2009 May 12

The Kings of the Waverly

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John DeLucie John DeLucie
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(NEW YORK) Throngs of photographers are nothing new to the Waverly Inn, but a step-and-repeat line on the corner of Bank Street is a relative novelty. Last night, the restaurant was filled to (cocktail) capacity during the hours where the restaurant is usually serving sole and free-range chicken. After all, partners Graydon Carter and John DeLucie can do anything they want--like celebrate the latter's memoir, for example. DeLuice celebrated his new culinary tome The Hunger and there were so many well-wishers in the house that it took the hosts an hour just to find one another. “This book is a story of how I went from this corporate drone to having unlikely success working with someone like Graydon,” said the newly-minted author. “But there is a lot more that I want to accomplish. There’s a reason our menu always says that we're 'in previews.' We’re still dealing with the kinks.”

But of course, Carter has tried everything the Waverly offers both on and off the menu. “I come a few nights a week, and in the process, I've ordered just about everything for dinner,” the Vanity Fair editor explained. “The chicken and steaks are great, and we make a mean hamburger. I’d like to say that I knew that John was a great chef when we started--and now, he's evolved into a great one.” So when can one most likely expect a GC sighting? “I love Sunday nights, actually,” he decided. “It’s quiet. I come with my family around 6:30 or 7:00. We put jazz music on the sound system and have a great meal.”

DeLucie worked as a sales rep and butcher before making it big in the restaurant business, and Carter has also  enjoyed his fair share of random gigs. “I was a ski instructor, I was line man for the railroad, and an editor for Spy magazine,” he smiled. “That alone is an odd job!”

Guests like Harvey Weinstein, Nur Kahn, David Zinczinko, Debbie Bancroft, Tom Coliccio, and Nicole Miller got a gratis copy of the book while enjoyed Waverly mini-treats and comparing their experiences of the institutition. “I always order tuna tartare, vegan risotto, and artichoke,” said Hana Soukupova in the arms of her husband Drew Aaron. "There’s always this fuss about the scene here at the Waverly, but the food is delicious.”

Interestingly, not everyone has actually tried it. “I’m too intimidated to ask for a reservation,” confessed Jill Hennessy. “I’ve known John for a little while, so I stop by and just hang out at the bar, say hi to him, and then leave. My husband is simply an incredible cook, and so is his mother who lives next door to us,” the actress said. “And Mario Batali lives on the other side, so I’d like to think that between them all, we have the best-smelling floor in New York.”

After all was said and done, DeLucie was happy to see his friends but was ready to return to the kitchen. “There’s certainly an energy that derives from those we cook for, but the food is still the same on anyone’s tongue,” he concluded. “A carrot is a carrot, but Karl Lagerfeld does love those carrots!”


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