New LES Restaurant Anticipates Tidy Profit

Crain’s weighs in today with a piece on CO-OP Food and Drink, the new nightlife spot in the Hotel on Rivington.  Profiling co-owner Alan Phillips, reporter Tina Traster writes:

The restaurant represents a crowning moment in Mr.  Philips’ career. It is operated under the Guerrilla Culinary Group, which he co-founded in September 2010 with (partner Jason) Apfelbaum, who is also the CEO of Chef & Co. a corporate catering and event firm… “Opening a restaurant in a hotel is a blessing,” said Mr. Philips, who expects to gross $10 million this year. “With a free-standing restaurant, you’re on your own.” Hotels offer built-in marketing, foot traffic, exposure to tourism and a variety of revenue streams, including the bar, room service and catering, he says.

How did Phillips go about landing the high profile space on the LES? Read on:

Mr. Philips is a good pitchman. Aware that Thor, an Austrian restaurant at the Hotel on Rivington, had failed after three years, he proposed a pop-up to Rivington owner Paul Stallings. In October 2010, Guerrilla Culinary staged a five-day, sold-out Roaring ’20s Speakeasy and Steakhouse pop-up. A month later, Mr. Philips came back to Mr. Stallings with his restaurant. “I don’t believe there are any bad spaces, just bad matches,” said Mr. Philips, who understood that the Lower East Side wasn’t the right place for an austere Austrian restaurant. He convinced Mr. Stallings that a hip raw-fish eatery run by John Keller, an alum of Le Bernardin and Nobu, would be a good fit…

You can read the complete article here.