Friday, July 20, 2007

29 Ceres Street - looking back, moving ahead

Four months have now passed (in the blink of an eye, it seems), and Denise and I continue to feel rewarded by the community’s response to Black Trumpet. There is no question that we have worked hard (with tons of help from our inherited Lindbergh’s staff) to make this transition as smooth as possible. We remain sensitive to the needs of the “old guard,” but the changes to menu and d├ęcor have gone over very big indeed. Feedback continues to be resoundingly positive, despite the anxiety and trepidation of many.

It has been interesting to note that for everyone who has inquired, “What happened to Lindbergh’s?” there is someone else who steps in to ask, “Did this used to be Blue Strawbery?”

Many newcomers to town don’t fully grasp the significance of Blue Strawbery’s impact in the space we now call home. James Haller’s incredible vision survived a thoroughly baffled town planning board (which predated the Chamber of Commerce), an initial public reception that bordered on hostile and twenty-six ensuring years of restauranting through changing times.

Buddy Haller (his preferred nickname) should be vaunted in the company of America’s culinary heroes; he was innovating dishes and wowing customers with local product (there wasn’t any non-local product to speak of then) at the same time Alice Waters and Jasper White were getting national attention for similar efforts.

Chef Haller and I have begun work on a cookbook that will span the 36-year history of 29 Ceres Street, including the prolific 7-year period of Chef Jeff Tenner’s recipes at Lindbergh’s Crossing. The book – currently seeking a publisher – promises to be a monumental tribute and fascinating study as well.

Signing off for now,