Max to Open in Williamsburg Next Month After Series of Delays

By Mary Emily O'Hara on January 15, 2014 12:11pm 

WILLIAMSBURG — After two years of building and construction issues, former East Village trattoria Max will open the doors to its new Williamsburg location on Driggs Avenue and South Second Street next month, its owner said.

The eatery has spent more than a year in flux, after electricity issues caused by Hurricane Sandy forced its longtime home on Avenue B to shutter prior to its lease ending, explained owner Luigi Iasilli.

Then, after signing a lease on the South Williamsburg address in late 2011, problems with that building required repairs that didn't allow Iasilli and his team into the space until this past October, he said.

With the real estate snags behind him, the native of Potenza in southern Italy is ready to serve the patrons he followed to Williamsburg as part of their collective exodus from the East Village, Iasilli said.

“Our customers were asking us, please, move to Williamsburg, move to Bushwick,” said Iasilli, who told the Wall Street Journal that his East Village traffic had become “slow." 

Iasilli, with his wife and sister-in-law as partners, also operates Max Trattoria Enoteca on Duane Street in TriBeCa, which serves dishes catering to a clientele different than that of the East Village. He also opened a Harlem location of Max in 2001, but has since sold the Amsterdam Avenue restaurant and its neighboring cafe to a partner.

“The Williamsburg menu will be similar to the Avenue B Max,” said Iasilli, “We’ll keep it the way it is because that’s what has been most successful over the years. Customers move out of town or out of the borough, and they still come back asking for their favorite dishes.”

Those dishes — what Iasilli calls "simple, authentic Italian" — include eggplant parmesan, meatloaf, a variety of pasta and fish dishes, and a lasagna made daily from scratch that has been voted among the best in the city.

“This is not about a big chef,” Iasilli stressed. “This is what I used to eat in Italy in my childhood. These are the dishes that my mother and my sisters still eat.”

Prices will also be lower than at the TriBeCa restaurant, at an average of about $12 for a pasta entrée, he said. Iasilli also plans to offer a wider, more international selection of wines to pair with his Basilicata region-inspired dishes, as well as a back garden.

The South Side location, located just a few blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge, helps round out what is quickly emerging as a Brooklyn foodie paradise. Within a three block radius are Pies N’ Thighs, Bistro Petit, Rye, South Side Supper Club, Rabbithole and other destination spots.

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