The Family Meal – Friday, March 10th, 2017

Hello, Friday!

Bet you’re busy. Let’s get right to it…

David vs GoliathThe Washingtonian saysCork Wine Bar owners Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross filed an unfair competition lawsuit against Donald Trump and the Trump International Hotel in DC Wednesday night, alleging that the president’s continued affiliation with the government-owned property puts competing businesses at a disadvantage.” Not to be out-clicked, Vanity Fair’s headline asks “Is this the lawsuit that could bring down Trump’s presidency?” (I’m laying down a strong “NOPE” marker.)

Some sad news: “Restaurateur Hans Pauli Has Died – He founded Sant Ambroeus, a luxe cafe that embodied Old New York” – Brief obituary in EaterNY.

Speaking of Old New York… The old Four Seasons is in the news again, with a great (if long) write-up on Major Food Group’s renovations in Grubstreet (titled appropriately “What Have They Done to The Four Seasons?”), and a brand new lawsuit described in the NY Post: “Celebrity chef Marc Murphy, of Landmarc fame, is suing Major Food Group over its new restaurants in the Seagram Building — which will be called Landmark, short for ‘the Landmark Rooms.’”

The Grubstreet write-up has some great pics of new vs. old, and the NY Post article has this very helpful explainer: “’When pronounced, the words Landmark and Landmarc are phonetically identical,’ the lawsuit pointed out.” Ooooohhhh, now I get it.

Remember Mei Lin? Want to live vicariously through a Top Chef winner? She cooks for Oprah, she does a pop-up here and there, she headlines events. No restaurant yet, but looks like life is good, and busy. Profile here.

Famous people eat freePete Wells’s NYT rundown on the marriage between high-end hotels and celebrity chefs is enough to make a debtor cry: “’The hotel pays for everything… They build the restaurant for you,’ said [restaurateur Ken Friedman], who is [Chef April] Bloomfield’s business partner. ‘They say, “What do you think it’s going to cost for chairs and tables and lighting?” They pay for it all.’ …Most hotels will even help cover the publicist’s bills.”

Millennials, so hot right now – Young and hip at heart, Thomas Keller is trying to lure in a fresh crowd with heavily discounted meals at Per Se on another special “Under 30” night. EaterNY says, “he got the idea from Michelin three-star restaurant Auberge de l’Ill in France, where chef Marc Haeberlin used the tactic to introduce younger diners to fine dining.” Now to introduce them to the true costs of said dining…

Shake Shack Stat: The stock dropped over 10% after they announced that same store sales went up only 1.5% this year, and their projection for next year is growth of 0.03%.

This Family Meal is brought to you by Bilgola. Bilgola is a creative agency providing design services for the food service industry. The Bilgola team takes a straightforward, collaborative approach to solving problems for businesses of all sizes, from startups to global brands. Services include beautifying emails and invites, event pages, websites, menus and more. Happy customers include Jamie’s Italian, Nespresso and Kingsley’s Steakhouse. Have a creative challenge? Hit Bilgola with it –

San Francisco’s water is not particularly special… Everyone likes to think their water is special.” – Sorry, Bay Area folks (and New Yorkers for that matter). That quote comes from Christopher Hendon, “an MIT chemist” and “true coffee nerd” as he talks with the Chronicle about water sourcing changes that will mix treated SF groundwater with the “pristine” stuff from Hetch Hetchy. If you’re a brewer, baker, or coffee maker: heads up – the filtration system salesmen are coming.

Michelin’s 2017 “Main Cities of Europe” is out with a grand total of 497 starred restaurants and 311 Bib Gourmands. It’s a bit of a summary guide, as it includes selections from the country books released over the past few months, but summaries can be useful, so here’re all the stars on Scribd (for new selections only, skip ahead to page 19 of 34).

How do you say “Lovely day for a Guinness” in Kazakh? The Irish pub in that obscure place you visited once was indeed shipped there in its entirety, just as you suspected. Siobhán Brett has the story in Eater, and it’s an interesting take on what “authentic” actually means. “Almost every part of the bar the eye falls on — from the stocky tables and the upholstered chairs to the floor tiling and the mock oil lamps dangling from the ceiling — were railed into the unit… from a 40-foot container that spent between three and five weeks at sea.”

There’s a business opportunity out there for someone who’s done some coffee shop design… “Comes in 3 models: Lit-hip, i-hip, and Family.”

For your somm – Know someone who keeps talking about someday making their own wine?  Send them this story from the SF Chronicle: “Gratta operates a fully licensed winery in her garage, producing a few hundred cases of Italian-inspired wines each year. In 2015, she opened a tasting room just a few blocks away. This year, for the first time, she quit her day job.”

And finally, SXSW is on – I went last year and at some point found myself talking to a guy who told me robots would be delivering food on the streets of D.C. soon. I laughed. I was wrong. They are here.

That’s it for today. A little slow on major news, but some interesting longer form stuff in here for the weekend. Here’s hoping you have a second to read…

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or your Shake Shack stock short positions to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s