Shay & Ivy
Evan Rosenberg, Dan Rieger, and Bradley Warner are a young and enthusiastic team who has joined a growing trend by opening a restaurant inside a hotel. What was once the Wyndham will become Hotel Henri when renovation is completed in 2017. According to the guys, they were not necessarily looking to be connected to a hotel, but it was the “right space, the right people, and when it all came together, we knew we had the perfect fit.” Shay and Ivy hopes to be a great complement to the hotel that is looking forward to having a “unique and cool space,” something the partners of the restaurant were also seeking.
The Manhattan Sideways team spent quite a bit of time chatting with the guys, watching Chef Warner at work in the kitchen, and then happily sampling some of the wonderful dishes that he prepared – from an appetizer of rich and creamy burrata and kobacha squash served over lightly dressed salad greens, to a yellow fin tuna served on pureed edamame, a chili glazed halibut with bok choy and mushrooms, and an upside down dessert of cheesecake mousse with an almond biscotti crust on top – the food proved to be outstanding.
According to Chef Bradly, the concept behind the food on the menu is to keep it simple, but to allow every item to “pop with flavor.” When I asked if he had a signature dish yet, the chef’s quick response was, “It is whatever my clients respond to that matters. I am happy making what works best for them.” He then elaborated, “We are a business first. We need to balance what the customer wants to what I want to create.”
Chef Warner’s passion for cooking was evident from the moment our conversation began, and I continued to be made keenly aware of how deep his commitment to put forth the highest level of food was the more time we spent together. Walking me through the New American seasonal menu, item by item, he chatted about every dish and the creative process that he went through in developing each one. “At the end of the day, it is mac n’ cheese, but we dress it up a bit. I like to think of it as comfort food with a twist.”
In addition to becoming well educated on the menu, I learned how the relationships came to be between the men, as well as the passion that they share for the dining world. “I love every moment, I believe this is where I’m meant to be,” Evan commented. He went on to say that he prides himself in how well he connects with people. “I am forever handing out business cards.” Over the years, both Evan and Dan worked in hospitality, but it was when they both ended up in the same firm that a friendship began and the seeds were planted to someday have their own business. It took another several years, with them going their separate ways, for Evan to contact Dan one day and say that he was ready to go it alone, and what did he think. Dan’s instant reply was, “Let’s do it.”
The team agrees that being on 24th Street, in the Flatiron district, was the right move. They are in a neighborhood that continues to expand and they are currently surrounded by numerous brand new businesses. “It is an exciting time with a great community of people and restaurants.”
It was Evan who revealed the plans down the road for Shay and Ivy. Although only open for a short time when we met at the beginning of 2017, they have introduced a DJ on Friday and Saturday evenings, brunch will be offered soon and they are eagerly awaiting their patio to be finished. Situated right at the entrance, there will be seating for close to forty people outdoors with heaters during the colder months. For now the team is focused on their own core group. “If we are motivated and happy and we can thrive, the rest will happen.” With two successful restaurants now under their belt (Atwood opened in 2014), they are already looking to what might lie ahead.