After a long season of high-income executives eating takeaway salads and grain bowls, Manhattan’s powerhouse is finally getting its midday mojo back.
Many restaurants preferred by moving companies and shakers are open for dinner only when they ate inside again in February. But lunch is back at Le Bernardin, Le Pavillon, Marea and the fabled place where “power lunch” was invented – The Grill, former home of The Four Seasons.
The owners had served dinner, but stopped at lunchtime due to tight lunchtime guests and even fewer staff. A recent surge in office occupancy to nearly 30 percent from below 20 percent earlier this year, combined with the reopening of Broadway and a sense of security from vaccines finally made lunch viable again.
After Le Bernardin did not serve dinner until mid-March, Le Bernardin added lunch three days a week from Monday to Friday in mid-September and from October 4, “Times Square and Midtown” to make the moves worthwhile.
Last week’s BBQ lunch revival could prove groundbreaking for Manhattan’s socio-culinary recovery. Jeff Zalaznick, managing partner of the grill owner Major Food Group, said, “This is our duty and responsibility as restaurateurs and as New Yorkers. Lunch at The grill is an institution and it’s time people got off the streets and went back to work. “
In recent weeks, lunch has also resumed at Charlie Palmer Steak and the stylish Clement in the St. Regis Hotel (the latter is not yet open for dinner, by the way). BLT Steak on East 57th Street has its eye on a restart for lunch on Nov. 1, and many more locations are expected.
But in some places it’s hard to pin down the facts. Marea has been offering lunch Wednesday through Sunday for several weeks, but the phone line and website still only show dinner times. Charlie Palmer Steak has been serving lunch Tuesday through Friday since October 3, but the news has still reached her phone line and website.
Several large venues are still waiting. There’s no lunch yet at Nobu on Fulton Street Downtown, an area where bankers, brokers, and media managers have few top-notch restaurants. Co-owner Drew Nieporent said it was due to lack of staff but the plan is to reopen “within a few weeks”.
Yuka Abe, general manager of Aquavit, said that the Monday lunch alone, which was recently added to the schedule, “has far greater potential in terms of total sales than five lunchtime shifts. But lunch is our next destination when it kicks off on Mondays ”in the elegant Nordic restaurant on East 55th Street.
Certain lunch choices are tied to specific neighborhood circumstances. Andrew Carmellini’s French brasserie Lafayette in NoHo added lunch this week, spurred in part by the return of NYU faculty who went there often.
On the other side of the Chinese Hutong Luxury Palace, in the former Le Cirque room in the Bloomberg tower, waits until the office tower is 70 percent full, says Maitre’d and Guest Relations boss Raafet Olian.
But the dynamics of lunch clearly cannot be slowed down – to the delight of Midtown executives and business owners.
CBRE Global Chief Client Officer Spencer Levy says that after gaining 15 pounds in his kitchen at home, he is “happy to be back in town where lunch is only at noon”. One of his favorite eateries is the famous Alsatian restaurant Gabriel Kreuther on East 42nd Street.
Lisa Mogensen, chief financial officer of the West 40s, said the reopenings beat “the quick, casual alternatives that are becoming a mainstay of the lunch repertoire. It’s nice to have them on special occasions instead of celebrating with a group pizza or a chipotle run. “
Linda Alexander, President of Alexander Marketing and a Midtown business owner for over 20 years, said, “The energy is absolutely back, especially as the reopening of so many restaurants and the return of typical business dining show. I have to reserve in advance again, but that’s a small price. ”The customer review has been automatically translated from German.