5. Gene’s Restaurant (1919)
Gene’s Restaurant opened in 1919 at 73 West 11th Street. Since its opening, Gene’s Restaurant has maintained its status as a familiar French-Italian Greenwich village spot. The restaurant holds on to an old-school, refined aesthetic with its white linen table cloths, Parisian woven back chairs, and decades-devoted waitstaff. Albino Ramirez purchased the restaurant in 1979. At sixteen years old, Albino immigrated to the United States from Spain. He began his career in the restaurant industry as a busboy with a second job as a cab driver. Today, Albino’s sons David and Danny Ramirez own the restaurant.
Despite being an American Dream success story, the restaurant faced bankruptcy and closure in 2020. Two unlikely saviors, though, came to the restaurant’s rescue: Sarah Jessica Parker and Barstool Sports. The Ramirez’s identified that if they could build an outdoor seating complex, they could save the restaurant. There was one problem: There was a Citi Bike rack where they needed to build the complex. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker took to Instagram, calling for the bike rack to be removed. Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the calls with a promise to remove them. Then, Barstool Sports, a sports media conglomerate, became involved and distributed part of the company’s multi-million dollar fund to support businesses affected by the pandemic.