From the Eater Lounge: Pat & Gina Neely

Throughout the Food & Wine Festival this weekend Eater welcomed bloggers, journalists and food world personalities to our lounge, The Eater Lounge, at MILK Studios. As the peeps pass through, we chatted them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business. Today we have some remainders from the Eater Lounge.

So how've you been enjoying the festival? GN: We've really enjoyed the festival. Loved the VIP party. It's been very hands-on, seeing people, meeting the fans. PN: It's been incredible, working with the Food Network, working with Lee Schrager.

Lee's a wolf. PN: What I really appreciate and respect about him is, when Tony [my brother] and I went to South Beach, there are so many people down there that are so passionate. After running our restaurants for 20 years, it's amazing to see kids with such passion for food.

With the rise of celebrity chefs, chefs have a harder time actually cooking and being in the restaurant. GN: You definitely miss it. We were in the restaurant every day. Sometimes on a Friday we'll show up, really surprise our customers. It's hard to give that up, cause that's how we started. We still cook at home. We try to do the same things we used to do.

Have you found any good places in New York? GN: We went to Sugar Bar last night. PN: We're true Southerners, we need collard greens, macaroni and cheese. You can get all that there. We're just figuring out New York now. GN: I just started eating sushi on the road. I'm learning all about it. I'm getting very adventurous. PN: And I'm going to the concierge asking, is there a place that makes cornbread? Corn on the cob? But each time we come to New York we've gotten more and more comfortable. GN:Where was it that we went, what was the name of that place? It was amazing. All Asian, samples of everything. Buddakan? It was amazing. Everything was so good.

PN: We went to Blue Smoke on Friday. The baby back ribs, the fried chicken were delicious. Even the worst barbecue in Memphis is pretty good. Blue Smoke, those guys, Danny Meyer, they have it together. We should go back and eat again without everyone else. GN: They really fed us, it was too much. PN: It was really—you know what? New York is alright.For more stories from Eater, go to

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