Dining

Eleven Madison Park's Casual Spot, Made Nice, Opens Monday

And we're giving you a sneak peek of the food
Eleven Madison Park Opens New Spot, Made Nice
Photo: Evan Sung

Casual side projects from fine dining chefs and restaurateurs have been popping up left and right these days, giving diners a chance to taste some of the country's best food at a fraction of the price. Don't want to fork over $155 for the tasting menu at Vetri in Philadelphia? Swing by one of chef Marc Vetri's numerous outposts of Pizzeria Vetri instead and pick up a pie for as little as $12. The same goes for those who would rather save the $200+ it costs to eat at NYC's Momofuku Ko, the most experimental and elevated restaurant in David Chang's empire. A spicy fried chicken sandwich at his mini chain, Fuku, runs just $9. Sure, a meal at these spin-offs is not the same as the original, but it is a great way to get a taste of a the chef's talent on a shoestring budget.

Joining that wave on Monday is Made Nice, the much-anticipated fast-casual concept in NYC's Flatiron District from Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, who own The NoMad and the freshly minted World's Best Restaurant, Eleven Madison Park. "We've always wanted to find a way to serve more people, to deliver hospitality to a larger group than we can at Eleven Madison Park and NoMad, and Made Nice gives us that opportunity," Humm explains.

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Just around the corner from The NoMad, the pair will welcome diners into the casual space, which is covered in a mural of slogans that double as an inspiration board for the duo's legendary hospitality ethos, like Quality Is No. 1, Fresh & Natural and Always Inclusive, Never Exclusive. "Just because it's more casual, we didn't want to change our approach. So the food, the drinks, the service, all of that comes from years of training and development at EMP and NoMad," Humm says.

Diners have a choice of 10 or so dishes that can be ordered to go or for dine in, like braised chicken with basmati rice, marinated tomatoes, Parmesan and crispy chicken skin; quinoa falafel over pickled beets with yogurt-marinated cucumbers; and cod Provençal served over hummus. All of the dishes fall between $11 and $15, and many are inspired by Eleven Madison Park staples.

When the World's 50 Best announcement came out, editor Alan Sytsma touched on the impact a restaurant holding the top spot can have on the food world, writing for Grub Street, "Just as Adrià’s modernist cooking and Redzepi’s New Nordic aesthetic inspired scores of other chefs, the EMP team’s embrace of unpretentiousness (relatively speaking) and unmatched graciousness should continue to influence other restaurants around the world for many years."

If Guidara and Humm can successfully put the EMP touch on midweek lunches, their impact on the dining world could extend far beyond 28th Street.

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