NEW YORK – Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, perhaps best known for his TV cooking shows and his catchphrase “Bam!” has opened a new restaurant in Manhattan, his first ever in New York, and it happens to be Greek. Lagasse and restauranteurs Yiannis Chatiris and Eleni Vareli opened Rodos on January 8 in the lobby of Hotel Henri, 37 West 24th Street in Chelsea, according to the New York Post.
“The restaurant is the first project as a part of Lagasse’s new consulting division, We Love Food Hospitality,” Eater New York reported.
Inspired by and named after Chatiris’ home island of Rhodes, the restaurant seats 112 and offers Lagasse’s signature Louisiana take on Greek seafood, adding some Cajun-Creole flavors, according to Eater.
Chatiris is also no stranger to the New York restaurant scene. He also owns the popular Mykonos Blue in Hotel Hayden, 127 West 28th Street in Manhattan, which offers delicious Greek fare and elegant ambience.
Rodos offers a variety of traditional Greek dishes including grilled fish and avgolemeono soup, as well as items you might also find in New Orleans such as Louisiana crawfish-stuffed clams. “The taramosalata features Cajun caviar,” Eater reported, adding that wine and cocktails are also available.”
Though Lagasse is a well-known TV chef and also owns many restaurants across the country, in New Orleans, Orlando, and Las Vegas, among other cities, Rodos is his first restaurant in New York, Eater reported.
Among his many awards and honors, Lagasse won Best Southeast Regional Chef from the James Beard Foundation in 1991, the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Food Network in 2009, and Humanitarian of the Year from the James Beard Foundation in 2013. He also won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Culinary Program for Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse in 2017.
“Yiannis and I have known each other professionally for years and became friends,” Lagasse told the Post. “I’ve had more than 75 offers to open in New York but nothing was right until now.”
Following several trips to Greece, Lagasse and Chatiris were ready to launch the new restaurant. Lagasse, who is of French-Canadian and Portuguese descent, said, “I’m inspired by the food and the people of Greece, I’m a fanatic about fish and so are the Greeks. That’s why the food there is so magical. They are surrounded by the sea and the things that come out of the sea are incredible,” the Post reported.