I had lunch today at Market Table, the space on the corner of Bedford and Carmine that used to be Shopsin’s that is, after Shopsin’s was on Bedford and Morton, and before it was in the Essex Street Market. Sitting there with one of the owners, Joey Campanaro, I heard a potential customer walk in off the street and ask the hostess, “Can you take a party of five?”
Shopsin’s was famous for many things but perhaps nothing more than the fact that they refused to take parties larger than four.
“Does he think this is Shopsin’s?” I asked Joey. “Had he read the Party of Five poem? Or seen the documentary about Kenny Shopsin in which the Party of Five was read aloud by a customer whose party wasn’t invited in? Had the no-parties-larger-than-four vibe permeated the place?”
In the end, Joey and I guessed that the guy was probably just hungry on a frigid day, asking for a table himself and what happened to be four friends…
“Of course,” the hostess said, grabbing a stack of menus while off the happy, hungry man went, to gather his party like so many baby chicks and lead them in to a warm place willing to feed them. All five of them. As if it were always that easy.