In the culinary arts, presentation is as important as preparation. With table service precluded by the social distancing measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19, restaurants must find new ways to present their once plated masterpieces. 8 North Broadway was one of the first kitchens in Nyack to successfully transition from a la carte to cardboard box.
As early as March 12 – ten days before New York instituted the shelter in place order that expires in parts of the state this Friday, Executive Chef Constantine
When 8 North Broadway opened in the fall of 2012, just days after Superstorm Sandy, you focused on feeding first responders for several days rather than patrons. How did that influence community relationships in town? And how did that shape your outlook as a business owner?
How does COVID-19 feel similar to Sandy?
What are you doing today that is helping Nyack survive and come together?
We have been doing our part as chefs do. We’ve participated in Nyack Nourishes. We have been cooking for hospitals once a week and trying to send out a donation once a week just to make the world turn. It is not always a first responder that needs the help — it can be a homeless person in town.
What does the future look like for 8 North Broadway and Nyack business generally?
It is a very scary time and I made the decision at a young age to cook and make people happy through food. I stand by that and was just thinking today that although things may never be the same, there is still an oath I made to myself to do my part whether we make money or not.
What were your early food influences and favorite food memories?
I think the memories of things I associated with comfort, like lemon roasted chicken and vegetables and dips, are things that I am really focusing on now. You may know we do $45 chicken dinner that feeds four people and that is mostly because this was a dish that I remember making me and my family happy. It was just something we always had when we were together — delicious, nutritious and full of flavor and comfort.
I grew up in Astoria, Queens and from a very young age cooked with my grandma and my mother. Family meals were always a big deal and still are.
What was your culinary training and early experiences in the restaurant world?
What attracted you to the Hudson Valley?
Farms, incredible veggies, produce and the neighborhood atmosphere were big factors in my immediate love for the Hudson Valley. Those are the very things that I also felt New York City was losing. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, which is in Dutchess County, and from that time on, the Hudson Valley was irresistible.
How did you come to open your first business in Nyack and what attracted you to the Rivertown?
You own 273 Kitchen in Harrison and have also opened other Westchester restaurants and are running a handful of Montauk restaurants. Describe those restaurants and their communities in comparison to Nyack.
What do you enjoy most and least about the restaurant business?
I enjoy the challenge that every day there is a catastrophe or a problem that makes you think and be creative. I do not like the self- proclaimed critics of food and business who feel it is ok when you make a mistake to go blasting it on social media as if you had done something criminal…I learn to laugh at it. too, but it makes me very sad to see that. I have never seen that done so pointlessly with other professions and I think it is a great way to make a tense situation out of a business that is based on joy and eating. If there’s a problem in a restaurant, deal with it on the spot rather than ranting on social media.
What do you want people to know about you and 8 North Broadway?
I want them to know that we invest all of ourselves in our restaurants. While we are far from perfect and make plenty of mistakes, the things we do are for our guests and our team are very thoughtful and done with a lot of care. We base all our difficult decisions on careful thinking and the pursuit of a customer base that loves us, patronizes us often and talks up their love for us to colleagues and friends. We want people to feel at home here, well-nourished, cared about and feeling great while here and when they leave.
What do you most enjoy eating?
Mumbai Dreams (Nyack) – I got a delivery because I wanted to spend some money on a restaurant as people are with us. It was some of the more creative (Indian tacos) and traditional (saag) Indian food I have had – thoughtful and delicious — in spite of being in a to-go box!
Dimitri’s Grill (Harrison) – I had a traditional beef and lamb gyro that was great — brought me back to my childhood roots.
Learn and read more:
You can view 8 North Broadway’s pickup and delivery menu here
With public support, 50 individually boxed, full course meals are sent each day to our community doctors, nurses, medical staff and first responders, prepared by local businesses.
The ten participation Nyack Nourishes restaurants are 8 North, Casa del Sol, Didier Dumas, Hudson Market, Karenderya, Maura’s Kitchen, Mumbai Dreams, The Olde Village Inne, Strawberry Place and Thai House.
To donate and learn more about this community effort, please visit NyackNourishes.com.
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