World’s top rated restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, to open a winter outpost in Aspen
On Memorial Day weekend, Eleven Madison Park will bring its popular Summer House back to East Hampton, N.Y. Later in the year, the crew will take up residence in Aspen to launch the inaugural edition of EMP Winter House.Updated: Mar 04, 2018 13:52 IST
Europe may be in the midst of the year’s coldest week yet, which is all the more reason to start planning your summer—and next winter, while you’re at it. On Memorial Day weekend, Eleven Madison Park will bring its popular Summer House back to East Hampton, N.Y. Later in the year, the crew will take up residence in Aspen to launch the inaugural edition of EMP Winter House.
The return of Summer House is surprising a lot of people, even co-owners Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm. The Summer House was originally conceived as a way to keep staff employed while the world’s best restaurant was closed for renovations in 2017. Even with its breakout success—there were rumors of booking systems crashing after Bloomberg announced reservation details, and the place was packed throughout the summer—the duo didn’t intend to reopen the place for an additional season.
“Hiring seasonal staff is too scary. We invest so much in people, they have to be full time,” says Guidara. “But it was so successful,” says Humm. “The location wanted us to be there longer, so many people reached out and showed interest.” He claims he came up with the Aspen House idea, which offered the opportunity to have a year-round restaurant—albeit one split between two locations: Colorado and Long Island. He and Guidara won’t commit to the residencies beyond winter, nor will they rule it out. “We don’t intend to do [either house] again after this winter,” says Humm. “Still, we never thought we’d be back [in the Hamptons] after the first time. So I guess we will wait and see.”
This year’s Summer House will look a lot like last year’s Summer House. “There won’t be a lot of changes,” says Humm. Among those few, the triple-Michelin-starred chef is considering such new menu items as do-it-yourself fish tacos, via a whole roasted or fried fish served with tortillas and an array of condiments and accompaniments.
The news is out: #EMPSummerHouse, in partnership with @AmericanExpress, is returning to East Hampton this summer! We’re thrilled for our colleagues who will be making the return trip and for the new members of our family who’ve joined the Make it Nice team to help run the pop-up. And later this year, that same team will also head to Aspen to open the #EMPWinterHouse pop-up with #AmericanExpress! Congrats to everyone involved, we can’t wait to visit. #makeitnice
Returning diners will find their beach-minded favourites such as corn flatbread with truffles and lobster tempura with chile aioli, plus a wood-fired rib-eye for two, in the main indoor dining room. The backyard’s tented area will again offer more casual fare such as lobster rolls and reserve-ahead fried chicken picnics and lobster boils for a crowd. Guidara, who says a highlight of last summer was beating his business partner Humm at ferocious games of ping pong between tours of the room, says those tables and corn hole boards will return, along with new, yet-to-be-decided activities.
The opening date will be Friday, May 25, the start of Memorial Day weekend. That’s almost a full month ahead of last year’s start date—which means more time to try to snag a reservation. Look out for the branded BMWs to again ferry guests back and forth on the Montauk Highway.
In Aspen, Humm and Guidara will winterize the menu and vibe for the Sno-Cat crowd: Think schnitzel and crispy potato rosti, as well as a consommé that will undoubtedly appeal to bone broth aficionados. And there will be cheese fondue, including a luxe version. “Sometimes, we do a fondue, and when it’s almost gone, we crack in a couple of eggs and shave in black truffles. It’s one of the most insane things,” says Humm, a native of Switzerland. “I will insist that we do that in Aspen.”
Most of the menu will be determined by the location, which has yet to be confirmed, though it will be in Aspen proper, not a car ride away. “The vibe will be more or less Swiss, depending on the location,” says Guidara, who says the opening date will similarly be predicated on the space: “It could be just before Thanksgiving; it could be December.”
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