The (Other) Midtown Cafeteria You Wish You Could Eat InIt’s not a Frank Gehry cafeteria, but the company mess in the subbasement of 6 East 43rd Street is a better locale for breakfast or lunch than, say, your desk. If you work in the building (for unglam companies like the New York State Dental Association, Children for Children, or Emigrant Savings Bank), you are entitled to eat at the Sea Level Café, a 160-seat grotto with three 700-gallon fish tanks for walls, stone-terrazzo floors, and twenty-foot ceilings. Don’t bring your wallet — Sea Level uses your building I.D. as a debit card. This gleaming lair arrived via an inopportune 2006 elevator ride by Janet Martin, Emigrant’s chief administrative officer. “I said, ‘My God, this is gross. Then we realized we had asbestos so guys came in in white suits and did abatement and lo and behold! Over the years with piping they had built ceilings down and down — now I had twenty-foot ceilings.” So Martin got the nod to create a salubrious feeding station for tenants and their employees. “I love the ocean and scuba, so I picked two sand terrazzo colors for the floor, and walls are blue glass made to go lighter and lighter and lighter,” says Martin. “For the ceiling we came up with fixtures behind barriers on one- to three-foot heights like the bubbles when you’re scuba diving.”
The New York Diet
Comic Patrice O’Neal Considers Himself a Big Buffet Dude
Patrice O’Neal became a comic after he decided he wasn’t really into football and has since gone on to host VH1’s Web Junk, as well as make appearances on HBO’s Def Jam Comedy Jam, Comedy Central, and The Office. If you catch his Valentine’s gig at Stand-Up NY tonight, you might hear him riff about his diabetes — “Why couldn’t the doctor tell me, ‘Patrice, you can never eat Brussels sprouts again’?” — and, sure enough, he’s taking measures to control his weight: “When you get close to 40, you start to feel those years of ham hocks.” Nevertheless, his eating philosophy flies in the face of Mireille Guiliano’s. He tells us, “I don’t go to any sexy places to eat where they give you half a lamb chop and one bean. I like going, ‘Uhhh, I’m done’ when I eat.” And where can a man find that experience?
Sibling to Cafeteria on the Way
Mark Thomas Amadei, one of the co-owners of Chelsea money machine Cafeteria, has been looking for a downtown location for a long time. Now he has finally found it. This fall, he plans on opening Delicatessen on the corner of Prince and Lafayette Streets, in the space which for 80 years housed Buffa’s luncheonette.
New Google Cafeteria Crushes Competitors’ Cafeterias
About six weeks after its move south to the old Port Authority at 111 Eighth Avenue, Google’s New York office finally has a cafeteria. (Don’t worry, sympathetic searchers, the staffers’ free lunch had been catered before this week.)
So what do you serve hungry programmers? Our mole slipped us an excerpt from Wednesday’s inaugural menu.
The New York Diet
David Barton and Susanne Bartsch: He Says Hot Dogs; She Says Organic Turkey
“David is a great person to feed,” nightlife doyenne and anti-housewife Susanne Bartsch says of her husband, gym owner David Barton. That’s because Barton will eat anything, or so he claims: “Eating is a means to an end. I don’t care what it tastes like. If you gave it to me in a pill, I’d be fine.” Really? When the pair recalled their meals over the last week, fetishes like tuna imported by the caseload and corn-on-the-cob gelato were revealed.