Throughout the New York City Food & Wine Festival this weekend, Eater welcomes bloggers, journalists and food world stars to our lounge at the Standard Hotel. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge. Right now: Xie Xie's Angelo Sosa.
How's your Hell's Kitchen sandwich shop going so far? We were very fortunate that Alain Ducasse came in last month for a post with the New York Times and ever since he came in, the forest fire started. So now you're slammed? Yeah, it was attributed to that, it was attributed to the star chefs award, and also it's just us tweaking things.
How is it different opening a sandwich shop to opening a restaurant like Yumcha or Spice Market? I have to tell you, it's been crazy. It's a big learning curve for me. Doing casual is totally different. The Aloha system and counting the cash at the end of the night. Figuring out delivery.
And what's the crowd been so far?During lunch, it's a lot of suits, then the neighborhood types come in for dinner. For lunch it's a sandwich shop and for dinner it turns into a cool lounge. We have champagne in a can, we have a lot of cool things. A real ambiance. We're the atypical sandwich shop. Instead of going back to your house, come to the sandwich shop.
When you opened you said you wanted to create a whole chain. Can the city sustain too many more sandwich shops? I think the city can definitely sustain it.
When will you be expanding? The concept can live and die with the first place. it's important to forecast the future but it's important to focus on the day to day. it's gotta run like a Ferrari, the system. We can't focus on the bigger picture yet. The way business is going we have to adapt, we're phasing into stage three. One is the launch, two is making it consistent, and three is getting used to volume. it'll will be at least three months before we work on expansion. But it's hard to turn down some of the offers we're getting.
What kind of offers? We've been approached for franchises, we've been approached by the W hotels, and people from Shanghai to Atlanta, to DC. It's tempting to lose focus, but it's important to stick with the first one.
Any fun new sandwiches to look forward to? We have a cool one in the works. it's something that maybe new york hasn't seen before. The Wet Noodle. A noodle sandwich? Possibly.
Will you give Michael Huynh (of Baoguette) a run for his money? I think we're two different genres. There's no need to compare the two. If you want a spicy banh mi, you go to him. I think we want to focus on more of an experience.
· All NYCWFF 2009 Coverage [~ENY]