Post-Sandy Restaurant Recovery Stories: East Village’s Dirt Candy Is Open

Come down to Dirt Candy for Chef Amanda Cohen’s Portobello Mousse with Pear and Fennel Compote + other delicious dishes!

Restaurant Name: Dirt Candy
Location: East Village
Years in business: Four
Status: Fully open and operational.
Damage: None to restaurant; flood damage at storage space for online store.
Losses: Entire food inventory; five days of service.
Owner: Chef Amanda Cohen

Prior to Sandy, had you ever had to deal with a disaster situation at this or any restaurant?

For Irene, we closed for that night, but it was one evening, and it really wasn’t a disaster.There’s been nothing like this.

When did you shut the doors to prepare for the storm?

On Sunday, we came in and prepared. We weren’t sure that we wouldn’t be able to reopen on Tuesday, so on Monday, we actually took in product orders. We  thought that the worst case might be that if we couldn’t reopen Tuesday, we’d be back by Wednesday. We wanted to be be prepared.

When did you first go back to the restaurant and realize the extent of the losses?

On Tuesday, we walked down here. I live about 20 blocks away, so it wasn’t a big deal. Obviously, we realized right away that we didn’t have power. We didn’t touch anything, hoping that the refrigerator would stay cool enough, the freezer would stay frozen, and we wouldn’t have massive losses. But, by Wednesday, following up with Con Ed and  listening to all the news conferences, we realized the earliest we could possibly get power would be Friday. At that moment, we knew there was just no way we could save anything. So, Thursday morning, we came down and threw out everything that was in the restaurant.

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Top 50 Fit for Foodies Restaurants: Meet the 2011 Diners’ Choice Award Winners!

Melissa Perello's San Francisco restaurant Frances is a Fit for Foodies winner!

OpenTable is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Diners’ Choice Awards for the top 50 fit for foodies restaurants. Derived from more than 10 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the list of honorees is the ultimate guide for those for whom dining is sport!

The San Francisco Bay Area, home to scores of innovative chefs, such as Daniel Patterson (Coi), Melissa Perello (Frances) and Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), bested the nation, earning 13 places on the list. Chicago chefs Stefanie Izard and Graham Elliot helped the Windy City grab six awards, for second place. Meanwhile, New York City trailed with five wins, including Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy. Seattle and the greater Boston area each boast five recipients, including a win for Boston’s Barbara Lynch. Farther west, the Twin Cities scored a grand slam with four standout spots on the list: Haute Dish, Heartland Restaurant, Piccolo, and Saffron. Arizona, Colorado, Philadelphia, Oregon and South Carolina, among others, are also represented.

Our heartiest congratulations to all the winners. Diners, what restaurant do you think is truly fit for foodies? Weigh in here or on Facebook!




Kelly Liken Talks ‘Iron Chef’; Marc Forgione Shows a Patron the Door; and More

Chefs in the news…

* Sacré bleu! Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud) is planning a new NYC restaurant — and it’s not going to be French. [Eater]

* Marcus Samuelsson exits the kitchen at Aquavit. Officially. [Slashfood]

* Chefs of the future may not even have — gasp! — restaurants. I’m not sure that’s a world I’m ready for. [Eater]

* R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to Dirt Candy chef Amanda Cohen. [Grub Street New York]

* Tom Colicchio (Craftbar), David Chang, Wylie Dufresne (wd-50), and Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin) walk into a bar…. Well, not really. They actually walked onto the set of HBO’s Big Easy-themed show Treme. [Eater New York]

* Colorado-based chef Kelly Liken, whose eponymous restaurant is highly regarded, talks about the mettle it takes to appear on “Iron Chef.” [NRN]

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