Danny Meyer signed a deal last month to open a restaurant in the Whitney Museum this fall, but learned only recently that the museum wanted a space for people to eat when the Biennial begins this month. Since the restaurant or kitchen won’t be ready, it had to be an idea that didn’t require a lot of cooking. “It’s the Whitney, so it had to be American,” he tells Grub Street. “There is no way the museum wanted anything that would compete with the art. We are commissioning one of the Biennial artists to mastermind it.”
Jeffrey Inaba’s architecture collective, Inaba, and C-Lab will design the space, to be called Sandwiched. Meyer has pooled the talents of his restaurants’ various chefs, including those from four-star Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Gramercy Tavern, and Union Square Café, to create sandwiches, and his pastry chefs to come up with desserts.
Come fall, it will have a whole new concept. “We have to let the museum be the star,” he explains. With a restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art and a Shake Shack at Citi Field, Meyer is no stranger to working within the confines of an existing space. “It’s like living in someone else’s home,” he says. “The Modern had to be elegant and the Whitney has to be intelligent. And that architecture, that is the frame — we have to figure out what the right piece of art will be.”