Speed Reads

The internet never forgets

This New York restaurant takes Facebook stalking to a new level


You can't hide from New York's Eleven Madison Park. As New York's Alan Sytsma explains at Grub Street, mâitre d' Justin Roller googles everyone who has a reservation at the restaurant on any given night. He searches for personal information — birth date, anniversary, profession — so he can give proper salutations when the party arrives. Once he discovers something concrete, he jumps on it. "If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we'll put them together," Roller explains. Systma adds:

Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz. In other words, before customers even step through the door, the restaurant's staff has a pretty good idea of the things it can do to specifically blow their minds. [Grub Street]

That attention to detail makes Eleven Madison Park an intense place to work; the training manual for front-of-the-house staff is 97 pages long, and it even specifies the type of socks that can be worn by staffers. Every part of the process is designed to keep the best staff around, so the restaurant can run smoothly and the guests can appreciate the personalized service.

While some might think having a complete stranger know everything about you down to your Social Security number (just kidding... I think) is kind of nutty, general manager Kirk Kelewae argues that it's part of the restaurant's charm. "We want to evoke a sense of being welcomed home," he says. Read more about Eleven Madison Park's blend of old-school service and internet sleuthing at Grub Street.