This weekend's New York Times Magazine features a giant profile of one Mr. Danny Meyer, the Lord Chief Justice of Gramercy and founder of expansion happy Shake Shack. The writer trails Meyer for an afternoon in New York and during the New York Wine and Food Festival in Miami, where Meyer oversees his table at Burger Bash and scouts a second Miami location for Shake Shack near the University of Miami. Read the whole thing over here or check out the highlights and best lines below:
1) On Danny Meyer's perfect handshake: He stood up from behind a desk, backed by a wall of books (sample title: “The Power of Nice”), took my hand and applied the ideal amount of pressure for the ideal amount of time: a better handshake than any I could recall.
2) At Untitled: "I heard him instruct Untitled’s chef to alter a B.L.T. so the bacon would stick out on either side. 'That’s called turning up the ‘home’ dial,' he explained."
3) Why he won't open one of his a fine dining restaurant in Vegas "I actually have a bad reaction to . . . the synthetic deodorizers they pump through to eliminate smoke. Really, those smells almost sicken me."
4) Meyer switching gears: "At the Modern, Meyer pulled a silk tie out of his jacket pocket, knotted it on and made for a grand cru Chablis tasting in the private dining room. He approached a young man in a thick-napped brown suit: Romain Collet, of the Jean Collet wine dynasty. Meyer introduced himself, in French, and began detailing the long relationship between his restaurants and the family’s vineyard."
5) When asked if he should tell Umami Burger that their meat was raw at Burger Bash: "If they asked, I would tell them. But as Napoleon said, 'Part of brilliance is winning and part is leaving your opponent alone when he’s losing.'"
6) The Oliver Strand cameo: "The critic Oliver Strand told me — hyperbole be damned — that the meat was 'every bit as excellent as what you’ll find in Peter Luger’s or Keens’s.'"
7) On Shackness: "Of the 13 Shake Shacks, a majority are in parks or areas with lots of pedestrian traffic. Such locations create a boutique quality Meyer calls 'Shackness.'"
8) On Hospitality Quotient: "Salgado now leads a new company, incorporated last year under the name Hospitality Quotient (H.Q.), that franchises not food but Meyer’s style — franchises, in effect, his eye contact, handshaking, infectious capacity for pleasure...To this end they’ve trained staff at Beth Israel (“A hospital should be hospitable,” the head of orthopedics told Meyer), a Broadway theater company and a supermarket chain.
9) Planning North End Grill: "What if vegetables were the main course? Not just to keep vegetarians happy, but to make the restaurant a destination."