I did not see totality yesterday, but I did read some industry news.
Let’s get to it…
Statues & Names – For the bargain price of $50-100k, Tom Colicchio’s Fowler & Wells in The Beekman hotel has changed its name. The move comes after Pete Wells discovered that the namesake gentlemen were a bit too “of a different era” to be tolerated… An enthusiastic, 19th-century phrenologist, “Mr. Fowler wrote that coarse hair correlated with coarse fibers in the brain, and indicated coarse feelings; that, he wrote, suggested that people of African descent had poor verbal skills and traits that were best suited for nursing children or waiting on tables.” The restaurant will now be called Temple Court (which was previously the name of the private dining room within). Good.
About Time – On Sunday, “after 10 years of running courses and exams in China,” The Court of Master Sommeliers welcomed its first-ever Chinese member, Yang Lu, corporate wine director at the Shangri-La hotel group. He passed the test in London alongside newly minted MS’s Stefan Neumann(Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) and Piotr Pietras (Launceston Place). Official announcement here. Congrats, all! (And congrats to The Court for getting a solid toehold in that quaint little marketplace called China…)
Needs More MFG – The Major Food Group team is not resting by The Pool. Per Eater NY, “The restaurant group has joined forces with Barclays Center to open a 200-plus-seat Parm in some of the space that had been The 40/40 Club co-owned by Jay-Z.” Would give dinner at The Grill to see the financials on that deal… (hint, hint: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Prime Real Estate – The Chronicle reports, “Chaya Brasserie has closed its San Francisco location after 17 years of business on the Embarcadero…. The restaurant was part of the dot-com glamour that was hitting San Francisco at the time, alongside fellow big-budget productions like Bacar, Azie, Gordon’sand Ponzu.” Now hitting San Francisco: Less “dot-com glamour” more “upscale office cafeteria benefits.”
Bad PR – When asked to bring one bowl and two spoons for dessert, a waiter at The Prime Rib in D.C. told a gay couple that “It wouldn’t look right with two gentlemen eating out of the same sundae. It doesn’t go with the ambiance of the restaurant.” Now there’s an article in the Washington Post with 1,500+ comments (and growing), and their Yelp page is under “Active Cleanup Alert”. The manager insists it was an honest mistake by a non-native English speaker. At the very least, it’s a teachable moment for front of house elsewhere…
PS – Observation worth noting from food writer John Birdsall on Twitter this morning: “It’s possible this was a misunderstanding, but I’ve met restaurant discrimination and been told I misunderstood.”
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The (mass) Profile Treatment – Missed this on a “rising generation of female chefs” in Vogue last week: “The status quo is teetering. A tide of women chefs is rising, en masse, to the top of their field and changing conventional restaurant culture…. According to the National Restaurant Association, the number of woman-owned establishments has increased by more than 50 percent in the last decade. Last year was the first the Culinary Institute of America enrolled more women than men.” The article goes on to describe about how the new leadership is changing kitchen culture, and is well worth a read.
Bonus cameo paragraph: “In New York, Daniela Soto‑Innes has made a name for herself at Cosme and Atla, and Suzanne Cupps recently became executive chef of Untitled at the Whitney. Los Angeles is lousy with women chefs—[Sara] Kramer and [Sarah] Hymanson; Niki Nakayama; Suzanne Goin; Jessica Koslow; Jessica Largey; Nyesha Arrington in Santa Monica. . . . On the coast of Maine are Sara Jenkins and Melissa Kelly; in Boston, Barbara Lynch and Ana Sortun; in Savannah, Mashama Bailey; Per Sealumna Julia Sullivan just opened Henrietta Red in Nashville. It goes on.”
Empire District – Washington’s Neighborhood Restaurant Group is taking over another neighborhood, with a “a multi-restaurant dining hub in a new, mixed-use community going into 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.” according to WCP. Michael Babin’s group already runs 19 different concepts in the D.C. area, plus some commissary kitchens with wholesale operations. This food hall will add at least 5 stand-alone-together restaurants to their stable. Damn.
Last, but not least: Emergency Bar – Cool story from Eater: “Steve Schneider and five other bartenders from Employees Only and Macao Trading Company have just opened a bar in Panama City: an independently owned venture separate from EONY called The Strangers Club that came to be thanks to their emergency fund.” The team put $20 each in a bucket every night for three years and now they own a bar. More or less.
And that’s it for today. I’m putting $20 in a jar tonight, and will see you three years from now at my new bar on Francis Mallmann‘s island in Patagonia. Going to call it “Old Smokey’s Canteen.” He doesn’t know about it yet.
Will also see you here Friday for next Family Meal, of course.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or whatever’s left in your emergency fund to email@example.com. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at thisfamilymeal.com!