Posted 14 January 2003 - 02:27 PM
Kind of like Danny Meyer does Clark Wolfe.
Posted 15 January 2003 - 03:51 PM
While Blue Smoke is, I think, timed well for today's post-9/11 and recessionary economy, it was dreamed up in early 1999 when the world felt safer and people felt richer. There was no-comfort-food trend at work here.
I decide to open a restaurant when there's a confluence of the following things:
1. a passion for a kind of food or restaurant and a deep interest to express that passion in a personal, refreshing way.
2. enough good people on our team who are ready to grow (we love cross-fertilizing restaurants with great folks from our other places).
3. a sense that the existing restaurants are on edge and hitting stride (no point in opening something new only to see one of the existing ones lose a step)
4. a good business deal.
That said, we've opened 5 places over the course of 17+ years, which is about 1 every 3.5 years.
As for where the NYC scene is going, I'm not sure. There won't be a lot of daring places debuting this year, because they would have had to be conceived within the past 1-2 years -- a risky time. I think now is an especially good time to re-visit the remarkable crop of restaurants that we're launched in the mid-late 1990's, many of which are so much better now than when they first opened. Wine drinkers are justifiably interested in a brand new bottling, but they know to uncork the stuff that's mature and ready to drink!