A small and beautiful restauranteur
Shopsin’s is a Greenwich Village restaurant with enough character for ten eateries. The owners have refused all publicity until now. Spurred by a new landlord with big ideas about the new lease, the owenr has allowed one of his regulars to pen a lyrical appreciation of the joint for the New Yorker. It’s not just Soup-Nazi ‘tude that makes Shopsin’s so special; it’s the small-is-beautiful philosophy:
The place can handle just so many people, and Kenny was never interested in an expansion that would transform him into a supervisor. “The economic rhythm of this place is that I run fifteen meals a week,” he used to say before Shopsin’s offered Sunday brunch. “If I do any five of them big, I break even; if I do ten of them big, I’ll make money. I’ll make a lot of money. But if I do fifteen I have to close, because it’s too much work.” Kenny requires slow periods for recouping energy and ingredients. The techniques that enable him to offer as many dishes as he does are based on the number of people he has to serve rather than on what they order. That’s why he won’t do takeout, and that’s one of the reasons parties of five are told firmly that the restaurant does not serve groups larger than four. Pretending to be a party of three that happened to have come in with a party of two is a very bad idea.