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Dec 24, 2008 04:26 AM

restaurant going during the recession? [moved from Manhattan board]

I would be interesting in hearing people's anecdotes and experiences of restaurant going during this financial crisis. Does anything seem different? Are there restaurants offering deals? Are there restaurants that are compromising in one way or another -- skimpier portions, lesser or substitute ingredients, higher wine prices, whatever? Are there more or less available tables? Does the typical restaurant festivity seem there or not? What type of restaurant is being affected (or not) -- from the high end on down?

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  1. When I went to Bouley in early November, we were among 5 occupied tables for the duration of our meal. Obviously, Bouley is on the higher-end, so I know that most people aren't jumping to spend $200/head on a meal. Otherwise, the restaurants that I typically frequent (which are on the casual end) still require reservations and are as busy as ever.

    1. I am not a restaurateur, but there are signs, IMHO, that suggest restaurants recognizing the adverse impact of recession on their business

      An example would be increasing serving hours, as in Terroir in EV adding brunch hours to, I suspect, augment income.

      Another sign is lowering of offerings and pricing in order to attract more clients, as in Eleven Madison offering the $28 lunch menu and I suppose that this may also be in direct response to the success of a competitor, as in Jean Georges excellent value lunch. I guess this is also one way that, in your words, the restaurant is “compromising”.

      Finally, the closing or re-inventing of restaurants, as in Bar Milano, which never took off and is now closing and the site will go the ways of its more successful affiliate, ‘inoteca. I have to admit, and having passed by it many times, and from just looking at it from the street, Bar Milano looked drab and dated like it was stuck in a 70’s/80’s warp.

      1. i've noticed that on Sunday nights, many restaurants are so empty it's ghostly...walking all over the Village a couple Sundays ago, it was a bit creepy -- it was like the area had been evacuated...