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 project on January 1, 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). 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 that if I’d like to, I could keep at this for the rest of my life—which is precisely the point. I first conceived of the title of this site as intentionally hyperbolic, but it has a deeper meaning. For when I say, “All the Restaurants in New York,” I’m being more aspirational than descriptive. It’s my aim to draw forever, and your support of this project makes that goal achievable.
I make all my prints in lots of 365, making each one a beautiful reminder of how our days are numbered. In addition to the prints you see on this site, I have a few books in the works. “All the Restaurants in New York,” came out in May 2019, and I’m busy with forthcoming volumes on London and Paris.
My work has been covered in The New York Times, on Eater, on 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.