Medici’s main squeeze


Many restaurants advertise all-you-can-eat deals. But how about “all you can squeeze”? Every weekend Medici on 57th offers infinite refills of fresh-squeezed orange juice for $2 a glass. The only catch—or the best part, depending on one’s perspective—is that patrons squeeze all their own oranges, and “you have to squeeze quite a number of them to get a glass,” says assistant manager Mattie Pool. From 9 a.m., when the restaurant opens, to 2 p.m., when brunch ends, Medici typically goes through 200 to 250 oranges, with at least 100 people lining up for their turn at the squeezers.

It all started in the 1960s, says manager Kim Hayward, as the brainchild of owner Hans Morsbach, MBA’61, a bona fide devotee of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Hayward remembers when the regular menu included the deal and the waitstaff had to bring the squeezer and oranges to people’s tables. She also remembers when the Medici purchased their produce “a couple times a week” and ran out of oranges “by Sunday, frequently.” There’s been no shortage of oranges, Hayward says, since the restaurant set up an account with Hyde Park Produce about ten years ago. Now the Med purchases the oranges fresh, by the box, each Saturday and Sunday. The staff cuts the oranges into halves and places them into a large glass container between two squeezers. Though the tradition remains “really popular,” says Pool, the supply never runs out.

Hana Yoo, ’07

The jaws of juice (top) turn orange halves into glasses of OJ (bottom) at the Med.

October 5, 2005