Ever since it opened last summer, I have eschewed the American Grill for being a totally weird eyesore. First, the name. The American Grill? For a Greek diner in the middle of the Ukranian East Village? Second, the lie. It proclaimed, on its red white and blue awnings, that it was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when it in fact closes at various times, usually around 11 pm. Third, the space. It was sprawling, overdecorated, the antithesis of bohemian.
Then I married a Yankees fan. Whenever we passed by the eyesore and a game happened to be on, my husband glued himself to the glass wall like a bug attracted to light, to see the score on the TV behind the empty bar. One night, the Yankees were playing the Red Sox. We stood outside my building, wishing there was a place we could eat and watch the game. We gazed absently across the street and his eyes fell upon a flickering beacon that I had long since ceased to see, American Grill's unwatched TV.
"You wanna try it?"
"Not really…" But Standings, the sports bar under my building, was a Red Sox bar, so that was out. And Bounce, on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street, was full of frat boys, and that could not be tolerated on a weeknight.
We entered the oversized space tentatively and huddled at the bar, where we ordered beers and spinach pie. And then something strange happened: husband Joe, usually reticent to the point of seeming not to possess vocal chords, decided to talk the waitress. Perhaps it was because she was around our age and seemed lonesome -- she had thanked us for sitting at the bar and keeping her company, then complimented his long hair....[ read more... ]