Employees Only Team Looks for a New Place to Park ZeppelinStrong Buzz is reporting that the Employees Only guys have abandoned the onetime speakeasy at 21 West 9th Street that was going to be Zeppelin. Partner Jason Kosmas tells us why exactly: “We’ve turned over the keys and put it in the hands of our lawyer because we didn’t want to begin construction till they remediated certain leaks and molds.” Kosmas says it was unclear whether this was the responsibility of the co-op or of a tenant who was acting as a sub-landlord of the space. Having contracted the former Marylou’s back in April, he and his partners, who were hoping to begin construction in January, got sick of waiting on a timeline for the work. They’re currently looking for a new location (preferably in the same area), and chef Keith Harry is still onboard.
The Strong Buzz for January 28 [Strong Buzz]
Earlier: Zeppelin Hits a Snag, Won’t Open Till Later Next Year
Julia Jaksic, Now Head Chef at Employees Only, Shows Off New MenuJulia Jaksic, underground-dinner-club hostess and consulting chef at Smith and Mills, has been named head chef at Employees Only (where she was previously a sous-chef) and has completely revamped the menu. Look for nods to her Croatian heritage: A hamburger that’s served on a fluffy pita with pepper paste and carmac, and (on the brunch menu) polenta with smoked bacon and sauerkraut and brown butter. A hamburger that’s served on a fluffy pita with pepper paste, and (on the brunch menu) polenta with smoked bacon and sauerkraut and brown butter. Berkshire bacon makes another appearance wrapped around New Zealand lamb chops — an appetizer that’s fast becoming the Employees Only equivalent of Freemans’ devils on horseback. The late-night menu has also been jazzed up, surely good news for industry types still reeling from the loss of wee hours eating at Mas (farmhouse).
Employees Only dinner menu
Related: Sign Up for Secret Dinner Club’s Weekend Time Warp
Employees Only Repeal Day Party Was Quite the Bacchanal
Visitors to Employees Only last night were greeted by a fearsome sight: a no-nonsense doorman doing everything in his power to keep out non-invitees to the bar’s annual Repeal Day party. A lot of places try to embrace the retro vibe, but nobody goes as crazy for it as EO. Period dress was required and the beau monde swells attempted to outdo each other in obstreperous costuming. Cabaret superstar Lady Rizo sang on the bar while her backup dancers, the “Assets,” of course, stripped. Even Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha looked natty.
Zeppelin Hits a Snag, Won’t Open Till Later Next Year
Fall previews had Zeppelin, the forties-themed American brasserie from the folks behind Employees Only, opening in November or December, but we now have official word that the joint, to be located in a former speakeasy, won’t be throwing open its doors until 2008. And not early 2008 — we may be talking summer here. In the meantime, Employees Only’s annual Prohibition party is coming up soon — we plan to kill the pain of this news with some serious ladles of Prohibition punch.
Related: Employees Only to Land a Zeppelin on 9th Street, and Eventually, Macao?
Employees Only to Land a Zeppelin on 9th Street, and Eventually, Macao?
Getting information out of the staff of Employees Only is much, much harder that getting drinks out of them — but we were able to extract two interesting bits of information out of bartender and co-owner Jason Kosmas. The first is that E.O.’s new spinoff restaurant on West 9th Street now has a name to go along with its forties theme (which, we are told, will include period costumes for the entire staff). It will be called Zeppelin and is still “months away” from opening. The other tidbit, though vague, was intriguing.
Smith and Mills: The Smallest Next Big Thing Ever
Last November we were the first to predict that the Beatrice would be the hipstaurant of the season. Um, we told you so? Now from Beatrice (and Employees Only) partner Matt Abramcyk comes another contender — this one occupying a former carriage house in the Tribeca nether lands. Smith and Mills is one of the smallest restaurants we’ve ever set foot in, but on this, its opening day, we don’t think it’s too early to say it may just be the next big thing.
