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Menu Talk with Pat and Bret

David Burke shares his perspective on restaurant trends

The legendary chef and restaurateur discusses the current state of the industry


David Burke has been wowing his customers and fellow chefs for decades. He was already executive chef of the legendary River Café in Brooklyn, N.Y. at the age of 26, and while he was there got a three-star review in The New York Times. He went on to head up the kitchens of the Smith & Wollensky restaurant group, including Park Avenue Café, Maloney & Porcelli, Cité, the Post House, and others, and became an expert at steak in the process. He went on to open critically acclaimed Davidburke & Donatella among other restaurants in New York City.

These days he spends most of his time running restaurants in his home state of New Jersey, but he still has one restaurant in New York City, David Burke Tavern, and he’s planning on opening another one, a modern brasserie called Park Avenue Kitchen, later this year. He also recently started running the Port City Club in Cornelius, N.C.

Burke is credited with having invented many dishes, including the swordfish chop and cake pops. He has treated guests to candles made of beef tallow that they could pour over their beef, and served food on blocks of pink Himalayan salt before anyone else was doing that. He also created an aging room for beef lined with the salt.

In April 2022 he purchased 89-year-old Dixie Lee Bakery and incorporated its products into his business. He also recently established the David Burke Scholarship at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, N.J., for which his annual donation of $10,000 pays the tuition for two students every year: one for a culinary arts major, and one for someone studying hospitality management. 

Burke recently discussed his approach to running restaurants, his perspective on where the industry is going, and food that he’s excited about.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Correction: June 20, 2023
An error in the name of David Burke's soon-to-open restaurant in Manhattan has been corrected.
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