Post-Sandy Restaurant Recovery Stories: Print Open Continuously, No Internet

Print restaurant never missed serving a single meal during Hurricane Sandy.

Restaurant Name: Print
Location:  Hell’s Kitchen in New York
Years in Business: Three
Status: Open for business, has phone service, but no Internet access.
Damage: None.
Losses: None. The restaurant hasn’t closed for a single meal period before, during, or after the storm.
Owner: Adam Block

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

We were here for Hurricane Irene last year, but the intensity of Sandy was far worse than Irene. And we’ve always had an ongoing issue with the wind on our rooftop. In fact, before we first opened the wind gusts blew a couch off the roof. And, being one block off the Hudson, we have always had a big fear that the water would make it to us.

Did you shut the doors to prepare for the storm?

We stayed open, and we were there morning, noon, and night. Having dealt with Irene, I had the presence of mind on Sunday to order three days of food. We didn’t know if we would lose power, but we have a generator that can run for three or four days. Since we’re in a building with a 220-room hotel, we had guests stranded and it remained that way through Saturday. Most folks couldn’t really get out of town until Thursday, and then we had the marathoners come in, and then they couldn’t get out. So, we’ve been very busy from Monday on.

In the aftermath, the Red Cross has been set up one block away from us, and we are doing free meals for responders. And, we’ve gotten quite a bit of donations for those efforts from our vendors.

What was the actual experience of Sandy like?

Well, the building is an old printing factory and it withstood everything. We worried most about flying debris. There’s construction all over the neighborhood. Sixteen floors up, we have a greenhouse on our roof that is supposed to withstand 110-mile-per-hour winds. My biggest fear was that it would blow off the roof, so I kept the lounge closed, and I had to babysit that all night. It was frightening. As we prepared for the storm and the winds were already growing so loud at 30 and 40 miles per hour, I thought for certain that there would be no way it would withstand 100 mile an hour winds – but it did. It was amazing.

The other thing that was very difficult was that I had 125 employees, and I had to find enough who were willing to stay with me through the storm. It was a logistical nightmare, getting people rooms and pairing people up. But what I learned during Irene is that it was a bonding experience, and I would say the same was true here. Everyone worked together.

What was the most popular menu item during these days?

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Dining with Dieters; Tips from ‘Allergic Girl’; 10 Best Chefs Ever (?); Food Shows Are Changing Everything Until They — and Heidi Montag — Don’t!

"We have come here to chew bubble gum and ruin reality-restaurant television. And, we're all out of bubble gum."

What’s happening in the dining world…

* Jenny Craig, table for one? Do you love dining with dieters? Neither does writer Patty Canedo. [Half-Baked]

* I don’t watch food shows, but apparently you do. And it’s changing everything about the way we eat. Good job, maybe? [LA Times]

Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be on Hell’s Kitchen? Me neither! But only because of that not-watching-food-TV thing (Okay, except for the Top Chef shows, but let’s not split hairs!). Anyway, Jennifer Normant dishes on what it’s like to tango with Chef Ramsay. [Boston Herald]

The revolution will be televised — but maybe not if it goes down in a restaurant. And, you may be able to thank (or not) Heidi Montag and her co-stars on Famous Food (yet another show I will not be watching) for that. [GrubStreet NY]

* From the ‘Not Your GrandFather’s’ files: You know that phrase “This isn’t your father’s…”? Well, this isn’t your father’s 10 best chefs list. Or, even your grandfather’s. It’s actually Raymond Blanc’s, but, really, it may well be his great-great-great grandfather’s, judging by the first few honorees. Unless he has a time machine. (See Careme, Antonin) [Mail Online]

* Blanc’s 10 best chefs list omits, among countless others, Cmdr. Erik Sergienko, who prepares gourmet meals for Marines in Afghanistan, whenever he’s not busy saving their lives. Your move, Blumenthal. [Military Times]

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Top Vancouver Restaurants for Medal-Worthy Meals

Top-Vancouver-Restaurants-for-Medal-Worthy-MealsHeading to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics? Get a competitive advantage over your fellow foodies with the scoop on 10 top restaurants serving meals as memorable as the games.

1. Araxi. Araxi has been satisfying Whistler diners for nearly two decades, but the name may be familiar to fans of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” Featured on the fiery show, Dave Levey, the winning contestant, is now cooking behind the line under the expert tutelage of James Walt. Forget the fanfare, though, and go for the farm-fresh, seasonal food, their impressive wine cellar, and the stellar service.

2. Bearfoot Bistro: Known among foodies far and wide for it’s regional and seasonal menu, the Bearfoot Bistro boasts a Champagne bar with a frozen ice rail and live piano music as well as an award-winning chef. Melissa Craig is renowned for her New Canadian cuisine, served up in a romantic setting. Watch for unique ingredients: Caribou, anyone?

3. Bishop’s: Fresh seafood and local meats keep locals coming back to Bishop’s in Kitsilano regularly – as do the staff. Owner John Bishop and maitre d’ Abel Jacinto are known for their hospitality while executive chef Andrea Carlson brings her love of gardening into the restaurant’s kitchen with sustainable foods. Try the Yukon Gold potato soup to warm you up and whet your appetite.

4. The Cannery Seafood House. An institution of the Vancouver dining scene since 1971, The Cannery is set to close on March 27, 2010 – forever. Don’t miss your last chance to sample the delicious dishes at this scenic stand-by that’s situated in the Port of Vancouver. Come for the amazing sunsets and stay for the ocean-friendly seafood and deep discounts on wines of all prices from the restaurant’s impressive cellar.

5. db Bistro Moderne. Restaurateur/renowned chef Daniel Boulud brings his brand of casual culinary magic northwest from New York to Kitsilano. Traditional bistro fare, such as coq au vin, populates the menu alongside locally inspired dishes. Don’t miss the famous db Burger (sirloin filled with braised short ribs and black truffle).

6. Five Sails. Operated by husband and wife team of Chef Ernst Dorfler and Gerry Sayers, Five Sails has a view to kill for and cuisine to match it. A favorite of OpenTable diners, the restaurant is very vegetarian-friendly, but you’ll also find plenty of meat dishes, including fallow deer, on the menu.

7. Lumiere. Another restaurant with Daniel Boulud’s imprimatur on it, Lumiere literally has something for everyone. Upscale sister to db Bistro Moderne (which is adjacent to Lumiere), Lumiere has a variety of menus to please varying palates and wallets, from small plates and a seasonal prix-fixe for just $65 to vegetarian tasting menu and a specially created grand tasting experience. Lumiere seats just 45, so reserve early.

8. Maenam. Maenam boasts a terrific Thai menu and a pedigreed chef, Angus An, who worked with and was inspired by David Thompson, the renowned chef of Nahm in London, the only Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in the world. Authentic dishes, such as stir-fried halibut cheeks, are served up in a casual setting with prices that won’t break the bank.

9. Market by Jean-Georges. Jean-Georges brings contemporary American cuisine to Vancouver. The restaurant itself is as dimensional as its menu, with an intimate and approachable café with a fireplace, a heated outdoor seasonal terrace with city views, a welcoming bar, and a sophisticated fine-dining room. Choose your own culinary adventure, starting with which section you dine in and whether you order from the raw menu, small plates, or sumptuous main dishes.

10. Rimrock Café. Two fireplaces set the mood at this cozy yet upscale Whistler restaurant. A favorite of locals, Rimrock’s menu features oysters served seven different ways, seafood specialties, and buffalo, caribou, and venison entrees. The wine program is paramount to Rimrock’s success. Oenophiles will enjoy the can’t-miss lit cellar that holds more than 320 labels from around the world.