Will Guidara

Restaurateur

New York

As the general manager and co-owner of both Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad in New York, Will Guidara has put his education and experience to optimal use. With a degree in hotel administration from Cornell University, a culinary education from northern Spain and a starter gig at Spago in Beverly Hills, Guidara has solidified a reputation as a fine restaurateur as well as a lasting friendship with Eleven Madison Park chef Daniel Humm. Unlike most eateries, Eleven Madison Park is owned equally between Guidara and Humm. In 2012, the pair opened The NoMad, a more casual dining experience than its sister restaurant. Both hot spots are influenced by Guidara’s other great passion — music.

  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    Where did Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm’s company Made Nice get its name?

    Once we bought Eleven Madison Park and started NoMad, we needed a parent company to build an infrastructure. When Daniel first moved to America he was the chef at a restaurant in San Francisco called Campton Place. He moved from Switzerland, and when he moved here he literally spoke no English. One of the first phrases he learned to hold cooks accountable in the kitchen was ‘make it nice.’ So in each of our kitchens and our offices there are signs that say ‘make it nice’. And it’s our mantra in the pursuit of excellence and so it just seemed right — Made Nice.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite bars and lounges in New York?

    Death + Company is awesome and has always been awesome and seems like it will always be awesome. They’re really good at what they do. I think McSorley’s Old Ale House is a great place to grab a beer. McSorley’s I think is one of the oldest bars in New York, and there’s sawdust on the floor and they have two beers on tap — McSorley’s lighter beer and McSorley’s darker beer. And it’s just like a great New York place to be. And then one thing I actually really love is Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There’s always that huge long line to get food. But there’s never that much of a line to get a beer or a glass of wine, and to be able to sit in Madison Square Park. Madison Square park I think is one of the most beautiful city parks in the world, and to be able to sit outside in New York and have a drink is a pretty special thing.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite bars and lounges in New York?

    Death + Company is awesome and has always been awesome and seems like it will always be awesome. They’re really good at what they do. I think McSorley’s Old Ale House is a great place to grab a beer. McSorley’s I think is one of the oldest bars in New York, and there’s sawdust on the floor and they have two beers on tap — McSorley’s lighter beer and McSorley’s darker beer. And it’s just like a great New York place to be. And then one thing I actually really love is Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There’s always that huge long line to get food. But there’s never that much of a line to get a beer or a glass of wine, and to be able to sit in Madison Square Park. Madison Square park I think is one of the most beautiful city parks in the world, and to be able to sit outside in New York and have a drink is a pretty special thing.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite bars and lounges in New York?

    Death + Company is awesome and has always been awesome and seems like it will always be awesome. They’re really good at what they do. I think McSorley’s Old Ale House is a great place to grab a beer. McSorley’s I think is one of the oldest bars in New York, and there’s sawdust on the floor and they have two beers on tap — McSorley’s lighter beer and McSorley’s darker beer. And it’s just like a great New York place to be. And then one thing I actually really love is Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There’s always that huge long line to get food. But there’s never that much of a line to get a beer or a glass of wine, and to be able to sit in Madison Square Park. Madison Square park I think is one of the most beautiful city parks in the world, and to be able to sit outside in New York and have a drink is a pretty special thing.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite restaurants in New York?

    Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn Heights is probably my favorite place to be in the world. I love brick oven pizza so much. There’s something about it that feels so distinctly New York. I just love walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and sitting down and having a pizza.
     
    There’s a little Japanese-Korean place I go a lot called Yakiniku. It’s one of those places where you take off your shoes when you get there and you sit in these sunken tables and you literally grill the food yourself. Yakiniku is the perfect place to go with a big group. At its core, dining is about connection with other people over food and drink and it’s a really cool place to do that.
     
    I’m from Tarrytown in Westchester. It’s really cool to go back to Tarrytown and go to Blue Hill at Stone Barns because for me, I think it’s a really incredible place, but it’s also fun for me to be able to go home and go out to a meal like that. I just went with my girlfriend a few months ago and got to show her where I grew up and where I went to school and then have a great meal.
     
    We have strategic planning for our restaurant Eleven Madison Park every year, and the day we do it with our management team always ends with Korean fried chicken — there are a bunch of places in the city now — and a bunch of bottles of Obi Lager, the Korean version of Budweiser. It’s funny when you’re eating Korean fried chicken and feel like you’re doing a New York thing. And there’s a beauty in that too.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite restaurants in New York?

    Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn Heights is probably my favorite place to be in the world. I love brick oven pizza so much. There’s something about it that feels so distinctly New York. I just love walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and sitting down and having a pizza.
     
    There’s a little Japanese-Korean place I go a lot called Yakiniku. It’s one of those places where you take off your shoes when you get there and you sit in these sunken tables and you literally grill the food yourself. Yakiniku is the perfect place to go with a big group. At its core, dining is about connection with other people over food and drink and it’s a really cool place to do that.
     
