(McMackin, forty-one, hauled the quartz from his family’s home in Connecticut; he says it keeps him grounded.)

The restaurant’s name is a nod to both Darwin’s Galápagos finch (and evolution) and the American goldfinches McMackin saw growing up.

He loved how they surprised him in early spring, suddenly glittering chartreuse on a still bare branch, and he wanted his restaurant to spark a similar sense of surprise amid the familiar.

His experience—at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Roberta’s, and Gramercy Tavern—informs his down-home seasonal American fare, which veers more toward tongues and cheeks than burgers.

For an obscure bistro, the honor seemed implausible.

Apparently, McMackin’s commitment to being a neighborhood spot appealed to Michelin’s judges.

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