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Great Restaurants Where the Owner Serves You

What are some great restaurants where the owner is actively involving in serving customers -- not necessarily as a waiter, but in talking to the customers, making sure they are happy, and that sort of thing?

I imagine this is only possible in relatively small restaurants. Graffiti is certainly this way, and I love it. The newly-reopened Ruby et Violette as a bakery also sort of follows this model. I'm looking for others.

Thoughts? Thanks.

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  1. Although he is not the owner and the restaurant is anything but small, EMP's Chef Daniel Humm very often comes out of the kitchen during dinner service to make the rounds and chat with customers.

    1. The place that comes to mind in Murray Hill is Campanile. The owner, Slavko, is always on the floor making sure everything goes right. He is quite a character! The food is excellent, it is traditional Italian.

      I also ate at Urena once and he was out of the kitchen talking to the clients. I don't know if he still does that at this new place. I went there last year before he closed.

      1. I think chef-owner Didier Pawlicki at La Sirene is the current champ at this. It's a wonder he finds time to cook ... but he does!


        1. Tre and Ethos are the first two that come to mind...


          1 Reply
          1. Don't know how you categorize "great restaurants" but my daughter and I enjoyed both the food and the chattiness of effusive Chef-owner Chiyono Murano at Chiyono. She was eager to explain her cuisine to us and to solicit our feedback when we were there recently even though we weren't Peter Meehan.


            1. Thanks. Very helpful responses.

              The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/

              1. Havent been there in awhile but Piccolo Angolo in west village has an omnipresent owner (could be good or bad depending on who you ask), food has always been very good

                2 Replies
                1. re: ekdd

                  Ha. Yes, Piccolo Angolo is the first place I thought of. I just wish they would put their menu on a chalkboard at the very least. Haven't been there in many years but trying to remember the recited menu was a bit of a challenge.

                  What about Mia Dona? Isn't Donatella supposedly always up front?