Holy cow, is this ever just the most moving thing. You can just feel all of it -- her frustration, her disdain, her fury, her desperation -- and most of all, her love.
What breaks my heart the most is that what she's pining for, she lost a long time ago. The city will return to life, but her city will never come back. For her sake, I hope she gets the hell out of there and starts fresh somewhere else, somewhere far away from NYC where she'll have more space, less rent, where she can once again recapture the very reason why she started cooking at a restaurant for diners. Not guests. Diners.
Sounds like a good solution. When the environment doesn't work for you anymore, change the environment!
But probably that's easier said than done. Will the challenges of appealing to customers via traditional channels not be the same elsewhere? (online delivery etc, online branding, etc.)
I read this Readup Best Ever more than a year after publishing, and yes, it still deserves the spot! This piece is relevant beyond the onset of corona. It covers a decades-long and probably ongoing evolution in (NYC) restaurants.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can also report that Chef Hamilton has written a short and inconclusive update on her situation (and brunch plans) in the form of a Huevos Rancheros sauce recipe. Prune hasn't awoken just yet, but she keeps thinking about food.
I feel every word she writes with great understanding.
There are very few things (besides Readup) that I think about multiple times per day every single day. Toad Style is one of them. 🐸 ❤️
Terrific Read! Hesitant to read based on title and then the word usage and then the tears...So Glad I Did.
Amen to that. Her writing reflects her restaurant, she has something to say but will say it on her own terms and in her own time. She isn't going to just tweet it out, and the way she does it makes what she has to say so much more meaningful. She communicated a feeling more than a reality. I feel melancholy. Tragic, hopeful, beautiful.
Whoaaa. In just a few days, this article skyrocketed to #3 of all time on Readup and I totally see why. Excellent reading right now for city dwellers and anybody who ever goes out to eat.
Now it’s #2, only behind Japan’s Rent-A-Family Industry
I had to read this a second time to share here. Amazing writing about a great restaurant (I’ve been there once, for brunch) that tells a much bigger picture in an interesting and compassionate way.
The confinement may be getting to me but this made me cry. Also, Hamilton’s intelligence, work ethic, passion and range is inspirational! A total role model.
So glad you posted this! The brunch rant was a hilariously awesome aside.
Brunch Brenda got bitch slapped ! Haha
Lolol. The brunch smack down was amazinggggg. Is coronavirus the time to be attacking brutal brunchers? Clearly the answer is yes.
Wow. Everyone should read this! Such a powerful glimpse into the struggle that so many small business owners are going through right now. Also a really interesting look at the effects of a changing neighborhood from the perspective of someone who's been a pioneering restaurant owner-operator for over 20 years.
I loved this article! I’m a fast reader but if anyone read this in 31 minute, bravo! The whole way thru I’m shouting to the author, We need places like yours! Right now I’d risk my life to eat dinner at one! Reheated takeout is NOT the same. Long live Prune!
Me too. I'm really missing going out to dinner and this article made me realize why.
Yes, this restaurant sounds amazing and is exactly what the world needs now more than ever! I really hope the owner can hang in there long enough to eventually reopen.
I love this article. Gabrielle's has the ability to step back and access the situation with honesty and a level head. My book club read her book about five years ago and then went on a 'field trip" to Prune. I was taken back at the size of the restaurant (tiny) the feeling of belonging (it felt like family) the service (understated but attentive) and the food (amazing)! I hope Prune makes it through this pandemic not because Prune is essential but because Prune is authentic. Gabrielle put her heart and soul into her food and treated her employees like family. We need more entrepreneurs like Gabrielle and more restaurants that make dinner out feel special.
Loves this article. So well written. I lived for a few years in Chelsea. You could try a different restaurant every day in the city. It felt like each establishment became part its own little neighborhood community. I hope Prune returns one day and flourishes. Without a brunch.
I remember walking the streets of the East Village, that the Prune owner describes, over 40 years ago. Unique, exotic - a creative tapestry of weirdness that thrilled and delighted me. To have this jewel just an hour outside of Trenton, where I grew up, was amazing. I went often, first with friends, then my husband, then our children. Of course, over the years, the changes were glaring and disappointing - as most are when you covet the “character” of the individuals and businesses that create such an authentic stew. This was heartbreaking to read. - up close and personal. It’s insane to sit here and imagine my 24 year old self relishing this sacred place and not knowing today how NYC will look in the coming years. This pandemic has wiped the slate clean in a brutal, cold hearted way.
The last time I visited was in early 2000's and still, I doubt I would recognize the character and sass it had. Seems like the only things that can survive the rent & lifestyle long term are chains & big boxes, anathema to the little, local owned firecrackers that made New York the New York people love and aspire to in the first place. That "character" is a loss for sure
This is so honest and raw. A necessary read for everyone needing a real glimpse into the realities facing the restaurant business.