When Porter House Bar and Grill marked its 10th anniversary last fall, chef and owner Michael Lomonaco knew he wanted to do something special to mark the occasion.
The result is a monthly series, Brunch + Learn, during which diners can explore a variety of cultural topics over food and drink. The programming, which kicks off May 6 in the restaurant’s private dining room, also marks the first time Porter House is doing brunch, with brunch dishes and cocktails served exclusively for the series.
The events will range from panels to interactive discussions, with the first focusing on a personal interest of Lomonaco’s — photography in the Instagram age.
“I’ve been in love with photography since I was 12 years old. And Instagram is a great place to not only post your own photos, but to see great photography,” said Lomonaco, 62, who is on Instagram himself, under the handle @cheflomonaco. “I think it’s been a good way for me as a chef, and Porter House, to connect with people.”
The panel will be moderated by Eater’s Nick Solares, who will be in conversation with photographer Melissa Hom, @EatingNYC’s Alexa Mehraban and Bon Appetit digital editor Carey Polis on food photography and branding. Thanks to the brunch on hand, there will also be the chance for an interactive photo shoot.
“We’ll have it set up schoolroom-style, for question and answer,” Lomonaco said. “I’m bringing my camera — I want to learn more about food photography, too.”
Down the line, future panels and discussions might involve people in entertainment, publishing and the media — Jazz at Lincoln Center and CNN, Lomonaco noted, are also located in the same building as Porter House.
“We have a great deal of regulars in the restaurant who are in news, who are in entertainment, who are in media, which I think would give us an enormous opportunity to showcase them and what they’re thinking,” Lomonaco said. “I think this is our opportunity to kind of show another side of what the Porter House is. It’s part of hospitality — in a way, this is really, how can we create a warm and welcoming and safe environment for people to exchange ideas? All while eating and drinking.”
Kicking off Porter House’s first Brunch + Learn series, focusing on food photography, are:
- Nick Solares, photographer and host of Eater’s The Meat Show, @nicksolares
- Melissa Hom, photographer, @melissa_hom
- Alexa Mehraban, founder of EatingNYC, @EatingNYC
- Carey Polis, Bon Appetit’s digital editor, @careypolis
IF YOU GO
Porter House Brunch + Learn: The Changing Landscape of Food Photography is May 6 from noon-1:30 p.m. at Porter House Bar and Grill | 10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-9500 | tickets $45 (includes brunch and cocktails) at eventbrite.com