With summer in the city approaching, we’re heading into a season that prides itself on adventure and trust us, there’s PLENTY of that to go around in NYC. Our featured girl Cyndi Ramirez is the perfect example as she really takes the cake when it comes to trying new things in fashion, food, and well, just about anything! She currently helms Taste The Style a lifestyle destination that provides “daily inspiration for the stylish and the hungry” through curated city guides, original series, and vibrant photoshoots. Offline, Cyndi splits her time between various projects as Den Hospitality’s self-proclaimed “first lady” (more like BOSS lady) and other creative endeavors – all of which led us wanting to know more. So we followed Cyndi to The Garret East (and inside we also got to experience the newly opened and basically perfect secret restaurant, dinnertable) and chatted with the bonafide city girl about how she’s navigated her way through both NYC’s fashion and hospitality scenes over delicious (and ‘gram worthy) cocktails. From one city girl to another check out more from our afternoon below!

Hey Cyndi, thanks for having us! As far as we’re concerned you’re truly a boss babe who is DOMINATING the food-meets-fashion scene. From your hospitality group to Taste The Style, looking back how did you REALLY get to this point in your life and career?

It was long and trying to figure everything out was definitely part of the challenge! I’ve always kind of known I’ve wanted to be in many different industries. I went to school for fashion marketing, in my time off I would waitress and bartend and work in the hospitality industry and I just kind of started to fall in love with it. I knew I wanted to be involved but didn’t really know how – I wasn’t a chef and I wasn’t trying to be manager – but I knew I wanted to stay in the loop in some way, shape or form. So I actually started Taste The Style many years ago as a restaurant review site as a way to put my two cents into the world and to talk about the places I loved going to. This was way before blogs were even a thing! It wasn’t anything big at the time, it was a personal thing. From there, I kind of shelved it for a while, and started trying out different things – some have stuck and some haven’t!

But after starting the site, I actually started working for a consultancy called Third Wave Fashion which really taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur and the world of start-ups. From there, I decided to relaunch Taste The Style to see what I could really do with it, and started incorporating fashion which was something that I built in the name a while back.

I actually had picked it back up as my personal blog but realized I didn’t want it to be about me, I wanted to be a publisher and have other people put in their two cents. That’s why it is what it is now!

“Generally, everything has really come full circle and I like to keep my options open.”

 

 

What does it mean to Taste The Style and how have you been able to convey NYC’s colorful food scene via your digital platform?

It means everything! When I started the site the second time around, I realized that there weren’t many blogs or publishers that were really combining fashion and food where it was kitschy and fun and really playful in an editorialized way. I wanted it to be celebrating people that enjoyed both fashion and food… as much as they love what they put on, they love what they eat too.

With celebrated places like The Garret and your newly opened concept dinnertable, how do you think these venues really speak to the Alphabet City neighborhood? How do you hope they help shape the neighborhood moving forward? 

For us it was about bringing something new to the neighborhood – something that wasn’t really here to begin with that was a nice, comfortable, refined place to be your go-to drinking establishment. There are so many bars in the neighborhood and while I love them all, they all feel very similar. With us it was really about taking our vision which was having a really nicely-designed living room environment and putting it in the East Village. We wanted to create a place for people looking to enjoy their drinks in a nice elevated environment.

“For us it was about bringing something new to the neighborhood – something that wasn’t really here to begin with that was a nice, comfortable, refined place to be your go-to drinking establishment.”

For dinnertable it was the same thing too. We wanted a fun place, and obviously tying in with the “secret” element that we have with The Garret, we wanted to keep that same fluidity throughout both properties; but it was a matter of how do we do that without being just another hidden bar? So when we actually found the space we thought it would be perfect to create a small restaurant in the back and that’s how it came together.

What are you saying to cheers to this summer? 

Getting married and exploring France!

What are your 3 go-to cocktails that are perfect for quenching summer thirst?

An Aperol Spritz, Rosé, and Spicy Mezcal Margaritas – those are my go-to drinks all year long.

If you had to choose a drink that embodied you perfectly what would it be?

I’m definitely a Mezcal Negroni! People actually ask my fiancé and I what drink we are as a couple, but it really embodies me perfectly. It’s really spicy, a little smokey, definitely strong at times but at the end of the day really well-balanced.

What advice would you give to city girls who want to make it big in NYC’s food/hospitality industry?

Work in it as much as you possible can, offer your help to everyone, and every different position in the hospitality space. No job is too small for you to handle! In general it’s important to connect with as many people as you can and expose yourself to different communities, different women. Really latch onto awesome people that you meet and grow together and collaborate as much as possible. I think that’s the key to everything.

For first time city dwellers how would you describe a taste of NYC’s style and food scene?

I think first and foremost it’s all about comfort. New Yorkers do an exceptional job of combining their own personal style with accessibility, comfort, and wearability – you really have to! One second you’re at work, the next you’re at happy hour, and that may turn into 1AM at a club – especially in your 20s that’s what it can come to. I would say just learning how to make yourself as presentable as possible so you can carry yourself throughout the day is important.

For food, oh man – there are just no limits when it comes to food in New York. There’s nothing that hasn’t been done and there is always something new and exciting. Depending on how you want to explore New York and if you’re into food, this is the only place that you can do it.

When you’re not working or at one of your venues, where can we find you in the city?

I do brunch a lot at Hudson Clearwater, Soho House because I’m a member, and Malaparte which is a cute little place in the West Village. Generally I’ll go to places where I know it’s not going to be a big wait!

 

“I wanted it to be celebrating people that enjoyed both fashion and food… as much as they love what they put on, they love what they eat too.”

Photos by Bridget Badore for OVERT NYC