At a buzzy restaurant in New York’s West Village, a chalkboard specials menu hangs from a peg rail, pew-shaped wooden booths offer cozy seating near a zinc-topped bar, and a generous, spindle-backed banquette wraps around the dining room. Purity of form reigns here at The Commerce Inn, the latest hot ticket establishment of Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, the chef couple behind West Village mainstays Buvette and Via Carota. Their culinary and aesthetic inspiration? The Shakers, a radical utopian Christian sect who left England for America in 1774 to build intentional communities that prioritized gender and racial equality, environmental stewardship, and the making of near-perfect buildings, furnishings, and objects as a spiritual practice.
Photo: Antony Crolla