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Junior's Owner Looks to Open 'Modern American' Restaurant in Midtown East

By Mary Johnson | July 31, 2012 8:25am

MIDTOWN EAST — Out with a chain, in with a New York institution.

The third-generation owner of Junior’s, the chain of New York City diners known for its famous cheesecake, is looking to turn an Outback Steakhouse on Third Avenue between East 55th and 56th streets into a modern American restaurant that would pay tribute to the beginnings of his family’s business.

Alan Rosen, grandson of the founder of Junior’s, presented his plans for the restaurant, which he plans to name Enduro’s Kitchen & Bar, at a meeting of the Community Board 6 committee that reviews liquor license requests this past week.

“Enduro is the name of my grandfather’s first restaurants in New York,” Rosen told the committee.

“In 1929, he was forced to sell four of them,” Rosen continued. “He kept the one in Brooklyn, which is the current site of our Junior’s restaurant, which you all know.”

Junior’s has also opened restaurants in Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and in Connecticut in recent years, Rosen added.

The new restaurant at 919 Third Ave. would be an ode to those humble beginnings, Rosen said.

The restaurant would seat 170 and employ roughly 100 people, Rosen said.

He did not elaborate on the prospective menu but said the restaurant would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Pricing would be moderate. Portions would be generous,” Rosen told the committee.

Rosen said he also hopes to add outdoor seating in the public plaza on East 55th Street between Second and Third avenues and add a takeaway area offering coffee, specialty sandwiches and salads.

Although members of the community board were disappointed Rosen failed to bring any cheesecake with him to the meeting, his proposal was unanimously approved.

“Welcome to the neighborhood,” said Steve Dubnoff, vice chair of the Community Board 6 committee. “I hope you do fantastically well.”

Rosen declined to give details about when the new establishment would open since the terms of the lease are still being negotiated.