Proof The Independent is good enough to eat

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The Independent Online
David Usborne

New York

At last we've made it, at least in New York. Everyone is talking about The Independent. I have seen grown men drool.

All this is perfectly natural. This is a discerning bunch down here in arty Soho, and at $3 an issue (only one day late), The Independent does offer unparalleled intellectual value. Although why the prospect of unfolding our pages should lead to profuse salivation was less clear to me, until I discovered that we are talking about The Independent as a restaurant. There it is, in the coolest climes of Tribeca on West Broadway, with its simple but oh-so-refined name emblazoned on its awning. The lettering is virtually indistinguishable from that of the masthead to this page.

Its doors have only been open two weeks, but The Independent is assuredly hot. The fashion designers Paul Smith and Isaac Mizrahi both chose it for their Christmas parties. On the night I was there this week, there was an editor from the Village Voice on one side and from the Paper, another Soho street-sheet, on the other.

My business card caused a brief stir. The co-owners, Bruce Hanks and Jedd Lieberman, eyed me nervously. Yes, we know our names are the same, they venture, but the similarity of typefaces was purely coincidental.

Mr Hanks, it turns out, is a Briton and a long-time fan of, yes, us. He was a partner in a London restaurant, the First Floor on the Portobello Road, in 1986 when this newspaper was launched and was an instant fan. " `Independent' is just such a brilliant word," he explains. So good luck to The Independent and long may it prosper and long may we be the talk of New York.

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