APRIL 11, 2014

Feeding frenzy, or let them eat cake

Old-timers remember the glamour and popularity of Emily Shaw’s, where local stars and celebrities like Tallulah Bankhead, Benny Goodman, Howard Cosell and many others flocked in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. What made Emily Shaw’s — founded eponymously in 1939 — so wonderful was its country feel while at the same time presenting first-rate cuisine and service. It was a place to get in from the cold, have a gourmet meal, meet with friends, celebrate anniversaries and just drop in like a neighboring watering hole. The magic is back, thanks to Waccabuc resident Jean-Georges Vongerichten, himself a celebrity, who opened the Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges earlier this year in the former Emily Shaw’s location.

We have had the excellent fortune of dining at the Inn on two occasions. On Friday, our dinner companions, part-time Pound Ridgers with homes in Paris and New York, were hardly the type to be hoodwinked by a kale salad. But after dining there, this cosmopolitan couple was completely hooked, as were we, by the elegant design, fine service and outstanding cuisine of the Inn. They are not alone. Judging by the difficulty of snagging a reservation — Fridays and Saturday nights are booked for weeks — the Inn is a hit with diners throughout the region and beyond. The list of celebrities and bold-faced names who traipsed through the dining room could fill Page 6 for weeks. With a coveted four-star review of Manhattan’s Central Park West location in Wednesday’s New York Times, all of Jean-Georges’s restaurants will benefit.

But with success comes a different sort of problem: traffic congestion and noise on surrounding roadways.

The town board is requiring Jean-Georges to develop new parking options. The process began with the planning board, at its March 27 meeting

At the meeting Robert Aiello, an engineer from John Meyer Consulting, and Lucia Chiocchio, an attorney with Cuddy and Feder, tried to appease frustrated town officials, who have come close to shutting down the Inn for illegal parking and for hindering traffic flow on Westchester Avenue. In addition, neighbors have complained about honking horns late at night as valets notify patrons that their cars are ready.

Finding enough spaces to accommodate the Inn’s patrons and staff — the restaurant seats 240 and employs a staff of between 60 and 75 — has been a challenge. Despite warnings from the town’s police department about only parking in approved spots and maintaining the flow of Westchester Avenue traffic, the valet staff at times has parked wherever convenient.

If last Friday was an indication, the restaurant’s new valet plans are a success; it was the peak dining hour yet cars were whisked off in what seemed like seconds, with no buildup or trail out onto Westchester Avenue. Earlier in the week building inspector Jim Perry said that cars were no longer parked where they shouldn’t be.

A recent meeting included representatives from Poundridge Nurseries, the Community Church and other local businesses, including Bedford Central School District’s assistant superintendent for business Mark Betz, who may lease the parking area in the elementary school. (Perhaps this unexpected revenue could pay for high school cooking classes.)

With Little League scheduled to begin in the Town Park, Samuel Parker’s deemed too tight for parking because of its lack of access for emergency vehicles, and on-site facilities prohibited from parking because of septic fields, parking becomes more critical than ever. The town has given the Inn until April 15 to act, the date when the Little League takes over the park for the season. The planning board will meet on April 22 to review the Inn’s plans and formalize recommendations to the town board.

We are confident that all parties can work together to ease the arrival of this welcome newcomer.

“I think that everybody here is interested in helping this restaurant succeed,” said Mr. Perry. “It’s a great business for Pound Ridge, and we want it to work.”

So do we. We urge the building inspector to carefully monitor the traffic and noise impacts, and the town’s boards to give fair consideration to the special-use permit. We also ask the restaurant owners to continue their efforts in working with the community and neighbors. Without those efforts, what should be a feast could turn into a fiasco. Bon appetit.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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