By Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN — Carnivores can start their countdown.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, the popular, pricey Midtown chophouse famous for its seared "Double Eagle Strip," "prime porterhouse" and $13 sides is set to open a new eatery in Rockefeller Center Plaza.
The new restaurant, "Del Frisco's Grille," which is slated to open early this summer, is already generating buzz thanks to bright new renderings posted in the windows lining the corner of West 51st Street and Rockefeller Center Plaza, just blocks away from the Double Eagle outpost at Sixth Avenue and West 49th Street.
General Manager Scott Gould said that diners should expect more of what made the existing steak house famous.
"It's going to be an extension of Del Frisco's restaurant," but with "a more casual concept," he said.
According to restaurant blog ZagatBuzz, which first noticed the signage, the eatery would be the first notable steakhouse to open in the city since 2008, when Primehouse and BLT Prime arrived.
"Perhaps another sign that the recession is easing?" Zagat asked.
Perhaps, said Andrew Rigie, director of operations at the New York State Restaurant Association, who said that fine dining in the city is experiencing a gradual recovery after the economic downturn.
He credited that partially to restaurants offering more affordable menu items in less formal settings "without compromising high quality cuisine and service" — a trend that has become increasingly popular in recent years, he said.
Restaurant industry sales are expected to grow for the first time this year after three years in the red, according to the National Restaurant Association.