Monday, February 21, 2000

Open for business

Perfectly salmony- pink crawfish (with their heads on) were being served up with a glistening lobster sauce on tiny plates. Right on their heels was a small army of delectable hors d'oeuvres for a mix of Internet-nauts and Foodies at the party on Monday, February 21st at the upscale and posh 11 Madison.

Chuck Templeton (pres and CEO) and Sid Gorham (VP of biz dev) were standing on an upper platform, surveying their party and told me they wanted to have an event to celebrate recent good news and partnerships and announce they have arrived in New York. Based in San Francisco it was only a matter of time before they had to come to one of the greatest cities in the world for dining out.

NY1's petite Liz Gerst was chatting with Joseph Gawronski (pres/COO) and David Kanbar (CEO) of, which also offers an online reservations system for other services. Around a banquette, James Broder of Bear Stearns told me about the unique potato chips and spiced almonds at the bars. Scene-sters Kathy Reilly (Flooz), Seth Price ( and Cindy Cook (Hamptons Country), part of the beautiful posse, enjoyed some of the other yummy treats being passed around. This was also where I met the curly-topped Hunter Watkins in his crested-blazer of and Sal Esposito of Il Cortile.

Erika Jakubassa and Michael Abramson of Flatiron Magazine and I sat down for some melt-in-your-mouth Hazelnut Parfait with a chocolate swirl and talked about the design of Open Table's logo and website (a bit retro). Their upcoming issue will kick off a new technology section, with contributions from Yours Truly, and some fantastic profiles of notable Flatiron-Silicon-Alley-ers. Pamela Parker of came over to say hello and as I headed upstairs for a demo of the service I chatted with Bill Gurley (Benchmark Capital), Adam Dell and Rene Benedetto of Impact Venture Partners.

Amy Hamilton, operations manager for NY gave me a tour of the website for customers and the interface for restaurants. Before leaving I asked executive chef Kerry Heffernan about his experience with the Open Table system, which is in their restaurant. He raved the software is great and was excited about the mix of Internet and restaurant professionals who came this February night.