    I’m from Tarrytown in Westchester. It’s really cool to go back to Tarrytown and go to Blue Hill at Stone Barns because for me, I think it’s a really incredible place, but it’s also fun for me to be able to go home and go out to a meal like that. I just went with my girlfriend a few months ago and got to show her where I grew up and where I went to school and then have a great meal.
     
    We have strategic planning for our restaurant Eleven Madison Park every year, and the day we do it with our management team always ends with Korean fried chicken — there are a bunch of places in the city now — and a bunch of bottles of Obi Lager, the Korean version of Budweiser. It’s funny when you’re eating Korean fried chicken and feel like you’re doing a New York thing. And there’s a beauty in that too.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite things to do and see in his hometown New York?

    Music in New York is also a pretty incredible thing. Whether it’s up in Harlem down in the Village. There’s some really, really cool jazz in New York, as well off-Broadway theatre. There’s an occasion when going to see a Broadway show is fun, but some of the off-Broadway theatre is a really cool experience.
     
    The waterfront in New York has become a beautiful place especially on the West Side. Right along the Hudson river between 15th and 22nd  Streets there’s a bunch of piers and grassy areas. In a city that’s just go-go-go, it’s nice to be still and take it all in. Whether you go to the green market or to any one of those great little specialty food shops, pick up some great ingredients and a bottle of wine and go sit by the water and just exist and eat and drink. People don’t think about chilling out in Manhattan, and there is no rule that says you can’t. There’s also a place called the Frying Pan, which makes a reasonably good burger and has beer, and it’s a boat that sits on the water. On a really nice day it’s a good place to sit out on the water.
     
    It’s fun to go spend a day in Coney Island and then go to one of these big Russian clubs in Brighton Beach where you sit and they put down a bottle of Stoli frozen in a block of ice. And it’s cool to visit one of the big soulful churches in Harlem and listen to the choir just belt it out — and then get some soul food afterwards. If you’re going to Brighton Beach, you’re eating Chicken Kiev; Thai food in Queens; pizza in Brooklyn. Go on a bike ride to get great Brooklyn views and get a slice of pizza.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite things to do and see in his hometown New York?

    Music in New York is also a pretty incredible thing. Whether it’s up in Harlem down in the Village. There’s some really, really cool jazz in New York, as well off-Broadway theatre. There’s an occasion when going to see a Broadway show is fun, but some of the off-Broadway theatre is a really cool experience.
     
    The waterfront in New York has become a beautiful place especially on the West Side. Right along the Hudson river between 15th and 22nd  Streets there’s a bunch of piers and grassy areas. In a city that’s just go-go-go, it’s nice to be still and take it all in. Whether you go to the green market or to any one of those great little specialty food shops, pick up some great ingredients and a bottle of wine and go sit by the water and just exist and eat and drink. People don’t think about chilling out in Manhattan, and there is no rule that says you can’t. There’s also a place called the Frying Pan, which makes a reasonably good burger and has beer, and it’s a boat that sits on the water. On a really nice day it’s a good place to sit out on the water.
     
    It’s fun to go spend a day in Coney Island and then go to one of these big Russian clubs in Brighton Beach where you sit and they put down a bottle of Stoli frozen in a block of ice. And it’s cool to visit one of the big soulful churches in Harlem and listen to the choir just belt it out — and then get some soul food afterwards. If you’re going to Brighton Beach, you’re eating Chicken Kiev; Thai food in Queens; pizza in Brooklyn. Go on a bike ride to get great Brooklyn views and get a slice of pizza.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite hotels?

    We end up staying at different hotels a lot of the times when we go back to these places just because I think there’s a lot to learn from hotels in the same way there’s a lot to learn from restaurants. We don’t have a go-to in every city. In London we like to spoil ourselves sometimes and stay at the Connaught, which as an unbelievable brand of British service. It’s different, but it’s incredible. Those old-school London grand hotels, they’re just awesome and very classic. I always come back from the Connaught inspired somehow by something. For the most part, every other city we go to we’ve never stayed in the same hotel twice.
     
    We did an event at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. We spent a few extra nights because we hadn’t had a chance to decompress in a very long time. That may be my new favorite place in the entire world. It’s just incredible.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite hotels?

    We end up staying at different hotels a lot of the times when we go back to these places just because I think there’s a lot to learn from hotels in the same way there’s a lot to learn from restaurants. We don’t have a go-to in every city. In London we like to spoil ourselves sometimes and stay at the Connaught, which as an unbelievable brand of British service. It’s different, but it’s incredible. Those old-school London grand hotels, they’re just awesome and very classic. I always come back from the Connaught inspired somehow by something. For the most part, every other city we go to we’ve never stayed in the same hotel twice.
     
