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Pennsylvania 6 Serves Up Classic Style Just Steps from MSG

By Alan Neuhauser | February 13, 2013 9:38am

MIDTOWN — The men behind big-name restaurants STK Downtown, Union Square Cafe, Fountain Restaurant and 13 Barrow have come together to open Pennsylvania 6, a roughly 120-seat restaurant and bar serving American fare in classic New York style, just steps from Madison Square Garden.

Owned by Chris Coco, formerly of 13 Barrow, the restaurant also brings together executive chef Humberto Leon, of STK Downtown and Rue 57, Brian Cooke, from Fountain in Philadelphia, and chef Scott Swiderski, of Le Madri, Union Square Cafe, Cote Basque, the Russian Tea Room and Buddakan.

"STK — in a steakhouse, it's steak. Here, we have an opportunity to do a lot of different dishes," Leon said. "Great food, that's the most important — we want to have people, when they come into the restaurant, to say, 'Wow, this is tasty food.'"

The menu features "old classics with a modern twist," said culinary director Brian Cooke, formerly of Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, pointing to selections that range from a raw bar and duck lyonnaise salad, to burgers, sandwiches, soups, pizzas, "shrimp the size of small children."

With marble tables, red-leather chairs, and an oak bar, Pennsylvania 6 evokes an earlier age. Its name refers to the old telephone exchange for the area — made famous by the Glenn Miller song "Pennsylvania 6-5000" — the phone number for the Hotel Pennsylvania, which is steps away from the restaurant.

And while the wood walls are bedecked with modern large flat-screen TVs, the restaurant's largest feature — a huge rectangular panel of nine TVs over the bar — will, in a nod to the past, likely be used to show train times from Penn Station ost of the time.

"We want it to reflect train schedules. As much as we don't want to be known as a sports bar, we want people to know it's a great option for the game," Cooke said.

Pennsylvania 6, located at 132 W. 31st St., has been in a "preview" phase for three weeks, Cooke said. Its accepting reservations for a prix fixe four-course Valentine's Day dinner Thursday, and the official grand opening is planned for next week.