As the purported cheery neighborhood malt shop where no one actually knew your name, the neon-streaked Central Village location of chain restaurant Johnny Rockets quietly sputtered out of existence last fall. By the end of the month, however, the renovated space on East 8th Street will reopen as the second location of cozy Williamsburg hamburger spot Pop's.
Owner John Seymour has applied for a full liquor license at the space and has hired Nicholas Porcelli, who worked at spots like the Meatball Shop and Centrico, to tweak the menu of short-order standards like hot pastrami and sausage and peppers.
Seymour tells us he's "opened up" the old malt shop space, adding surplus public school fixtures and reclaimed wood he got from an industrial property in Bushwick, and the dining room has been renovated with new subway tiles. "The only thing we saved from Johnny Rockets was the bar stools," he says. The new Pop's will serve a menu similar to the one available at its Williamsburg location. Expect LaFrieda hamburgers, cheesesteaks, cheese fries, and wings. You'll likely also be able to get a shake or two with those fries.
Pop's East Village, 42 E. 8th St.