The Nassau Club: Princeton’s Truly Private Eating Club

The Nassau Club: Princeton’s Truly Private Eating Club

Princeton University is known for its eating clubs: Cap and Gown, Charter, Ivy and Colonial. But this private members club isn’t associated with the university and doesn’t hold open houses to find new members. The Nassau Club was founded by Woodrow Wilson to bring the townsfolk and the University together. It now stands as one of the most elite dining clubs in the nation and Nathalie Wilson is its Director of Food and Beverage.

Food and Beverage Director Nathalie Wilson
Nassau Club’s Food and Beverage Director Nathalie Wilson

Wilson has served elite memberships across the country. As General Manager at Suburban Golf Club to Restaurant Manager at Greenwich Connecticut’s Stanwich Club, Wilson has seen the scenes behind the iron gates at the highest levels of private members clubs.

But Nassau Club is different. Wilson takes us through a day in the life of the club, from its guest rooms upstairs to its breakfast service through to dinner service. With just a dozen staff in the restaurant, Wilson takes care of each and every member, of which there are 1,100. Although membership seems heavy, half the membership is rarely seen but just continues to hold the membership for nostalgic reasons and perhaps their once-a-year trip to Princeton.

Search Firms Are In Bed With Private Clubs

The podcast turns toward finding talent post-Covid and how Nathalie believes executive search firms are not always finding talent but are more inspired to ensure they get the nod for the next search rather than find the right candidate for the search at hand. With a consolidation of executive search in the industry, Wilson is concerned that candidates are not being found and compensation packages are being artificially restrained.

The Wait Staff Olympics

Although Princeton might be a bit stodgy, the wait staff at various restaurants and clubs is not. The town holds the Wait Staff Olympics annually, in which waiters and waitresses might be seen trudging through Palmer Square with trays full of drinks and trying to gain the fastest time with the least droppings amidst cheering colleagues. Bonding for a service staff in a university town that is heaving full of people servicing the students, faculty and university dignitaries.

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