This Sunday, a long-awaited mega-restaurant is slated to open in Coney Island’s restored Child’s Building — just in time for the Brooklyn Half Marathon ending on the boardwalk.
Kitchen 21, adjacent to the new Ford Amphitheater, is a massive, five-concept restaurant that includes a rooftop wine bar, a grab-and-go café, a clam bar, and a gastropub featuring 32 beers on tap.
Yesterday, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), iStar, Live Nation, and Legends Hospitality, cut the ribbon on the restored building to mark the opening of this public-private partnership, which included $60 million in investment from the Brooklyn Borough President, New York City Council, and the Mayor.
The opening, at 3052 West 21st Street, was celebrated by local politicians, developers, and foodies across the city. “Kitchen 21 is an exciting and innovative new addition to Coney Island’s growing roster of culinary delights,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “This foodie paradise promises to be a hit with visitors and, with employment opportunities for local residents, members of the community as well.”
So far, nearly 75 percent of the jobs at Kitchen 21 were granted to Brooklyn residents, according to the NYC EDC. The total Ford Amphitheater project has created more than 300 new jobs in Coney Island.
“It’s great to have Kitchen 21 to be part of our community,” said Community Board 13 District Manager Eddie Mark. “Their food selection gives people a chance to sit down and eat or grab a drink at the bar. Their rooftop dining and bar gives the community another place to view the beach.”
The renovations to the historic building — home to Childs Restaurant until the 1950s, and then a candy manufacturing facility — have been years in the making. The project included the Coney Island Amphitheater, which opened last summer and featured almost 50 shows, including the Beach Boys, Sting, and Erykah Badu.
The amphitheater is the brainchild of former Borough President Marty Markowitz, who reached a deal with city officials in 2013 to back the proposal. The project included a restoration of the Childs Restaurant that preserves the building’s iconic Greek, Spanish and maritime-influenced architecture while transforming the space into a modern, state-of-the-art entertainment venue.
Although the local community board voted against the project in 2013 — fearing it would pollute the area with increased traffic and noise — the City Council gave the green light to a 10-year special permit allowing the project to move forward.
“The restaurant is different from the amphitheater, it’s apples and oranges,” said Community Board 13 District Manager Eddie Mark, noting that the eatery holds 250 people and is geared toward boardwalk tourists. And, he said, the initial fears over the increased traffic from the amphitheater have softened. “There were challenges in the first year… it’s not as impacting as we thought it would be.”
iStar Financial’s plans for constructing the amphitheater were approved in 2015, and last summer the venue made its debut but barely — with temporary permits to open in time.
The Childs Restaurant is one of several landmarks to be restored as part of the city’s 2009 development project for Coney Island. The de Blasio administration has also pledged more than $180 million toward infrastructure improvements to support new housing development in Coney Island. All told, the plan is expected to generate up to 6,000 permanent jobs, 25,000 construction jobs, and $14 billion in economic activity.