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Sep 26, 2011 09:42 AM

Is Danny Meyer selling EMP?

This might be old news to insiders, but here's an interesting article on Eater about the expected transfer of ownership to chef Daniel Humm, GM Will Guidara, and their NoMad backers.

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

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  1. I wonder if this will lead to any changes at EMP that will directly affect diners. I'm not a fan of the way their menu works, maybe that can finally be gone? I really prefer a traditional menu where I know at a glance the major components and preparation method of every dish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cheeryvisage

      My impression was that Humm and Guidara initiated the grid change and had to persuade Danny Meyer to go along with the idea. I could be wrong though.

      The article implied that EMP wasn't as profitable as the other USHG properties. I'd be curious about any pricing and menu changes at EMP under the new NoMad owners.

    2. I other stuff I've read they talk about his love for the place, and the Shake Shack cash cow lets him do what he wants there. I wonder if it is a full sale or a sale of an interest.

      1. if only those who regularly visit EMP and might have inside knowledge were allowed to share their thoughts and experiences with us. oh well. let the rumor mill churn.

        4 Replies
          1. re: nmprisons

            From the EMP Fall newsletter:

            Will and Chef Daniel will be hitting the road throughout the fall to promote Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. In addition to book signings in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, they will be hosting special events at restaurants across the country including Grant Achatz's Aviary in Chicago, Barbara Lynch's Menton in Boston, Canlis in Seattle, and Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder.


            We are very excited to announce that James Kent has been named Chef de Cuisine of Eleven Madison Park. He will be working alongside Chef Daniel in running our kitchen.


            We are so excited to welcome Dustin Wilson to Eleven Madison Park as our new Wine Director.

            Dustin will be succeeding former Eleven Madison Park Wine Director, John Ragan, who leaves behind a legacy of relentless dedication to service.
            Don't know if this info helps stop the rumor mill or adds more fuel to it but I thought I'd pass it along.

            Eleven Madison Park
            11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

            1. re: Livetoeateattolive

              I was disappointed to read that EMP's Head Sommelier, Chris Baggetta, didn't get the Wine Director position.

              1. re: ellenost

                I'm not going to pretend to know the internal workings of EMP but personally I am shocked to see that Chris didn't get it if John is leaving.

          2. Given how popular this restaurant is on Chowhound (dare I say -the- most popular NYT 4-star restaurant on these boards?), I'm surprised there's been so little discussion.

            On they are discussing the implications for EMP's future quality -- some insist Meyer's eye on the bottom line hobbled Chef Humm, but I wonder if it isn't the opposite: Meyer's empire (particularly Shake Shack) could support a 4-star flagship. Can these NoMad property developers do the same?

            4 Replies
            1. re: Winterpool

              Oh no! We have reservat8ions for the first time there in a couple of weeks. Should I keep it or will we be disappointed? Changed a reservation from Daniel to EMP to celebrate a significant event.

              1. re: synergy

                I very much doubt there will be significant changes for months, at least. In fact, some claim the sale was agreed quite a while ago (though I presume it has not yet been effected?), and I don't believe any recent diners have noticed any drop in quality. I think our concern should be for the long-term future of EMP.

                In any case your best sources for making restaurant selections, as always, remain the dining reviews you'll find here and elsewhere on the web. I always try to read a few of the most recent before booking a table.

                1. re: Winterpool

                  Personally I don't think there will be any change at all in the quality of the food or service. People know the dedication Will and Chef Humm have to thier craft so does anyone think they would really agree to a plan that kills thier pride and joy? The new place they are working on is not intended to be a replacement for EMP so as long as EMP makes a profit, even if it's small, I don't see why it wouldn't continue.

              2. re: Winterpool

                I guess the EMP fans are silent because it's like watching their parents' divorce. Can't blame them though. The most interesting part of the mouthfulls discussion were chopjwu12's posts. Otherwise, it's mostly conjecture.

              3. If Danny Meyer sells EMP, I wonder which restaurant will take its place as the "crown jewel" of USHG. The Modern? Union Square Cafe? Shake Shack?

                1 Reply
                1. re: fm1963

                  The Modern, I suspect... for now. Though if Shake Shack continues to expand and if we avoid a double-dip recession (or at least if Wall St finance avoids a double dip), then one can't rule out Meyer opening some place altogether new.

                  The Modern
                  9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019