Upstairs, Downstairs: The Dalloway is New York’s Fanciest ‘Lesbian Implied’ Bar/Restaurant

Kim Stolz and Amanda Leigh Dunn, co-owners of The Dalloway

Kim Stolz and Amanda Leigh Dunn, co-owners of The Dalloway

“We’ve met before,” purred Kim Stolz, an impish grin on her face. The Transom was standing in a dark corner with the most famous lesbian to come out, as it were, of America’s Next Top Model. We were at the launch party for  The Dalloway, a bar/restaurant Ms. Stolz co-owns with fellow reality heroine Amanda Leigh Dunn, of The Real L-Word fame..

The Transom couldn’t recall previously meeting Ms. Stolz , though we remembered her infamous kiss with a curious competitor during Cycle 5 of ANTM, as well as her time as a VJ and correspondent on MTV News. Even in her new role as Citigroup vice president and part owner of the hottest lesbian spot to hit New York in decades, she was unmistakable.

“I feel like the New York lesbian scene was kind of different, more diverse when I was growing up,” said the Manhattan native. “But recently it’s been confined to dive bars and clubby atmospheres.”

The Dalloway, on the other hand, is a gorgeous, two-story affair on Broome and Thompson. The downstairs is a mix between a lounge and a club, where every Thursday night one can find the “Girls Party”  downstairs, where gyrating models and bookish butches dance with abandon.  The night the Transom attended, Samantha Ronson was DJing, and the area around her raised booth served as the dance floor.

But it’s the upstairs that makes The Dalloway unique. It’s a restaurant with freestanding antlers on all the tables and the kind of hipster-meets-high-end vibe that makes it difficult to place on the Kinsey Scale. ( resorts to the tortured locution “lesbian implied.”)

image003“We never planned to have food, originally,” said Ms. Stolz. “But we were approached by Vanessa Miller, and she told us that she loved our idea, and that we should at least agree to a tasting. And who turns down a free tasting?”

Ms. Miller, a 24-year-old with elfin features moved from Boston to work at The Dalloway, was clever to offer an introductory freebie, since, as we learned over the course of the night, she just might be New York’s next gastronomical wunderkind. As silver trays bustled by, we snatched small spoonfuls of delicately crafted fare: a take on fried chicken and mashed potatoes that featured a small cube of lightly-battered poultry on top of a cloud of fluffy polenta; an arugula salad with a dollop of avocado in a mysterious dressing that made our mouth almost decide to switch sides and become a vegetarian; and a parade of finger foods that put other holiday party catering to shame. Another guest, we noticed, had posted herself  near the kitchen so she could get first grab at the savory treat before they quickly disappeared into the mouths of The Dalloway’s guests.

“Obviously, we couldn’t say no once we tried the food,” Ms. Stolz said. So they decided to broaden the idea of The Dalloway, to make it a place where one could “go bring parents from out of town to eat.” While the 29-year-old Ms. Stolz said the door policy downstairs certainly didn’t demand queer credentials, the scene would be appeal to the “very LGBT community.”

“And foodies,” she added. Though obviously the two aren’t mutually exclusive.