How FBNY’s Lunch Column Came to Be

A brief history of Lunch at Michael's

FishbowlNY_10-yearsWhen Mediabistro’s intrepid founder Laurel Touby told Kurt Andersen she was launching a new media-centric site, he told her he’d read a list of who ate at Michael’s every week — and the “Lunch” column was born. (Here’s our very first post.)

What was once just a list of names and table numbers with a diagram of Michael’s floor plan has evolved into the gossip column it is today.

DrOzDianeClehaneI started doing “Lunch” in 2006 when Dorian Benkoil, a former Mediabistro editor, asked me if I’d take a stab writing up the weekly list of who’s who in media after we’d met at the restaurant on a day when I happened to know a lot of folks in the dining room. I was a new mom with a baby at home and figured, why not? For one day a week when I wasn’t hanging on by my fingertips at Gymboree, I’d mix and mingle with Manhattan’s famous and fabulous. I had no idea what I was in for.

Diane Clehane and Lesley Nicol

Looking back over nine years and some 300 columns, I’ve had a blast breaking bread with a head-spinning roster of media mavens, moguls and bold face names. Every Wednesday, there are so many tasty tidbits that come my way, I can barely squeeze them into one column. Some of my favorite “Lunches” have been with Dr. Mehmet Oz (who chose the column for his first sit down about his eponymous Hearst title), genetic wonders Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova (when they were forced to play nice while working together on “The Face”) and Lesley Nichol aka Mrs. Patmore on “Downton Abbey” (who was game enough to recite lines with me!) Last summer, I could barely believe Outlander author Diana Gabaldon when she told me how a dare to herself (she wanted to see if she could write a book) spawned one of the best-selling series of all time.

Happy anniversary, Fishbowl! Here’s to another year of dining and dishing with the A-list at Michael’s because “Lunch” is never just about lunch.

@DianeClehane Diane Clehane is Adweek's weekly 'Lunch' columnist.
Publish date: January 14, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT