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Flatiron Restaurants to Open Kiosks in Public Plazas

By DNAinfo Staff on February 2, 2011 10:16am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — The Flatiron District's Public Plazas will soon be home to two new restaurant kiosks operated by a pair of the neighborhood's favorite eateries.

Mediterranean destination ilili, on Fifth Avenue between East 27th and East 29th streets, and Benvenuto Cafe, on Broadway at East 23rd Street, were chosen from among eight contenders to open twin food and beverage kiosks in the shadow of the iconic Flatiron building near Madison Square Park, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership has announced.

Ilili’s tentatively named "Le Kiosk" would be made from recycled shipping containers and sit on the north end of the plaza between East 23nd and East 24th streets. "Le Kiosk" is set to offer a selection of pizzas, Mediterranean sandwiches, juices and teas as well as Long Island wines and beers.

Benvenuto’s tentatively named "Baked" would sit on the South Plaza, adjacent to the Flatiron building between East 22nd and 23rd streets. It would serve an assortment of baked goods, including cupcakes and cheesecakes from Billy’s Bakery, coffee, teas and smoothies, as well as a selection of international newspapers available all year-round.

Both kiosks intend to apply for beer and wine licenses, and will offer complimentary wifi to visitors to the plazas, which were opened by the city back in 2008.

Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown said the new eateries are intended to provide food and seating for residents and visitors, as well as to make money for the Partnership, a local business improvement district that maintains the plazas.

Similar kiosks have also opened in locations including Midtown's Bryant Park and Greeley Square.

But not everyone was a fan of the idea.

"I'm very, very concerned about the noise," Barry Schochet, who lives in the Madison Green building overlooking the plaza, testified at a Midtown Community Board 5 committee hearing Monday night, where residents were given their first peak at the plan.

He said the areas is already congested and questioned the need for new kiosks in the space.

The plan will now which now go before the city's Public Design Commission. If approved, the kiosks are set to open later this year.