Dining Out

A New Home for Lazy Betty

By: Lia Picard

Lazy Betty was in its infancy when I first encountered it in 2018. Within a dimly lit dining room at the now defunct Highland Inn, chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips gave guests a preview of what was to come in their forthcoming restaurant—I can still recall the ode to “summer terroir and black truffle casserole,” a dish of pureed potatoes adorned with the cutest tiny mushrooms.

Those of us dining at the pop-ups knew that the chefs had something special. In 2023, Lazy Betty earned a Michelin star, confirming what we all already know. Now, Hsu and Phillips have said goodbye to that intimate, soft blue Candler Park dining room and leveled up to a much larger space in Midtown that once housed Empire State South. I caught up with Hsu and Phillips to hear more about the move and what it means for Lazy Betty.

Lazy Betty by Graftable IG @grftbl xWEB

Michelin-Starred Lazy Betty Makes a Move

Lazy Betty Photo Courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Lia Picard: Why did you want to move Lazy Betty into a larger space?

Aaron Phillips: “We had some humble beginnings and we were sort of working with what we had at Lazy Betty. The new location is definitely more reflective of the level of service that we provide to the community in terms of style of food and overall product.

Lia Picard: Any noteworthy design details in the new space?

Ron Hsu: “We used a lot of things from the old space. We had five pendant lights painted by local artist Christina Kwan in the old space but never turned them on because they were just too bright, and we spent thousands of dollars on these lights. The one thing we wanted to ensure was that we could move them to the new space. It was the first time in five years that we actually got to see customers underneath those lights. We used a lot of our furniture in the old space and had it reupholstered or refurbished. Sculptor Jenifer Lowe Thoem recreated her bird sculptures, which now hang over our two lounge nooks.

Lia Picard: How has the menu changed?

Aaron Phillips: The menu is a revisit of some of our bangers. As a team, we decided to pick some of our favorite dishes off the menus we’ve had since we opened. We added a few amuse bouches, petite fours, and desserts. We’ve also added a bar menu.

Lia Picard: Tell us about the bar menu.

Ron Hsu: The bar menu is geared toward more of a drinking type of dining experience. We are not going to try to serve anything that requires a knife and fork. You can get oysters at our bar, which have been very popular. Then we offer caviar service. Once we get our liquor license, we want to have different flights of wines and champagnes. You can order the tasting menu at the bar, but the lounge is strictly for the bar menu.

Lia Picard: What are you most excited about with the new space?

Ron Hsu: For me, it’s a momentous occasion. I feel like Lazy Betty’s growing up; we were in our infancy and we’ve grown up a little bit more. I think a common theme I’ve heard from our guests is that we always have great food and service, but now we finally have a dining [space] that lives up to the food and service as well.Aaron Phillips: I’m really excited to see the staff be able to focus more on their craft and experience and the Lazy Betty products, rather than trying to hold together a building that is not matching the level of hospitality they provide. So I’m excited to watch them flourish in this new environment.

Lazy Betty Photo by Graftable IG @grftbl

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