Enjoying the subtle sheen of varnished, well buffed wood, accompanied by rustic hues of an earthy palette has always been more inviting to me than the glistening gleam of chrome and glass. The warmth of wood adds so much more to the romantic flare of a chilled standing Stoli martini that it is almost impossible for me to savor the flavors within the world of high tech design that has periodically infiltrates the restaurant scene.
Hence the newly opened Waverly Inn in Manhattan´s West Village must be one of the greatest Martini sipping bars in the country. From all reports, Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter took the once warm toned landmark-Ye Waverly Inn- which had morphed over years of use into a somewhat agrestic room and transformed it into a modern day warm wooded den for those who enjoy shine, satin sheen, and glow.
And he has added, according to reports, a new dimension to the business that we as owners may look upon as a tremendous marketing tool.
Now you may not be that with Carter´s culinary star. It has yet to rise. He has not been scheduled, to date, to appear up on Iron Chef America. Additionally, Emeril hasn´t scheduled his presence on Gumbo Night. And, for the most part, his dishwashing skills have yet to be tested except possibly at home. His charisma and charm, the perfect qualifications of an Upper East Side rope man are stellar and he may find his way at the front of the house. He does have other talents.
Carter´s star rises in literary circles and has been known for his style for decades. As the editor of Vanity Fair he has transformed the magazine into a bible for reader´s who religiously await its monthly arrival in order to quickly open its pages and feed their need to delve into page after page of gossip, titillation, political punditry, investigative reporting, society insight, and Hollywood star studded interviews. Carter´s style ekes through the pages. He possesses the perfect ingredients each month to deliver a full course meal, including appetizers and desert to his readers without ever skipping a beat.
This is not to say that some months one doesn´t find the meal a little light. A small plate if you will, with a mere morsel of what only a month before was an overflowing buffet of entertainment and information.
So why would this master of the literary meal throw his hat into the ring of restaurateur´s in the toughest town in the world to make a buck flinging hash and booze? Because Graydon loves to have fun. And although this is a business venture, as it is for anyone who invests a buck in a four star culinary corporation or a Buffet World, Carter is more apt to become involved with such a project for the pure pleasure of the place.
For those who recall, Carter was one of thegenius masterminds behind Spy Magazine when New York supported bars and salons and taverns on corners rather than Starbucks and tea shops. Carter became of age in the 80´s and observed the town and chronicled the activities of the movers and shakers when Elaine´s was the Upper East Side hot stop for the literati and those who wanted to watch them having dinner and drinks before the after hours clubs opened their doors.
Carter, I am sure, became involved in the new Waverly Inn because he still enjoys a good roister and has the spark to light up an evening of enjoyment. Plus, he probably was bitten by the restaurant bug while planning all of those Oscar parties on the West Coast.
"How hard can this be?"
That was the obvious question. As the one who orchestrates and oversees one of the world´s most successful magazines, Carter´s soiree into food and drink will probably seem easy.
He has an innate marketing ability and a literary following that could give Elaine a run for her Upper East Side money. But he obviously thinks out of the box.
According to one of the sites that haunts and watches celebs in the big apple, Gawker published a post Wednesday claiming Carter´s Waverly Inn offered a "Didn´t Like Discount" on a recent guest check. Possibly a Carter stunt- the editor has a tremendous sense of humor- possibly a new concept in dining.
The concept may be something to think about. A discount rather than a full fledged comp. It could have legs in the world of discontented diners. But will it fly in des Moines? That´s the true test.
Carter´s antics will be interesting to watch. He has an incredible ability to create buzz, stir the pot, and have some fun.
All done in a historic room with a shine, sheen and glow.
Graydon– good luck.