A Restaurant Made Millions Selling NFTs. Now It’s Opening a Spot ‘for Everyone.’

Flyfish Club, one of a string of hospitality businesses hoping the NFT wave won’t crest, is opening a Lower East Side members-only club in what had been Sunshine Cinema, with a cocktail lounge, an upstairs restaurant, as well as a separate omakase room entered via its own token.

In the meantime, ahead of the Flyfish Club’s spring 2024 opening, the team — which includes wine vlogger turned entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk; chefs Josh Capon and Conor Hanlon, along with David Rodolitz — is opening several other hospitality ventures. They’re primarily in New York and Vegas for now, with Ito open in Tribeca; Ito and Bar Ito opening in Vegas in December; burger spot, Capons, also opening in Vegas in December; and Flyfish Club by early next year. Fly Fish at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, has been open since earlier this year.

Of Little Maven, partner and chef Josh Capon, says, “This is our restaurant for everyone.”

A black and white mural and red carpet in the backroom at Little Maven.

The back room at Little Maven.
Abraham Kantono and Abby Orons/Little Maven

With its 85 seats in the front dining room, 13 at the bar, and 30 in the back room, Little Maven opens with a maximalist interior with moss green juxtaposed with bold color and Turkish tiles. Big murals define the space: one behind the bar, and another single-line drawing against a black backdrop that encircles the restaurant. The partners emphasize an overhaul of the back room as the place to be compared to when the restaurant had been Scampi for the past six years.

Endive cups filled with ingredients topped with croutons and cheese.

Caesar cups at Little Maven.
Abraham Kantono and Abby Orons

Little Maven plays it straightforward with its menu, organized by snacks ($6 to $22) like whipped tahini and baked clams; appetizers ($18 to $23) such as Caesar cups and octopus a la Sizzler; pastas ($27 to $31) like pumpkin miso agnolotti; and mains ($38 to $60) that include king salmon or steak frites. Look for retro desserts like banana split or a chocolate mousse. Six classic cocktails and six house concoctions define the drinks, along with beer, and a 150- to 200-bottle wine list, which includes natural and organic selections.

Little Maven is the first Manhattan debut for VCR Group after its highly publicized NFT sale that’s been teasing the opening of Flyfish Club, with its over 1,300 members, since 2021. Compare it to ZZ’s Club with Carbone Privato that just opened in Hudson Yards, with the sold-out 250 Founders Club memberships that went for $50,000 for initiation, plus $10,000 per year; which translates to $12.5 million one-time charges, plus another $2.5 million in annual dues — and that’s before “regular” memberships ($20K initiation, $10K dues) kick in. The clubs, just like neighborhood restaurants such as Little Maven, are shaped by what New Yorkers will pay.

Little Maven opens on Monday; hours will be 5 p.m. to midnight seven days a week.

Pumpkin miso pasta with a glass of wine.

Pumpkin miso agnolotti at Little Maven.
Abraham Kantono and Abby Orons/Little Maven

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