Aug. 6, 2015 By Michael Florio
The former chef to the Canadian Ambassador who is opening a French restaurant on 37th Avenue this fall has come up with a name and design plans.
Stewart Wadden, a Canadian native, is naming his 76-05 37th Ave restaurant Swim Two Birds after the 1939 novel by Flann O’Brien At Swim-Two-Birds.
Wadden is a big fan of O’Brien’s work since the author is known for putting a modern spin on classic stories–something he hopes to do with the restaurant.
The restaurant, which will offer French and American cuisine, is being designed Paul dePoo III, who has served as a production designer for a number of operas, musicals, plays and concerts. He designed the sets for Les Miserables at Maltz Jupiter Theater and The Rocky Horror Show at the Yale University Theater.
“Paul [dePoo] is amazing,” Wadden said. “He does great work and we can’t wait to see the restaurant when it’s completed.”
The design will feature a U-shaped bar that can seat roughly seven people. Past the bar is the dining area that can set up to 36 diners.
Custom-made ombre wallpaper will cover the walls in the dinning area, with laser cut panels that will mirror the wallpaper located below (see diagram).
This is the first restaurant dePoo has designed.
Wadden, just like dePoo, comes with pedigree. He has cooked for a number of international dignitaries—such as the queens of Belgium, Jordan and Norway. He has cooked for the Crown Princes and Princesses of Japan and Denmark, as well as UN Secretary Generals Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan and an array of presidents and prime ministers.
He studied in France, cooking with some of France’s most notable chefs such as Gabriel Biscay, Alain Ducasse and Michel de Matteis.
Wadden, who has lived in Jackson Heights for the past 14 years, told the Jackson Heights Post in June that he had been looking for the ideal location for his restaurant across the city for the past year. He said that when he spotted the Jackson Heights location he decided it was right for him since he is so familiar with the neighborhood.
The menu will include French dishes he learned while studying in France as well as American cuisine, including burgers and a variety of meat and seafood dishes, all made with fresh ingredients. He said recipe tastings will begin in September.
The menu will change daily.
“We want our customers to trust us to give them the best food that’s out there,” he said.
He also hopes to implement a cocktail menu at the bar after he is granted a full liquor license, which he expects in September.
Wadden recently created social media pages for the restaurant, which has created quite a buzz.
“A lot of people have started following the restaurant and want to know when we are opening,” he said.