Will Filipino staff return when Pommes Frites reopens in the Fall?

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An East Village destination for 18 years

An East Village destination for 18 years

A bigger Pommes Frites will reopen in Greenwich Village in the Fall after the old store in the East Village was gutted in a fire resulting from a gas explosion, according to a crowdfunding campaign.

While the store needs a total of $367,500 to get back on its feet, the Indiegogo campaign ‘Rebuild Pommes Frites’ is seeking to raise only $64,000 to cover the cost of replacing its equipment.

So far it has received donations of more than $20,000 from more than 600 fans and patrons who have supported this destination Belgian fry eatery for 18 years.

“In January of 1997…I opened Pommes Frites in a 500-square-foot space that would soon become a fixture on 2nd Avenue. In March of that same year, CNN Europe ran a story on us — without telling us first! Almost immediately we had lines around the corner, and we were running out of potatoes,” writes owner Suzanne Levinson in the Indiegogo campaign. She said the store averaged 400 to 900 customers a day.

The soon-to-open shop at 128 MacDougal Street south of Washington Square Park will be offering its usual Belgian-style frites with an assortment of dipping sauce, but there may be some changes to staffing. The all-Filipino management and counter staff of the old Pommes Frites have sought out employment in other companies during the four-month hiatus.

“At the moment everyone is doing work somewhere else,” shift manager Jordan Cezar told The FilAm. Many are willing to come back but, perhaps, in a part-time or temp capacity, he added.

Jordan himself is working in a spa salon in Tribeca. While he misses Pommes Frites and yearns to be back, he said he did not want to leave his current job.

“I will be back but not full time,” he said.

Another manager has found a job elsewhere too, and so are a couple of other counter staff, he said.

In their campaign, Levinson and her partner Omer Shorshi thank “our amazing, amazing staff” for helping make “our little work of art…and labor of love” a success.

The have stressed everyone in the staff is “welcome to return,” said Jordan.

While the fries and the dipping sauce are missed by many, so is the ‘friendly” and “nice” staff.

“Ughhhh this place is so much love. The lines are long, but the staff is efficient and move people out extremely quickly.” – Shani, Boston

“With amazing and friendly service, great fries, and dipping sauces for days, this is a MUST for any New York trip.” – Andy from Chicago

“Usually when I come on a cold, raining/snowy night with my friend and a few other patron(s) are there, the fries are perfectly cooked with sauce to go with it and the guy taking your order provides excellent service, even brings the fries over to you.” – Alex, Manhattan – Cristina DC Pastor

Pommes Frites owners and their Filipino managers and staff bond over a game of bowling

Pommes Frites owners and their Filipino managers and staff bond over a game of bowling

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