Can Chef Thomas Keller, the only American-born chef to simultaneously hold multiple three-star Michelin ratings, surpass himself again?
Yes, according to his friend and long-time business partner, Kenneth Himmel, who believes that Keller’s greatest success is yet to come with a new collaboration at Hudson Yards.
Himmel, the president and CEO of Related Urban, tapped Keller to run one of his “showstopper locations” at Hudson Yards, the colossal West Side development being touted as “the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States.”
“We didn’t even consider other chefs” for Hudson Yards’ premiere restaurant space,” said Himmel, who worked extensively with Keller to create Time Warner Center’s dining concepts. “I’ve spent the last 13 years in a partnership with Thomas here in New York. We are together eight to 10 times a year for significant discussions about the restaurant business.” This project “is a natural for us,” he added.
Chef Keller became the talk of the town back in 2005 when his new American and French restaurant, Per Se, received the Michelin Guide’s coveted three-star rating, just one year after making its debut on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center. One year later, Keller received the same honor for his nine-course tasting menus at The French Laundry in Napa Valley.
Giving Luxury Listings NYC an advance look behind the scenes at the high-end dining concepts coming to Hudson Yards, Himmel revealed that there will be just two restaurants anchoring the project, with a diverse mix of food courts filling in the culinary gaps. One of those anchors is, of course, Keller’s. The other location’s chef has yet to be announced, although Danny Meyer is rumored to be the other.
“You enter the restaurants on the fifth level, and go up to the sixth floor. There you walk into these incredible 15,000-square-foot restaurants that open onto our terrace,” Himmel said.
The development’s other restaurants and food courts will serve up a cosmopolitan panoply of international cuisine and look out over a sculpture garden and the Hudson River. “We’ve made four restaurant deals that are in various stages, and when you hear the names of the chefs, you’ll get the picture pretty quickly of how incredible this line-up of talent really is,” Himmel teased.
The dining offerings at Hudson Yards are in many ways modeled on the success of Time Warner Center, which boasts some of the world’s best restaurants under one roof: A Voce, Per Se, Bouchon, Center Bar, Porter House, Landmarc and Masa.
Together, Time Warner Center’s restaurants “generate pretty close to $100 million in revenue a year, which is a remarkable number by anyone’s measure,” Himmel said. “If you measure that against standards across the restaurant industry, it puts Time Warner Center in the top 1 percent in restaurant performance.”