It was only a matter of time before reality TV collided with the Lower East Side. This summer, Sam Talbot, runner-up on last season’s Top Chef, will open a restaurant called Spitzer’s Corner at 101 Rivington Street. “It’s about 20 items on the menu—smaller preparations—but there’s 50 beers on tap, so I’ve been taking that into consideration with the menu,” said Mr. Talbot at Food & Wine magazine’s 2007 Best New Chefs awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 4, on the as-yet-unfinished 52nd floor of 7 World Trade Center. “The restaurant already has a sort of pub feel to it, but it’s my food—it’s new American, it’s eclectic, it’s seasonal, fun and funky.”
And what does the underwear-model-cum-restaurateur like to do when he’s not in the kitchen? “Besides the obvious?” he said, nodding at some giggling girls waiting a few yards away.
On the other side of the room, Top Chef winner Ilan Hall, wearing thick, nerdy-“cool” glasses, his hair in a limp mohawk-like strip, said he was also “single and enjoying life right now”; indeed, the hors d’oeuvre table he had manned with fellow winner Harold Dieterle had been positively flooded by scantily clad twentysomething women. But unlike Mr. Talbot, Mr. Hall has no business projects on the front burner. “I really need to focus and make sure that my next move is great,” he said. “I have to really not get too crazy, because I’m getting lots of offers from lots of people with lots of money. You know, I might be ready to run a restaurant. I’m not sure; there’s a lot of thought involved, a lot of planning, and I need to sort of weigh out all my options and really sort of weed out all the garbage and do the best thing for me possible at this time.”