Some go to church to be collect, to afford a nice meal. Spiritual and terrestrial foods can cohabit, little that is not mixed gender. A time for prayer; a time to enjoy wild salmon, lobster or Greek Salad... We are in New York, in the heart of Manhattan, at the corner of Park Avenue and the 51st Street, where the church stands St. Bart's, three centuries old and still in activity. Full very activity since the religious building, not content to provide 2 daily offices, welcomes in its walls an Olympic swimming pool (in the basement), a Sports Hall and a restaurant.
Since the month of April, the Sodexho group has indeed installed a 200 covered terrace which is adjacent to the Church. The kitchens are in the rectory, which will soon host a room of 200 additional cover. "There is no comparable to New York places." "The fact to have an also great terrace, down the street and also picturesque framework, is truly outstanding," said Al Lopez, Director of the restaurant. The objective is to make it one of the famous tables of Manhattan. The Chief Cook, Matt Weingarten, was poached to price of gold to another New York restaurant.
If the framework is indeed exceptional and very reasonable prices (26 dollars on average lunch, rather 45 at night), the calm of the terrace is all relative because tables are still installed a few metres from the street and the work of the buildings around sometimes come to disrupt the discussions of the guests. Unnecessary to want to listen to the gentle but after all, we are in Manhattan, not the campaign.
For now, success is the appointment according to the long line that extends over the street. "Better book if one wants to have a table here", recognizes a young banker of affairs quietly installed on the terrace with Palm trees. The midi, the atmosphere is rather casual: a clientele mainly composed of tourists, young professionals working on Fifth Avenue and a few parishioners, who extend their passage to the Church by a moment of conviviality. "We are very attached to this church, in the life of the parish". "The fact that it hosts a restaurant doesn't bother me, on the contrary, it is a good way to raise funds to run the Church," reflects a parishioner, accompanied by his daughter. Indeed, the Sodexho group is committed to reverse nearly 20 of the turnover of the restaurant to the Anglican community that manages the building. What fuel funds to renovate the building and pay 20 employees involved maintenance and the functioning of the Church.
A "deal" financial completely assumed by the Reverend of St. Bart's, used to raise funds, and comfortable on the terrace of the restaurant before the altar of his Church also. "Basically, we do a little the same profession: that of hospitality", said Al Lopez. For those who still have doubts about the fact that business and religion can be good household, adding that the Church St. Bart's also offers a service to help seeking employment for his parishioners.