Absinthe Feels So Good When It Hits the U.S. Market
As any frat boy can tell you, absinthe, the spirit of choice for Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Verlaine, was banned here in 1912 following rumors that its primary ingredient, grand wormwood, contained a psychosis-inducing hallucinogen called thujone — but now a Manhasset distributor Lucid has convinced the U.S. Alcohol-Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that the green fairy is just as safe as any other liver-pickling, brain-shrinking alcohol on the market (even if the 124-proof booze’s alcohol content is more than 50 percent greater than that of vodka, rum, and most whiskeys).
Employees Only Aims for That Forties Feel in Their New RestaurantWord got out on a bulletin board the other day that Employees Only was acquiring the old Marylou’s space on 21 West 9th Street near Sixth Avenue. EO bartender and co-owner Jason Kosmas tells us more: “It’s going to be much more of a restaurant than a bar. Think of the difference between Lucky Strike and Balthazar.”
Ask a Waiter
Dagny Mendelsohn of Employees Only Defends Her Customers From Flying Fruit
Dagny Mendelsohn has been a manager and maître d’ at Employees Only since the restaurant and cocktail spot’s buzzy opening two years ago. Before that she worked at Pastis and Schiller’s. Though she says her old boss, Keith McNally, has never come in, she has had the pleasure of hosting Daniel Boulud (“He went down to use the bathroom in the kitchen and ended up talking to the chef for an hour”) as well as connecting lotharios who were stood up by dates — one such couple came back to the restaurant to celebrate their first anniversary. We asked Dagny how she controls traffic at the hidden hot spot.
Sign Up for Secret Dinner Club’s Weekend Time WarpThis week’s Ghetto Gourmet events are sold out, but you underground diners shouldn’t fret. Instead, put on your most convincing eighth-century Baghdad caliph outfits and cop an invite to one of the “Arabian Nights” meals that’ll be held in a Williamsburg loft on Friday and Saturday. The events are the latest dinner-and-dancing bashes inspired by hip historical scenes (fin de siècle Parisian parlors, twenties high-society New York) and thrown every few months by the founders of the Dinner Club: Hairdresser and antiques aficionado “Miss Amy” Burgess and chef “Miss Julia” Jaksic of Employees Only (and now the Beatrice). Previous events have featured Chinese wedding beds, chandeliers, even acrobats and swing bands, hence the $85 ticket price. This one promises to be just as lavish.
Back of the House
Marxist Meals Served at Co-op EateriesRestaurants run by workers seem like a great idea. Rather than having to bow and scrape before the Man, the employees of places like René Pujol and Colors, discussed recently in the New York Resident, more or less get to decide their own destinies. But they raise an age-old question (which most people haven’t pondered since college): Is the worker’s paradise really a practical idea?
Strictly for the Ladies: How to Meet Men in RestaurantsJason Kosmas, the suave, mustached bartender and part owner of Employees Only, just published, with Dushan Zaric, You Didn’t Hear It From Us, a woman’s guide to meeting men in bars. Think of it as a companion to Dave Zinczenko’s Men, Love and Sex: The Complete User Guide For Women. Curious about the phenomenon of dudes counseling ladies in matters of romance, we challenged Kosmas to find ways for women to link up with guys in restaurants. Here, in his own words, is what he came up with. (The opinions expressed belong solely to Mr. Kosmas. Grub Street cannot guarantee that you will meet a man or men in a restaurant after reading this advice.)
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.
The Underground Gourmet
The Latest Gourmet Food Cart Is Here
There are two types of New Yorkers, the Underground Gourmet has always thought. There are those for whom eating a street-vendor hot dog (a.k.a. dirty-water dog) is an urban rite of passage, not to mention a show of defiance in this age of culinary correctness. And then there are those for whom it is an indication of mental incapacity, a deviant act that should best be left to ne’er-do-wells and unsuspecting tourists or healthy adults caught up in an emergency situation — like being locked overnight in a bank vault with a cache of Sabretts. Jeremy Spector, the chef of Employees Only, falls into the latter camp.