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Thursday, February 2, 2012

FIG owners opening restaurant on Upper King Street

From bank to oyster bar

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 7:00 AM

After months of rumor, speculation, and innuendo, the deal is done and it's official. Mike Lata and Adam Nemirow, the duo behind the acclaimed FIG, have purchased the vacant Bank of America building at 544 King St. with plans to open a new restaurant in the space by Sept. 1.

The purchase is quite a coup and took months to negotiate. Essentially, they sliced the building right off the edge of the Midtown project. They'll be independent of the multi-use development, which will include a hotel, shops, and residences, but they will be dependent on the traffic generated by such a place.

554 King Street is the former bank building
  • 554 King Street is the former bank building

"We are so psyched about the concept," says Lata. "It's the perfect idea for the perfect property."

Just what is the concept? Lata's a little cagey about giving up too much information, but he did confirm that it's going to be an oyster bar. The vibe will be very high energy and casual. "The general feel is a community restaurant," he says, explaining that they want to be a place that folks can drop by for a snack, a drink, or a full-blown meal. "It'll be fun, energetic, and visually striking," he promises.

To that end, they are working with their longtime collaborator and architect, David Thompson, who recently completed a renovation of FIG and designed The Grocery and Butcher & Bee among others. Lata says they've also contracted with Mark Regalbuto of Renew Urban to help shepherd the renovation of the historic structure, which has been a bank since the middle of the 20th century. He says they'll also have a graphic design group as part of the team, but just who that will be is still under consideration.

In the meantime, demolition is already underway, and Lata and Nemirow will be traveling to Boston this weekend for research, stopping into places like Neptune Oyster Bar, Island Oyster, and B&G for some inspiration. And over on Meeting Street, the team, which includes Chef de Cuisine Jason Stanhope and maitre d' Brooks Reitz, is gearing up for a very busy spring at FIG.

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