The Dalloway is a multi-level restaurant in the heart of Soho created by Amanda Leigh Dunn and Kim Stolz. Dunn holds a recurring role on Showtime’s The Real L Word, while Stolz’s history includes a stint on America’s Next Top Model and a role as an MTV news anchor. Both lovely ladies sit at the helm of this Virginia Woolf inspired restaurant; their chef Vanessa Miller perfectly completes what is a powerful trifecta.
The restaurant may have started as a welcome space for the LBGT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] community, but it’s now become a neighborhood favorite for great cocktails, food and a club-meets-cozy-restaurant vibe (something rarely done successfully). We chatted with the two owners on their (semi) new spot…
What would be your ideal food day?
Amanda: Kale and Eggs for breakfast, Lobster Sliders for lunch and our Hanger Steak with our Cauliflower Trio for dinner. Mmm…
Kim: Our Egg En Cocotte for breakfast, our Brussels Sprouts Salad for lunch and a two-part dinner of a Lobster Slider and our new Carbonara from the spring menu.
How did your backgrounds in media inspire your work at The Dalloway?
Amanda: I have always worked with venues and have done a lot of the designing and run of show, but it was an amazing experience to see what goes into actually establishing our own venue. The media contacts I have established over the years became very helpful, and coming up with fun events and activities within the branding of the restaurant was like no other experience I’ve had before. Designing the space was really exciting. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Kim: My background in media has been informational for me in all walks of life. I think The Dalloway came more from the desire to fill what I saw as a gap in New York City’s LGBT social scene. I have always been a foodie, so making it a restaurant was a no-brainer. I love bringing people together, celebrating great food and drinks and being able to cater to all different types of people. Whether straight or LGBT, people love The Dalloway and love our menu.
Is the spot filling a void that wasn’t there before? If so, what is it?
Amanda: Yes definitely. We sought out to create a “safe place” so to speak, for the LGBT community and the rest of the community alike. We really wanted a place that didn’t feel like you were walking into a “gay bar” but at the same time gave off the energy and warmth of having a home within the community. We keep our doors open to everyone and I think the mesh between our clientele is very warm; no one feels like it isn’t a place for them. You can come meet girls, or you can come have dinner with your family.
Kim: I think The Dalloway fills two different types of gaps. In New York City, where the restaurant scene is constantly changing and evolving, I have always felt that there was a dearth of restaurants where I could order not just one, but a few of my favorite items without feeling overwhelmed. At The Dalloway, you can have the fried chicken, the steak and one of our amazing pastas and still be ready for dessert. Socially, I think The Dalloway fills a void in the LGBT bar scene. We are cognizant and celebratory of the other LGBT bars, but I think ours caters to a more sophisticated crowd. Where else can you take your parents to dinner, meet clients for drinks and then party with your friends in the way that you can at The Dalloway? I think lesbians have been looking for a place to go that would rival some of the establishments that gay men have in this city – and I think they have found this type of place at The Dalloway.
Do you have backgrounds in food? What are they?
Amanda: I would definitely consider myself a foodie, but other than working with the catering on different events I had executed over the years, I had no prior food experience. Vanessa Miller swept in and created something amazing and more than we could have imagined. She is a truly talented chef.
Kim: I don’t…but I do have a long-time love and passion for it.