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Mika Porro of Cafe Cluny Directs Traffic for Brunch Bunches

cafe cluny waiter

"I work every Saturday and Sunday for brunch, and there will be groups of girlfriends all the time."Photo: Melissa Hom

Mika Porro was a waitress at Café Luxemburg before she moved away from the city. About four months ago, she got a gig as a manager at Lynn Wagenknecht’s other joint, Cafe Cluny. Whether you know Cluny as the spot where you pick up your morning croissant and dose of the Times, or as a lovely backup when you can’t walk into dinner at Morandi (Porro tells us she thinks she’s seen Wagenknecht’s ex Keith McNally there, though she’s never met him), or as the place whose outside benches you stew on when you can’t get into Beatrice across the way, you’ll want to know a bit more — so we asked.

How many people whose portraits are on your wall of fame actually come into the restaurant?
Quite a few of them come in all the time. Michael Hainey comes in quite often; he works with GQ magazine.

Is there someone who’s on the wall who’s never set foot in the place?
I’m sure there is. People ask about the wall all the time. It’s a good conversation piece. We have a little piece of paper that we pass to the guests that explains who everyone is.

Platt has said the restaurant is very feminine. Do you get mostly female customers?
I work every Saturday and Sunday for brunch, and there will be groups of girlfriends all the time that meet every single Saturday or Sunday. One girl came in with her boyfriend at night, and I said, “Oh my gosh.” She said, “I know, I always thought of this as the place we go with the girls!”

Have guys picked up on that? Do they come in to meet girls?
It’s not like a bar where people will do that. What does happen is all the time people come in and see someone they know from work or someone from around here, and be like, “Oh, hi, hi.”

Do you notice what people wear? It’s quite a stylish crowd.
This girl came in last night and I said, “I love your dress, where did you get it?” She said, “Oh, it’s mine!”

When’s the best time to walk in?
We don’t take reservations on brunch. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is kind of crazy. During dinner there can be anywhere from a 5- to 25-minute wait. Anytime after 9:30 or before 7-ish, the wait shouldn’t be too long.

You see amateur reviewers complaining about the portions. What should you get if you want something filling?
The short ribs — they’re so good. They’re braised and they’re topped with a little bit of foie gras —it’s definitely one of our most popular dishes.

Your menu says you don't serve the burger till 9 p.m. Is it possible to order it off the menu before then? Is it made with Roquefort, like Odeon's?
Yeah, they’ll try to be flexible with people’s wants. We can put Roquefort on ours.

What’s best seat in the house?
We have some really beautiful window seats in the back — tables 31, 32, 33. The window seats feel more spacious, and you can look out.

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