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Tenpenny's Jeffrey Tascarella Shares His Dream Journal

Welcome to Eater Dream Journal, where we ask chefs and restaurateurs to write down their dreams for a few days and then share them with us. Today, Jeffrey Tascarella, proprietor of the recently opened Tenpenny in Midtown.
[Original artwork by Eric Lebofsky]

I’m in Los Angeles with my sister. She’s driving us around in a huge black Escalade and we are careening wildly around some beach-y, sandy version of Mulholland Drive; the city is spread out before us, but there is a strange body of water immediately below us and before the skyline — which is totally wrong. My sister is driving terribly and we are continually sliding sideways off the roads. I’m yelling at her to drive slower but she is not listening and we crash into the water.

Real Life: This actually happened, sans-beach and accident with the chef of Scarpetta Beverly Hills late one night; he was driving like a maniac on that street and I guess it stuck with me.

I’m working at my restaurant, but the dining room is actually the cafeteria of the school I went to in fourth grade. I’m anxious because there are a lot of guests coming in — we’re actually on a wait — and I’m just now noticing that all of the art of the walls is fingerpaintined, construction paper-kid-shit, and I’m mortified. But no one seems to notice.

Real Life: I just opened a restaurant. Of course, I’m a basket-case.

I’m at the house I grew up in, but it’s not. I feel like a child again, possibly, waiting for my parents to get ready. We’re going to a wedding. We get to the wedding and I’m an adult again, but the wedding is like a surprise party. We’re all quiet in the vestibule of a church, waiting for the bride to arrive to — I guess — shout something at her. A woman opens the door and we all yell “surprise!” but it’s not the bride. Everyone becomes almost scary-pissed at this woman for ruining everything. I push past the crowd which had become that after-wedding ceremony receiving line thing and go outside. I used to have a little convertible and it’s in the parking lot waiting for me. I feel a sense of longing for my old car, and hop in, but there’s no steering wheel. Pissed.

Real life: I’m in the middle of planning my wedding in June and awhile back, I sold my car to my little brother; we spoke this week about finally transferring the title over to him.

I drank like a half-bottle of Woodford Reserve and a bunch of those Full-Sail Session Dark beers (which are awesome) with the chef after work and don’t really remember the cab ride home.

My partner at the restaurant, Chris, is in my apartment which is also our restaurant’s office for some reason, and he’s nervous that a famous chef is going to come in for dinner — and it’s Grant Achatz, but it’s not?it feels like it’s supposed to be some sort of manifestation of Achatz, but I know that this famous chef looks like Teddy Roosevelt/Wilford Brimley-ish.

We’re suddenly in the restaurant waiting for the chef Roosevelt-Achatz hybrid to arrive, and he does, wearing a white suit and now looks a lot like Colonel Sanders, a very regal southern gentleman. Could this be one of the country’s greatest chefs/our 26th president? (Yes, I looked that up).

We seat him in the restaurant (which is totally not my restaurant) and I go into the kitchen to tell the Chris he’s here. When I come back into the dining room, we can’t find him; but it’s not like he left, it’s like something bad happened, like he was a baby we were supposed to take care of and we lost him. Suddenly, I’m shopping for—need to have—ginger ale and I’m in a grocery store very much like the set design of that movie One Hour Photo, just aisles and aisles of similarly colored/designed products. They have no ginger ale. Anger. My alarm goes off.

Real Life: See Tuesday.

— Jeffrey Tascarella

· All Coverage of Tenpenny [~ENY~]
· Previous Editions of Eater Dream Journal [~ENY~]


16 East 46th Street, New York, NY 10017 (212) 490-8300 Visit Website


16 E 46th St, New York 10017