The tables, chairs, and bar are all set up and ready to greet the first customers that come through the door on Friday. The kitchen staff, many hired through New York Business Solutions on 125th Street, are prepping the ingredients for this weekend’s ‘soft’ opening of Bad Horse Pizza.
As the opening date grows nearer the owner, John Kandel, begins to feel a bit nervous about the prospect of opening a pizzeria in Harlem. No stranger to the restaurant business, Kandel co-owned a cafe for 8 years at 108th and Columbus before stepping out on his own. After a year of trying something new out West, he decided to move back to New York to be with his girlfriend and open up his own place. Naturally his first inclination was to open up another cafe since that is what he knew, but after finding an ideal space on Frederick Douglass Boulevard that sat vacant for a 2 years, he agreed to go with pizza at the owner’s urging.
Kandel describes Bad Horse Pizza as being a casual restaurant with great ingredients. His pies will be thin crust pizzas with house specialties that have names like FDB (named for the boulevard), Acropolis, Secaucus, and the namesake Bad Horse — a skirt steak marinated in jalapeño with sautéed red onion. Bad Horse will also serve pastas with a choice of 3 different sauces as well as salads. The food is simple and the ingredients are fresh.
The landlord insisted that the restaurant be a sit down dining establishment as opposed to a fast food take-out joint, so Bad Horse will not be serving up pizza by the slice. Made-to-order pies hot out of the brick bottomed oven will be the order of the day. Bad Horse will sell 2 sizes of its pies — a 10 inch and 16 inch pizza. Prices will start at $11.00 for the 10 inch regular pies and go up to $26 for the 16 inch house pies. Kandel thinks that his establishment will fit in nicely with other neighborhood restaurants like Chocolat and Lido.
As for the ambiance, Kandel describes it as “farmhouse rustic.” There are concrete floors, wood tables, and a zinc covered bar. The dining area is about 1000 sq ft. with 10 tables, including a communal table that seats 8 and the aforementioned bar.
Friday at 5:00 pm, the restaurant will open its doors and offer a free glass of wine from Harlem Vintage or a beer to welcome its new customers. Kandel expects that he should have a license to sell alcohol in about a month.
As for the odd name, when people ask ‘why Bad Horse’ Kandel’s response is ‘why not?’ He liked the way the name sounded and it certainly has piqued everyone’s curiosity. Besides, the logo is really cool.
Bad Horse Pizza
2224 Frederick Douglass Blvd. at 120th Street
Delivery zone 116 to 125 from Morningside to Lenox.