Climate Change and the Power Lunch

The managing owner of Manhattan’s Gotham Restaurant talks about greening a classic menu in an age of pandemic and global warming

Paul Greenberg

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Gotham on 12th Street in Manhattan, photo by Bret Csencscitz

It has been a crazy few years for restaurants in Manhattan. Some have perished, others have reinvented themselves and thrived. This past week I sat down with Bret Csencscitz, the Managing Owner of Gotham Restaurant in Greenwich Village to find out how a classic institution has pivoted during a time when both the climate crisis and a global pandemic have changed the game on dining out.

PAUL GREENBERG: So, to begin with, tell me a little bit about Gotham BEFORE the pandemic. What was the original concept for the restaurant pre-everything-going-completely-crazy?

BRET CSENCSITZ: Gotham has had several phases and has really traced and led the development of American cuisine over the past four decades, which, if you stop to think about it, has been significant. What Gotham has always maintained, and what we continue today, is a relaxed but elegant ambience with fine food. You can dine here in blue jeans or in a suit. The chief difference now is two things: a renewed commitment to modern cookery and an updated look and feel.

PG: Would it be fair to say, though, back before the pandemic, if you wanted to have a business lunch, ok, a “power lunch,” Gotham would be a choice spot?

BC: Yes, that would be fair statement. In the pre-pandemic world we were a location for many power lunches. Deals were made, agreements solidified and celebratory toasts toasted.

As a citizen we need to think about the future generations and as a business more and more clients want to know where there food comes from and they also want to spend their money at places that are doing their best in regards to environmental issues, including how to address climate change.

PG: What has it been like running a restaurant in the pandemic and post-pandemic era?

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org