Jenny Levison’s summer vacation usually creates a yearly mosh pit outside Souper Jenny as fans hustle to stock their fridges to survive the drought.
We went by Souper Jenny, her quirky little Buckhead spot, one year to capture the drama. It seemed like diners were queued up past the Governor’s Mansion to grab their quarts of soup before Levison and her team, who traditionally all go on vacation for the month of August, split town.
This year the lines might not be as long, as Levison plans to cut her summer vacation in half. Souper Jenny and her other restaurant, the nearby Café Jonah and the Magical Attic, will be shuttered just the first two weeks of August.
“It’s the economy,” explained Levison, who is taking the crew to Charleston. “It’s a little harder. We still have all the expenses of being open (while on vacation).”
Levison isn’t coasting toward her annual respite, either. She’s just been featured in an advertorial spread in Oprah Winfrey’s magazine and has an upcoming “Today” show appearance to promote her new cookbook. The Oprah feature, sponsored by Cover Girl, asked for people to write in and share their tales of altruism. Levison submitted a piece about how Cafe Jonah donates 10 percent of its sales to local charities, and was one of four people selected from the 5,000 who entered.
“I have not heard from Oprah,” she quipped.” “I thought she was going to invite me over!”
Levison will be on “Today” next Monday, demonstrating recipes from “Souper Jenny Does Salads.”
“The most simple, best quality ingredients,” are the key to super salads, she said. “You don’t need to have 25 ingredients in salad.”
She also likes the idea of supporting local farmers markets.
“Everyone’s trying to go to more healthy and not eat so much meat,” she added.
Both of Levison’s restaurants are low-key celebrity magnets, with folks like Bette Midler, Sandra Bullock and Jason Bateman stopping by while they’re in town working on assorted projects.
“I think it’s because the St. Regis is right there we get the random celebrity,” she said. She isn’t sure what she’ll feed Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb during her “Today” appearance. (She isn’t sure exactly what time she’ll be on).
“They’ll tell me right before” what producers would like her to serve up. It’ll no doubt be colorful and camera friendly. And cold. Levison has visited “Today” before, and served grilled cheese sandwiches during her last appearance.
“Kathie Lee burned her lip!” she said.
All is forgiven, evidently!
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org