LuLu & Me: Help Your Needy Neighbor Program Announced by Proprietors Karen Fohrhaltz Miele and Michael Miele with Holy Apostles Church Food Pantry to Receive 5% of Sunday And Monday Food Sales.
LuLu & Me is receiving high marks as “NoMad’s Neighborhood Restaurant.” On May 4, the name takes on an even more significant meaning when Michael Miele and his wife Karen Fohrhaltz Miele, LuLu’s proprietors, will donate five percent of all food sales every Sunday and Monday to the Holy Apostles Church food pantry beginning on Sunday, May 4. LuLu’s will host a private reception to launch the program on Monday, May 5, at 6:30 PM at the popular eatery located at 253 Fifth Avenue.“The Little Church Around the Corner” rector Bishop St. John, Lulu’s neighbor and a patron, was instrumental in the development of the food pantry assistance program with the Mieles.
For the Mieles, being a good neighbor goes beyond friendly service and fair pricing. Karen and Michael wanted to do something more, a commitment that the neighborhood could become more actively involved. The parishioners of “The Little Church Around the Corner” and Marble Collegiate have become loyal customers, particularly after Sunday services. Little Church rector Bishop St. John suggested a donation to the pantry would be an appropriate gesture of commitment to the neighborhood. But Miele and Fohrhaltz wanted the commitment to be more than a one-time deal. So, the LuLu & Me: Help Your Needy Neighbor program was born.
Bishop St. John and his parishioners will be among those attending the kick-off reception to officially announce the program, as well as to introduce some of Chef Karen’s spring dishes including Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with Red Quinoa, Mussels with Lemon Grass and Ginger, Scottish Salmon with Miso Butter, and Huevos al Diablo.
.Michael Miele and his wife, Karen Fohrhaltz, have operated successful restaurants in New York City in every decade since the 1970’s. While the restaurants have all been critically acclaimed, including a 2 star review in the New York Times for the ground-breaking American grill and rotisserie “Amsterdam’s,” they have always viewed their places as neighborhood restaurants. But not in the pejorative sense; rather, as places serving fresh, tasty, and accessible food, in a comfortable atmosphere.
Michael and Karen were led to search for a new location after their landlord didn’t renew their lease for the funky, and wildly successful rooftop Me Bar. They were drawn to the burgeoning area north of Madison Square Park, whose popularity was exploding, to a great extent based on the success of Eataly, The Ace Hotel, and the NoMad Hotel.
Noting how the restaurant business had changed over the years, they presumed that most of the new restaurants in the area would be large enterprises, parts of wither small or larger chains; and big-ticket places, destination locations perhaps not approachable for those locals seeking a relaxing, affordable evening out.
So they set out to simply do what would be their natural inclination. Karen created a Mediterranean inspired menu, focusing on the freshest ingredients available at the market, with tastes nuanced but not fussy; Michael chose wines to match, all very fairly priced; and they hired a front of the house and service staff that would be knowledgeable and professional, but would always be friendly and welcoming.
So, after two years in operation, “NoMad’s Neighborhood Restaurant” had evolved. LuLu & Me has become a favorite of a diverse group of “neighborhood” customers: the established textile firms who have anchored the business community for years, as well as the newer, media-related companies; local residents of all ages; and the tourists who stay in the many hotels in the area, and wish to have a proper New York lunch or dinner without being mistreated, either in the pocketbook or at the maître ‘d station.