Here’s the thing about restaurateurs: They don’t really care about who has the best ramen in the East Village. They’re not really that interested in where Paul Liebrandt’s restaurant will be, and they find avant-garde desserts about as compelling as algebra. But when Steve Hanson opens a restaurant? That, that is something they’re interested in. The fine art of making money via replicable concept restaurants is one at which Hanson is an acknowledged master, and that helps to explain why the main room at Primehouse last Thursday looked like a who’s who of big-time restaurateurs.
At one table, Jeffrey Chodorow dined with David and Penny Glazier, owners of seven Strip Houses, Monkey Bar, and Michael Jordan’s; at another Stephen Starr, of Buddakan and Morimoto fame, not to mention practically every good restaurant in Philadelphia; at yet another, Rich Melman of Lettuce Entertain You, with 31 restaurants on his roster; millionaire club owner and hotelier Sam Nazarian occupied still another. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Steakhouses are the perfect restaurant, and we’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that everyone present was working on a steakhouse of his own (in the case of Chodorow, that’s already been established). Steakhouses like Primehouse don’t make steak; they make money. And for the true barons of the business, that’s something worth checking out.