BLACKBARN, a shop meets café-bar opened last month in New York’s Chelsea Market by interior designer Mark Zeff, his wife, Kristen Zeff, and Chef John Doherty (formerly of the Waldorf-Astoria for more than two decades), is a bet on the power of experience.
It’s the flagship as well as the third location for the design company—the firm is based in East Hampton and also runs the Blackbarn Shop in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. The new Chelsea location spotlights collaborative products, with European brands like Arxe and Serax sitting alongside a library edited by Aaron Hicklin of One Grand Books and finds sourced worldwide by the design couple. The café uses tableware, flatware, glasses and linens selected or designed by the Zeffs, and features an on-site garden store developed by Lexington Gardens.
How did the retail-meets-dining concept come about? Doherty tells EAL, “During a weekend trip to Mark’s home [dubbed Black Barn] in the Hamptons with our families, Mark and I decided that the Black Barn aesthetics would be perfect for the restaurant we were about to create. Mark and I have an extraordinary appreciation and respect for each other’s art and work. What we are doing at Chelsea Market is not new to us, it’s the way we work. Only the medium has changed. It’s a natural evolution to bringing people what they want and need.”