Two restaurant newcomers have come up with a novel and democratic way to raise money for their eatery that sidesteps banks and regulators.
Scott Kester and David Lefkowitz are selling “seats” for $500 a pop for The Elevens — an urban foodie version of a rural barn-raising. So far, they’ve sold about 135 seats.
What “seatholders” get is 25 percent off every meal — no matter how many people are in their party — as opposed to a designated seat at the table.
Seat owners will also get a standing reservation once a week, which they can trade with fellow seatholders. The eatery will have 65 physical seats, including 18 at the bar.
“We are building our regulars ahead of time,” Kester said.
Kester said it gives seatholders the benefits associated with ownership but without the hassle and expense.
Otherwise, the Securities and Exchange Commission would require the restaurateurs to register and file their stock ownership plan, raising the legal costs significantly, according to Kester.
He estimates it will cost $900,000 to open the restaurant. If the model is successful, others in similar neighborhoods will be launched as well, he added.
The Elevens is set to open this May at 58 Lispenard St. The restauranteurs signed a 10-year lease for the 2,040-square-foot ground floor space, along with a full basement. The space was previously occupied by the Pearl Paint frame shop.
“It’s an exciting new area, where SoHo, TriBeCa and Chinatown all meet,” said their broker, Kim Skarvelis of Cast Iron Real Estate.
Chef Daniel Patterson, of Coi in San Francisco, is also part of the project.
Patterson, a top chef who is part of the so-called modern cuisine of molecular gastronomy, will be doing lots of cured, slow cooking and fermented bar-type food.
Kester calls the menu more “accessible” food than the haute cuisine that Patterson is known for in San Francisco.
“This will be more accessible food — lots of stews and pates, but things that none of us have the time to cook at home: food that is not part of the urban lifestyle, but that is great to eat,” Kester said.
November 21, 2011
By: Jennifer Gould
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