Do you get crazy high-maintenance requests from celebrities?
If anything, it’s kind of like the opposite — there’s nothing out of the ordinary. People for the most part know what they want when they get here.
How often is Graydon Carter there? Does he work the room like an Elaine Kaufman?
He comes in a couple times a week — maybe once a week when I’m working. If he sees someone he knows, obviously he’ll say “hello” and talk and chat.
Do you still pretty much have to know him or someone in his office to snag a table?
The best way would be to walk in. As far as calling someone, I have no idea about that. If you’re in the neighborhood, just walk on in. We’re a neighborhood restaurant.
Do your friends badger you to get them a table?
They’ll say, “Is it okay if I can come in a certain night.” I tell them to walk in in the early afternoon, and they have no problem getting a table. At times, we’ve been busy that particular night — they got a table two days later or the day after. It all depends on how we’re booked.
How hands-on is the maître d’, Emil Varda. He sounds like quite a character on the Waverly Inn blog.
He’s definitely hands-on. He hires everyone, and he’s the head manager and part owner as well. He’s there daily, nightly — everything that happens, he knows.
Anne Hathaway is supposed to go there a lot. Are there house fixtures who have pretty much earned permanent tables by this point?
No, but that we don’t talk about. We don’t talk about any type of clientele.
Do people put up a fuss when they’re seated in Siberia?
For the most part, in my experience, no. We’re lucky in that respect, because it makes our job easier to not have to deal with that.
What’s the best seat in the house?
Now it’s better (in my opinion) in the conservatory — you have the plants, the great lighting, the fireplace, and the big tree we have in the back. Most people now want to sit back here.
But isn’t that Siberia?
That is what was reported ten months ago. I have no idea why they’d call a garden Siberia.
Do people ever tell you you’re skimping on the truffles that you shave over the macaroni and cheese?
We’re really generous here with the truffles. Usually they cut us off because we’re shaving so many truffles. They say, “That’s enough.”
Are there “additions,” as you call the specials, that people always ask after?
On occasion, we will replace an item that was on the menu before — we did that with the short ribs. We replaced them with lamb shank. Of course, as soon as we did, everyone wanted short ribs. So we bring that back as an addition for the night.
Does chef John deLucie work the floor a lot?
He’s on the floor all the time. When we present a plate of mac 'n' cheese to the customer, he’s shaving the truffles. You can imagine how many times he’s running from kitchen and table…