The year CF and I lived in New York was also the year that Union Square Cafe opened. From our apartment around Grammercy Park we would walk over to the Union Square Farmer’s market each Saturday for fresh local food. We had a small studio apartment with a camper’s grill my Mom had given us. It was fueled by a tiny butane tank and we set it on our firescape. I remember that grill producing some of the best dinners in the city. All these memories are flooding back as we settle into the temporary housing apartment that will be our home for the next 3 – 4 months. I digress…..
Right around the corner from the Square was Danny Meyer’s restaurant – Union Square Cafe. It was then, as it is now, a wonderful and delicious experience. Years later Danny Meyer wrote a book – Setting the Table. It was an incredibly inspirational book and only furthered my infatuation for the man and the values of hospitality he represents. I actually met him once when he came to speak for one of my businesses. It is so nice when you meet someone and they are exactly what you hoped they would be. The way he closed his letter to me afterwards is one of my favorite closings ever! “Thank you for your loyal friendship to our business.” Isn’t that the best way of thinking about a long-term business relationship?
It was about the time we engaged Danny for our business that he was opening Shake Shack – arguably one of the best burgers I have had. I was a big fan of the one on the upper West Side, and of course the one in Grammercy Park. On this particular very cold day, I was in the Shake Shack in Philadelphia with the adorable Little a. and J. and their parents. It was a moment of levity in an otherwise daunting day. I was reminded that it is holiday after all and we should be thankful for our many blessings.