A former construction manager, music publicist, Bergdorf’s window dresser, dominatrix and dungeon owner, Erin Norris has lived enough lives to make all of us feel like a bunch of old fogies. The founder of one of Red Hook‘s newest eateries, Grindhaus, the sassy blonde is the embodiment of the resilience, edginess and charm that defines New York City.
Back in 2008, Erin set out with the goal of bringing a sausage parlor and beer hall to Red Hook, but as was the case for many in her ‘hood, Hurricane Sandy had other plans. After a long (and expensive) rebuilding effort, Erin finally opened the doors to Grindhaus in 2013. Things may not have gone as planned, but even so, she managed to create something that went far beyond her dreams. Today, Grindhaus is one of the city’s best restaurants, luring in the most discerning of food critics, from the palates over at Zagat to New York Times restaurant critic Peter Wells (who, by the way, even had her dish him seconds).
But beyond food, Erin is all about her waterfront neighborhood and the colorful characters that make it one of the most inimitable places in all of NYC. We recently caught up with Erin to get an insider’s look.