MIDTOWN EAST — The third-generation owner of Junior’s Cheesecake recently opened a modern American grill in Midtown with rotisserie meats, burgers — and soft-serve cheesecake ice cream.
Enduro, a restaurant and bar at 919 Third Ave. and East 56th Street, opened for dinner last week, and while the traditional Junior's cheesecake isn't on the menu, desserts include cheesecake soft-serve paired with graham cracker soft-serve, topped with homemade graham crackers.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves for something different,” said Adam Rosen, Enduro's owner, of the decision not to feature the classic cheesecake.
While Junior's has always been more of a luncheonette-style restaurant, Enduro offers a more formal experience, with a five-page wine list, a 360-degree bar and an open kitchen with a glass-encased rotisserie station.
“I’ve had this dream for a long time to build a restaurant from scratch,” said Rosen, whose grandfather Harry Rosen founded Junior's Cheesecake in 1950. “And I’ve always wanted to do something that honored my grandfather.”
The name Enduro comes from a group of restaurants Rosen's grandfather opened starting in the 1920s, before he launched Junior's. Rosen said he wanted to both pay homage to that history and express his own personality outside of the Junior's brand.
Specialties at the reincarnated Enduro include a variety of American classics, such as burgers and steak, plus specialties like rotisserie-cooked Thai chili red snapper and homemade doughnuts with jelly.
The sprawling 8,400-square-foot restaurant features 180 seats inside and 36 outside.
Entrees range in price from $17 to $42, and desserts run about $10. The bar offers local draft beers on tap for $7, and a seasonal cocktail menu names its drinks after city neighborhoods, including Grand Concourse and Breezy Point.
Rosen, who lives with his family in Westchester, currently owns four Junior’s restaurants in the city, two satellites in Japan and two concessions in the Barclays Center.
Enduro opened with a soft launch on Aug. 16, and will be serving dinner only until Aug. 26, when it will add lunch service.
“It’s new, different and exciting," Rosen said of the new venture, "but I love all my children the same.”