Women restaurateurs are a minority in New York, but that wasn’t a deterrent for Georgette Farkas.
Georgette Farkas, owner and namesake of Rôtisserie Georgette.
New Yorkers are addicted to new restaurants, so it’s not surprising that between the buzz about the pouletrôti and pommesfrites and the location across from Barneys, Rôtisserie Georgette has been packed since its opening last November. However, New Yorkers are also a fickle lot, so the goal of Georgette Farkas, the bistro’s founder, manager, and namesake, is to ensure it’s there for the long haul.
Although no one can predict a restaurant’s longevity, Farkas has had excellent training, as she worked with a culinary maestro who knows how to build an empire. Farkas started her career as a prep cook, then spent 17 years handling PR and marketing for Daniel Boulud and 14 of his restaurants worldwide. Going it alone was the next step because, she explains, “I got to the point where I couldn’t wake up another day working for someone else.”
Farkas explains her idea for rotisserie cooking wasn’t to fill a gap in the market or to create a new trend, but rather was inspired by the simple yet sensory-pleasing restaurants in Europe she visited as a child. “This is the kind of food you would be happy to eat every night,” she says, during an interview at the 60th Street space, whose décor she describes as “Louis XV meets the kitchen.”
With its giant brass-trimmed rotisserie ovens (which also turn out suckling pigs and roasted fish), the restaurant quickly gained kudos for its preparations of chicken roasted with Provençal herbs and what it calls the “Poule de Luxe” with wild mushroom stuffing and seared foiegras. Whereas John DeLucie reintroduced pot pies to a downtown crowd, the PouletRoti Pot Pie here on the lunch menu with an impressive dome of puff pastry revealing delicious bites of roast chicken is the current lunchtime favorite with Upper East Siders. If there’s room for dessert, you want to order the homemade ice creams and the classic tarteTatin.
Though heading into an arena dominated by men, Farkas says, “Gender is not something that occurred to me.” She has many women on her staff, including an operations director with a Harvard Business School degree. Summing up the challenges inherent in making a restaurant work in Manhattan, regardless of gender, she notes, “If you’re going into this as a hobby, don’t give up your day job.” 14 E. 60th St., 212-390-8060