Gothamist reports that in a pretty but otherwise unremarkable block in East Harlem, a narrow vacant lot, weedy and graffitied, once sat adjoining Ramiro Silos’s Brazilian catering and take-out business, Tapas Bites. This past summer, as reported by DNAInfo, inspiration hit Silos, and over the course of several months he and his crew transformed the empty outdoor space into a festive little restaurant called Vidigal.
Vidigal is a bit of a work in progress, infrastructure-wise. The plastic roof is still not fully completed, and those standing heaters are arriving soon (the warm, mostly dry fall has really worked out for Silos), but otherwise things are reasonably ready for a pleasant, comfortable night of food and booze. There are strings of colored lights, ample seating choices (at the small bar, at the many slatted wooden tables), and the kitchen and bathroom were already in place (and indoors) as part of Tapas Bites.
Two flat screen TVs hang from the walls, both of which were showing sports on consecutive nights this weekend, and both of which went largely ignored by patrons. Classic torch songs and Brazilian pop dominate the soundtrack, played at considerable volume. Service is genial but loose—you might have to get up and find your server with requests for more water, food or the check—but the overall relaxed atmosphere of the place makes it difficult to feel impatient.