Why did Graham Elliot create his restaurant?
I felt like I had done everything I had ever wanted at Avenues — Four Stars, different awards and TV stuff. Now, how do we do similar food, looking at all of the preconceived rules and getting rid of it all? So here, there's no linen, one glass, and one napkin, fork and knife for everything. Every plate is the same. You still have these luxurious tasting menus, but the playlist changes every day, and all the staff chooses what we listen to, so it's really eclectic. That's the idea here — to redefine what fine dining is. There's no flowers or fancy stuff. We really stripped the building down so there's exposed ductwork and beams and brick and all that kind of stuff. The food is the real focus on the table. That was the idea. We're following our own path, and we can't rely on anyone else to define what we do. It's worked because Top Chef Masters and MasterChef and Lollapalooza — all of these things have come to us without us trying to pitch ourselves to anybody.