In its heyday, the Four Seasons was a symbol of a glamorous, opulent New York City – one that loved white tablecloths, lengthy wine lists and buttoned-up service. The restaurant's Grill Room was also the ultimate place to power lunch. The closing of the Four Seasons in July signaled a change in the way that New York business folk now enjoy a midday meal. Diners have turned away from the luxury and lavishness once exemplified by the Four Seasons, and toward a more low-key, food-centric experience offered by places like Upland and Café Altro Paradiso. And the shift goes beyond just the informality factor. Midtown is no longer the center of the business world: Big companies are moving Downtown (and to Brooklyn!) – some of these are financial institutions, but many more are successful start-ups run by young, creative entrepreneurs working out of super-casual offices. Welcome to the new era of the power lunch.
Who you'll see there: Credit Suisse executives, talent agents, music and movie industry operators.
What you'll order: Cacio e pepe, sausage + kale pizza, five lettuce Caesar
Power tables: The rounded banquettes on the west side are heavily requested by top business execs, according to general manager Susan Lee.
345 Park Avenue S.; 212-686-1006
Who you'll see there: Hip, bespectacled Warby Parker employees, West Village artists, young entrepreneurs
What you'll order: Prosciutto, octopus and chickpea salad and any of the constantly rotating selection of seasonal pastas
Power tables: Tables in the lower dining room offer a bit more privacy and get the best views of the kitchen. "Diners don’t associate the business lunch with flash anymore," says Thomas Carter, Café Altro Paradiso's owner. “Everything is much more pared down. There are no tablecloths, there aren’t a bunch of people around your table, you don’t have multiple settings of silverware – there’s not as much ‘man behind the curtain.’”
234 Spring St.; 646-952-0828
Who you'll see there: WeWork-ers, advertising agency folk, Sony execs; “Our target demographic is ages 25–40, and there’s very infrequently suits and ties throughout the room,” says Max Quattrone, Marta's general manager. “People just are not as attracted to sitting down and having as formal of an experience.”
What you'll order: Suppli al telefono, stracciatella pizza and pollo Ubriaco
Power tables: The back corner table next to the windows is a bit quieter than the rest of the restaurant (and as a bonus, it offers great lighting for the 'gram).
29 E. 29th St.; 212-651-3800
Who you'll see there: Time Inc. execs and editorial brass, food publicists, bankers
What you'll order: Oysters and fried chicken
Power tables: You'll often see intimate meetings happening at the bar facing the window – it's a great spot to chat while also people-watching on Prince Street.
131 Sullivan St.; 212-677-6200
Who you'll see there: The Kickstarter crowd and the businesses they have funded (the company's co-founder, Perry Chen, is a co-owner of the restaurant)
What you'll order: Escarole salad, pan-roasted chicken, Crème Catalan
113 Franklin Street, Brooklyn; 347-682-4111