The E. Village Pepe Rosso is gone!
It's been replaced by something called "Paparika" that has a similar sandwich-and-pasta menu, but somehow seems less honest and more fancied-up. The goat cheese and bresaola is gone! I don't have a good feeling. Has anyone been? Are the other Pepes holding on?
Was at Pepe Verde in the W. Village just the other night. Had an early (6:30) dinner and while there (for about 30-45 minutes), three other tables filled in and there were at least three phone orders. It appears alive, and well and reasonably busy (particularly for unfashionably early dinners). Lunch however still seems slow-- but that's ok since I don't have a wait for my braseola sandwich.
Pepe Viola on Smith St. has been going great guns. I haven't been there myself, and neighborhood opinion is divided. A friend complained about eh food (especially an alleged tricolore salad that was just green); another friend said it fills a need for a Smith St. restaurant that doesn't cost $100 for two; and somebody at a bar said "I'm not terribly impressed." So there you have it. I'll check it out myself and report back someday when my writing doesn't sound like a Zagat's entry.
The other ones are doing just fine, but I too was upset to find the one on St. Marks to have disappeared. The new one is not the same caliber at all. It has very little clientele, therefore I was skeptical when my order of soup took so long. I feel as if it had been sitting there for a few days and they were working on jazzing it up a bit. I was the onl one in the restaurant during lunch hour on a weekday. Oh well.