Daniel Humm has confirmed that Eleven Madison Park will re-open its doors for business as normal in the not-so-distant future, when it's safe to dine inside again, after coming to a deal with his landlord.
There were no exceptions for the three-Michelin-star Manhattan restaurant when it was forced to close in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic on 16 March. Despite an earlier bout of uncertainty, the chef is now optimistic they will re-open for business in mid-November at the earliest, or March 2020 at worst. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that New York City restaurants can reopen for indoor dining at one quarter of their usual capacity on Sept. 30.
In an Instagram post, Humm gives special mention to his "bank and landlord" saying that they have been "true partners throughout" and that "this would not be possible without their tireless work and devotion". This echoed his comments in an earlier interview with Astrolabe, in which he said the building’s landlord had “stepped up in a big way,” while the bank that he receives loans from has allowed them not to pay until this is all over.
Back in May, a question mark hung over whether Humm would ever re-open, when he told Bloomberg: “It will take millions of dollars to reopen. You have to bring back staff. I work with fancy equipment in a big space. I want to continue to cook with the most beautiful and precious ingredients in a creative way, but at the same time, it needs to make sense.”
While the chef has not revealed any details of the behind-the-scenes hard work going into the re-opening, he has already hinted that he will retain his partnership with Rethink Food NYC, a non-profit dishing out thousands of meals a day to those in need. “I don’t need to only feed the 1% anymore,” he told Bloomberg in May.
Speaking of the changes afoot, he says: "Fine dining isn’t dead… just like our beautiful city, we are in a moment of reflection and reinvention. I’m feeling so inspired -- the world has changed these past 6 months, and so have we. Change is in our DNA, and we are feeling humble and excited to approach this new chapter with a higher purpose, thanks in no small part to our partners at ReThink."
Greedy and unsympathetic landlords have been been painted as the villains in the demise of many restaurants around the world, particularly in New York, where hundreds of restaurants haven't been able to keep up with rent payments. It seems Eleven Madison Park, named the Best Restaurant in the World in 2017, is one of the lucky ones.
In the meantime, the chef will be on the other side of the pond re-opening Davies & Brook in London.