Ever wondered what happened to that guy who was selling tomatoes for $ 24? Not only has he survived the epidemic, but his business is growing, as is the hothouse filled with hydroponic vegetables.
Celebrity chef Iyal Shawnee – who is big enough to charge $ 24 for $ 24 by my colleague Steve Cuzzo in 2019 – is set to grow his global restaurant empire in twelve locations from last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns. Began.
And yes, his atmospheric-priced Hells Kitchen haunt, Hassalon is still charging $ 24 for a tomato – when it comes to getting them, that is.
“In the end, it brought most of our customers to the restaurant,” Shawnee told SideDish. “You can’t believe what happened after the article in the paper. There was so much crowding. People wanted to know who that crazy guy who was selling tomatoes for $ 24.
Saturn sat down with Sid Dish at Hudson Yards last week, where he and partner Shahar Segal decided to officially open their sixth Big Apple venue – with an untenable project called Naked Tomato – on Wednesday. SideDish has learned that when the lockdowns open in March 2020, they will open a seventh new concept restaurant downtown at 61 W. Eighth St., increasing their total to 37 locations worldwide.
Last week, Shawnee opened its fourth haselone in Miami with Major Food Group partners of Carbone fame. They are expanding a series of restaurants under the Miznan moniker, which means “cafeteria” in Hebrew. (Accordingly, Miznan prices are not as eye-watering as in Hassalon, where wallet-cons diners can choke a $ 149 striped bass.) New York currently has four Miznan locations.
The epidemic has forced the globe-trotting chef to slow down, all for fear that he is bound to “lose everything” even if he takes refuge in Israel.
“I stayed at home for three months and found my family again,” Shani said. “I had time to be with my wife and daughter and my giant turtle. I made breakfast, lunch and dinner. I bought food, put it in the kitchen, cleaned, cooked and served it, even plates. It was completely my own area and it was one of the happiest periods of my life.
If Saturn’s restaurants opened in Israel after three months of closure, the lack of workers took longer to reopen in New York.
“All my chefs and waitresses got money from the state and made beautiful parties,” he said. “They didn’t want to go back because they had money from the government. But when the government stopped paying, they all came back.
He said there is still a “big problem” in the global supply chain, but they do.
“There are a lot of things we can’t afford, but we work with small farms so we get the vegetables we need and we import fish from Tokyo, Portugal and Italy,” he said.
As for the $ 24 tomato?
It’s still on the menu – when it’s available. It is hydroponic from Upstate, New York and they buy at the Union Square Farmers Market for $ 7.
“I’m adding salt and the best olive oil in it and reaching for the incredible taste,” he said. “I can’t find it in Italy or Israel. It’s the best tomato I’ve ever eaten.”