A Retro-Throwback With Modern Taste at Bandits


In the last year of never, ever, not once, eating out and feeling like awful thing were going to happen if I even looked at a restaurant, much less setting foot in one, I have come to realize that I have missed the vibe of a spot as much as the food.

Truly.

It’s not just about the excellent eats (although that does matter), it’s the feeling of being out somewhere, the energy inside, the hustle and or bustle. It’s about sitting somewhere designed to create a feeling, surrounded by people enjoying that same experience. Vibe matters.

This is why I was psyched to be invited down to try somewhere fresh – so fresh, in fact, it wasn’t even fully open yet when I checked it out last week. I wanted that new-cart smell of my restaurant experience, and oh man did I get it.

Let me introduce you to Bandits, open fully today.

BANDITS

A brand new location in the village from the team behind Den Hospitality (Borrachito and The Garret Bars). Here’s what they say about themselves:

Bandits will offer a modern take on an old school diner and dive – a timeless concept with pockets of nostalgia alluding to vintage New York. The decor will incorporate 70’s elements like warm, yellow-frilled light boxes, traditional diner-style stools and a checkered floor to match.

I could not wait to check out this spot, and I was not disappointed.

Walking up, you’ll find a diner-esq stationary trolly car built perfectly for outside seating.

Inside, it was a timewarp back with a beautiful touch of retro. The checkered floors, the padded booths, the yellow lighting and, of course, the disco ball. It was clear what they were going for and they nailed it.

WHAT DID WE EAT?

We had an abbreviated menu of some of their soon-to-be signature dishes.

We ended up trying:

Truth or Pear

lime juice, rosemary, pear, chile de arbol, pasilla pepper mezcal
The 53rd and 6th

shiner bock tall boy, coffee hot sauce, lemon pepper yoghurt swirl
The Smash Burger

double smash patty, sesame roll, pepperjack
Soda Cart Tots

mango curry cocnut sauce
Chickpea “Tuna” Melt

chickpea salad, herby pesto vinaigrette
Bandit Wings

hot honey, garlic, parm, cashew ranch, coffee hot sauce
Taco Cart Tots

Green sauce, tajin, pickled watermelon

Standout dishes were the seriously incredible cocktails (wow that Bobby Wasabi!) and the chickpea “tuna” melt, which honestly, didn’t taste at all like tuna but was more of a delicious egg and hummus sandwich that bursted with flavors. And of course, the tots were chef’s kiss. Do not miss the tots.

HOW DID THEY DO WITH PANDEMIC SAFETY

Everyone was always wearing masks, never saw a moment without them on. It’s a small space inside, but the tables are space out far between one another. Outside, you’re absolutely separated from spots in the dinner car. I felt safe for sure.

ANYTHING ELSE

This was a pre-opening tasting, so hard to judge fully, but the service we saw was exceptional – we were always looked after, the food came out quickly, and everything was great.

I have a feeling this spot is going to be one of the places to be this summer. If Bandits ends up stealing all your free time because you’re here so often, I honestly would not be surprised.

Bandits is located at 44 Bedford St. It is officially open today.

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