Restaurateur Jon Neidich has a knack for being ahead of social trends.
Neidich is the chief executive officer of Golden Age Hospitality and the owner of various bars and restaurants that have become institutions for New York’s social set: Acme, Tijuana Picnic, The Happiest Hour and Slowly Shirley.
Acme was one of the first spots to usher in the Nordic food movement; the dishes by then-chef Mads Refslund garnered a two-star rating from Pete Wells of the New York Times. When Refslund exited the restaurant in 2016, Neidich took the change in stride and enlisted chef Brian Loiacono to orchestrate an overhaul of the menu — then chose art from his own collection to redecorate the interior. With both The Happiest Hour and Acme, Neidich created subterranean club and bar spaces: Slowly Shirley and Acme Downstairs, respectively. This year, he’s opened a concept that taps the latest cool thing for a gathering place — a coworking space. Inside the Moxy NYC Downtown hotel, his new spot Recreation operates as a location for the gig economy to work during the day, then turns into a bar and lounge at night.
What’s the explanation for Neidich’s all-seeing approach to conducting his business? Perhaps his keen eye for people’s social behaviors aids him. When speaking to WWD in October about Moxy, he said: “I like the idea of there being ways to force human interaction outside of just having drinks with someone at the bar. People want to interact in more ways than, perhaps, they did before. I don’t know if it’s because technology has a way of connecting and yet isolating us.”
Or maybe, as his wife Alessandra Brawn put it, throwing a party is just in his DNA.