Drew Nieporent, a New York Restaurateur
It’s Friday night, early summer in the ‘Big Apple.’ Drew Nieporent has spent all day with me allowing us to follow him throughout his busy schedule as one of New York’s most well-known restaurateurs.
His list of partners include several, but none more noteworthy than Robert De Niro.
This is a testament to who Drew is in the world of wining and dining.
Over the last 25 years, Drew has opened and operated over 33 establishments on every scale of dining. Needless to say my decision to follow Drew around stems from my understanding of just how stressful and difficult managing all of this vision and energy can be.
The first thing you will see is that Drew does not drive anywhere. He can’t drive – he has no driver’s license. He leaves this up to Tony, who is his personal assistant/confidant and soft-spoken-get-the-job-done kinda guy. You pretty much figure out he can make anything happen.
This is tested throughout the day since Drew is regularly fielding calls on two, sometimes three, cell phones. These calls can be anything from last minute dinner reservations needed at one of his restaurants for some high profile attorney or in the case of what I witnessed, the task Tony was trying to pull off: tickets that night for clients in Vegas to a fight at the MGM.
Drew is more than just a restaurant guy. He is also the go-to guy for New Yorkers who need something special and can’t pull it off themselves or through their own contacts. As Drew says, “We do favors because we can. It always comes back to me and the restaurants; it’s part of my business.”
My reason for choosing Drew was to see how he is aging. He’s been fighting a weight issue for years; it’s gone up and down. Right now at 57, he would say, “well, I’ve fallen off the wagon.” His weight is not where he would like it and he’s fighting a new condition that causes blood clots.
Our day with Drew took us throughout the restaurant dynasty in the Tribeca community that Robert De Niro created by way of a real estate movement, fueled by local business people who helped spark a rebirth in the area called ‘Tribeca.’ They refer to Drew as ‘the godfather of Tribeca.’ Incidentally, all of the artwork hung on the walls of the Tribeca Grill were done by De Niro’s father.
At one point in the day, we made our way to Midtown to his wine store Crush and a quick leap onto the subway back downtown to Tribeca for an ‘all guys night’ dinner of close friends and one invited guest, Tom Rau from Brighton, MI.
Before the dinner, Drew sat down and we talked about what it’s like as a guy as busy as he is in trying to build into his game plan of life to age healthier. Drew was blatantly honest about his health. He also felt that being in this film was going to be his wake up call. Let’s hope so.
I have no idea what New York would do without its Drew.
Guy’s Big Dinner Night
I told Drew I wanted to spend the day with him filming. He had no problem but said, “Plan on coming to a guy’s dinner at Tribeca Grill in the private dining room in the evening.”
Traveling with us was Tom Rau, owner of Nexcare Health System, and 55 other companies, who is one of our leading supporters of the film about men. I felt Tom would fit right in and he did, especially since he grew up in New Jersey.
Clearly, Steve Schirripa, who is a close friend of Drew’s, was a highlight of the evening. A fun, great guy and extremely opinionated - just the way I like it. As you might recall, he played Bobby Baccalieri on the Sopranos.
The night of talking, razing and opening up was emotionally beneficial to all who attended. And the best part? I filmed the entire night.
It will be a great addition to the film.
To learn more about the film and view the trailer, go to www.embraceofaging.com.