The first floor of the historic Art Deco co-op building at the corner of 8th Street and Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village has been empty for nearly two years now, but soon its revolving doors will swing open once more. This time, it’s for chef Marc Forgione’s latest restaurant, One Fifth, opening on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
1. It’s a real family affair.
One Fifth marks the first time in nearly 20 years that Marc Forgione will be working with none other than Larry Forgione, the legendary chef who also happens to be his dad. The first time the two worked together was when Marc was 16, working in the kitchen of his father’s storied restaurant, An American Place.
“It’s been great,” says Marc. “In 2005 [the last time they worked together], I was younger and maybe didn’t understand how special it was to work with my dad and someone of his stature. Now, I consider myself more of a man now than I was at 25, and it’s made it that much better.”
The elder Forgione serves as a consultant on One Fifth’s pinsa program and helped Marc develop the concept for One Fifth, which was inspired by their family gatherings.
“My father and I have been talking about doing this concept where it’s like eating at our house when it’s a holiday or family get together, and the way we do that is we put antipasti all over the kitchen table and, instead of having a normal sit-down, the food just keeps coming. We do pasta and always some kind of dough. In California, my dad fell in love with this ancient grain flatbread called pinsa.”
Pinsa, he adds, is “right up his [dad’s] alley.” “My dad has always been about using the best ingredients that are the best for you and making them absolutely delicious.”
2. One Fifth has been nearly two long years in the making.
Forgione was looking for a space to open what would become One Fifth even before the pandemic hit but it wasn’t until December 2020, when he took a wrong turn on his way to Peasant, his restaurant in Nolita, that he finally found it. Driving down 8th Street, he saw a space available sign at One Fifth, and couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I immediately got out of my car — luckily, there weren’t any other cars on the street back then — and called the number,” he recalls.
Nearly two years later, with a few unexpected delays, One Fifth is finally ready to open its doors. “It’s not by choice that it took two years to open,” he says, “but I try to tell people all the time that if you spend a couple of months doing something the right way, and you’re gonna be here for 20 years, a couple of months is not that big.”
3. This isn’t the first time New York has been home to a restaurant called One Fifth.
The first-floor space of the One Fifth co-op building has been home to many different restaurants over the years, including One Fifth from Keith and Brian McNally (who later went on to open the Odeon) in the 1970s, and One Fifth Avenue, a seafood restaurant from chef Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar & Grill, Portale) in the 1990s. Most recently, it was the address of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s now-closed Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria.
Forgione decided to go with the One Fifth name because it just felt right, he says. “While we were working on the restaurant and doing research, I saw one of the prints that had One Fifth written on it, with the old logo, and my eyes lit up. ‘Why don’t we bring this back?’”
He also relished operating a restaurant in a space with so much history — something with which he’s very familiar, thanks to his other two restaurants, Peasant and Restaurant Marc Forgione. “It’s sad to see a place that’s been a restaurant for decades become a Starbucks or an Apple store; I’m doing my best to keep those restaurant spaces alive, and I thought I would do it justice to name it One Fifth.”
The vibe at this One Fifth, however, will be decidedly more casual than it was for one of its previous restaurant tenants, which had a black-tie dress code. “We want to be a place where you can come for lunch, happy hour, and dinner, and just be that quintessential neighborhood restaurant serving great food that you can share,” says Forgione.
A Closer Look at the Dishes From One Fifth
4. Expect unique interpretations of Italian cuisine, and plenty of fresh vegetables from the market.
Let’s make one thing clear: The Italian food at One Fifth won’t be the same as you’ll find at Forgione’s other Italian restaurant, Peasant. Whereas Peasant is all about woodfire cooking, One Fifth leans more heavily into vegetables and antipasti — dishes that you can easily share at the table or at the bar.
“I didn’t grow up in Italy; I grew up here in New York,” explains Forgione. “I cook the way that an Italian chef would cook in New York, using the freshest ingredients as possible and keeping the prep to a respectful minimum.”
The menu was developed by Forgione and his executive chef, Robert Zwirz. Highlights include the aforementioned pinsa (Forgione says to look out for the one with clams, ‘nduja, potato, and gremolata); squash blossom zeppole; a local polenta with smoked yogurt and a corn salad; and a Long Island cioppino from Zwirz. The caponata on the menu is based off a recipe from Forgione’s grandfather and father, and features mozzarella from Tonjes Farm Dairy in the Catskills.
Pastas, all made in house, make the most of vegetable hauls from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, like rigatoni with fresh red pepper juice incorporated into the pasta itself, or a lumache made with spring onion tops and herbs that give it a bright green color.
Pastry chef Jami Callao leads the dessert program, which features a local peach crostata meant to mimic the flavor of canned peaches, using grappa and basil. Gelato and sorbet flavors will change with the season, and for the opening, you might find corn and sesame, and maybe even something with tomato.
5. There’s no bad seat in the house, but definitely try to sit at the bar.
The bar was a major selling point to Forgione when it came to the space, mostly because of the way the open kitchen comes into the bar, and it’s also where you get a front-row seat to see the team making all that fresh pasta.
Unlike many restaurants in New York, One Fifth is relatively large in terms of seats — it’s got 145 of them in total. And there’s a private dining room that accommodates anywhere from 50 to 70 guests.
The look and feel of the space, designed by 71 Collective, hearkens back to the building’s history. The original terrazzo floor from the 1970’s One Fifth has been restored, as has the revolving door, and inside you’ll find a mix of Art Deco elements and rustic Italian touches. For example, the host stand was made out of a 200-year-old butcher block.
6. Don’t sleep on the wine list, or the cocktails.
Beverage director Scott Woltz, who also oversees the wine program at Restaurant Marc Forgione and Peasant, has created a wine list that focuses primarily on vintages from Italy and California, and there’s also an extensive amaro list that has amari from each of Italy’s 20 different regions.
For cocktails, PDT (Please Don’t Tell) owner Jeff Bell has created a list of classic cocktails with Italian influences, like a Foxtrot with Campari, Cap Corse Rouge Quinquina, grapefruit juice, and prosecco, and a Gran Torino with Sazerac six-year rye, Barolo Chinato, and Ratafia’ di Andorno. Forgione is partial to the G & Tea, made with Perry’s Navy-Strength gin, chamomile grappa, lemon, honey, and egg white.
7. Do strike up a conversation while you’re there.
You’re highly encouraged to chat with the staff — and your fellow diners when you come to One Fifth. “I want this to be a big, communal neighborhood restaurant,” says Forgione. “The tag line we keep using with management, especially in that front room is ‘strangers talking to strangers again,’ meeting people and having random conversations with someone you don’t know. I know that’s not as common as it used to be, but we want to bring that back.”
One Fifth is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m., with plans to offer lunch service in the near future.