“My time at Union Square Cafe is unforgettable, it unknowingly shaped my career and helped me meet so many people that have been influential to my career, but more importantly, my life.” Perhaps surprisingly, Dan Kluger, the award-winning Chef & Owner of Loring Place and Penny Bridge, began his restaurant career in the dining room Union Square Cafe as an extern and host! But the kitchen beckoned and Dan began working the line at USC before joining the opening team of Tabla, where we would work his way up to Chef de Cuisine working with our dear friend Floyd Cardoz.
Favorite memory? “I have two. First is one night when the kitchen was down two cooks and the sous chef decided to put me on the line. I had no business being there and ruined the night for everyone, but she took a chance on me and hung in there and showed me that even with the greatest of failures, you need to push through and not let it defeat you. The other was cooking along Floyd Cardoz. He was getting ready to open Tabla and was doing menu testing out of Union Square Cafe. He and I hit it off and he gave me a few tasks. I immediately fell in love with his food and ended up working with him for 7 years.
Most important thing you learned at Union Square cafe? “Hospitality. I learned how little things like running out and getting a newspaper for someone or feeding the parking meter allowed our guests to let go and enjoy their experience. I also learned the importance of regulars.”