Danny Meyer opened his first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, when he was 27 years old. That was twenty five years ago, last fall. These days it seems as though it takes a particularly tough alignment of factors for a place to persevere that long. When you visit Union Square Cafe, it's not hard to see why it has thrived without even seeming dated.
Tucked away on 16th Street, just west of Union Square, the restaurant manages to appeal to those looking for a casual meal and those who want to get gussied up for a special occasion. Although one would be wise to book in advance, it's not so coveted that you won't be able to get a reservation for months. The menu is wide ranging enough to bring people of varying tastes together at one table. Despite the restaurant's apparent popularity, the service isn't rushed and my dining companion and I were allowed to have a leisurely dinner.