Chef Sarah Simmons turned an old schoolhouse in SoHo into a culinary salon for up-and-coming chefs to flaunt their food. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report.
A unique culinary salon is in a SoHo building that used to be a schoolhouse. City Grit is the brainchild of chef Sarah Simmons, who, after throwing popular dinner parties at her apartment, decided to reach a wider audience.
She opted for a non-traditional, permanent location, rather than a temporary pop-up.
"We call it a 'culinary salon' because, by definition, a salon is a gathering of people under one roof by an inspired host. We're not a pop-up because we're here all the time, this is our permanent location. We're doing more things than the average chef that's just popping up for a night or two or a week would do," Simmons explains.
In addition to Simmons's cooking, City Grit regularly features menus from chefs without home bases in New York. Depending on the night, you might find a food from a budding restaurateur, a former Top Chef contestant or an out-of-town talent.
Simmons is proud of the Salon's focus on up-and-comers.
"If you have a restaurant chances are you make great food, but we want people who are working on something unique, and we want to give them a platform for telling that story," Simmons says. "We're really looking forward to hosting a series of chefs over the next year that aren't that well-known or are just about to be discovered."
While the space used to house an elementary school, it is now WRK Design Studios. Guests enter through a store and will find that all of the furniture, even the chair they sit on, is for sale.
"We're in an old schoolhouse in Downtown New York City," Simmons says. "We took over the old cafeteria kitchen and utilize one of the schoolrooms as our dining space. We share the space with WRK Design, it's a furniture design company. They source old furniture and turn it into new things for your home. Everything is for sale. We have a great saying here that if you loved your dinner you can buy another ticket, if you loved your seat you can buy it and take it home."
To see the roster of upcoming dinners, visit CityGritNYC.com. For more information about other new restaurants, head to blog.zagat.com.