The New York Historical Society at 77th Street and Central Park West is just finishing up a three-year $65 million soup-to-nuts renovation. When it reopens this November it will have some exciting new features, including a new restaurant. And Zagat brings word that the new chef brings lots of buzz with him. Jim Burke, a Philadelphia chef who was a finalist for the coveted James Beard Award, will run an Italian restaurant in the historical society with views overlooking Central Park (a big reason behind the historical society’s renovation was to reorient the entrance from 77th Street to Central Park West and give visitors more views of the park).
The museum was not initially planning to house an entire restaurant on-site, but had brought Burke in to prepare a meal for the board as they decided who would take over the msueum’s catering contract. The board was impressed by Burke and his employer, Starr Restaurants, and gave them the catering contract. But Starr owner Stephen Starr and Burke — whose lease in Philadelphia was about to end — pitched the board on the idea of opening a full restaurant, and the idea caught on.
Philadelphians give him high praise: “If there’s any place in town executing a more delicious and inspired winter menu, its location is a mystery to me,” said Philadelphia City Paper in an article on Burke entitled “King James“.
Like Lincoln Center and the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle, the Historical Society appears to be hoping a restauranthelps it draw for more visitors, and perhaps gives the place some more cache. And like those two museums, it appears that the food will be high-end.
“As yet unnamed, the parkside museum dining room will feature cuisine that draws inspiration from the cicchetti (Italian small plates) of Venice,” Zagat writes.
(Hat-tip to Eater for bringing this news to our atention.)
Rendering of historical society following renovation via New York Historical Society.