FLASH IN THE PAN: The Life and Death of an American Restaurant by David Blum

FLASH IN THE PAN: The Life and Death of an American Restaurant

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To all those who dream of opening a restaurant, this uninspired account of an uninspired and unsuccessful enterprise offers little comfort. Both of the partners in The Falls, which opened in downtown Manhattan in March 1990 and closed 14 months later, were veterans of separate restaurant ventures, and they assembled a handful of semi-famous investors, moat notably actor Matt Dillon, who attracted some celebrity-watchers and raised hopes that the place would be ""hot"" (a favorite term of the restaurant team and their seemingly like-minded chronicler). But neither the owners nor the models who got free meals and drinks in return for their miniskirted presence could make up for the ""comps"" (free fare) one partner handed out to his many friends; the manager-partner's skimming from the till; the scaffolding over the door; the chaotic service; the probable small miscalculations in menu-planning and plate-selection and whatever; the mysterious chemistry of N.Y.C. night life; and, to judge from the evidence herein, the general absence of vision. For a while, the place was packed; by the end, it was understandably empty. Blum, a free-lance journalist (The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, etc.), hung out during the planning and life span of the project and here reports on day-to-day trials and conversations in short sentences and one-dimensional thoughts. The overall impression is of a superficial scene, a senseless business, and shallow participants. Blum, though properly impartial, shows no evidence of either deeper thought or the wit needed to make the story sparkle.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster