For much of the past two decades, John DeLucie has been one of New York City’s most popular Chefs. This year, he has partnered with Cafeteria Group to reopen Chelsea’s iconic Empire Diner located on 10th Ave near The High Line. The Diner features an 80 seat outdoor terrace and is bustling from breakfast until late night with a menu focused on elevated American Comfort food.
In 2016, inspired by the wood grilling tastes he experienced on a vacation to Buenos Aires , DeLucie opened Bedford & Co. in mid-town Manhattan in the historic Renwick Hotel. The restaurant features seasonal American cooking utilizing a hand-made wood-burning grill.
In 2010 DeLucie’s acclaimed restaurant, The Lion was called “eye-catching” (W Magazine), “the latest addition to the power pantheon” (Time Out New York), and “the edge of the volcano” (Gael Greene) that “has the media, fashion and pretty folks out in force” (Women’s Wear Daily). But it’s not the celebrity clientele that demands the most attention. In the end, it all comes down to John’s simple cooking—a passion that was instilled in him as a little boy.
In 2005 DeLucie along with Graydon Carter founded The Waverly Inn, where his take on classic American cuisine attracted both the celebrity crowd and serious food fans, who were wowed by his original and eye-opening offerings. In 2007 Frank Bruni of The NY Times stated:
“When word gets out that your chef, John DeLucie, is doing some of the best tuna tartare in town (all that creamy avocado and zingy heat!), plus a hefty and juicy pork chop, a classically blissful Dover sole, an addictive clam chowder, a gorgeous fillet of wild salmon (with those adorable little beluga lentils) and such feloniously fatty short ribs, won’t there be even more lemmings tumbling down the steps from Bank Street and through the door”.
DeLucie’s Italian grandfather owned a fruit and vegetable market, and would bring home a bounty of fresh produce for his grandmother to turn into meals showcasing fresh seasonal flavors. Those early taste lessons left a lasting impression: Although John tried his hand at a few 9-to-5 jobs after graduating from NYU, he eventually gave in to his natural culinary curiosity. After a tour of Europe’s great cuisine centers—France and Italy—DeLucie began to sculpt his own cooking style, fusing modern cooking techniques with
Upon returning to the States, John landed a job in the kitchen of the groundbreaking Southwestern eatery, Arizona 206, which received 3 stars from the New York Times. In 1996, he took over as Chef de Cuisine at the venerable seafood restaurant Oceana under the tutelage of Chef Rick Moonen.
Today, DeLucie’s style remains as distinctively simple as it is universally praised.