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Restaurateur Launches New Manhattan Jazz Club
When Danny Meyer opened New York's Union Square Cafe in 1985, he helped pioneer an exciting new breed of restaurant, pairing excellent food and wine with warm hospitality and outstanding value. He followed the success of USC with the groundbreaking Gramercy Tavern in 1994. Those two restaurants are now #1 and #2 respectively in Zagat's 2002 listing of New Yorker's favorite restaurants. His more recent additions to the Union Square Hospitality Group ­ Eleven Madison Park and Tabla ­ have each earned national reputations and hit Zagat's top 25 within just three years of their openings.

Now he and his team are launching a new project that for some may seem a departure for Meyer but is in fact a return to the food he learned to love as a child growing up in St. Louis. Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, a barbecue restaurant and world class jazz club, will combine the soulful flavors of America¹s cuisine with the hot sounds of America's music.

"I¹ve always wanted to open a really wonderful joint," said Meyer. "I've got a hunch that Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard are opening at just the right time. Really good barbecue and jazz are delicious soul foods that have provided me with a lot of joy and comfort since childhood. They form a beautiful common culture that¹s in your blood whether you¹re from Missouri or New York, and have historically brought the most diverse communities together. What could be better for our city right now?"

Blue Smoke Barbecue

Professional pit bosses look for the elusive "blue smoke" to tell them when their meat is ready. Meyer chose the name because it represents the paragon of genuine slow-smoked barbeque. Executive chef/pit master Kenny Callaghan (sous chef at Union Square Cafe for past 8 years) will lovingly oversee two custom, wood-burning pit smokers in the kitchen. In addition to featuring mouthwatering ribs, the Blue Smoke menu will offer prime meats, fowl and fish accompanied by traditional and Greenmarket vegetable side dishes and soulful home-style cakes and pies. The inviting bar will feature a wide range of tequilas, bourbons, classic cocktails and eight beers on tap ­ including Brooklyn Brewery¹s new Blue Smoke Original Ale. Look for a wonderfully chosen list of wines to accompany the barbecue as well. Cozy booths and an incredible jukebox stocked with Jazz, Soul and Rhythm & Blues will infuse the ambience with sultry pleasure.

Jazz Standard

In its short first life (1997 ­ 2001), Jazz Standard earned New York Magazine's prestigious "Best Jazz Club" award (1999) and was enormously popular with guests, musicians and critics alike. New improvements have been made to open sightlines and upgrade the sound system. Jazz fans will be able to enjoy selections from Blue Smoke¹s sumptuous barbecue menu while savoring major league jazz. "We plan to represent the full array of jazz influence with an emphasis on classic mainstream jazz," comments James Polsky, Jazz Standard¹s original founder and current partner (James and Danny are first cousins). "We want newcomers and die-hard jazz fans alike to feel welcome and enthusiastic about the music. We also want musicians to find a home here, one that's open to their talent and their ideas."

The club is slated to open March 19th. The first week will represent the diverse and exciting happenings in jazz right now by showcasing a festival to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Jazz Composers Collective. Additional information on the Collective is available at

Sat Feb 16 2002 (5:29:01 PM)


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