

Raoul’s was opened by two brothers —  Serge and Guy Raoul —  almost 50 years ago, and in the intervening years has changed very little, even as the neighborhood around it has.

In 2014, Serge’s son Karim took over the family restaurant. Operating the business didn’t seem to temper his entrepreneurial needs, but rather strengthened them.

Last year, Karim and his wife Jillian Fracassi opened their own family restaurant, Revelie Luncheonette, directly across the street from Raoul’s.

Consumers shouldn’t only expect the Alsatian French food Raoul’s is known for; Revelie is a whole new experience.

“[Karim] always wanted to open a diner because he would go out [on a] trip to New Mexico and he had this one little greasy spoon [where he loves the] green chili cheeseburger,” Fracassi said. “And that was really like the impetus — it was like, ‘I need to bring green chili cheeseburger to New York.’”

That’s not to say that the menu strays away from the family heritage. Many of the dishes share a traditional, homestyle French element to them, seemingly nodding at Raoul’s across the street during lunch service. That is, if Raoul’s was open for lunch.

The energy of Revelie is very similar to that of its sister —  or aunt —  restaurant.

Though just a year old, Revelie looks as though it was built the same year as Raoul’s and hasn’t changed since then either. That’s not to say that the restaurants look stale and rundown. In fact, they look vintage and like a moment in time that visitors —  tourists and locals —  can escape to.

Fracassi said it was easier to open Revelie with the confidence of the neighborhood behind them. After operating Raoul’s for a decade, there was a trust in customers that their new venture would be done well.

Though she married into the Raoul family, Fracassi had a restaurant pedigree of her own before her marriage.

She began working in her uncle’s pizzeria when she was 13 and maintained a relationship with restaurants and bars throughout her intervening years studying PR and journalism.

Revelie, she and her husband decided, would be a completely different experience from Raoul’s. While both are neighborhood spots, Fracassi wanted a certain intimacy with Revelie.

“It’s meant for a little neighborhood,” she said. “It’s like a little meeting place for people to go to and befriend … the staff.”

The restaurant is named for the couple’s two daughters, Rêve and Amelie, keeping restaurant names all in the family.

The food showcases that neighborhood and family ethos better than anything else.

A pivot from the famed burgers at Raoul’s, which are sold in limited quantities, the burgers at Revelie are simple in their ingredients but complex in their execution and flavor profile. Same for the restaurant’s giant BLT.

Those traditional diner foods are complimented with French classics like Moules Frites, Tuna Nicoise, and Croque sandwiches at lunch.

Revelie is open three meals a day, seven days a week and is located at 179 Prince Street.

TAGS: Operations
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