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New SoHo Bistro The Dalloway a 'Mature, Sexy' Addition to NYC Lesbian Scene

By Andrea Swalec | November 15, 2012 7:37am

SOHO — When former "America's Next Top Model" contestant Kim Stolz and "The Real L Word" cast member Amanda Leigh Dunn first talked about opening a restaurant together, they said they noticed New York had plenty of lesbian nightclubs and casual bars — but nothing more sophisticated.

"We didn't find there was a place that you could just go in alone after work for a glass of wine and some good food, or someplace to take your parents out to dinner," said Stolz, 29.

In response, Stolz and Dunn, 24, decided to open the Virginia Woolf-themed bar and restaurant The Dalloway on SoHo's western edge. The candlelit restaurant, which debuted at 525 Broome St. Tuesday night, is "on the mature and sexy side" of New York City's lesbian scene, Stolz said.

The Dalloway has a 62-seat dining room decorated with photographs of glamorous women on its ground floor, plus a cocktail bar with a gas-powered fireplace downstairs. References to the English author who was known for exploring feminist and lesbian themes abound — from a tequila and jalapeno syrup cocktail called To the Lighthouse ($11), to an antique-looking copy of the restaurant's namesake book, "Mrs. Dalloway," tucked into a high shelf.

Stolz, an Upper East Side native who still lives in the neighborhood, said her scholarly side loved the literary theme.

"The literary nerd inside of me really loved the idea," she said.

Unbeknownst to each other, the pair — who met through a mutual friend about eight years ago — had each been looking last year at locations where they could open a bar.

"When we found out, it was like, 'Of course we would do it together,'" said Dunn, a New Jersey native who lives in Williamsburg.

They initially looked at available spaces in Brooklyn, but they liked SoHo for its location and fell in love with the Broome Street space near Thompson Street, which formerly housed the upscale tiki bar Lani Kai.  

The Dalloway's menu by chef Vanessa Miller features seasonal, locally sourced small plates like braised short ribs with a cherry chipotle glaze ($16) and a truffle grilled cheese with arugula ($10).

The ground-floor restaurant serves the full menu, while the lower level serves drinks and a limited bar menu.

Stolz and Dunn said that while they want to contribute to the city's lesbian scene, they hope everyone feels welcome at the restaurant.

"We have a pretty extensive network in the lesbian community, but we want The Dalloway to be for everyone," Stolz said, "no matter who you are or who you love."

The Dalloway is open Tuesday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. The restaurant is closed on Monday.