Here, a sampling of NYC’s hottest spots for post-show noshing.<br><br><br><br>IT'S DE-LIGHTFUL, IT'S DE-LOVELY, IT'S DEMARCO'S<br><br>How can you resist a restaurant where the chef passes around a cookie jar in lieu of the dessert...

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Here, a sampling of NYC’s hottest spots for post-show noshing.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


How can you resist a restaurant where the chef passes around a cookie jar in lieu of the dessert menu?

That’s just one of the homey touches planned for DeMarco’s Room, chef Sam DeMarco’s back-room hideaway for people in-the-know. It’s actually an addition to Merge, another DeMarco creation that specializes in New American cuisine and has its own menu. Both spaces are slated to reopen next month.

The menu at DeMarco’s Room will feature the types of dishes DeMarco typically offers houseguests. Instead of scanning a menu, diners will feast on a three-course meal ($36) that varies from one day to the next. Roasted tomatoes with oregano and breadcrumbs, braised pheasant with Swiss chard and pound cake topped with sautéed fruit and crème fraiche will be among the options.

The restaurant-inside-a-restaurant concept struck DeMarco after seeing so many fast-food chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sharing retail space. But the new joint will have a more wholesome approach, with DeMarco taking full advantage of the city’s many markets, from the Fulton Fish Market to Union Square. “I’ll be getting out there in the morning collecting produce and everything else. It’s more spontaneous that way. But I want to keep it as simple as possible,” he said.

DeMarco will still be manning the bar at Merge from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. each night, serving up “dollar bites,” miniature servings of sushi tacos, Cuban Reubens and meatball panini for $1 a pop. After the foodie-friendly happy hour, bargoers can order entree-sizes of what they sampled. Like his self-named hideaway, DeMarco hopes these gems will kick off a word-of-mouth campaign that props up business after a Sept. 11-induced slump. “It’s different when people tell other people,” he said.

DeMarco’s Room, 142 West 10th St., (212) 691-7757.


Trailer Park, its name notwithstanding, isn’t exactly geared for the Gulfstream set. Instead, fashionistas are parking themselves here for backyard-barbeque style eats, amidst more than 1,000 pieces of white trash-inspired memorabilia. The exterior of a trailer hangs above the bar, and Tammy Faye books, Elvis cologne, and Billy beer — as in none other than Billy Carter — are among the artifacts proudly displayed in the lounge, constituting a decor that owner Tom McKay described as “a metaphor for questionable taste.”

Patrons can unwind with a frosty frozen strawberry margarita in the front seat of a 1968 Oldsmobile, or check out the mannequin bathing in a tub full of iced beer. If all goes as planned, a Fifties-era photo booth should be firing away at snap-happy barflies by next month. But better get the mug shot out of the way before indulging in “Jim Bob’s IQ,” a blue concoction that “will erase any previous signs of intelligence you might have had,” said McKay, who owns Trailer Park with Andy Spiro. It took the duo three months just to hang up the knicknacks Spiro collected from hard-to-find shops in places like Savannah, Ga. As of this month, brunch and live Delta Blues will be served up on Sundays. The rest of the time it’s easy fixins like burgers, chili, mac-and-cheese and grilled “fat dogs,” all for under $10. “Our philosophy is, ‘Just keep it simple,’” McKay said. Trailer Park, 271 West 23rd St., (212) 463-8000.

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