Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012 - (Page 172)

I N D E P E N D E N T R E S TA U R A N T S Oyster Stew A single concept – oyster bars – followed faithfully revitalized an historic restaurant in a unique location that was in a jam. By Russ Gager company profile Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant Proj. 20 2 sales: Approx. $16 million 1 Employees: 125 Sandy Ingber, executive chef and part owner: “We consider ourselves to be the freshest and largest seafood restaurant in New York, if not the country.” >> Grand Central Oyster Bar has become such a unique seafood destination that it has spawned three other franchised locations. G rand Central Station in Manhattan will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013, and celebrating right along will be the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant, founded in 1913 in the historic station. In the early 1970s, the Oyster Bar had fallen on hard times and been clamped shut for awhile when founder Jerome Brody pried it open in 1974. With a new concept and lots of investment, imagination and hard work, Brody found a pearl there. More a coffee shop than an upscale restaurant when it closed, the original Oyster Bar had acquired its name for its oyster stew – the rest of its menu was not orient- ed toward seafood. Reopening the 440seat restaurant required massive renovation, but it was designed as a destination restaurant. It has become such a unique seafood specialist that it has spawned three other franchised restaurants -- one in the Newark, N.J., airport and two in train stations in Japan. Brody’s spouse Marlene – Brody himself is deceased – owns the Grand Central Oyster Bar’s franchising corporation. So what is it about the restaurant’s namesake that has allowed it to build an empire on the back of this humble mollusk? “The deal with oysters is their unique flavor, texture and variety,” Executive Chef and part-owner Sandy Ingber explains. “They’re not everybody’s cup of tea, but most people, once they try them, fall in love with them and the unique flavor. It’s kind of a trendy item and has become extremely popular all over America now.” Falling in love with oysters is the right terminology, since they are rumored to have aphrodisiacal qualities. The oyster bar serves 30 different kinds of oysters and 30 different fish, plus chowders, salads, appetizers and smoked fish. “Our biggest seller is New England clam chowder,” Ingber declares. “We sell close to 400 to 500 cups of it a day.” Is it disloyal to sell that much of the white, milk-based chowder instead of Photo Credit: Photo by TOMI STUDIO 172 food and drink • fall/winter 2012 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012

Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012
Tableside Chat
NYC Wine & Food Festival
Going Global
Beverage Focus
Caribou Coffee
Scooter’s Coffee & Yogurt
Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen
Distributors: Food Law
Progressive Gourmet
Rocky Mountain Natural Meats
Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico
Blue Mountain Growers
Dandrea Produce and Wines
Dorr Lobster
Gary’s Seafood and Specialties
Pohl Food Service Inc.
Supply America
Victoria Fine Foods
Bernatello’s Pizza Inc.
Best Mexican Foods
C.F. Gollott & Son
Clipper Seafoods Ltd.
Mountain Foods Products
Siedhoff Distributing
Sterling Pacific Meat
Producers: Business Strategies
Carib Brewery
Heroes Vodka
Mountain Pure Beverage Co.
Deli Express/E.A. Sween Co.
Family Fresh Pack
Haring Catfish Enterprises
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Demerara Distillers
Walker & Sons Inc. – Slap Ya Mama
DRY Soda Co.
Good Time Beverages
Greencore USA
Jaindl Turkey Farms
McCall Farms
Nuovo Pasta Productions
Brewery Ommegang
R.L. Schreiber
Venus Wafers Inc.
Casper’s Ice Cream
Restaurants: Smart Marketing
Extreme Pizza
Buffalo Wings & Rings
Fatburger North America Inc.
Famous Famiglia
Francesca’s Restaurants Inc.
Aurelio’s Pizza
Yoshinoya America
Crepe Delicious
FREEB!RDS World Burrito
Razzoo’s Cajun Café
Independent Restaurants
Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant
The Alicart Restaurant Group
The Optimist
The Olive Tree Italian Restaurant
The Epicurean Group
Salty’s Seafood Grills
Retailers: Shopper Marketing
Weigel’s Inc.
Royal Buying Group
The Last Page

Food and Drink - Fall/Winter 2012