Plugin your playlist, invite your friends, preheat your oven and prepare to take a journey. Ardyn NYC is delivering the Doomsday Dinner Party.
By: Jeanne Ryan, VP of Marketing for Spiceology
On March 9th, Chef Ryan Lory and Chef Adam Bordonaro looked at each other, took a sigh of relief and realized that they had achieved a monumental thing in the restaurant industry. Their restaurant, Ardyn NYC, had made it a year.
And then COVID-19 changed everything. But, don’t worry, I’ll spoil the surprise. This is a story of resilience, innovation and the dedication and strength you’ll find in kitchens across the world.
FIRST ACT: We hit a wall
When the two seasoned restaurant industry chefs (Lory was previously the Executive Chef for the Charlie Palmer Group and Bordonaro the National Corporate Chef for Fig and Olive) decided to combine forces and open a restaurant they knew exactly what they wanted. And, from the ground up Ardyn NYC was the perfect representation of their vision. A forest of flavors, hidden in the West Village, from the farm-to-table fare to the craft cocktails to the notoriously good beats, Ardyn NYC was to be experienced. Their technique-driven cocktail lounge, seasonally inspired á la carte menu and six-seat experiential chef’s counter earned them a spot in the Michelin 2020 guide and a unique event partnership with Rolls Royce through Imagination. Which is why Lory and Bordonaro decided they would never do takeout or delivery.
“We designed Ardyn NYC to immerse diners in our world. To share more than just an amazing meal. To let them feel the energy when we cook… when we plate” said Bordonaro. “The Ardyn dining experience is an intimate one designed to bring chef and patron together through one-on-one, exclusive experiences. And, let’s face it, you can’t deliver that experience with takeout.”
That is until the day that the two chefs sat in their kitchen, living the story that many chef-owners and restaurant groups are experiencing these days. They had just closed their doors to their patrons and laid off their beloved staff of 20 with heartfelt promises to rehire the minute it was possible. They sat staring at each other, marveling at the irony that they had just made it to the pivotal one-year anniversary mark so many restaurants never see.
SECOND ACT: An idea is hatched
“That’s when it hit us, we were in our own personal Doomsday. Our doors were closed to the public and we’d just laid off our family, the people who had helped us bring our dream to life” said Lory. And then they just decided, “Nothing is going to stop us. We made it to this point. No one knows what the future holds but everyone still has to eat.”
So, they decided to embrace their situation and change their fate.
And “Doomsday Dinner Party” was born.
Working out of their kitchen at Ardyn NYC, Chef Lory and Chef Bordonaro are delivering their unique brand of cuisine (and dining experience) to their faithful (and soon to be faithful) patrons in Manhattan who are getting high-end cuisine delivered straight and safely to their doors.
“We prepare it. We deliver it. You plate it,” said Lory.
But there is so much more to it than that. Lory and Bordonaro have developed a delivery experience that is as immersive as it is instructional, where they do all of the prep work but patrons take care of the intricate plating Ardyn NYC is known for. How? Instructional videos and a live chef support line for those who need it.
And, while the meal contains prepped items for seven dishes and paired cocktails for those that are interested, the chefs claim that all patrons need is their oven, what’s in your cabinet, a sense of adventure and of course, ice. They even provide a Spotify playlist with the music their beloved West Village restaurant was known for.
But, before we go further, we have to mention one additional detail. While the two chefs deliver your amazing meal, they do so with Anarchy symbol-enblazened bags, full suits and, wait for it, bunny masks, adding to the whimsy, wonder and immersive experience.
“The entire experience was designed to delight, distract and connect with the people you love and trust” said Chef Bordonaro. “It’s unlike any to go you’ve ever had before.”
With the allotted daily spots filling up and requests pouring in, the two chefs are planning to expand their services, with delivery coming to the Hamptons within the month.
And, while not all of you out there in the foodservice industry can offer a crazy immersive dining experience, the culinary bunny kings have some words of wisdom for you, the kitchen crew.
“To the chefs out there. There are opportunities out there. Yes, the climate has changed. Don’t give up. Understand what role you play for your customers and how you can still be there for them. We’re fine dining and our patrons still want that. So, we figured out how to be true to our vision” said Lory.
“As chefs, we’re in the business of figuring things out and making shit happen. So c’mon, get off your couch” said Bordonaro, echoing Lory’s encouragement. “Reach out to friends. Talk about what you can do. Look into the stimulus money. Find out what resources are available to you. As chefs we know nothing happens without effort. So make some.”
And, bonus, check out Chef Chad Minton's TrueCooks Podcast with Chef Ryan
About "Grind On"
When COVID-19 was approaching, no one had any idea how much it would change the restaurant world -- and so many of our lives. Overnight, restaurants either had to close their doors, or figure out a "plan B" to survive. Spiceology is shining light on the many amazing "plan B" stories that showcase the undying spirit of the chef community. They are an inspiration. Grind On is part of a larger initiative called HelpChefs.com, which is providing free resources and funding for impacted restaurant workers. Check out more Grind On stories on the site, and visit the sponsor partners who are donating products and funds to help this community see this thing through.