Jacqueline Sainsbury / November 9th, 2012
Drew Nieporent "estimated that he lost $600,000 in revenues at three closed restaurants (including Tribeca Grill), and $30,000 worth of spoiled food." • Del Posto partner Joe Bastianich estimates a loss of $50,000-$70,000 due to food spoilage alone. • From Red Hook, Brooklyn: The Red Hook Lobster Pound suffered $100,000 in damages; Brad McDonald's new Governor took on 5 feet of water in the bar and 3 feet in the kitchen; After watching heads of lettuce and bunches of grapes wash away in 4 feet of water, Fairway Market has committed to rebuilding its popular outerborough store; Mile End Deli endured serious damage at their central kitchen, with over 4 feet of tidal surge that pummeled everything in its path. They are currently working with purveyors for smokehouse alternatives for their loss of inventory. Their Boerum Hill and NoHo outposts are currently open, with limited hours. • On the other hand, some fortunate restaurants on the Upper West Side who retained power did a booming business with foot traffic, possibly a result of people on higher ground harboring friends from SoPow (South of the Power). • Meanwhile, restaurants like Tertulia and The Spotted Pig cooked on stovetops by headlight while the bars served up drinks by candlelight.
Food Arts sends our thoughts and best wishes to those affected and those sending aid—feel free to tell us how you've fared and share your experiences on Facebook.
Update: Two weeks later, we bring you the latest news regarding restaurants affected by Superstorm Sandy.
According to the Avero Index, Manhattan’s restaurant sales saw a 55 percent decline in the week following Superstorm Sandy, with a large difference between uptown and downtown (SoPow) performance and changes in consumer behavior. In summary, SoPow restaurants lost over 88 percent of their average weekly revenue, while uptown restaurants saw a 14.6 percent decline. It comes as no surprise to see a slight increase in both late night meals and alcoholic beverages, 8.4 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively.
Northern Spy Food Co. in Manhattan’s East Village estimated a loss of $5,300 in revenue for each day they were closed due to power outages. To deal with the food spoilage, exec chef/owner Christophe Hille instructed his sous chefs to pull all perishable foods out and start cooking for a sidewalk buffet. Hille took his bike some 20 blocks north to find cellular reception to get the word out on Twitter. A line of hungry people was waiting outside the restaurant when he returned.
Brooklyn’s River Café—the Michelin-starred restaurant nestled on Dumbo’s waterfront—was also severely stricken by Superstorm Sandy. Water flooded the kitchen, dining room, and wine cellar; banquettes were torn from the wall; rare wines, caviar, foie gras, lobster, and other high-end perishables were all thrown out. As of now, there isn’t a date scheduled for reopening. Until then, many will continue to mourn the loss of the iconic dining landmark.
Update: Still Out of Commission
The Bridge Café, nestled on lower Manhattan’s Water Street (and the oldest drinking establishment in the City), is still closed, with 85 to 95 percent of the basement wood needing complete renovations. Proprietor Adam Weprin was quoted in the New York Times stating they hope to reopen in a few months.