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Ken Friedman Once Tried to Open a Restaurant With Roberta's

A look at the bitter split between Roberta's owners reveals a great restaurant that could have been.

Daniel Krieger

The owners of Roberta's – chef Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, and Chris Parachini – won't talk (and rightfully so) about the tumultuous battle currently taking place in court over Parachini's right to a slice of Brooklyn's coolest restaurant empire. But as the Times learns in its in-depth look at the whole dramatic split between Parachini and his partners, plenty of other people will talk about it. From this we can glean a few juicy details.

First of all, Ken Friedman, who with April Bloomfield is responsible for such stellar restaurants as the Spotted Pig, once tried to team up with Roberta's for a restaurant. But as he so bluntly puts it, "Chris was just too difficult to work with." Then he goes on:

[W]e lost out on an awesome space which we'd found and tried to bring them into with us. Chris is the one with nothing really to offer. Carlo is an extraordinary chef with great skills and passion. And Brandon is the guy with the wacky, wonderfully weird ideas. I'm not at all surprised that they elected to kick Chris out. I would have too."

Tell it like it is Ken. But imagine if that restaurant had actually happened. It might be one of the greatest restaurants that New York will never have.

Also, here is Jeff Gordinier's description of the scene in Roberta's early days. It was exactly the way you think it was:

[P]izza makers who drank on the job (until persuaded to stop); ice cream that regularly melted because the freezer had been unplugged to fire up a sound system for parties; crew members who arrived bright and early for the job only because they had conked out on the premises the night before.

Do read the full piece, it's full of this stuff.


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