Posts Tagged ‘Food Restaurant’

You are What You Eat….or is it Wear?

September 5, 2015
(image via domesticgeekgirl.com)

(image via domesticgeekgirl.com)

A couple of months ago, I walked past 127 Prince Street at the corner of Wooster and was surprised to see that a Lululemon men’s store had opened. Lululemon for men? It had probably been there for months and I had just not noticed. What a leap, I thought, from the old days.

In 1971, that same space was home to a restaurant called Food. Founded by artists Gordon Matta-Clark, Carol Goodden, and Tina Giroux, Food was a social and culinary hub where artists could find employment, nourishment, and camaraderie. It was, for a long time, one of the only places to eat in SoHo, other than Fanelli’s and a few greasy spoons that were only open for lunch to serve the neighborhood factory workers.

foodfacadeAt Food, there was no wall between the kitchen and dining room—food preparation was a performance for all to see, and its consumption was a delight to mind and body. In truth, it was a revolutionary way to eat. SoHo was a community of counter-culture back then that included food and Food. Sometimes scarce, food was an integral part of SoHo life, often celebrated and raised to the level of art at Food. The restaurant’s founding was part of a culinary revolution that centered upon fresh, locally grown and often organic food in an open kitchen, common today but unheard of back then. (more…)

Frieze Frame: FOOD 1971

April 27, 2013

FNY_CATAt this year’s Frieze Art Fair New York on Randall’s Island from May 10-13, there will be a FOOD pavilion—not food as in food court, but a “re-enactment” of FOOD Restaurant in SoHo!

Every day a different artist will cook.  This is the program (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.):

Matthew Day Jackson (Thursday) May 9
Carol Goodden (Friday) May 10
Jonathan Horowitz (Saturday) May 11
Tina Girouard (Sunday) May 12

Some of you will remember Carol Goodden, co-founder of FOOD with Gordon Matta-Clark in October 1971, who will be present at Frieze to prepare some of her famous delicious, hearty soups.  Born in London, during WW II, Goodden was all too familiar with the personal project of how to stay warm in houses without central heating.  Besides steeping in a hot bath, there was the method of internal warming – via hot tea, porridge, or soup.  Soups offer fabulous nutrition and stick with you better than tea or porridge.  But mainly the conception of any soup can excite a good cook’s imagination.  They can be used as “paintings” to decorate the table with a colorful carrot soup, or dark greens with whites – aromatic.  They can be beefy, grainy, thin, gingery, heavy for winter, cool and crisp for the summers, even fruity. (more…)

And the survey says…

March 23, 2013
Jason Crum mural sponsored by City Walls at West Broadway and Houston (photo by David Bromberg)

Jason Crum mural sponsored by City Walls at West Broadway and Houston (photo by David Bromberg)

Thanks to all of you who filled out my “SoHo Survey” over the past two years (those of you who have not yet filled one out, click on the “Your SoHo Profile” link to the right).  It’s been great to read about all of your memories of old SoHo.  I thought I’d share some of them here anonymously.  Although I received a wide variety of responses to each of the questions, I feel that I can somehow relate to all of them because my memories of SoHo, like yours, are so varied, bitter and sweet, dark and light, foul and fond.

(more…)

Guest Post Series: Bethsheba Goldstein Interviews Carol Goodden about the Origins of FOOD

June 30, 2012

Today we have a special treat.  In this guest post, my old SoHo pal Bethsheba Goldstein (Sheba to her friends), remembers going to an Alternative Space show underneath the Brooklyn Bridge that featured outdoor sculptures and a pig roast hosted by Carol Goodden and Gordon-Matta Clark, founders of FOOD restaurant.  She then interviews Carol about her own memories of the event and how it eventually led to the founding of FOOD.

Carol Goodden Suzie Harris in the kitchen of FOOD (photo: Carol Goodden)

(more…)

The Holy Trinity

May 21, 2011

Fresh, local, organic.

Food, Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca.  These three pioneering meccas of gastronomy, all less than a block from each other, had a major influence on how and what many of us eat today.

The restaurant Food (see my post on Food here) opened in late 1971 at 127 Prince Street at the corner of Wooster.  It was a place that employed struggling SoHo artists and  served inexpensive but hearty food to the local community, and it was, for a long time, one of the only places to eat in SoHo other than Fanelli’s and a few greasy spoons.  It was also WAY ahead of its time in that it served fresh, seasonal foods cooked using local ingredients in an open kitchen.  This may be the norm these days, but back then it was virtually unheard of.

The original Whole Foods on Prince Street changed the meaning of "health food store."

The ORIGINAL Whole Foods, at 117 Prince Street between Greene and Wooster, was opened by Charles Rosenblum in 1970 and closed on April 1, 2000.  It was most certainly a “health food” store of the old school, a neighborhood store that was slightly odd-smelling and had slightly odd people (in a good way) working behind the counter, it was no Whole Foods Market or GNC, but it was the precursor to both.  One of the first health food supermarkets, rather than the usual hole in the wall that sold little more than brewers yeast and a few limp organic carrots, it was a vast (for that time anyway), well-stocked store with an extensive prepared food section and an even more extensive nutritional supplement section.  Whole foods as an industry was just starting to take off at that time so variety and choice were limited, but if it was out there, Whole Foods probably carried it, from whole grain bread loaves that weighed ten pounds each to rennetless cheeses to, of course, Tofutti.

