If I were to create the Kosher Hall of Fame today, it would definitely include Joey Allaham. Joey is one of those visionaries who, like me and others, believed that kosher could be every bit as upscale as some of the finest eating establishments in the world. He proved it with his Prime Grill model that became an icon for better dining, attracting the rich and famous from far and near. I am always amazed how many people, even non-Jews, have heard of Prime Grill.
He ultimately opened many other themed quality restaurants, including Solo, located in the Sony Building in Midtown Manhattan. I enjoyed the Asian foods at Solo and was kind of surprised when it recently converted into an Italian dairy restaurant. Joey is smart enough to cut his losses and move on to a more profitable concept, which is exactly what happened, according to my close friend, the Restaurant Guy, Elan Kornblum. Solo, it appears is now turning into an upscale Chinese Restaurant. Says Elan: “Truth is, we did not see this coming so fast (although an upscale dairy restaurant in midtown was a risk) but now, being that this will be the only upscale Chinese restaurant in all of Manhattan, this is real promising.” Funny, that he says that, because I miss the old Bernstein on Essex Street.
So here is the official announcement from Joey’s Prime Group: "We are excited to announce that our Prime family of restaurants will now feature a totally new concept for us. Starting Sunday, September 29th (yesterday), Solo Restaurant will become Solo Chinese Kitchen and begin serving strictly kosher, authentic Chinese meat cuisine in the same beautiful setting as before." The menu, conceived by Chef Lin, will feature the finest quality renditions of delicious Chinese food favorites, expertly prepared and presented, as well as reasonably priced.”
For Pizza lovers, here is Joey’s answer: “We will, of course, continue to serve you our best selling Pizza next door at Pizza Da Solo and Chef Guillermo will now relocate our dairy kitchen over to the Lincoln Square Synagogue catering hall - we invite you to come and see it for your next event." So who says that a kosher restaurant can’t change its mind, which in my mind is part of the genius of Joey Allaham.