Have You Seen This Table Lamp? If You Eat Out in New York, You Will – The New York Times
She’s tall and svelte, with a sleek conical hat. She frequents New York City’s most coveted restaurant tables. She lights up a room.
Perhaps you’ve seen her? She’s a lamp. The Pina Pro cordless lamp from the Italian design company Zafferano, to be exact. And she’s everywhere.
In the evenings, servers at the stylish Italian restaurant Altro Paradiso, in SoHo, place Pina Pros on the tables outside, where the 14 tiny LED lights in each one cast a mellow, romantic glow over the pappardelle with duck ragù. A glow cozy enough, perhaps, to make you forget about the rat that just ran by, or the noise from the Ducati dealership across the street.
At the Dutch, a few blocks away on the corner of Prince and Sullivan Streets, the black hue of the lamp matches the columns surrounding the outdoor tables. One street over, several Pina Pros line the plant-filled dining shed at the French-Indonesian restaurant Wayan. The lamp’s list of loyalists keeps growing, mainly in Manhattan: Little Owl, Market Table, Cote, Mercer Kitchen, Vestry, Lodi, Cipriani. Brooklyn restaurants with Pina Pros include Evelina and Aurora.
“They are the most perfect model that there could be for an outdoor lamp for a restaurant,” said Lauren Miller, the director of operations for Mattos Hospitality, which runs Altro Paradiso. “They are totally user-friendly, they last a really long time, they don’t blow over,” as candles do. At $149 per lamp, they’re not cheap, but they’re rechargeable.
At Altro Paradiso, a few lamps have mysteriously disappeared, Ms. Miller said. When the restaurant didn’t yet have one for every table, “people would fight over them,” she added.
All the hubbub over a lighting source may remind some diners of the exposed-filament Edison bulb, which a decade ago became a restaurant-décor cliché.
The Pina Pro owes its ubiquity in part to the pandemic. In the summer of 2020, when New York restaurants were allowed to start outdoor service after being shut down, owners suddenly had to make dining on sidewalks and streets — amid the smells and sounds of the city — feel as intimate as dining indoors.
It was the lamp’s time to shine.
“Restaurants all over the city started putting tables out on sidewalks in the dark,” said Barrett Gross, the president of Zafferano America. “I saw this as a tremendous opportunity.”
The Pina Pro had debuted that February, a year after Zafferano had officially opened its American branch. But it didn’t sell well at first. So one night in June 2020, Mr. Gross walked around SoHo, where he lives, with two lamps in hand. He approached host stands, set the lamps down and turned them on.
At the Italian restaurant Cipriani, “one of the hosts said, ‘When can I have them?’” Mr. Gross recalled. “It was the most enthusiastic response I had ever gotten selling anything in my life.”
Once the lamps landed at a few Cipriani locations, other restaurateurs began to inquire about them, Mr. Gross said. …….