Omar’s Kitchen and Rum Bar thrives despite
BY NELSON A. KING
Jamaican Omar Walters says his business,
Omar’s Kitchen and Rum Bar, is
a “nouveau Caribbean restaurant in the
heart of the Lower East Side, where the
food scene is blooming.”
Walters, who is also a chef and carries
the name Chef Omar, said that he takes
dishes of his native Jamaica and delivers
them “with a New York twist.”
“Omar’s cuisine boosts in fl avor, color and
warmth,” the website says. “Let’s not forget
about the design that will take you right back
to your last vacation in the islands.
“And every time you feel nostalgic, you
can just visit Omar’s and sip on a coconut
daiquiri,” it adds.
WABC’s Lauren Glassberg, who recently
visited the restaurant, wrote on
Friday that “At Omar’s Kitchen and Rum
Bar, on Clinton Street, in the Lower East
Side, you’ll feel transported by both the
setting and the food.”
“We were always so focused on the inside;
the food, the dishes, the drinks, and,
now, it’s more about how creative outside
and then everything else follows,” Walters
told her, stating that his restaurant had its
best week ever just before New York City
went on pause.
But, when the virus hit, he closed up
shop, according to Glassberg.
Eventually, she said he returned to the
kitchen to cook meals for fi rst responders.
“My sister helped me do the decor for
outside,” Glassberg quoted Walters as saying.
“We started with four plants and, every day,
we added another plant and another plant.
“The whole ambiance screams carnival
and tropics, and it brings you to a really
great space because you don’t even think
there’s a pandemic going on when you sit
around here,” a customer said.
Glassberg said the Jamaican and
Caribbean-inspired food has been “a draw
from the beginning.”
She said “there’s the Coco Bread Lamb
Sliders served with ackee tartar sauce; the
Escovitch Fish, a deep-fried whole branzino
served with pickled vegetables; the Curry
Oxtail made with coconut curry, butter
beans and spinnas; the Hibiscus Glazed
Lamb, a french cut lamb chop smothered
in a hibiscus fl ower glaze; and Omar’s take
on rasta pasta.”
“We do a handmade plantain gnocchi,”
Walters said. “We just put a fl are and spin
Omar’s other business, a SoHo loft space
for private dinners, hasn’t returned in full
just yet, but his restaurant has “certainly
Chef Omar outside Omar’s Kitchen and Rum Bar.
rebounded,” Glassberg said.
“In March and April, it didn’t look promising
where we were headed,” Walters said.
“So, it’s good to actually see a full house.
‘We have a good problem,’ I tell people.”
Omar’s is open for dinner Thursday
PHOTO BY OMAR’S KITCHEN AND RUM BAR
through Sunday. Sometimes, lunch is
served during the week, as well.
For additional information, visit www.
omarskitchennyc.com, or call 646-368-1392.
This story fi rst appeared on our sister
New café with locally sourced
sustainable grub coming
to Manhattan in September
BY EMILY DAVENPORT
A brand new café that will
bring sustainable bites and
cocktails is set to open in
New York City opened this week.
Festivál Café is going to be the
city’s fi rst and only farm-to-bar
cocktail and kitchen establishment.
The café, which will be
located at 1155 2nd Avenue,
welcomed guests on Sept. 1.
This new cafe is an extension of
the popular Secret Summer™ and
features HighLife Production’s
signature “farm-to-bar” ethos,
exhibited in its food, coffee, and
cocktail menu items. The 100%
local menu will have selections
that will change seasonally and
celebrate local purveyors, farmers,
fi sheries, and orchards.
Led by Owners and Producers
of Secret Summer™ and
Co-Owners of FESTIVAL,
Chef Andrew Maturana (RAPT
Hospitality) and Tyler Hollinger
(HighLife Productions), Festivál
Café serves coffee and patisseries
during the day and at night,
before transitioning into a fully
functioning cocktail bar, led by
mixologists Bespoke Solutions,
with beautifully presented, seasonal
bites and snacks until 2 a.m.
The café is partnering with
tri-state area farms, Barefoot
Botanicals, Lani’s Farm, and
Montauk Shellfi sh Company to
provide guests fresh, seasonal
offerings like Little Creek Oysters
with Boshi Vinaigrette, Fig Leaf
Burrata with local tomato sugo
& basil salad, Steak Tartare with
a cured egg yolk & Korean milk
toast, and Dragon Carrot Gelato
with a warm sticky date bundt cake
& cultured cardamom cream.
Patrons can also obtain memberships
that will give them
access to Festivál Café’s delivery
program, events, and a chance
for discounted bites and drinks
as well as an intimate location
for off-premise workspace.
For more information, visit festivalcafenyc.
com or raptny.com.
PHOTO VIA INSTAGRAM/RAPT HOSPITALITY
14 September 3, 2020 Schneps Media