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Danny Meyer on the Business of Bar Dining at the New Union Square Café

Plus, a first look at a few new dishes and cocktails.

Danny Meyer is sitting in the Union Square Hospitality offices, appropriately located on the East Side of Union Square Park, and he’s thinking about gas. Specifically, when the gas will be turned on at the soon-to-open new location of his legendary restaurant Union Square Café. (There are a lot of Union Squares in Meyer’s life.) It was supposed to be turned on weeks ago, and by this time, Meyer should have been proudly walking through his bustling dining room on a corner of Park Avenue South, a few blocks from the original location, greeting the dinner crowd. Instead Meyer is in his office, feeling frustrated—as well as a sense of déjà vu.

“When we opened the original Union Square Café in 1985, we faced the exact same challenge,” recalls the revered restaurateur, whose restaurant empire includes Gramercy Tavern, North End Grill, and Shake Shacks around the globe, and whose net worth was estimated at $386 million last year. “My grandfather, who at the time was 75 years old, had been good friends with the former CEO of Con Ed and called him on phone. We had our gas turned on the next day. Now my grandfather is no longer with us, and I can’t get the gas turned on.”