ART & DESIGN

Inside Hasbeens & Willbees

Kai Kuhne and John Mollett partner on Hasbeens & Willbees, a quirky restaurant and store in upstate New York


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The restaurant can accommodate 20 inside but it’s the outdoor seating that is most prized. Over the weekend our group stayed well past midnight, and caught not one but three shooting stars.

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From the outside, the place looks like a nondescript shanty. Inside, it’s a truly bizarre bazaar, where one can find an assortment of stuff from this stuffed baby deer and a full tiki-bar set to vintage Gaultier sportswear and knits by VPL.

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An awe-inspiring collection of old Sotheby’s catalogues (yes, they’re for sale, too) perfectly accompanies a hand woven rope mat by Sophie Aschauer of Serpent Sea. Everything, okay, everything except maybe one or two items too difficult to part with, is available for purchase.

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On the walls is an assortment of vintage oddities and contemporary art, like this whimsical Martin Kippenberger and Marko Lehanka piece which came from Leo Koenig and Maggie Clinton Koenig, whose place is five doors down. Also seen here: Butt Magazine’s racy beach towels and a series of framed honeycombs.

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A simple and fresh menu culled from local farmers (including nearby Dan Finn and Tom Monroe) and prepared by Mollett serves to “lower the carbon footprint, but boost the taste level,” according to Kuhne.

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The incredibly fresh jumbo lump crab comes from Coopers Island, Maryland. The recipe has been in Mollett’s family for generations.

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Friends and colleagues lend their distinct flair to the space: Along with artwork from the Leo Koenig, there are goods from Serpent Sea and Butt Magazine, jewelry from Patricia von Musulin, photo books from Marcelo Krasilcic, bags from Quit Mad Stop, and perfumes from Aedes de Venustas.