In the News: The Odeon’s curbside social hierarchy

The New Yorker runs down the ways The Odeon has preserved its former status even in the era of curbside seating (and I would never have picked up on this myself, much preferring Thomas to West Broadway): “The social hierarchy of the outdoor dining area — with the most desirable tables directly in front of the restaurant, and the least desirable around the corner, on a quieter side street — is as comforting as the squarely decent French-bistro-style food.”

The Downtown Alliance blog has a Q&A about the safety aspects of riding the subways from transportation guru Sam Schwartz.

The Journal has a (yet another) story on how tech companies are not planning to come back to traditional offices, at least not for a while, using MikMak in Soho as one example: “Ms. Tipograph said she is committed to keeping her company in New York City and plans to sign another lease in the future but doesn’t think that will be until 2022, or when a vaccine is widely available.”

In yet more predictable news, Crain’s has an update on Hamptons prices, which are more through the gabled roof than ever.



  1. What an obnoxious, stupid article by The New Yorker, and a hurtful one to The Odeon because it implies that Odeon seats people where they don’t want to be which is nonsense to most patrons. I myself prefer Thomas Street. I seriously doubt most patrons care where they sit cuz they’re there & happy that The Odeon still exists.

  2. The social hierarchy of Odeon–a microcosm of Tribeca.

  3. I only dine at Odean occasionally and am hardly one if their “best” customers. I do find that I feel I’m being treated as an “outsider” when I go there, getting less preferential treatment than regulars. Do all restaurants treat their “best” customers better? Probably…as well they should. It’s just that Odean has perfected the class-based snobbery better than most. Perhaps that explains why I don’t go there all that often…the proverbial self-fulfilling chicken/egg dilemma.

  4. To those who don’t see the social hierarchy and/or superciliousness at Odeon, it reminds me pf this quote from Rounders: “Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”

    So, in same fashion, if you cant see spot the privileged within a few minutes of walking in and being at Odeon, then you ARE the privileged. Same goes at/with Tribeca.
    #CheckYour Privileges

    • First off I am neither a “sucker” nor “privileged.”

      Second there is no “social hierarchy” at Odeon. You sit where you sit & if you don’t like your table ask for & get a better one or don’t dine there.

      Maybe if you and/or whoever else didn’t see social hierarchy in restaurant seating (like I don’t) then it wouldn’t be an issue. Doesn’t you wanting a certain table imply you think it’s better than another table & perpetuate social hierarchy in restaurant seating? Yep.

      Real social hierarchy was black people having to sit in the back of the bus & in a “Colored People Only” seating area of a luncheonette & use a CPO bathroom, so spare me your equivalence of that to you not getting your preferred seat, rspecially if you’re whitem Besides I’m not gonna let you badmouth a place which was open before & during 9/11 & never left & has treated their patrons with courtesy & respect as they/anyone should.

  5. Really, this is what you all are worried about, in this age of COVID, racial inequality, and high unemployment, which table is better.

    I’m happy that Odeon and other restaurants have found a way for their businesses to survive, and keep their staff employed and provide us with great places to eat. Who really cares where I’m seated. Who cares if they give their regulars the “better”tables. All of Odeon’s patrons are the lucky ones in this economy no matter which table/street they’re eating at.

    • My point which you missed entirely is the article is unfair to Odeon. It paints the place as elitist when its not. That could turn off people thus hurt business. Say It’s hot or in demand ok but snobbish or snooty? Wrong.

      Yes a pandemic. Right. During which I have bought 95% of my take out & groceries from neighborhood places, so get off your high horse besides we can – and should talk about things other than the pandemic.

  6. The assumption that all people wear masks on the subways is not accurate. And frequently the cars are much too crowded for social distancing. This article is misleading and harmful.

  7. This is so stupid. We’ve been going to Odeon for over 20 years. It is a neighborhood standby, and while we don’t know anyone who runs the place, we’ve never felt anything but courtesy from the folks who run the floor and serve. So silly.

  8. The article on The Odeon is BS. I’m a nobody in the eyes of the staff there, and in my three visits since August, I’ve been seated in front of the restaurant, under the covered seats on the street, and on Thomas Street. It was never about a “hierarchy,” it was about whatever tables were available when I arrived.

  9. The Odeon genuinely strives to make every guest feel welcome and appreciated. Our neighborhood customers, regulars and less frequent visitors, are the reason The Odeon remains. We appreciate all of you and never forget what keeps us going. If your experience does not meet your expectations, please ask to speak to a manager to express your particular dissatisfaction. We will do our best to rectify the situation.
    Thomas Street is unavailable for our use M-F 7am to 7pm. That means whatever we set up there must be easily movable to accommodate the short 2 hours (7pm-9pm) of service M-F. (weekends open). We would love to build a platform and make the cafe as “solid” as the one on West Broadway, but the roadway is reserved for the use of NYS Supreme Court Judges’ parking.
    Regarding The New Yorker article, I responded to the editor to correct false statements. Unfortunately, implied jabs are irresistible to many reviewers and beyond our control.
    Letter to the Editor of The New Yorker: “If nothing else, the last four years have reminded us that facts matter.
    In a recent “Tables for Two” piece, writer Hannah Goldfield delivered a piece on The Odeon which relied on speculation rather than truth.
    Admittedly the current strains on the hospitality business has made many restaurateurs, myself included, especially prickly. Taking the time to point out untrue statements in reviews is usually written off as inevitable journalistic sloth. However in these precarious times even the slightest imaginative liberty elevates a disheartening comment to a potentially damaging one. Beginning with the purported “impulse to offer support”, the writer proceeds to describe a nonexistent (and unappealing) situation.
    “This means that even the makeshift patio has its own Siberia, as a dining room’s least desirable section is known. One particularly unlucky couple sat within swinging distance of the door to the kitchen, through which produce is loaded and line cooks emerge for cigarette breaks.”
    The statement is patently assumptive and false.
    1 – Other than an alarmed kitchen fire exit door there is no kitchen door that opens to the sidewalk. A second door, also an emergency exit but from the dining room, is currently left open so servers and bussers can access the Thomas St café to service guests. Deliveries NEVER go through either of those emergency exits, pre-pandemic or post. (and why would they when we have 24 hour access to an elevator directly next to the main entrance of the restaurant on West Broadway?)
    2 – Cooks are not permitted, even in better times, to leave the premises for breaks. No staff is allowed to exit or enter the restaurant from either emergency exit side door for personal use. They are alarmed and locked. No one, front of house or back of house, is allowed to take cigarette breaks while working. As it happens, when I spoke to the kitchen crew about the reviewer’s claims, it turned out there was not one smoker in the entire group.
    3 – Lesser falsehoods: Why the large bottle of Purell on the dining table in the photograph without identifying it as the writer’s? (Perhaps better that the writer use it to sanitize her article rather than a prop for a photo shoot.) The martini photo at the top of the page is also unnecessarily misleading. The Odeon serves three olives (see 2nd photo) with its signature martinis and we do not use a bar code ordering system as is pictured in the lead photo insinuating we do.
    Lynn Wagenknecht
    The Odeon