Eleven Madison Park Might Not Reopen After the Pandemic
Daniel Humm says reopening is "definitely a question mark"
Restaurants around the world are scrambling to survive during the coronavirus lockdown, and many are unsure whether they’ll be able to reopen when all of this is finally over. In a new interview with Bloomberg, chef-owner Daniel Humm reveals that New York City’s famed Eleven Madison Park — named the No. 1 restaurant in the world in 2017 — is one of those places.
“There is definitely a question mark over Eleven Madison Park — if it will reopen,” Humm told the publication. “It will take millions of dollars to reopen. You have to bring back staff. I work with fancy equipment in a big space. I want to continue to cook with the most beautiful and precious ingredients in a creative way, but at the same time, it needs to make sense.”
Humm admitted that he had no idea how dire the situation would get. “At EMP, we’re in a bubble sometimes, but we were literally full, up until the end. Then we got word we had to shut down,” he said. “But when Danny [Meyer, chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group] furloughed his team, I realized how bad it was. He always goes down all the paths in these situations.”
The chef said he considered putting together some sort of delivery option, but ultimately decided against it. “We were thinking, should we do some sort of to-go box? But it was so intense in New York, it didn’t feel to me that the world needed Eleven Madison Park food in fancy boxes,” he explained. “I knew it wouldn’t make so much money. Anyway, I didn’t want people to be exposed; delivery isn’t what we do.”
Instead, he transformed Eleven Madison Park into a commissary kitchen producing 3,000 meals a day to feed the hungry — something he hopes to continue doing if and when the restaurant is able to reopen. “The infrastructure to end hunger needs to come out of the restaurants,” he said. “Any way that EMP reopens — and it’s like a blank canvas right now, we would need to redefine what luxury means — it will also be an opportunity to continue to feed people who don’t have anything. I don’t need to only feed the 1% anymore.”
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