One of the best tables in the house at a New York City restaurant is also a hotel room.
Amid strict rules for indoor dining and smaller number of travelers due to the pandemic, Le Crocodile, a French restaurant at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, has created a totally private restaurant experience inside an empty hotel room to make up for business losses.
Restaurant owner and chef Aidan O'Neal says he came up with the idea to replace beds with dining tables but no one thought it was a good idea at first. They revisited the idea again in the summer and now every room on the hotel's second floor has been converted into dining rooms.
For a hundred dollars per person, diners get the room for the entire night to enjoy French food and drinks.
"It’s great," said diner Annabel Thompson, “as soon as we walked in, it’s very welcoming and warm.”
Another customer, Jordan Redaelli, said he thought the experience would feel really fancy and exclusive but he felt differently once inside.
"It’s really nice. It’s almost like having dinner in somebody’s house except you don’t have to do the dishes and the food’s much better," he laughed.
Chef O'Neal said the reaction has been really positive across the board.
"Being in a hotel room whether it’s a table or a bed still feels luxurious and exciting," he said.
The private rooms are fully booked most weekends, according to the restaurant, but Le Crocodile still has its main indoor dining room and their outdoor garden with limited seating and physically distanced tables as dictated by the state's guidelines.
"Just being in a room that’s ours for the evening...I’m not particularly nervous but this is an extra layer of reassurance," Redaelli said.