Art aficionados can grab a tasty bite while scoping out the latest exhibits at MoMA PS1 from a former neighborhood favorite.
M. Wells, previously a beloved Hunters Point diner, reopened at noon on Thursday, September 27 to a swarm of fans. As MoMA PS1’s central eatery, M. Wells remains removed from the archetypical museum fare of prepackaged sandwiches and bottled water. Head chefs Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis whip up made-to-order specials in cafeteria style that change on a day-to-day basis.
Playing off of the art hub’s past as a public school, the ever-changing menu is scrawled on chalkboards and guests sit at classic school-house style tables, all facing frontwards. The chefs — or culinary instructors — are fully visible to the patrons who watch them while they work.
Tom Brett, a Jackson Heights resident and past patron of the original M. Wells, was pleased after his first experience at the new location.
“[The food] was wonderful,” said Brett. We ate at the other location in Hunters Point a couple of times and it was wonderful — very good food. We loved it. It’s an interesting space. It seems more spacious which is nice. It’s more laid back as well.”
This past spring, MoMA PS1 and M. Wells submitted a joint application to allow for both facilities to co-exist and were approved by the local Community Board for a liquor license. Peter Katz, chief operating officer of MoMA PS1, and Sarah Obraitis, owner of M. Wells, said they welcomed the partnership and agreed it would be mutually beneficial for the museum, the restaurant and Long Island City.
Community Board 2 member Pat O’Brien said the pairing of MoMA PS1 and M. Wells is definitely positive for Long Island City, remarking that both are very welcome elements in the neighborhood.
“M. Wells has really put themselves on the map with the cuisine and their reputation,” said O’Brien. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to the community.”
M. Wells will be open during normal museum hours.
Additional reporting by Michael Pantelidis and Sweetina Kakar