Toro

We’re pretty happy that Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette brought their Boston restaurant concept, Toro, to New York City. We’re also happy they teamed up with the charming restaurant development duo Doug Jacobs and Will Malnati (the guys behind Willow Road) to make the space happen. What is it to have four great personalities in one kitchen? We found out by asking each the same set of questions…

JAMIE BISSONNETTE

Favorite menu item at Toro…

It’s hard to have a favorite menu item, but no matter what, I can always eat a traditional Paella Valenciana. When spring hits, I want to eat all the asparagus that I can.

Your first priority when entering the restaurant…

My first priority is to be sure that our staff is organized and ready. If we get all of the work done, and can focus on service, we can have a lot more fun with our food and guests.

The most important aspect of the restaurant business…

To me it is making the guests feel at ease and happy. That and making sure that we are profitable.

The most important thing to know about a customer…

I think it’s important to know about a guest’s expectations. You never know what they are looking for. If someone had a shitty day, they may want us to help turn it around. If they had a great day, maybe we are just here to help them celebrate.

If you could add one thing to Toro, what would it be?

A water slide.

Three things different about Toro than other spots…

We have a huge menu. Our staff is amazing. We have a secret underground tunnel to play hide and seek.

Who is the one person that hasn’t come in, that you’d like to have in the restaurant? 

Jacques Pépin.

Words to open (restaurants) by…

Never look around at what is going right. Look around and anticipate what might go wrong.

KEN ORINGER

Favorite menu item at Toro…

I’d have to say the Uni Spoon. It’s this delicate little spoon full of amazingness: caviar, sea urchin, and quail egg with crispy Iberico ham. Unique, simple and creative.

Your first priority when entering the restaurant…

The first thing I do when I walk in is say hello to everyone.

The most important aspect of the restaurant business…

Passion, team work and hard work.

The most important thing to know about a customer…

That they’re always right, and that they’re paying your bills!

If you could add one thing to Toro, what would it be?

A bigger dishwasher.

Three things different about Toro than other spots…

A few noteworthy things are that we designed a restaurant without a designer. We have a menu that’s larger than most restaurants so you have a huge selection – this is more distinctive in New York than anywhere else. And while this is not necessarily “different,” Toro combines a lot of fun and great food.

Who is the one person that hasn’t come in, that you’d like to have in the restaurant?

For me it’s not about a particular person coming in; that list would be too long. It’s about making everyone that does come in extremely satisfied with their experience.

Words to open (restaurants) by…

Raise a lot of money and expect to spend a lot more. Always push, never be satisfied.

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