In the spirit of Jason Polan’s Every Person in New York, and James Gulliver Hancock’s All the Buildings in New York, I launched this intentionally hyperbolic project in January of 2017. According to the previous year’s New Yorker profile of the critic Pete Wells, there are 24,000 restaurants in the city. It is mathematically possible to visit all of them in under a year by spending 20 minutes at a stop. Luckily, it takes me almost exactly 20 minutes to draw the façade of each place, working strictly from life, in ink (without a pencil or erasing anything). So in a perfect world, I’ll be done in twelve months.
Of course, that doesn’t take into account openings and closings, travel between each one, sleep, work, outside responsibilities, and the coloring I do, so I expect if I’d like to, I could keep at this for the rest of my life. And I just might be able to pull that off–in the fall of 2017 I secured a three-book, three-year deal with Abrams to do drawings of restaurants in New York, London, and Paris. The first one is due out in 2019. In the meantime, prints are available for purchase.
My work has been covered in The New York Times, on Eater, on the The New Yorker’s website (twice, the first mention being the most important thing I’ve ever written), in The Food Network Magazine, and by many other places.
In an earlier life, I was an editor at The New Yorker magazine, where I also published a few cartoons. In 2011, I edited “Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers who Cook for their Families,” a best-selling anthology featuring recipes and essays from Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Mark Kurlansky, Stephen King, Jim Harrison, and many others. I also used to write about cooking at home on my blog, Stay at Stove Dad, and I draw every day. Drop me a line at John [AT] johndonohue.com if you have any questions.