MICHAEL MCCARTY almost can’t believe how well his celebrated New York City restaurant is doing 20-plus months after he was forced to shutter its Midtown doors due to the pandemic. “We’re back to where we were,” he says happily. “People had so much pent-up energy from being stuck inside. It’s exhilarating to see how customers have re-embraced the restaurant business the way they have.” Here, celebrity chef Judy Joo catches up with the restaurateur, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, about the lasting appeal of Michael’s (which also has a location in Santa Monica, Calif.), his favorite famous clients and how it feels to be back in the swing of things.
Everyone knows the hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic. What were those first few days and weeks like?
We were feeling our way through the dark. At first, we were just supposed to be closed for two weeks. It was this wait-and-see thing.
How did you cope?
We took it month by month and tried to remain positive and optimistic. It was an odd time, but time heals all. I told my staff, “We’ve just got to get through this and survive.” As one of my best customers, Muhammad Ali, would say, “Stay in the ring. Take the punches. At least you’re still in the ring.”
And when did things start to feel like they were getting back to normal?
We opened up simultaneously on both coasts during the first week of May. I had laid off everybody, so we called back the staff. We took off like a bat out of hell and were astounded by the enthusiasm.
Have most of your loyal clients returned?
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Ewan Mary's: LOW-KEY NUPTIALS
The couple puts their scandalous past behind them.
In a League of His Own
Allison Williams: WEDDING & A BABY!
Get out! Not only did Allison Williams secretly welcome a baby boy with boyfriend Alexander Dreymon, but the proud new parents are also making plans to tie the knot, spills a source.
ALEC BALDWIN: CAUGHT ON TAPE
NEWLY RELEASED EVIDENCE SHOWS THE ACTOR'S REACTION TO THE RUST SHOOTING.
Gwyneth & Brad: SEPARATE LIVES
"She complains all the time that he just can't keep up with her," spills a source.
OLIVIA HUMILIATED BY HER EX!
Sneak Attack? Some in the audience April 26 thought the delivery was part of Olivia's act.
HE'S SO BIG!
NOW 4 YEARS OLD THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE'S YOUNGEST IS GROWING UP SO FAST.
I'm Too Sexy
IT ISN'T EASY BEING BEAUTIFUL! THESE STARS SAY THEIR GOOD LOOKS HAVE HAMPERED THEIR CAREERS.
Tom Cruise: MAN ON A MISSION
THE ACTOR STOPPED AT NOTHING TO MAKE M:1 7 AND 8 AND TOP GUN: MAVERICK. NOW HE'S FEELING THE PRESSURE.
Jennifer Grey: MY UNTOLD STORY
DIRTY DANCING'S JENNIFER GREY IS OPENING UP LIKE NEVER BEFORE ABOUT HER COSTARS, HER FAMOUS LOVERS AND HER BOTCHED PLASTIC SURGERY.