The Family Meal – Friday, May 19th, 2017

Hello Friday,

Sorry today’s Family Meal is a bit late, but about an hour ago, Eater editor Helen Rosner tweeted “The worst news of our lives is going to appear on Eater NY very soon and I can hardly go on anymore.”

I stopped the press(ing of the button that sends you this newsletter).

Just now she replied: “False alarm.”

Moving on…

For your radar – Might want to monitor your Google stars a bit more, and keep your storefront looking good… Grubstreet says the team in Mountain View is ramping up live image search for phones (and aping a Yelp feature from way back in 2009): “Aim the camera at a restaurant, and the app won’t just recognize which restaurant it is, it’ll also populate Google’s restaurant rating and other relevant info right there on the screen.” Google’s tweet with gif of a demo is here.

Side note: When Yelp released their version, the latest iPhone was a 3GS…

Tell PR: “Shop the Restaurant” – Eater’s new feature promises to guide readers to furniture and kitchenware similar to what they see in their favorite restaurants. First up: Single Thread. “With extravagantly comfortable seating, gorgeous carpet, and capital-F Furniture that harkens back to the work of design icons…” Next up? Maybe they’ll do some of this at their local site level too? Call PR stat.

PR Coup – “Sorry, Los Angeles, but this is the best restaurant city in America right now.” So sayeth the editors of Condé Nast Traveler at the outset of their 19 Best Restaurants in Chicago list…. Jonathon Gold just choked on a taco.

Batali Sued – A pastry chef at Babbo says his supervisor set him up by telling him he could take a pork chop home, and then firing him for stealing it the next day. This after the chef filed multiple complaints about homophobic harassment in the workplace, including one just a week before the alleged pork pilfering. Batali, Bastianich, related businesses, and a few co-workers are all named in the suit.

Speaking of lawsuits… Airport $ and reputation risksPetrossian Caviar and Champagne Bar in LAX is getting sued by a former chef who says they serve expired caviar. “The LAX restaurant is not owned or run by the famed (in caviar circles) Petrossian family … an independent operator merely licenses the name.” Good luck getting Google to explain that to the next person who searches “Petrossian”.

The Hack – “Restaurant search service Zomato… has revealed that millions of its customer accounts were accessed, with email addresses and hashed passwords stolen.” The hashed passwords should be hard to crack, according to VentureBeat, but Zomato is resetting all of them anyway, so you may wind up with confused customers if you use the service.

A Bi-Coastal Tale of Never-Ending Experiments:

In SF: Cortney Burns and Nick Balla, the longtime chef duo behind now-closed Bar Tartine, are taking what they’ve learned from their temporary, experimental restaurant Motze and reopening it as a Central European concept called Duna… Motze will close on May 28 for an interior revamp and Duna will debut on Thursday, June 1.” Full story here.

In NYC:Empellon Cocina in the East Village, the experimental jewel of Alex Stupak’s growing Mexican-inspired empire… will close on Saturday, the chef announced on the restaurant’s website… ” Eater NY write-up here. Chef’s blog post on the closing (“We lost a lot of money on those fancy chairs”) here.

Final Service: L.A. Edition – “Eater has learned that Westside restaurant Santa Monica Yacht Club has officially closed. The two-year-old eatery was launched in 2015 by chef Andrew Kirschner, but quietly pegged last night as their final evening of dinner service.” The chef told Eater he’s “decided to focus solely on Tar & Roses.”

This Family Meal is brought to you by World Central Kitchen‘s Dine N Dash event in Washington, D.C. On June 7th, join hosts José Andrés, Andrew Zimmern, and Ted Allen for a tour of some of the District’s best restaurants. All proceeds go to support World Central Kitchen’s mission of using smart solutions to hunger and poverty to make sure food is an agent of change around the world. Tickets and more information here.

Yelp Scandal at Yale – A headline I never thought I’d type, but… it seems a dean at the university has left some pretty brutal reviews on Yelp lately (“To put it quite simply: if you are white trash this is the perfect night out for you.”) and students are unimpressed.

Hyper LocoL –  Via Eater SF: “Plot twist: Days before opening the doors to his Dogpatch spinoff, Restaurateur Daniel Patterson has announced plans to open yet another location of Alta CA, this one a mere ten minute walk from the original Alta CA.”

For the Bar – “Wicked Weed’s ‘Kick in the Dick’ Sale to InBev” Charleston City Paper documents the backlash from the recent deal: “So many breweries pulled out of Wicked Weed’s sour beer festival planned for July 8… that they were forced to cancel the event. Bottle shops have vowed not to give any more shelf space to the brewery… And several operations, like Denver’s Black Project, that had agreed to brew collaborations with Wicked Weed, have changed their minds.” It appears the craft beer world is kicking the dick-kicker in the dick. (I am so sorry.)

Follow up – The real money in beer right now? Check out the rare bottle secondary market: “In February, one bottle of 2015 Westly, a Sante Adairius farmhouse ale, sold on the peer-to-peer beer resale site for $300. In April, three bottles of a collaboration beer with Vermont’s Hill Farmstead — originally sold for $20 apiece — went for $550. Even now, there are two rare releases on the online auction block, with the seller asking $499 for the pair.”

NYC “Chef’s Chef” Frank DeCarlo opening a new fish spot in Greenport. Eater NY has the surprisingly long back story. (Included here partly because your author had an engagement party at Peasant a few years back and has been a big fan ever since.)

And Last and Certainly Least – 21 chefs on what they get at In-N-Out. (List includes: David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook, Niki Nakayama, Melissa Perello, Evan and Sarah Rich, etc etc.)

No, wait, least-er: “Anthony Bourdain and girlfriend make it Instagram official.” If you must, here you go.

That’s it for Friday. If it’s hot where you are, here’s hoping there are big tippers on the patio…

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or your Zomato password to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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