Sorry this is a little later than usual. Busy news day on the internet for some reason…
Let’s get right to the (industry) news:
The Critics – Eater’s “roving critic” Bill Addison is out with his 12 Best New Restaurants in America 2017 list. Congrats all! But the better read is the notes he published in his newsletter this week, including who missed the cut and (vaguely) why. Sample slights:
- “Sorry, Olmstead, I caught you on a lackluster night.”
“Single Thread… a great reminder that when the base is $590 for two, the hospitality better be great, and they BLEW IT at our meal.” (Capitalization his.)
And in a (gratuitous) blow to an entire city, Addison writes only “jk” for “other Knoxville contenders.” Tee hee?
The Future – ATTN: Fast casual dreamers – Philly original honeygrow is trying to keep a handle on its rapid growth by standardizing training with virtual reality, and you can sample one of their training VRs here, complete with a “how to organize the walk-in” game that looks like an outtake from Lawnmower Man.
The Big POS (sorry) – Toast just raised a $101M Series C funding round, which means I bet you will be hearing from a sales person again real soon… At the same time, “restaurant management software” maker Compeat (which says it integrates with Toast), bought its own rival Ctuit. (NB: Both links go to press releases. Skeptical reading encouraged.)
And if you want a visual feel for restaurant-tech $$$ these days, check out Deliveroo’s new offices in London…
The Suits – Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov‘s Zahav is settling a class action tip-pooling lawsuit brought by a server who said she had to give 5 bucks a shift to silverware polishers who had no contact with customers (and are therefore not entitled to share tips). Details in Philly Mag: “Zahav has agreed to pay $322,500 plus all payroll taxes and withholdings to settle the matter. That number includes $90,000 for the lawyers who filed the case. The 41 employees will receive prorated amounts ranging from $65.34 to $18,412.83, with [the server who brought the suit] getting $7,026 plus a special $2,500 ‘service fee.’”
Also in Philly Mag is an interesting follow up piece by an anonymous “Philly restaurant veteran of two decades”, arguing that Cook and Solomonov are being disparaged, and polishers are basically part of the service team. Guessing this is the same anonymous restaurateur who was quoted in the original piece as saying, “Oh… That’s illegal? Everybody does that. I guess I better call my lawyer.”
Some sad news from Australia that I missed last week – “Executive chef of Bistrode CBD, Jeremy Strode, has died. The news that Strode, 53, is believed to have ended his life on Monday [July 17th] was confirmed by a representative of Merivale. Strode, a chef’s chef, spent 27 years working at the pass and inspired generations of young cooks.” Story in goodfood, with a series of tributes published separately. Some of the tributes point the finger at depression, so I’ll note the Chefs With Issues website has a fairly comprehensive list of mental health resources here.
This Family Meal is brought to you by Chefs for Equality, the premier event benefiting Human Rights Campaign and their work to to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. On September 19th, Chefs Ed Lee, Jeremiah Langhorne, Amy Brandwein, Patrick O’Connell, Cindy Wolf, and many, many more will join select guests at Union Market in Washington, D.C. for a spectacular night of food, cocktails, auctions, and music. Chefs and industry friends looking to get involved can get in touch here. For tickets and more information, check out chefsforequality.org.
The Chef Moves – In DC, Rose’s Luxury alum Drew Adams is taking over the exec chef role at Bourbon Steak in D.C.’s Four Seasons, while in NY: “Per Se and Chefs Table at Brooklyn Fare alum [Douglas Kim] is going the casual route for a passion project: a Korean ramyun shop in the West Village.”
The Restaurant Moves – Per Eater LA: “In surprising news… Eater has learned that chef Michael Voltaggio is planning to close his flagship Los Angeles restaurant Ink., and relocate staff from its current address on Melrose to a new restaurant on La Cienega.”
The Closures – At the very bottom of this week’s NYT food news summary is this little note: “Marc Murphy has closed his original Landmarc restaurant in TriBeCa to use for private events. Landmarc in the Time Warner Center remains open.” Over in L.A., Eric Greenspan has closed Maré in Silver Lake.
For design fans – Here’s the photo spread for Sen Sakana, midtown Manhattan’s “$7 million Japanese-Peruvian restaurant from Allan Wartski (Astoria’s Christos Steakhouse, Edison Ballroom) serving Nikkei-style fare [from chefs] Mina Newman (Christos Steakhouse) and Taku Nagai (Ootoya).” Not so sure about what looks like airport-grade wall-to-wall carpeting, but the noise reduction may be worth it.
And at the $100M budget level… there’s the Ritz-Carlton Chicago’s Torali Italian – Steak, which I only include because of some serious marbling (pun intended) around the buffet.
Last and Least – In honor of the announcement that Adobe Flash is going extinct in 2020, Eater has this short tribute to bad restaurant websites, including a very accurate description of the site for Stephen Starr’s Buddakan: “Drag your curser over any of the dozens of teeny, tiny little photos to make them turn blue and then teleport into the center of the screen. Then, once they’re in the middle of the page you can also drag the cursor over the pics to summon meaningless words like ‘textures,’ ‘flavors,’ ‘contemplate,’ and ‘evolved.’ This website shouldn’t be in your browser — it belongs in a museum.” SO DO YOU! (Indiana Jones, anyone?)
And that’s it for today. Here’s hoping everyone looking to escape this crazy news cycle will get out and spend some money on your food and drink this weekend! I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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