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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Strong

Popina Team to open Gus’s Chop House in former La Cigogne Space in Carroll Gardens

Chris McDade and James O'Brien, owners of Popina, will open Gus's Chop House in August in the former La Cigogne space in Carroll Gardens.

Those of us who live in Carroll Gardens loved La Cigogne, the neighborhood bistro that had been serving casual French bistro fare along with a nice list of wine, beer and cocktails for the past eight years. Owner Damien Frey announced the closing of his restaurant in late March, writing on Instagram:

“This has been the most challenging and difficult decision I ever had to make. Also the one that made the most sense for my family and myself after sixteen years in the food service industry. We will see each other again, that I promise. My biggest concern was to make sure the crew would be set once I step down, and I am currently working on it. Be a little patient and you might see those pretty faces in the near future.”

The closing of La Cigogne is surely a loss for the neighborhood. This was a spot I went many times for a casual meal with friends, to sit at the bar, listen to live music, and celebrate a random Tuesday night with a cocktail, a burger, a steak frites, what have you. But as they say, when one door closes, another opens and in this case, it’s a very nice door indeed.

Popina’s Chris McDade and James O’Brien (alumni of Maialino) have taken over the lease and have begun renovating to open a second restaurant, this one focused on fish and meat, a British chophouse of sorts that will be named for Chris’s son Gus.

The Popina guys, who had originally thought about opening a second location in the Financial District, reconsidered locations after COVID. “During COVID we really bonded with the community, serving meals to go, pantry items, and bottles of wine, and we realized we don't want to open anywhere else,” James told me recently. “We have this beautiful following here and a built in community, and so we decided to look here. When the La Cigogne space opened up, it was a no-brainer.”

Gus’s Chophouse will aim to keep a moderate price point and will serve a menu with two or three steaks (one dry aged for two, a steak frites for one), a burger, a roasted chicken, a pork chop, and fish, all inspired by McDade’s love of the grill and the British chophouse concept. (For his famous hot chicken Milanese, you will have to go to Popina!)

The beverage program will of course feature lots of great wines (James makes a nice list), but he will expand the cocktail program significantly to match the restaurant’s long and lovely bar.

“We wanted to open a neighborhood place for steaks and chops,” James said. “A place where you could come several times a month, if not a week. We love this neighborhood, and are so excited to be even more connected to this community.”

Gus’s Chop House will open in August. It will be located at 215 Union Street, between Henry and Clinton. It will open in August. For now, visit James and Chris at Popina, located at 127 Columbia Place.

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