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Gemma Opens, Draws Instant Waverly Inn Comparisions

Unannounced and quite quietly, at least to the general public, Gemma opened on Friday night. The Italian restaurant in the Bowery Hotel, run by Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson of, among others, The Maritime Hotel and a little place called the Waverly Inn, has long been an object of East Village fascination. We were in for a private party a few weeks ago and noted its massive potential. Based on this report from opening night, it does seem we've got the makings of a consensus:

Popped into Gemma last night about 10pm for a drink. I was blown away. It's absolutely gorgeous. Interior is similar to Morandi but 800 times classier. Very open and breezy. Sitting at the bar you can see the whole restaurant. I watched Karolina Kurkova wander in off the street and start chatting with two or three tables before finally finding her boyfriend at a table in the back. I have no idea what Centro will be like, but I'd pick Gemma over Waverly Inn any time now. The place was pretty full but the GM and waiters swore up and down they'd only been open since 7pm and they hadn't done any private parties or dinner the week before. If that's the truth the place was running extraordinarily smoothly. Everyone looked like total pros. Spoke to Eric (the GM, formerly at Waverly) and asked him where he stole his wait-staff from. His eyes narrowed. "Why, do you know a good waiter who wants a job?" I said I didn't but asked again where he'd found his staff. He wouldn't say, but admitted himself and another guy had jumped ship from Waverly. "You guys are going to give Waverly a run for its money," I told him. He looked very pleased. "That's what we're hopping." I told him I'd relay the message to Antonio and he said, "Oh yes, please do."
We've yet to obtain the official materials, so the Eric here may or may not be owner Eric Goode, who if he's a GM is also an owner. Pus, there are clear lies/shill elements to this dispatch (no private parties, for example), but it's a good place to start. It's a bit early to call it the Waverly, but we'll stand by our last prediction: 5:30 or 11 by next week.
· Gemma is open, and lookin' very, very good [PX]
· Eater Inside Sneak Peek: Gemma [~E~]
· Plywood Report: Gemma, April '07 [~E~]
· EaterWire: Taavo Somer at Bowery Hotel [~E~]
· Plywood Sneak: Bowery Hotel Restaurant, January '07 [~E~]

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