A crazy detail came out in a piece about the newly renovated space for Eleven Madison Park in the Architectural Digest — the space that used to serve 400 people a night now can only serve 80, about an 80 percent drop in capacity.
Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm’s tasting menu destination closed for a revamp earlier this year and will reopen on Sunday. The restaurant originally opened in 1998 under hospitality guru Danny Meyer, and since then, it hasn’t undergone significant design changes.
But the number of people coming through the restaurant has changed significantly since the Meyer era. When Meyer owned the restaurant in 2006, the seating format, menu, and design meant that as many as 400 people could cycle through the restaurant a night. Over time, adjustments have changed cover count, and by 2011, Guidara and Humm were only serving up to about 80 people per day.
Besides seating change, other changes likely decrease turnover in the restaurant, too. EMP no longer serves a shorter lunch prix fixe in the dining room, instead only serving its long tasting menu at lunch. Cheaper tasting menus offering fewer courses have also been eliminated over the years, though a shorter tasting menu exists at the bar for $155.
Even though fewer people may be coming through, that doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurant has had a huge decrease in sales. Each person pays more for a meal now.
Within a year of Guidara and Humm joining the restaurant in 2006 under Meyer’s ownership, the chef’s tasting menu cost $120, or about $145 when adjusted for inflation. By August 2009, an 11-course meal cost $175, or about $239 when adjusted for inflation and with a 20 percent gratuity.
The duo bought the restaurant from Meyer in 2011, and now, they charge $295 for the eight- to ten-course tasting menu. The price here includes tips.
When EMP reopens Sunday, new design changes include an expanded bar area and lots of furniture has been swapped out. Fabric banquettes now line the space. Still, Humm and Guidara wanted the restaurant to keep its old feel. Anything that was in the space before it became a restaurant remains, such as pendant lights and a revolving entrance door, according to AD. “This renovation is about making the room our own for the first time,” Guidara says.
Stay tuned for more next week.