    We did an event at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. We spent a few extra nights because we hadn’t had a chance to decompress in a very long time. That may be my new favorite place in the entire world. It’s just incredible.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite hotels?

    We end up staying at different hotels a lot of the times when we go back to these places just because I think there’s a lot to learn from hotels in the same way there’s a lot to learn from restaurants. We don’t have a go-to in every city. In London we like to spoil ourselves sometimes and stay at the Connaught, which as an unbelievable brand of British service. It’s different, but it’s incredible. Those old-school London grand hotels, they’re just awesome and very classic. I always come back from the Connaught inspired somehow by something. For the most part, every other city we go to we’ve never stayed in the same hotel twice.
     
    We did an event at <a href="http://www.forbestravelguide.com/property/blackberry-farm">Blackberry Farm</a> in Tennessee. We spent a few extra nights because we hadn’t had a chance to decompress in a very long time. That may be my new favorite place in the entire world. It’s just incredible.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite hotels?

    We end up staying at different hotels a lot of the times when we go back to these places just because I think there’s a lot to learn from hotels in the same way there’s a lot to learn from restaurants. We don’t have a go-to in every city. In London we like to spoil ourselves sometimes and stay at the Connaught, which as an unbelievable brand of British service. It’s different, but it’s incredible. Those old-school London grand hotels, they’re just awesome and very classic. I always come back from the Connaught inspired somehow by something. For the most part, every other city we go to we’ve never stayed in the same hotel twice.
     
    We did an event at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. We spent a few extra nights because we hadn’t had a chance to decompress in a very long time. That may be my new favorite place in the entire world. It’s just incredible.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite restaurants?

    In Piedmont the best meal I’ve had is a place called La Ciau Del Tornavento. It has an unbelievable view during the day. If you’re lucky, you can end up sitting in the kitchen, and there’s this huge wine cellar in the basement. It’s a really, really special place. In New Orleans, I like Willie Mae’s Scotch House for old school New Orleans fried chicken. Sometimes my favorite restaurants are the most gritty because in it there’s a really cool story that’s being told. In Seattle, there’s a restaurant called Canlis that’s run by some friends of mine, and I like it because it’s a 60-year-old restaurant that still feels young. The restaurant Coi in San Francisco has a chef named Daniel Patterson there. Daniel and I ate there when we were on our cookbook tour around America. I’ve only been there once so I shouldn’t describe it as my favorite — but it’s definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a really long time.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite restaurants?

    In Piedmont the best meal I’ve had is a place called La Ciau Del Tornavento. It has an unbelievable view during the day. If you’re lucky, you can end up sitting in the kitchen, and there’s this huge wine cellar in the basement. It’s a really, really special place. In New Orleans, I like Willie Mae’s Scotch House for old school New Orleans fried chicken. Sometimes my favorite restaurants are the most gritty because in it there’s a really cool story that’s being told. In Seattle, there’s a restaurant called Canlis that’s run by some friends of mine, and I like it because it’s a 60-year-old restaurant that still feels young. The restaurant Coi in San Francisco has a chef named Daniel Patterson there. Daniel and I ate there when we were on our cookbook tour around America. I’ve only been there once so I shouldn’t describe it as my favorite — but it’s definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a really long time.
  • On October 30, 2012
    Will Guidara answered the question: Will Guidara

    What are Will Guidara’s favorite cities to visit?

    My favorite city in the world is Barcelona. I lived in Barcelona about 12 years ago. I think the food is unbelievable, but it’s more than that. There is a spirit that exists there, and it’s definitely rooted in Spain, but it’s distinctively a Barcelona spirit. With the architecture and the beauty of the old city and the beaches and people that are very serious about what they do in terms of cooking and creating unbelievable restaurants — but they have this very free spirited approach to life.
     
    I also love New Orleans because — for me — it’s about food and music, and New Orleans is one of those cities that just kills it at both. After a week of eating in New Orleans you need to get a salad somewhere. Think of those big New Orleans brass bands like Rebirth — you see them just walking down the street like a group of unassuming dudes that all of sudden start playing some of the coolest music you’ve ever heard.
     
    If there’s one place in the world like I like going for food it’s Piedmont because I’m a sucker for white truffles. Piedmont in November is just a special place. My favorite wines are Barolo and I literally like anything with white truffles. The cooking there is just rich. In Italy it’s about making the same pasta every single day and just trying to make it a little bit better each time. While it’s much less exacting than the food in Tokyo, I think there are some similarities.
     
    If you ask Chef [business partner Daniel Humm] what his favorite cities are, you’ll get a difference answer. He likes waking up earlier than I do and likes going on runs, and sometimes I like to stay up a little later than Chef does to have one extra cocktail.