Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sandy blows NYC restaurants into survival mode

  • Print

LEAH Tinari knew by smell alone that Superstorm Sandy had devastated her Lower East Side eatery, Fatta Cuckoo.

As the epic storm barrelled down on Manhattan, Tinari's basement refrigerators were stacked high with beef spareribs, pork tenderloin, scallops, imported Gorgonzola. By Monday, relief that her 28-seat restaurant had been spared any flooding quickly turned to loss.

"When we got there, you could already smell the stuff in the refrigerators," she said.

The trick was turning loss into silver lining. With battery-powered lights strung up over her gas stove, Tinari worked with what little she could salvage or buy -- bread, cheese, onions and potatoes, mostly -- to restore some semblance of normalcy. By 1 p.m. Thursday, she was open for business. Albeit limited.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with apples and caramelized onions. Egg drop soup. Mulled ciders. Beer. And everything on the menu was $5.

"We just wanted to offer warm, homey, delicious stuff so people could come in and either eat or get drunk," she said with a laugh.

Large swaths of New York City's normally robust, trend-setting restaurant scene was hobbled last week by the storm, some by flooding, others by days without power -- and thus refrigeration. Daniel Boulud's DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Tom Colicchio's Craft and Colicchio & Sons, Mario Batali's massive culinary landmark Eataly -- all struggled to reopen days after the onset of the storm.

But even those spared the storm's direct wrath were challenged.

For much of the week, the city's public transit system was crippled, leaving even restaurants with electricity struggling to get workers to the job. David Burke, the man behind more than half a dozen restaurants including Fishtail and David Burke Kitchen, put some employees up at hotels in order to keep them on the job.

Burke, who estimates he lost at least $35,000 worth of food across his restaurants, said he and his staffs quickly created a triage system, shuttling food from restaurants closed or evacuated to those that still had power.

In the midst of it all, his chefs have been making soup and sandwiches for emergency responders.

At the critically acclaimed West Village hotspot Tertulia, Seamus Mullen has been balancing his own storm challenges -- no flooding, but also no power -- with trying to help others, even delivering ice to other restaurants.

"We've been open every night. I've been getting black-market dry ice and getting bags of regular ice from anyone I can to keep our product from spoiling," Mullen said Friday. "We've been opening just by candlelight. And just two burners in the kitchen and a limited menu. I've got all my cooks wearing flashlights."

Mullen also has joined forces with a trio of other high-wattage chefs -- George Mendes of Aldea, Marco Canora of Hearth and Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde -- to launch the charity NYC FoodFlood to help feed those affected. The charity kicks off with a $300-a-plate fundraising dinner at Aldea today. The money will be used to rent and staff a food truck to bring meals to the storm-struck outer boroughs.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2012 D5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The Creation of Wicked

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new Blue Bombers uniforms?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google