I am no VIP. I know that. Every once in a while I wish I could wear the shoes a VIP wears or fly in a bigger seat that flattens out, but I am solidly one of the many and one of the Hamoyn. Where I really love is way downtown at the Essex street market or a lobster roll off a truck, but something crazy is happening at the South end of Central Park and 59th street–the big wigs have invited the toupees to mix. Down under the first class ritz rock of the Plaza Hotel, there used to live a warren of overpriced shops that nobody went to–not us or them. And then Todd English, the chef you always hear about but never see, (unless maybe you have those shoes and that flexible seat), decided to throw himself into reviving the basement into a living, breathing welcome-all-of-you-food -lover’s dream. Maybe he was trying to keep up with the Jone’s down on 5th and 23rd (the Batalis&Bastianichs.) Or maybe it was just killing him that there was a basement as big as the one at The Plaza with no good food in it. For some people all it takes is a decent night’s sleep and voila they have created The Food Hall.
For the first few years it was just Todd, in as many ways as he could muster. He has pizza ovens and sushi stations, pasta hanging from the walls, piles of fresh fish, and brilliantly balanced salad stations, all his. You can sit anywhere and eat off any of the menus. But then on the way to work one day, something must have happened. He decided to invite coach to first class. Now in the very same place, just a little bit next door, you can eat macaroons from by FranÃ§ois Payard, chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat, Kusmi Tea from Paris and cakes from Lady M AND Lukeâ€™s Lobster, (of the same food truck) Tartinery, from NoLIta, The No. 7 Sub shop. Billy’s Bakery, pain d’Avignon, Sushi of Gari, Three Tarts, W. Greenberg Desserts adn YoArt frozen yogurt. More are coming. The buzz is, everybody gets along, and it certainly seemed that way to me.
Kristin Franzese, the Plazaâ€™s executive vice president for retail, said: â€œEveryone is excited about this mix. We did it on purpose.â€
Well shoot, thank you.