New York City-native Nate Adler is the business-minded spirit behind Huertas — a Basque-inspired hideaway in Manhattan’s East Village. We caught up with him on transitioning from consulting to food, his musical tastes and the breakfast staple he makes himself.
How’d you go from a degree in business to working in food?
Pure stupidity [laughs]. When I went to college I wanted to be in politics, and then I transferred into the Wharton School to do a dual degree. I went down that path — the finance/consulting track. But it only took me one summer internship to realize that I didn’t want to do that. So senior year, I wrote a business plan for a new restaurant on campus, and I found a professor to sponsor an independent study for me — and I actually ended up opening it. It was a small take out and delivery joint in West Philadelphia. And that was the start of a career in restaurants. I came back to New York and started working for Danny Meyer. I spent three years with Danny at Blue Smoke, and then Jonah [Miller, Executive Chef and Owner of Huertas] called me up and was getting ready to open a restaurant and needed some help on the front of house side. It was the right opportunity at the right time.
How would you describe Huertas’ style?
Our goal at Huertas is to throw a party every night. In this case, in the Spanish style. We’re sort of trying to walk that tightrope between a fun, hip restaurant and also providing people with that element of comfort and hospitality. It’s the uptown service, downtown swagger sort of thing.
Are there things people might be surprised to know about you?
At Huertas I’m the front of house business guy, but I’d like to think I’m a pretty good cook myself. I guess that’s not really off brand for a restaurant owner but I’m super into making my own stock at home. I do soups and risotto, whatever I can to use to utilize that. I’m a member of the Park Slope Co-Op — I actually just worked a shift there this morning. I also bike to work every day from Brooklyn. If it’s not snowing, I’m biking. It takes about 20 minutes. I’m super into music, too. I have a record player at home. I go to any number of concerts that I can — lot of hip hop, indie folk, rock.
Typical breakfast? I make my own granola. This is the one meal that I always do. The other ones not so much. I usually do an acai bowl, yogurt, frozen berries and frozen bananas. Blend it all up and then eat it with granola.
Late night snack? My friend just started a kimchi company called Kimchi Cooks, so I like to toast up some bread and eat it with kimchi with melted cheese or hummus.
Guilty pleasure? Budweiser
Favorite condiment? Ketchup
Item you can’t live without? My sneakers or my bike
Any food you hate? Papaya
What would we always find in your fridge? Yogurt, pilsner beer