TheLocal: Wylie Dufresne On 12-Day-Old Alder and 10-Year-Old WD-50


Alder, chef Wylie Dufresne’s latest venture, has now been open 12 days. That’s a little less than two weeks of frenetic Internet buzz, of outlets like The Local trying to take pictures and ask questions, and long lines of foodies eager to have their conception of pub grub and cocktails deconstructed in delectable ways.

But despite the hype and all the stress that comes with it, Mr. Dufresne didn’t appear harried when we spoke to him last week. He looked exactly like every other time you’ve seen him: flawlessly trimmed angular sideburns, a chef’s coat he seems to sleep in, and a mien of Zen-like calm. He has a way of being friendly without smiling.

Sitting at the bar near the window, Second Avenue seemed a parade of familiar faces to him. The East Village, a few blocks from where he went to high school, has become a beacon for foodies, with marquee chefs setting up shop in droves. But Mr. Dufresne isn’t moving in; he’s been here all along. While his first restaurant WD-50 – a temple of avant-garde cuisine that celebrates its 10th anniversary today – introduced him to the world, Alder is re-introducing him to his neighbors. The Local spoke to him about his life — and now work — in the East Village.

Q. Is it more difficult to open a restaurant now that you have such a reputation, and everybody’s watching?

Is it more difficult than it was to open WD-50? I don’t know. WD-50 was under quite a bit of scrutiny when it opened as well. It was a different kind of scrutiny. There wasn’t an Internet back then, and the ability for the anonymous blogger to weigh in instantly. I don’t know if I would say it’s more difficult, I’d just say it’s different. The game has changed, the rules have changed, the way it’s played has changed.

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