Former Elaine’s Bartender Brian McDonald Tells AllIn ‘Last Call at Elaine’s,’ Brain McDonald, who tended bar at the Upper East Side saloon-cum-salon from 1986 to 1997, recalls his time as a recovering alcoholic, trying to stay sober in one of the city’s most glamorous drinking dens.
Rose MacDowell, Author of ‘Turning Tables,’ Only Cried on the JobIdentical twins Heather and Rose MacDowell waited tables for five years in Manhattan before penning their novel, Turning Tables, out next week. Rose won’t name the restaurants they worked for, offering only that she was at one of the Ark Restaurants in Manhattan (it operates the Bryant Park Grill and others), while her sister worked at a defunct Italian restaurant in the Columbus Circle area. Nevertheless, she was quite candid about the industry she says she could only cope with via on-the-job hookups and shots snuck from behind the bar.
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Lurie De La Rosa of PDT Asks That You Put Your Pants on and LeaveLurie De La Rosa knows a thing or two about cocktails: She worked at Pegu Club under Audrey Saunders (her “New York mom”) and with Jim Meehan, who asked her to help him open his debut spot PDT. “I wasn’t sure what he meant by a ‘hot dog bar,’” she tells us. Indeed PDT is unique in that it pairs Crif Dogs with Snoop Dogg, something De La Rosa says was “scary for a little bit. I came from this world of classic music and jazz.” But she has adjusted admirably and is now part of a family that includes Wylie Dufresne, David Chang, and the occasional naked patron.
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Antoinette Morelli of 2nd Avenue Deli Makes Sure You Don’t Sneak In ChocolateWhen we called the 2nd Avenue Deli asking to speak to a server, we assumed they’d hook us up with one of the one or two old-timers left over from the East Village original. Instead, they looked to the future, and we were connected with Antoinette Morelli, who was a bank teller (and before that a server on the World Yacht) before starting at the pastrami palace’s new location. “Coming to work that first day,” she told us, “I had butterflies in my stomach because we had all the media here and we couldn’t move. They thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I surprised them.” She surprised us, too, by sounding like an old hand.
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One if by Land’s Michael Lombardozi Won’t Let You Make Babies in the Bathroom
By now even the unrepentant Paul Jankas of the world know that One if by Land, Two if by Sea is widely regarded as the most romantic restaurant in the city. Normally we’d hesitate to match a cheesy holiday with a played-out restaurant, but now that new chef Craig Hopson, formerly of Picholine, has replaced the humdrum chicken Kiev with entrées such as turbot poached in coconut milk with peeky toe crab, mango and sea beans (you can peruse the new menu here), we don’t feel the least bit corny about asking Michael Lombardozi, a waiter at the West Village institution for seven years, to walk us down lovers’ lane.