The South Williamsburg bartender/poet usually goes to her friend Steve Von Riepen, at Fun City Tattoo on St. Marks Place, to get her work done. Her favorite? A tattoo of martini olives on her collarbone, a tribute to her 90-year-old grandmother, affectionately nicknamed Miss Martini Mae.

Colleen Grapes, executive pastry chef
The Red Cat (227 Tenth Avenue) and the Harrison (355 Greenwich Street)

During his reign as The New York Times’ food critic, Frank Bruni inspired widely publicized rants from restaurateurs Jeffrey Chodorow and Keith McNally. Who would have guessed that he also inspired a tattoo? “I got three pretty good Frank Bruni reviews in two years,” Colleen Grapes says, referring to his reviews of Dressler, Irving Mill, and the Harrison (two, one, and two stars, respectively). “I was happy and proud of that, so I was like 'I’ve got to get something.’ ”

Jesse Schenker
Mark Hewko
Jesse Schenker
Brian Smith
Mark Hewko
Brian Smith
Brie Huling
Mark Hewko
Brie Huling

What she got was a rendering of the chemical compound for theobromine, the bitter alkaloid found in chocolate, inked about a year ago at Saved Tattoo in Williamsburg. It’s only the first part of a two-part tattoo she hopes to complete soon, the second component being the Mayan god of chocolate, bringing together the mystical and scientific origins of chocolate. Of course, as befitting her surname, she has a bundle of Bordeaux grapes tattooed on her back, which she had done by an artist known simply as Bugs at the New York Tattoo Convention three years ago. The family didn’t take to her tribute right away, but they’ve since warmed to it: “Now we go out and [my dad] says, 'Show people your tattoo!’ and I’m like 'Dad! Come on, that’s embarrassing!’ ”

Chris Leahy, executive chef
BLT Prime (111 East 22nd Street)

Chris Leahy just might have the most unique food tattoo in the restaurant business: a soup bowl with the word “Gastronomique” written across it and a turnip, Spanish mackerel, and a cow’s head floating overhead in the soup’s steam.

“I wanted it to be food-related, but I didn’t want it to be something simple like a vegetable,” says Leahy of the tattoo, which took four and a half hours to complete. “I wanted it to be more intricate. I wanted people to think about it, for it to represent multiple layers of flavors.”

It has been six years since he bartered food-for-tattoo with a Long Island artist at Calle Ocho, and since then, he’s only gotten one more, his family crest on his forearm. But don’t worry; he’s got another complicated culinary tattoo on the schedule. He’s planning on getting a face completely composed of different types of food in the style of 16th-century Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

And what do his parents think of all his ink? “They’re like, 'How are you going to feel about that tattoo when you are 80?’ and I said, 'I’m going to feel pretty good about it. I’m going to look at it and remember living in New York City and all the cool things I’ve done here.’ ”

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...