Before Giorgio DeLuca's THE CHEESE STORE, our choices were limited to white or yellow.

And let’s not forget Dean and DeLuca.  In 1973, Giorgio DeLuca, son of an Italian food importer, opened The Cheese Store at 120 Prince Street (now the site of Olive’s), where he sold a wide selection of domestic and imported cheeses previously not readily available in the US, and then in 1977, DeLuca, along with two partners, Joel Dean and Jack Ceglic, went on to open Dean and DeLuca, the gourmet food superstore across the street and converted The Cheese Store into a sandwich shop.  DeLuca describes how he came to open his now world-famous store:

“A lot of this was in reaction to the processed food that America was starting to live on,” DeLuca says.  “The Swanson’s TV dinners, the Tang, the fucking WisPride cheddar in a crock—Americans were losing their ability to taste.  I wanted to show that some things are better than others.  Americans are taught just the opposite: ‘Whatever makes you happy.  You like Coca-Cola and this guy likes fine Burgundies?  You can’t say one is better than the other!’  Can you imagine the absurdity of that?  But that’s the underlying philosophy that Americans are brainwashed into.”

(from David Kamp’s The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation (Broadway Books, 2006), page 201)

Nowadays, we take for granted that we can get meals made from fresh, local ingredients, or organic, gluten-free frozen waffles, or imported, unpasteurized, stinky cheeses pretty much whenever we want.  But before Food, Whole Foods, and Dean and DeLuca came along, we didn’t even know that we wanted these things. But it is thanks (or NO THANKS! depending on your tastes) in large part to these pioneering food establishments (along with a few others, such as Zabar’s and Balducci’s) that we now have a President who is derided for his taste for arugula and lattes, and who has a wife who farms organic produce on the White House lawn.  I guess that’s what we’d call “trickle-up foodonomics.”

A sign from Whole Foods on Prince Street (photo: Steve Tarter)

Food, Glorious Food

January 29, 2011

The entrance to FOOD on Prince at Wooster. In the lower-left corner of the photo you can also see the entrance to SoHo Plagroup.

The restaurant Food opened in late 1971 at 127 Prince Street at the corner of Wooster.  It was a place that employed struggling SoHo artists and  served inexpensive but hearty food to the local community, at least at first, until it was written up somewhere and became a destination spot for uptowners as well as out-of-towners.  Although some people do not remember it so fondly for a variety of reasons—the owners were unfriendly, the food was overrated, etc.—I think most people miss it.  It was, for a long time, one of the only places to eat in SoHo other than Fanelli’s and a few greasy spoons.  It was also WAY ahead of its time in that it served fresh, seasonal foods cooked using local ingredients in an open kitchen.  This may be de rigeur these days, but back then it was virtually unheard of.

I LOVED going there as a child.  Those chunky soups, the thick, yummy slices of wheat bread with sweet butter (“fancy” butter to me—I was raised on salted butter), and those enormous slices of carrot cake big enough to feed a family of four!  And for my friend, Ingrid, it was her first place of employment after moving to New York from Germany.  “I think they paid me five dollars an hour, which was a lot of money,”  she remembers.  Working only part-time, she was able to support herself and her young daughter on those wages.  Ingrid would bring her daughter to work in the morning at 7 AM, where she would sleep curled up on Ingrid’s coat on the floor until it was time to catch the school bus on the corner of Prince and West Broadway, in front of the bodega (more on that soon—that bodega deserves it’s own post).  That was the mid-1970’s.

The original owners of Food moved on and apparently handed it over (for no money) in 1974 to one of Food’s waitresses, and after that the restaurant changed hands several times.  It kept its name and general theme, but it was transformed from a cooperative into a profit-making enterprise and by the late-1970’s it had long lost it’s homey-ness.  I still went there often, however.  In the early 1980’s, I was finally old enough to go to restaurants on my own, and I would bring my Stuyvesant friends there and they just thought I was soooooo cool for introducing them to a real bohemian hangout.  Unfortunately, it was actually more like a stop on a SoHo “reality tour,” similar to when the double-decker bus stops at the Jamaican beef patty place on Flatbush for a “true” Brooklyn experience.  Food closed its doors shortly after I started high school, so I guess around 1985.  Although the more popular it became, the farther it moved from it’s original incarnation, Food was a consistent fixture in my childhood and adolescence, a place with big pieces of delicious cake that I only ever saw through a child’s wide eyes.

Gordon Matta-Clark and his partners, co-founders of FOOD, in front of what was to become one of the first restaurants in SoHo (photo by Richard Landry)

Here is a video of Ingrid talking about her experience working at Food:

New York Magazine’s January 3, 1972 issue includes a review of the recently opened FOOD on page 65.


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