Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, the operators of Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, are entering the fast casual market with a counter-service restaurant called Made Nice, the Wall Street Journal reports. Guidara and Humm tell the Journal that they've been thinking about opening a fast food restaurant together for just as long as they've been working in fine dining. Made Nice, which will open next year on 28th Street, will serve dishes made of seasonal vegetables, grains, and proteins — with a $10 to $15 price tag for a meal, according to the report. The team has
not revealed the exact address yet (see update below).
Many of the upscale touches from Humm and Guidara's restaurants will be incorporated into Made Nice. Eleven Madison Park sous chef Danny DiStefano is on the opening team, the NoMad's design firm Stonehill & Taylor is working on the space, and the restaurant will feature stoneware from Jono Pandolfi. Humm says the menu will include 12 dishes focused on vegetables, with no option for customers to choose their own ingredients. One dish might focus on cucumbers, for example, Humm says. It could feature grilled cucumbers, potato salad, salmon, and greens. "The exciting part is that we can affect people who don't even think about what they are putting into their body," Humm says. "What they're putting into their body now is much healthier because of this movement." Humm and Guidara do not have any outside investors on the project. "We’re not opening a store," Guidara tells the Journal. "We’re opening a restaurant."
With Made Nice, Humm and Guidara join the legion of top chefs in New York who are entering the fast food space, a movement somewhat launched by the popularity of Chipotle and Shake Shack. Notably, Danny Meyer's Shake Shack started as a hot dog cart and is now valued at $2 billion. "Fine casual is a fantastic way for a fine-dining restaurateur or chef to subsidize our deep need to stay in the fine-dining business," Meyer explains. "Every now and then the Beatles had to have a pop hit so they could write songs for the White Album." No word yet on whether Humm and Guidara plan to be as ambitious in their scaling, but Eater will update as more details become available.
UPDATE: Made Nice is going to open in the ground floor space at 8 West 28th Street, which is directly next to The Nomad Bar. So, this will be the third Guidara/Humm business on the block. The new restaurant is slated to open in spring/summer 2016.