Gluttons for Punishment: How New York Restaurants Survived the Great GoogaMooga

Bao's bad boy on the Prospect Park pig-out

Googamooga succeeded Sunday not because fewer people came (the same amount showed up) or the beer/wine system got fixed, but because we’re cooks and we live to serve. There was El Olomega from Red Hook making thousands of pupusas by hand cooked to order. Maharlika was frantically shucking corn and grilling scratch sausage, but never once forgetting to smile. When food started running out, Coolio started giving it away.

Cooks know they’ll deal with dickheads. We know we won’t make much money. But we also know that if we work hard, there are gonna be a few people who appreciate the effort—who come up at the end of the day and tell us that our food reminds them of their grandmother’s. That’s what keeps us coming back like meth addicts to serve you fuckers all over again.

It was ambitious, maybe overly so, and at times it was heart-breaking. But on Sunday it was inspiring to see every team saddle up and take another beating just to say, “We can do it.”

As the sun started falling and Hall and Oates launched into the opening lines of “Maneater,” I thought, I hope Danny Meyer is watching. Because in the absence of The Roots, Bourdain or Aziz Ansari, Danny remains the only man in town who can sell an hour-long wait for burgers as an “experience.” Set that table, homie… Set that god damn table.