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To contemplate and to chug

Mr. Meyer (*) was touring the alley and talking about how three years ago, when Goldman pitched him, he had no interest. "It was a part of the city I had zero experience with," he said. "I said, Are we just going to be flapping in the wind down here?"

The pitch convinced him. He proposed putting in a Shake Shack and a Blue Smoke barbecue outpost. Goldman said that wouldn't be enough. It insisted on a new restaurant, too. And so Mr. Meyer conceived North End Grill, an upscale seafood place.

His belief is that restaurants do better with company. So he called up some fellow restaurant owners to see if they would come down, too. Nope.

Over at Blue Smoke, which sits on Vesey Street, Mr. Meyer pointed out how the blue illuminated barbecue sign was positioned so it could be visible from all floors of the new World Trade Center rising down the street.

"I love watching that go up," he said. He knelt down and snapped a picture of it with his phone.

He said he had learned that workers at their desks after-hours at Goldman and the various towers typically got a meal voucher of $25. So Blue Smoke offers a $25 takeout dinner.

After the markets close, the Blue Smoke bar is flush with traders. "At 5:02, you have to literally chisel people off the wall," Mr. Meyer said. The North End bar gets crowded, too, but with higher-grade clientele. "There, it's a cocktail to contemplate, and here it's a cocktail to chug," Mr. Meyer said.

(*) Danny Meyer, the prolific New York restaurateur who heads Union Square Hospitality Group, and he opened three restaurants, with his latest outpost of the Shake Shack


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