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New Tosca vs. Old Tosca

Caleb Pershan | April 25, 2013 | Food & Drink Story Eat and Drink

At first glance, Ken Friedman and Jeannette Etheredge could not be more different. The new NYC–based Tosca proprietor is in his 50s and cut his teeth as a promoter and agent for bands like the Smiths. Etheredge immigrated to San Francisco with her Manchurian-born mother, who opened her own see-and-be-seen restaurant, called Bali’s. Still, the two have important things in common.

They love back rooms:
The Spotted Pig’s third floor is only for VVIPs: “It’s like an apartment," said Friedman on the blog Food Republic. Chef friends Jamie Oliver and Mario Batali have been known to cook dinners there, and apparently Jay-Z has played Jenga there.

Though humble looking, Tosca’s back room is a shrine to the bar’s celebrated guests. Today, it reportedly contains only a card table and a bunch of photos of famous people. Etheredge fosters its mystery by not allowing it to be photographed.

They're buds with Bono:
Friedman once worked with U2, the Police, and the Clash as a promoter. U2 lead singer Bono is now a friend, and his management company invests in Friedman’s New York restaurants.

Bono is such a Tosca fan that he opened his own bar in Dublin named Tosca, which is run by his brother.

They like small pigs:
Friedman’s New York restaurant the Breslin serves a famed whole suckling pig for large groups. Not to mention, his collection of pig paraphernalia decorates the Spotted Pig.

Etheredge’s mother made a suckling pig for Francis Ford Coppola after The Godfather was released. “My mother gave great parties,” she told the S.F. Film Society.

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