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About Cynthia Gerdes

Cynthia Gerdes, CEO, co-founded Hell's Kitchen along with Steve Meyer and her husband Mitch Omer. The behind-the-scenes whirlwind pulls levers, whistles while she works, and dials up the magic in Hell as much as possible, much like the Wizard of Oz. A writer by trade, she's also fearless in pulling back the curtain and showing everyone what it's REALLY like to run a busy restaurant.
8 09, 2014

Inadvertently Insulting the Power Couple

By | 2016-10-14T16:36:33+00:00 September 8th, 2014|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

Hell’s Kitchen recently received a note that stopped us in our tracks. A gentleman criticized us for not treating “power couples” as VIPs, explaining that “most customers at restaurants are generally pieces of xxxx,” and that we should “ignore most of them but swallow our pride” when we interact with people who are “worthy of special treatment.” We honestly aren’t sure how seriously to take his attack—a quick online search hinted that he’s most likely [...]

21 01, 2012

“How in the hell did you get Corporate to agree with THIS idea?”

By | 2016-05-04T08:01:33+00:00 January 21st, 2012|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

Whether you live in New York or New Prague, you might like this behind-the-scenes peek proving it’s not always about the money: On Friday Jan 4, we dropped our jaws when we heard that Embarrass MN, up by the Canadian border, was facing a day that would actually be colder than Mars, according to NASA’s one-ton, nuclear powered robotic rover Curiosity. Minutes later, we spontaneously decided to lure Facebook fans from Embarrass to escape the [...]

31 12, 2011

Where the hell is my big vulture rubber stamp?

By | 2016-10-14T16:36:33+00:00 December 31st, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

It was 10:23 pm, just 2 days before we rang in the New Year, and I was going crazy, tearing apart the restaurant AND our apartment, trying to find my big, wood-handled rubber stamp with the vulture on it. Why was I so desperate for it? Because stacked throughout our little condo, on counters, tables, and wherever there was an inch of space, Mitch, the kids and I had 1,500 gift bags, the kinds with [...]

9 11, 2011

S-F-D-NUTS from the Peanut Gallery

By | 2016-10-14T16:36:33+00:00 November 9th, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

A brief, insightful, and truly sad summary of peanut butter by Mitch Omer. It takes 540 peanuts to make one 12 oz. jar of supermarket peanut butter; at Hell’s Kitchen, we use 603. No shit. And just how do we accomplish this? Well, for one, we don’t take up any space with food modifiers. Two, we don’t add food fortifications, and three, we refuse to use any commercial “spreads” like glycerin and other good stuff. [...]

13 10, 2011

If We Build It, Will You Come?

By | 2016-10-14T16:36:35+00:00 October 13th, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

Cyn here. We’re thinking of adding a bakery, maybe an edgy counterpart to our underground lair. The story so far: I’m squeezed in the middle row of an airplane, elbows scrunched tightly, knees bumping against the seat in front of me (and I’m only 5’2″) just coming back from a weekend bakery seminar in Chicago. The plane’s so crowded that they thew my little roll-on suitcase into the belly of the beast at the last [...]

5 10, 2011


By | 2016-10-14T16:36:35+00:00 October 5th, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

This is Summit Brewery’s tag line, but it falls woefully short. You owe your life to beer. And you. And you. And you. Without beer, life as we know it would not exist. Personally, I could end this story right there, and feel that I had covered all the bases. The oldest known recipe on earth is for beer, carved into a Sumerian clay tablet. It is because of beer that our knuckle-dragging Neolithic relatives [...]

21 09, 2011

Gotta Get Steve

By | 2016-05-04T08:02:53+00:00 September 21st, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

Within moments of deciding to open our own place in 2002, Mitch looked me squarely in the eye with only one demand: “Gotta get Steve.” This would be Steve Meyer, an industry peer Omer has worked alongside longer than he’s lived with his 3 wives. Talk about an odd couple: Mitch, an imposing polar bear, towers over Steve, a dead ringer for Nintendo’s Dr. Mario. See the picture here? Check it out for yourself. Whenever [...]

14 09, 2011

Food of the Gods

By | 2016-10-14T16:36:35+00:00 September 14th, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

I’m from Iowa; corn isn’t just a vegetable, it’s a religion. Actually, corn isn’t a vegetable at all, it’s a grain. But don’t tell that to the New York State Legislature, who passed a bill calling sweet corn the official State Vegetable. This is just stupid, squared. Yes, you can call it a vegetable, but the New York State Legislature? This like calling Rachel Ray a chef. You might watch her prepare food on television, [...]

7 09, 2011

How we almost went out of business just after we opened.

By | 2016-10-14T16:36:35+00:00 September 7th, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

Hey all you dreamers out there, if you’re hankering to open your own place, heed this advice: eyes W-I-D-E open, pockets V-E-R-Y deep. On May 6, 2002, we opened Hell’s Kitchen after several months of banging around on our old knees, scraping paint and crap off the previous tenant’s floors and equipment. Apparently, the corporation who owned DuJours, the breakfast joint which preceded us, closed it down suddenly after 11 years. They never even had [...]

31 08, 2011


By | 2016-10-14T16:36:35+00:00 August 31st, 2011|Bite Me Blog|0 Comments

Cyn here. Whenever we have a day where things just fall apart, I snap an imaginary rubber bracelet that says W.W.T.M.D? For example, in one 24/hour period: Two people from our “A Team” were out sick, a vendor ran very late with fresh food needed for lunch service, our bison rancher anxiously explained he was running low on his free range herd and might have to stop delivery for “a month or so,” a sudden [...]