Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Restaurateur Q and A: Abe & Arthur's owners Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm

Abe & Arthur’s is a new Meatpacking District restaurant from NYC nightlife gurus Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum and Michael Hirtenstein. We spoke with Remm and Birnbaum about their first foray into the restaurant world.

Where did the name Abe & Arthur’s come from?

MB: Arthur is my grandfather, Abe is Michael’s grandfather. And the “S” in SL [the name of the club downstairs from the restaurant] stands for Eugene’s grandfather, Simyone.

Was it hard to transition from the club scene to restaurants?

MB: It’s always difficult to do something new. Hospitality is really the key. We obviously enjoy the challenge. And we’ve hired seasoned professionals like [executive chef] Franklin Becker and [general manager] Adam Landsman.

ER: The trick is to understand what we do best and what others do best and let them do it.

Were you involved in the menu selection?

MB: We were intensively involved each dish. We’ve taken advantage of trial and error and time. It’s been about two years. So we’ve gotten each individual dish right.We want people to come back two or three times a week.

What are some of your favorite dishes?

MB: I love the pork chop. It has a thickness to it, and it’s juicy. I really enjoy the spinach dip and the mac and cheese, which go well together, and I’m partial to my mother’s meatballs, called “Beth’s meatballs.”

Describe the restaurant’s layout.

MB: This is a 7,500-square-foor space, with 202 seats. The restaurant has two floors that serve the same menu. The main floor has leather banquets and white table clothes. The upper floor is a darker, sleeker, industrial look, with tables with gold trim and no tablecloths. The second floor is also going to be the private party floor. Our goal is that for diners who come in later at night, there will be a bar scene, and that will be more upstairs.
The club downstairs is a separate entity.

What’s going on in the neighborhood right now?

MB: There’s the opening of the highline, and it’s been a zoo. So there’s a tremendous amount of foot traffic. Of course, the opening of the Standard is a major magnet. The neighborhood is the best. I love it.

For more information about Mark Birnbaum please logon to its website at

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