Restaurateur Danny Meyer Shares His Design Tips

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Famed restauranteur Danny Meyer (whose Union Square company runs New York institutions like the Gramercy Tavern, the Shake Shack and Blue Smoke) shared some of the design tips he’s picked up through the years with Elle Decor. Meyer, who authored the book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business listed the crucial aspects of design few people think to note.

Meyer’s first bit of advice is to do as you want your guests to do. Translation: If you want your guests to wine, dine, and have a good time, then you need to be doing the same. Being tense over hosting and not eating or drinking will only send a subliminal message to your guests to mimic your behavior.

The restauranteur also believes in making an event pleasurable to the guests five senses, saying on the following topics;

• Smell: I think people lead with their nose. There is no better compliment to a host than when a guest says, “It smells great in here.”

• Sight: Some hosts use a party as an excuse to clean their home, or hang that piece of art they’ve been meaning to hang. Go with that.

• Taste: Be generous. People shouldn’t be on portion control with food or beverages.

• Hearing: I have fun assembling a playlist. It’s rare when everyone likes the same music, so I shuffle: British rock and roll, Mozart, Oscar Peterson.

• Touch: Be aware of textural elements throughout a party, like silverware, stemware, and linens. But the biggest element is metaphorical: it’s your own touch. How are you making people feel?

When it comes to food, Meyers divulges that he doesn’t follow food trends—he merely focuses on adding fresh twists to food people love. He also recommends keeping the hors d’oeuvres small, as larger portions are awkward to hold when socializing. What’s more, in this day and age where there is an emphasis on healthy food, Meyers recommends finding a balance between healthy food and hedonistic indulgences. How? By, for example, controlling the fat content in the main course so that you can serve a decadent dessert.

As for the wine, Meyers has a set guideline: For sparkling, Champagne for celebrations and Prosecco for every day; For white, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling for every day and white Burgundy for special occasions; For red, Barbera from Piedmont for every day and Barolo for special occasions.

Source and image courtesy of Elle Decor.

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