In 1980, when he opened the Odeon in Tribeca, Keith McNally redefined the modern scene restaurant in New York City, bringing to dining everything that hot nightclubs promised — exclusivity, glamour, celebrity patrons, and the frisson of sitting in the right place at the right time. Here, the preeminent maker of fashionable restaurants (Balthazar, Minetta Tavern, and now Balthazar London — to name a few) dishes on what makes a fashionable restaurant tick.
"It's less about location than interior. If I like the feel of the space, that comes before the location."
"I want to speak to a person, not a machine. And I want that person to be decent. Ultimately it's about how well you treat customers you can't satisfy."
"It's better to have a great number of light sources on low than a limited number on high."
"I try to work with people who are themselves — who don't have an ounce of pretension in them. For my places, a pretentious owner is more than enough."
—Jason Chen, Details
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