Faith needs your help. Who’s Faith? You obviously don’t live in New York. Gearing up for our publishing foray into that city to the north, we've started meeting some of the top players. And one of them, whose name seems to be plastered on every building where high-end store space is available, is New York’s queen of retail brokers, Faith Hope Consolo. (That’s why we love NY; we don’t have those kinds of names here.) She came to DC last weekend looking for a second location for Trattoria Dell’ Arte, a Seventh Avenue Tuscan eatery favored by Jay-Z and Beyonce (he likes the marguerite pizza, she the carbonara), Paul McCartney, Usher, Steve Martin, and Charlie Rose (well, no restaurant can be perfect). So, help Faith decide: Where should they locate it? (Contact info below.)
At the Georgetown Four Seasons last Sunday; where else would you expect her to stay? She went to Paris to study art history, then started a modeling agency in Beverly Hills and sold it to Max Factor at age 24. She also started an interior design firm and worked as a Wall Street trader.
Faith arrived in DC by train Saturday at 10 AM. In her hotel room she found “tons of packages” from DC owners and brokers wanting her business. By 11 she was out with an independent broker in his van, stopping frequently to walk K Street, Georgetown, DuPont Circle, East End, Chevy Chase, and Bethesda. She got the assignment last month; her client is Shelly Fineman’s Café Concepts which owns not only Trattoria, but the famed Brooklyn Diner, Redeye Grille, Bond 45, and Shelly’s. She’s represented big deal NY restaurants in the past like Daniel and Jean Georges, and even done work in reverse: She saw Houstons in DC years ago and brought it to NY. For Trattoria, she hopes to find three interested locations and stimulate bidding.
Technically Faith is Chairman of the Retail Leasing Division of Prudential Douglas Elliman, which bills itself as the largest real estate firm in New York; there she heads the NY Metro group of 36 and also manages 250 agents in 50 other offices across the country. But she’s really known as the pistol who represents Cartier, Hugo Boss, Godiva, Baccarat, and Jimmy Choo; and brought to New York the likes of Fendi, Versace, Ferragamo, Bruno Magli, and Yves Saint Laurent. She goes a lot to Boston, Philly, Chicago, LA, SF, and San Diego repping clients. “Although we think everything happens in New York, and it does, and that’s where brand is established in America, you have to visit other cities in person all the time.” But she is surgical about it: “I can go to any city for 20 minutes and get the vibe.” The vibe changes, so for one client or other, she’s been coming to DC every month for several years.
When Elliott and I went to New York Wednesday for a Real Share conference (more on that in another issue), we did lunch at Trattoria—partly because we wanted to sample the city’s biggest antipasto bar, as GM Paola Delgato shows off above. His own favorite dish: Pounded thin veal chop smothered in parmesan pomodoro sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Faith’s longtime No. Two, Joe Aquino, with Café Concept CFO Bill Duffy, who says that five of the top 10 grossing independent restaurants in the city belong to their group. He and Paola describe the restaurant as hospitality-driven rather than chef-driven: “We’re not a hot chef of the month who wants to open his own restaurant.” Colors are orange and yellow, the host’s station is well inside the restaurant to seem more approachable, and there is a sense of whimsy as indicated by the art collection enshrining famous Italian noses from da Vinci to Pavarotti.
Ears and other body parts are celebrated as well. Standing with maitre d’ Brandon Fay and Bill the CFO, next to a typical wall decoration, Joe wants to hear your suggestions on where to locate the restaurant in DC. They’d like a heavy lunch and dinner crowd. C’mon, give it your best shot; show ‘em our DC sophistication. Contact Faith and Joe at: firstname.lastname@example.org.