Wow! Couldn't be more excited about this week's New York Times review...for myself, the team here at Red Rooster and for the people of Harlem. It's really put us on the map as a food destination.
My goal and efforts over the last year plus were to create a place like the brick and mortar here today and to cook with the dignity I feel the community of Harlem deserves, a place created in the celebration of comfort - whether it's Swedish, American or Ethiopian. I've learned it requires equal preparation, time and attention to make our yard bird taste great as it does for lobster or foie gras.
More than anything, I'm excited for the team here at Rooster. Excited for the young cooks who work two jobs, coming to train with us in the evenings after cooking all day at another restaurant.
Members of the team, who started at the front of house and decided they wanted to learn more about the kitchen, joined the line and want to grow with the restaurant.
People like Michael Garrett, who worked two all-nighters so the job would get done, so that we'd be able to stay open for lunch. That's passion, real commitment.
And, of course, Andrea. She and I have been through a lot. We've failed in the past, but it's made this experience very humbling and far sweeter.
We've been knocked around. I got really, really sick. But through everything, the whole crew has stuck together and is making this place work every single day. The Jimmys, Peters, Thereses, Christians, the whole FOH and BOH crew.
They're making Red Rooster the best restaurant it can possibly be and I can't thank them enough.
I'm proud that we've added to Harlem's blooming contemporary, modern and truly diverse food scene. When I think of how the neighborhood is growing, food-wise, it's in the vein of how Brooklyn has developed over the years, with fantastic places like Marlow & Sons, Buttermilk Channel and Frankies.
Red Rooster, along with places like Bier International, Five & Diamond, 67 Orange (our own version of Death & Co.) and Settepani, is allowing Harlem to display itself as a true international food destination.
Harlem's always had its greats - Lenox Lounge, Sylvia's and more - and it's now being lauded for the world to see.
Something that was very cool, very moving for me was to hear from my chef friends shortly after the review went live. I truly appreciate Tom, Eric, Scott, Nate and everyone else who called/emailed/texted/tweeted their congrats.