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The Gatekeepers: Mario Wainer

On we go with The Gatekeepers, a photo series we've commissioned from Michael Harlan Turkell. For the next several weeks, we'll be presenting portraits of The Gatekeepers: the very folks that stand between you and some of your favorite impossible-to-get tables.


Sirio, Mauro and Marco may be the name players at Le Cirque, but it is Mario Wainer who's been the official man behind the podium for almost two decades. When Sirio works his dining room (which he is doing in this picture, if you look closely), who do you think keeps the tent in place?

Mario: "I've been a maitre 'd her for 18 years. We're not a difficult restaurant to get into to. We're more interested in welcoming new customers than people think. There are no reservations in the cafe. If you come and walk in the door, you're going to eat. We'll find a way."

"I've received ties as gifts, but it's not about what you receive. It's about what you can give. We have to prove ourselves the most to people we don't know, and we do so without expecting anything in return."


"We have many regulars, customers from the boutique store and long-time diners. We are in the business of making people happy."

Previously on The Gatekeepers: Iris Espinosa of Mary's Fish Camp; Ivilisse V. Esguerra of Mas; Mario Haro of Saul; the team at Spotted Pig; Joe Perret of Nobu; Ai Takami of Landmarc; Gabriel Stulman of The Little Owl.