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Superlatives view from the top michael feighery THE PRESIDENT OF SMITH & WOLLENSKY STEAKS A CLAIM ON BOSTON. by rebecca knight photography by eric levin M ichael Feighery's first job at Smith & Wollensky was as a butcher's assistant at the original Manhattan restaurant. The year was 1986, and Feighery (pronounced "fury") was fresh off the plane from Dublin. "The place had an aura," says Feighery, whose speech is a charm- ing combination of an Irish brogue with undertones of a New York wiseguy. "The jackets, the size of the steak knives, the big wine glasses, the grumpy waiters—its reputation was huge. I thought, This is what I came to this country for. This was my shot." His shot, indeed: Today Feighery is president of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, the classic steakhouse chain with nine restaurants in the US and almost 1,000 employees. Last year the company—which is owned by Bunker Hill Capital, a Boston-based private equity group—had table receipts totaling more than $65 million. This is the first full summer that the company's latest venture, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant on Atlantic Wharf, is open for busi- ness. The new eatery, which joins Boston's first Smith & Wollensky, at the Castle in Back Bay, includes an expansive dining area with several private rooms, a marble bar, and a sun-soaked patio. "This is the best location in Boston," he says. "It's in the business district, it's got waterfront dining, and it's close to the tourist area." Its décor pays homage to the original Smith & Wollensky in New York City, but staid and stuffy it isn't: The restaurant features glass- paneled peekaboo wine cellars, an eclectic mix of black-and-white photographs of celebrities, and quirky touches like bronze bookends shaped as boxing frogs that Feighery found at a local antiques gallery. Of course the biggest draw is what made the restaurant famous in the first place: succulent, prime, dry-aged steaks. While rib eyes and filets are mainstays, Feighery presides over regular in-house tasting committees where he and the chefs fine-tune the menu with continued on page 54 53 people, culture, style

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