This is The Gatekeepers, in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of your favorite impossible-to-get tables. This time around, since all of South Beach is sold out, we thought you'd like to meet the only guy in town that can help you.
In South Beach, which has become a sold out madness of media, food celebrities and
heavy drinkers festival attendees, there are very few people who can help you with last minute tickets. The big ticket events sold out in a matter of hours and even the scraps are gone. The burger bash, happening later tonight? Ain't happening for you, friend. The tribute dinner for Jean Georges, at which both the Mats and Wylie Dufrense will cook? Nopeski. The point is, don't come down to the festival without tickets. Unless you know festival founder and head honcho Lee Schrager (in which case, cool if we roll with you?).
Lee Brian Schrager: Every year my credential has a nickname. It has been the Big Cheese, Big Daddy, Master SommoLEEr. Who knows what it will be this year. 34,912 people will come through the festival this year. All our evnets will have massing crowds but Grand Tasting, BubbleQ, and Burger Bash will be extra full. Friday night, prime time. Where will we find you? Probably in traffic getting from Best of the Best downtown to BubbleQ on the beach. Can we come along? Yes, if traffic is bad you may need to pull the Rickshaw. Okay if we drop your name at the door?
Don’t be surprised if you hear “did you say Ian Schrager?”
How do you deal with the VIPs, when there are no more tickets to give? "Hello can you hear me, can you hear me now?" ...the sponsors’ best friends? "Can you hear me now???"
What’s the most outrageous request from a Sobe VIP you’ve had to accommodate? A past honoree insisted that their suite have a bed that was 8ft or more away from the window, that the bathroom had a window, and that no mirrors reflected water. ...that you couldn’t accommodate? Bacardi [wanted in], but because SWS doesn’t sell it in South Florida [we had to say no].
Other than keeping hydrated and somewhat sober, what else do you need to do your job this weekend? Lipitor, Xanax, and my blackberry. Where will you be eating on Monday night, when this thing is over? Back on the Zone Diet.