Six years ago one of NYC's most beloved restaurants, Gino on Manhattan's Upper East Side, shut its doors after 65 years of red sauce and red zebra-print wallpaper. By all accounts — and there were many — it was an institution, and one that seemed recession proof (though it was ultimately unable to withstand an $8,000 rent hike in 2010). Gino's closure was newsworthy because it had become larger than life thanks to the no-fuss ambiance and the regulars who occupied the dining room. According to a new documentary — The Missing Ingredient: What is the Recipe for Success? — "It was a club, and everybody knew each other."
Two years after it closed, a longstanding Italian restaurant about 12 blocks south of Gino's original location decided to revamp its menu and decor. The owners of Pescatore in Manhattan's Midtown East neighborhood wanted to cultivate a memorable atmosphere and inject some life into their business, which was dwindling. Remembering Gino's wallpaper, they decided to install their own zebra print paper — but with a yellow background, instead of red. For many New Yorkers, this move was sacrilege; Gino all but owned that wallpaper. But for Pescatore, would the wallpaper switch be the secret ingredient that could keep the business alive? Watch the trailer for The Missing Ingredient, above.
The film is now available to stream anywhere streaming is available.
Editor's note: The film (though not the trailer) includes an appearance by Eater NY editor Greg Morabito but Eater was otherwise uninvolved in the production of this film.