The other day I visited Sprinkles, the high-end cupcake place at Lexington and 60th. Up until now, I hadn't had the heart to go inside, because the chain had supplanted the wonderful and irreplaceable Italian red sauce club Gino. But, more than a year having gone by, enmity died a bit and curiosity took over. I went in to see if I could spy the tiniest bit of evidence of the address' former tenant.
And indeed I could: A whole wall of Gino's crazy red, zebra wallpaper. I remember having read at the time of Gino's exit that Sprinkles planned to retain a swatch of the wallpaper, but then I subsequently read that the wallpaper left with the chef. Both reports, it turns out, were true. The chef took the original wallpaper. So Sprinkles went back to the maker of that bizarre pattern and ordered a new length of it. The Sprinkle paper is thus cleaner than Gino's ever was. One can see how the paper looks when Gino was young.
One other thing: the chef supposedly came in and added his signature touch to the wallpaper: an additional stripe on the tail of this particular zebra (below). Long story behind that. Anyway, though I'd still rather have Gino as this location than Sprinkles, but the effort made by the cupcake chain to honor the past softens my view of them. I may return, if only to look at the wallpaper.
Oh, and about the "new" Gino the chef said he was going to open, the clerk at the store said that plan was still "in the works" and would happen within a year's time.