DINNER at MOUNT ROSE'S — May 29 & 30, 2015

From the moment we stepped into 93 Montrose Avenue, we knew it was a gem.  The layers of narratives, of the building itself and the lives its inhabitants lived, were palpable in its bones: a roll-gate revealing a commercial storefront turned gallery space; the painted pressed-tin walls; rough etchings across the floorboards.  Yet without much to originally go on before the mid '90s, save for aside remembrances of a candy store, or was it a restaurant?, we wanted to find out more.

As we uncovered bits and pieces scattered throughout archives of tax photographs, census sheets, and fire insurance maps, we were inspired not only by the unraveling history of the building and the neighborhood’s past residents and businesses, but also by the ephemera we found along the way.  From 1930s New York restaurant guides and Borscht belt hotel postcards, to Sicilian restaurant menus and old diner matchbooks, the small gallery became a jumping-off point for us to explore the mutating concept of everyday "dining out" as expressed through waves of immigration, food trends and product availability, and changing social conventions.

Mashed up with references to past and present New York-specific restaurant culture, with a nod to the evolution of social dining in America over the past century – the coffee shops and the luncheonettes, the supper clubs and the summer resorts – MOUNT ROSES'S reflected the amalgamated histories of people and places coming, going and making their mark in an ever-changing city.

DINNER at MOUNT ROSE’S was a reimagination and an homage – to the place itself, and to neighborhood dining establishments of the near and distant past.

Photography by Paulsta Wong