Cover via AmazonI just finished reading Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. Kenny Shopsin is a classic New Yorker. I am pretty sure, just putting it out there, that after Kenny was born, they broke the mold.
Most people in the Village know Shopsins, the restaurant, and others, like myself, have eaten in the original. I remember going to the original with 2 friends many many years ago. The menu had hundreds of options. I was blown away. How can you possibly offer this many things? He does it and he does it well.
He began as a deli and when him and his wife, Eve, realized they couldn’t make ends meet this way, they decided to change the place into a restaurant. As rent went up, he moved to a second location and as he got older he decided to downsize and move again. You can now find Kenny cooking in the Essex Street Market.
What I love about the book is Kenny plays it as he sees it. If he doesn’t like a customer in his restaurant, he boots them out. He has certain rules you must follow or leave. The restaurant is a total family affair and his kids, who are adults at this point, still work in the restaurant. But what is the most incredible part of the book is how he teaches us how to run a restaurant with a few hundred things on the menu. His creativity, what the kitchen looks like, and how he cooks. Genius in his own way.
Kenny is unique and in many ways the ultimate short order chef. I also love that Kenny is obsessed with the Internet. The book is a quick read with many recipes included but for any New Yorker who has eaten at Kenny’s restaurant, it is absolutely worth the read. Gives you a little more insight into the true character Kenny is.