Thank God for vindication.
New York City has a mystifying way of enticing, antagonizing, and persuading seemingly normal people to get involved in one of the most enjoyably frustrating occupations in the world -the restaurant business. I don’t know if it is the constant heart throb that pulsates through the borough at all hours of the day and night, the lights from the Greek Diners welcoming all at 3:00 am, or the suggestion that dining out in New York is a daily must, but New York has more restaurants within its boundaries than any other city in the world. And, more people, I presume, that want to get involved in the business than any other area on the globe.
After tasting the business my first year in The City, I followed my professional career path and became the editor of a small national model´s magazine. Graydon Carter had just started Spy Magazine. Spy, for all of those who weren´t readers during its life, was an irreverent periodical that captured the hearts of the New York reader in the 1980´s. After Carter´s stint at Spy, he went on to revamp the New York Observer, clearly one of the best weekly papers in the country, today.
By the time I moved to Minnesota to begin a weekly paper in St. Paul, Carter had moved to the editor´s desk at Vanity Fair.
I was having rather large dinner parties at my home on a regular basis. Occasionally, thoughts of owning a restaurant would come to mind. Although I had always entertained the notion while in New York, I kept the thoughts to myself, secretly tucked away in the very back of my minuscule brain. I never brought it to the frontal lobe with any reference to reality for fear that my antics in journalism, companioned with verbal expression of restaurant desire would certify my certifiability as lock-up material in any varietal of institution. I will admit that many of those 100 or so guests that invaded my falling down mansion always claimed my food was great and my hospitality outstanding. The compliments resonated through out the days of the daily deadline.
As the editor of Vanity Fair, Carter has managed to host one of the most gala yearly events in modern times. The Vanity Fair Oscar Party is one of the most sought after invitations on the party calendar in any year. Although I have yet to attend, I am sure that Carter is the ultimate host during the event. And, I can also attest to the adrenaline rush Carter gets making sure that everything is perfect just before the guests arrive. Now, this is not to say that he is running around with a pastry bag in hand, filled with Chevre, lightly topping off strawberry halves, but knowing editor´s work ethics, one day soon, Carter will don apron and apparatus if only in a pinch for dollops. I do know firsthand that the passing of deadline for a party, or a publication, are very similar in the taste of excitement
When I published my now infamous story in St. Paul that led me down the road to restaurant ownership, I had no idea of what was ahead. I saw the store I purchased as a potential Balducci´s. A Zabar´s of the midwest. I could be the chef. My wife the hostess. How much fun would that be in our spare time? Kranston would frequently ask me why I would wait so long to begin making appetizers for various parties. I always explained that it had to do with the deadline ingrained in me from the publishing business.
Well, much has transpired since then.
Last month, Graydon Carter was spotted leaving the construction site of his yet to be named restaurant in New York City. The editor of Vanity Fair, has finally joined the ranks of our club. He must have listened to those guests at the Oscar parties. Yes, those compliments have a way with a man´s soul. Someone has gotten to Carter´s inner foodie. Those little thank you notes that too few people still send found their way to his in box. The thought of being able to stand at the door and greet a few friends on a busy night, dressed in jeans, a white shirt and a blue blazer, have dinner with the editorial staff, or just enjoy a quiet Sunday evening with the wife and kids at "your own place" really are wonderful thoughts. And, we all share them.
It´s great to see that one of the best magazine editor´s in modern times, a man with intellect, talent, creativity and an unstoppable sense of humor has the blood of an adventurer running through his veins. Yes, Graydon Carter has become a restaurateur. This proves that we are not all lunatics. That we are not all goofy. And, that although we may at times think we made a foolish decision, we obviously have not. There is hope. We are finally vindicated. For the man that has used the editorial "we" in his writings will now be using the restaurant "we" in his thoughts.
Graydon, we welcome you.