(CNN) — It’s safe to say no one in the world is sitting down to a three-plus hour, eight-course dinner costing hundreds of dollars at any of the top fine destinations around the globe.
The pandemic’s stronghold has all but made it impossible for luxury restaurants to keep doing what they were doing prior to the shutdown.
Three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, known for providing diners with a luxurious, unparalleled dining experience, among the most memorable in the world, is reincarnating itself.
Starting Thursday, it will use its resources to become a food commissary to support New York City’s first responders and others in need.
On Wednesday night, in an Instagram posted on his personal page, Daniel Humm, chef and owner of Make it Nice hospitality group, announced plans to turn the lights back on and help NYC weather a storm he thinks is just beginning.
“Starting today, we have turned Eleven Madison Park into a commissary kitchen with the goal of producing thousands of meals per day for those who are working in the front lines and those who are deeply effected by the current crisis,” Humm wrote on his Instagram featuring a dark, empty kitchen.
Not all Michelin-starred restaurants attempted the shift. And, indeed, a restaurant such as Eleven Madison Park, where the price of dinner includes otherworldly hospitality and just the right amount of guest coddling, might have struggled to make a smooth transition to takeout.
Eleven Madison Park has partnered with a local nonprofit to serve food to first responders.
“The high-end restaurants that are closed are bleeding cash right now,” she says. “In the US, they haven’t gotten economic relief from the government yet, and while some may get cash reprieve by pivoting to a takeout model, broadly speaking, to-go food at upscale restaurants isn’t profitable unless you do high volumes. These places weren’t designed for pick-up and delivery.”
As some mid-range restaurants struggle to serve customers during this uncertain period and as more upscale dining destinations opting for an all-out closure, dates of reopening TBD, Eleven Madison Park’s shift is noteworthy.
Eleven Madison Park is making approximately 2,000 meals a day, which Rethink is picking up and delivering to both hospitals and New Yorkers in need,” Rethink executive director of strategic initiatives Meg Savage tells CNN.
As soup kitchens around the city are closing, Savage says Rethink is scaling operations in response so they can serve more food to more people who need it.
Eleven Madison Park could not be immediately reached for comment, but the response, according to Humm’s Instagram has been overwhelming.
Less than 24 hours after making the announcement, Humm’s post had received over 21,000 likes and over 1,000 supportive, praising comments.
Shivani Vora contributed to this story.
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