From the founder of Upper West Side mainstay, Jacob's Pickles, comes a promising new venture intent on leading the resurgence of the French dip sandwich. Dubbed Maison Pickle, the eatery embodies the quintessence of New York. Its decor, a marriage of luxe and comfort, with a subtle hint of rock and roll. The food, classic American at its core. Sourcing inspiration from the surrounding community and close-knit character of the UWS, Jacob Hadjigeorgis sought to establish a space where elegance is coupled with modern convenience, and a curated menu to follow suit. We got a special, behind-the-scenes tour of Maison Pickle (just days ahead of its grand opening!) and caught up with Hadjigeorgis to learn more about his latest culinary enterprise. Take a look.
What was the inspiration behind the decor of Maison Pickle?
I'm inspired by that moment when the new meets the old. The existing architecture of the space lent itself to the timeless textures, which Zak from Punch and I really love. For Maison Pickle, we wanted to tap into the ghosts of rock and roll, as well as old Morocco.
What is your favorite element of the restaurant's design?
The money-green, leather sofa.
What did you splurge on when it came to the decor?
We collaborated with Punch Architecture on a custom chandelier that hangs over the whole dining room.
This wasn't really a scrimp but more of a design decision - we didn't want to waste the beautiful woodwork from Ouest [following its closing] and so we incorporated some of the restaurant's original elements into our new design.
Who is someone that inspires you in the culinary or design world?
I've always looked up to Keith McNally.
The best part of what I do is: seeing the smiles and creating spaces for people to love life and connect with each other.
My lunch routine consists of: if I can, I like to grab a late breakfast/early lunch with my wife Aphroditi. If not, I'm meeting up with the team and getting ready for that evening's service.
If I weren't a restaurateur, I would be hanging out with my dogs.
I'm 10 times more productive when... the team is vibing. When we're all on the same page, it defies math, it's effortless and organic.
Favorite cold-weather dish: Braised rabbit with red wine, Lagos Stifado (Λαγός στιφάδο)
The best thing I've ever eaten: my grandmothers cooking.
Where do you seek inspiration?
I love to get lost in New York, and just take it all in. New York is my primary resource.
Describe a typical day in your life:
I sleep as much as the day allows and then I take the dogs out for a walk. I try and get a work-out in and then I grab a late breakfast with Aphroditi. After that, I pop into Jacob's Pickles and hook up with the team to see what everyone is doing. We typically review the items and what we're experimenting with, so that when we get into quality control, we can make sure everything is in line.
The emails and calls start coming in, and they basically go all day long from there. I head into the office for administrative stuff, we recently started Pickle Hospitality, and it's been exciting taking the macro view of things. Before all of that, I used to love staying on the floor of the restaurant with our friends, neighbors, and guests. I still try to do that whenever possible. I usually get there by the time the dinner shifts start, and hang out until it's time to head home. I usually walk home along Central Park and up to Morningside Heights.