Restaurant storytelling is fun, no? Exotic tales of planned restaurants in far away places, subsequent, and colorful, denials; rivalries, alliances, betrayal, deceit. Your basic Memorial Day blockbuster story line, minus the Tom Cruise stunt double. Fun.
Hey, speaking of storytelling, one of our favorite stories of all time is the one about Zak Pelaccio teaming with Jeffrey Chodorow on a restaurant on the Upper West Side. It's a story that dates back to, as you'll soon see, November 13, 2006. It begins with a rumor, followed quickly with a denial, followed by mounting evidence that the denial is ridiculous, followed by more denial, more intel, more denial. And so on and so forth. Then, like in all good stories, it ends with a twist.
Once upon a time:
1) November 13, 2006, 5:50 PM: News breaks of a possible national Zak Pelaccio/Jeffrey Chodorow alliance.
2) November 13, 2006, 7:01 PM: Pelaccio issues clear denial of rumor. "I don't know where Eater gets their info, but it's not from me nor any of my business partners," Zak says to his pal Cutlets. Meanwhile, Zak and The Chods team on Spoon and a "Malaysian restaurant" in London, but the idea that these very same business partners might be planning something closer to home is just totally bonkers to Zak.
3) November 15, 2006: Pelaccio's spokesperson gets in on the fun: "Until there is anything signed, there is nothing to discuss."
4) November 15, 2006: On the other hand, from a reliable Eater source: "he's opening a Fatty Crab on Broadway and 70-something Street (gave a specific cross street, but I can't remember it)."
5) November 16, 2006: And from Chodorow's camp: "No doubt that they're working on something, both nationally and internationally."
6) March 13, 2007: Chodorow confirms, to LX.TV, that he and Zak are, ineffendeed, opening a Malaysian restaurant on the Upper West Side.
7) May 17, 2007: Another top Eater informant files from the UWS: "the Fish's Eddy space on Broadway and 77th was taken over by Jeffrey Chodorow. That was maybe a year ago. Now I have recently heard from a very, very reliable source that the space is going to become a Fatty Crab."
8) May 18, 2007: Here's where it gets good. Rick Camac, Managing Partner of Fatty Crab, writes in to say
Pelaccio screwed him out of a piece of the new Fatty Crab by changing the name: "there is no truth to the rumor that Pelaccio and Chodorow are planning a Fatty Crab, on the UWS, or anywhere else, for that matter." Which means other than the location, something is fishy.
9) May 22, 2007: Pelaccio finally lets Cutlets run the intel that we all already knew, but gets the exclusive on the name: "Jeffrey Chodorow and Zak Pelaccio are in discussion to do a Malaysian place called Kopi Tiam in the neighborhood. A kopi tiam is what Chodorow calls a “Malaysian coffeehouse,” and this one would occupy the 77th Street space that formerly housed Fishs Eddy...Malaysian kopi tiams are pretty casual affairs, more likely to serve charcoal-grilled toast with butter and coconut-milk jam then the kind of full-size dishes you get at Fatty Crab." Ie. higher, more Chodorow-like, margins.
10) Future Date TBD: Chodorow and Pelaccio go national with — not Fatty Crab, but — Kopi Tiam; All those with a stake in Fatty Crab see massive similarities and sue Pelaccio, which is then followed by an out of court settlement bankrolled by Jeffrey Chodorow.
And they all live happily ever after.