The chef who's opening a restaurant in the controversial Trump SoHo hotel thinks he can succeed where others have failed — here's why
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Operating a business in a Trump-branded property comes with a unique set of challenges in this political era. 

Take the Trump SoHo hotel in New York as an example. Once a regular for corporations and pro sports teams, the hotel has lost clients, lowered room rates, and been forced to lay off some staff after a reported decline in business. After the election, a restaurant in the hotel, called Koi, closed after foot trafficdeclined. Its replacement, Spring & Varick, opened this month, but John Creger, the new restaurant's head chef, isn't worried about filling seats. 

"I was looking for [a space] back down lower in the city. I wanted to do something with a different clientele that was looking to spend a little more money," Creger told Business Insider. 

When the owners of Trump SoHo got in touch, Creger was eager to get into the space. Still, he said that opening a restaurant associated with the Trump name was a "challenge." 

Recent investigative reporting done by ProPublica, WNYC, and the New Yorker revealed the sordid past of the Trump SoHo's development, which involved condo buyers suing the Trump Organization over misleading sales numbers. The Trumps eventually settled the civil suit with the buyers, who had alleged that Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. had lied about the number of units that had sold. 

And, post-election, some Trump brands are suffering as negative consumer perception grows. 

"We know that it's a challenge absolutely, but that said, everything we do here is a challenge — no matter what kitchen you're in, what building you're in, in a city [where] there's thousands of restaurants and tons of people who don't like this and that," Creger said. 

Drawing upon techniques he's learned during his time at restaurants like Le Cirque, Creger has developed an internationally inspired menu that includes edamame falafel, fish and chips, and a house burger served with comté cheese. See a sample of dishes below.

Tiffany Tirado