Arkady Novikov’s NYC Takeover

Fine Food

If you haven’t heard of Russian entrepreneur and restaurateur Arkady Novikov, and any one of the establishments in his more than 50-restaurant empire across the globe, you may have been living under a rock.

From Moscow and London to Saint Petersburg and Dubai, with cuisine from French, Greek, and Italian to Asian and Azerbaijani, Novikov’s next stop is New York City.

Launching his first venture in Moscow in 1992 — and bringing with it a new approach to the kitchen, impeccable service, contemporary décor, and a comfortable atmosphere — Sirena, a seafood restaurant, marked the beginning of a new, post-Soviet stage in the development of Russian restaurant business.

Then came his popularity in London, which he attributes to the perfect location, the actual concept (three zones: Asian, Italian, and lounge), a stellar team, and the fact that he has retained full quality control.

Novikov shows no sign of stopping his restaurant rein any time soon, but when it comes to evolution, his ideology is simple: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“The ideology was good from the beginning, so we have just maintained that, rather than alter it. The people who were involved originally — the managers, chefs, directors — they are still the same people there today,” Novikov told Destinations of the World News. “We have kept exactly the same concept for kitchen and food, focusing on consistency.”

As successful as Novikov has been abroad (he is reportedly worth more than $300 million), he believes, like many in the industry, that if you haven’t made it in New York, you haven’t yet arrived.

“Europe and the rest of the world are like the World Cup, but New York City is the Olympics,” he said. “There’s lots of competition and amazing restaurants. But if you’re successful around the rest of the world, but have not yet entered the New York scene, you haven’t won yet.” Read more