Danny Meyer rein­vents din­ing, over and over again.

Where New York - - Contents - Meryl Pearl­stein

One of the city’s top restau­ra­teurs talks about how he’s turned ca­sual din­ing into a four-star ex­pe­ri­ence.

UNION SQUARE HOS­PI­TAL­ITY GROUP CEO Danny Meyer made his mark in the 1980s at the highly touted and re­cently re­lo­cated Union Square Cafe. His next eater­ies—Gramercy Tav­ern, Tabla, Eleven Madi­son Park and The Mod­ern moved the restau­ra­teur fur­ther into the fine din­ing arena, with James Beard Awards aplenty. So, how did he find him­self a mas­ter of the hot dog and ham­burger uni­verse Meyer laughs at the ques­tion. “It was purely by ac­ci­dent,” he says. “We wanted to sup­port the Tar­get Art in the Park pro­gram and the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Madi­son Square Park, near Tabla and Eleven Madi­son Park. So, we set up a hot-dog stand there as part of the art pro ect, hop­ing to draw traf­fic to the park. The stand was such a hit that it evolved into our first Shake Shack.” un­ning a more ca­sual food out­let, be it Shake Shack or the pizza restau­rant Marta, doesn’t mean that you change your phi­los­o­phy, he notes. “It’s like wear­ing dif­fer­ent clothes ev­ery day or play­ing dif­fer­ent mu­sic. ou still want to look great and sound great. But the style al­ways needs to be har­mo­nious with who you are.”—

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