Gallery: Amali is the Upper East Side’s Newest and Greenest Mediterrane...

At Mulvena's coaxing (Mapos projects largely follow their philosophy of smart reuse), Mallios decided to recycle much of what was in the old space, rather than gut it all and fill it with new stuff. And we're not just talking a sconce here and a chair there - the tables, the menu backs, the surface wood at the bar, the chairs and even the floor are all recycled. In fact, the idea to make the tabletops from the over 150-year-old pine taken from the ceiling of the old restaurant came not from Mapos but from Mallios himself, who, as Mulvena put it, "really started to have fun with it." So much fun that he even got the old staff from the previous restaurant involved in the new buildout. Rather than have them be completely jobless while the space was being redone, Mallios employed some of the dishwashers and other staff to reupholster chairs and even plaster the walls. Talk about hiring local workers!

Every aspect of Amali is sustainable and personal, from the story of the tabletops, which were crafted from 150-year-old pine taken from the ceiling of the establishment that preceded Amali, to the plush chairs (expertly reupholstered by the former restaurant’s dishwashers and waitstaff – if you’re confused about this part, we’ll come back to it in a bit), to the 20-year friendship between Mallios and Caleb Mulvena, the lead architect who designed the space, which is also what ultimately led to its eco-friendly features.

A partnership between restaurateurs Steve Tzolis, Nicola Kotsoni, and James Mallios, the former general manager of Resto, Amali is a departure from other UES restaurants, which tend towards the more buttoned-up, white tablecloth variety. We saw each guest greeted warmly by Mallios – in fact, he couldn’t help but pardon himself from the interview each time a new group walked in so that he could personally welcome them.

The decor, much like the temperament of the staff, is warm and without pretension. You won’t find gigantic floral arrangements or chichi accouterments at Amali, nor will you be met with the menu prices that would sustain such extravagances. Despite being locally sourced and farm-fresh, chef Devon Gilroy‘s appetizers will only set you back $7-$15 and dinner selections run between $12 and $36.

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2 Comments

  1. Bridgette Meinhold Bridgette Meinhold December 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I want to go!!

  2. Diane Pham Diane Pham December 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

    omg, i got hungry just looking at the pics.