She’s tall and svelte, with a sleek conical hat. She frequents Recent York City’s most coveted restaurant tables. She lights up a room.
Perhaps you’ve seen her? She’s a lamp. The Pina Pro cordless lamp from the Italian design company Zafferano, to be exact. And she or he’s all over the place.
Within the evenings, servers at the trendy Italian restaurant Altro Paradiso, in SoHo, place Pina Pros on the tables outside, where the 14 tiny LED lights in each solid a mellow, romantic glow over the pappardelle with duck ragù. A glow cozy enough, perhaps, to make you forget in regards to the rat that just ran by, or the noise from the Ducati dealership across the road.
At the Dutch, just a few blocks away on the corner of Prince and Sullivan Streets, the black hue of the lamp matches the columns surrounding the outdoor tables. One street over, several Pina Pros line the plant-filled dining shed on the French-Indonesian restaurant Wayan. The lamp’s list of loyalists keeps growing, mainly in Manhattan: Little Owl, Market Table, Cote, Mercer Kitchen, Vestry, Lodi, Cipriani. Brooklyn restaurants with Pina Pros include Evelina and Aurora.
“They’re essentially the most perfect model that there could possibly be for an outside lamp for a restaurant,” said Lauren Miller, the director of operations for Mattos Hospitality, which runs Altro Paradiso. “They’re totally user-friendly, they last a extremely very long time, they don’t blow over,” as candles do. At $149 per lamp, they’re not low-cost, but they’re rechargeable.
At Altro Paradiso, just a few lamps have mysteriously disappeared, Ms. Miller said. When the restaurant didn’t yet have one for each table, “people would fight over them,” she added.
All of the hubbub over a lighting source may remind some diners of the exposed-filament Edison bulb, which a decade ago became a restaurant-décor cliché.
The Pina Pro owes its ubiquity partly to the pandemic. In the summertime of 2020, when Recent York restaurants were allowed to start out outdoor service after being shut down, owners suddenly needed to make dining on sidewalks and streets — amid the smells and sounds of the town — feel as intimate as dining indoors.
It was the lamp’s time to shine.
“Restaurants all around the city began putting tables out on sidewalks in the dead of night,” said Barrett Gross, the president of Zafferano America. “I saw this as an incredible opportunity.”
The Pina Pro had debuted that February, a yr after Zafferano had officially opened its American branch. Nevertheless it didn’t sell well at first. So one night in June 2020, Mr. Gross walked around SoHo, where he lives, with two lamps in hand. He approached host stands, set the lamps down and turned them on.
On the Italian restaurant Cipriani, “one in all the hosts said, ‘When can I actually have them?’” Mr. Gross recalled. “It was essentially the most enthusiastic response I had ever gotten selling anything in my life.”
Once the lamps landed at just a few Cipriani locations, other restaurateurs began to inquire about them, Mr. Gross said. Diners asked in the event that they could buy the lamp on their table.
The lamp “was so good for restaurants on the time when restaurants had no idea serve meals outside,” said Joey Campanaro, the chef and owner of Little Owl. It provided “comfort and utility.”
“The ability of sunshine is unbelievable,” he added, “especially in a restaurant.”
Greater than 20,000 of the lamps sold previously yr in the US, Mr. Gross said.
Sales grew by 910 percent from 2020 to 2021, and are heading in the right direction to greater than double in 2022, said Ben Austin, who runs marketing for Zafferano America. Restaurants made 20 to 30 percent of those purchases, most of them in Recent York. However the lamp is gaining traction in other cities, including Miami (where the white model is a favourite) and Washington, Mr. Austin said.
At several restaurants, diners can order the Pina Pro directly from their table, using QR codes placed on the underside of the lamps. The corporate says it hasn’t spent any money on traditional promoting.
Gianni Morsell, who was eating on the Dutch last Saturday night, said she had never seen a lamp just like the Pina Pro. “I’d totally buy this for my home,” she said.
KwangHo Lee, the president of the SoHo and Upper West Side locations of the Japanese restaurant Momoya, saw the lamps on the Dutch in March. He now uses them at his SoHo location, and said he won’t return to candles, which must be replaced and cleaned commonly.
But there’ll at all times be those preferring dinner by candlelight. On a recent night at Altro Paradiso, Jillian McKigney switched off the Pina Pro at her outdoor table, saying it was “slightly sterile.”
Her dining companion, Blair Brice, said the lamp’s tiny head and heavy base felt disproportional. She missed the yellow glow of a candle, and the best way it flickers and dances. “Votives eternally,” she said.