The Family Meal – Friday, May 18th, 2018

Hello Friday,

First: Ramadan Mubarak to some! And a reminder to the rest to be conscious of staff who may be observing. You might be surprised who gets inspired to fast any given year. Make sure everyone’s getting plenty of water on the line.

This concludes our annual Ramadan staff health tip.

Let’s get to it…

Note from Canada: I hear she’s a real closer – After 10 years in Toronto, last service for The Black Hoof is set for August 20th. Jen Agg made the announcement on Instagram: “I’ve never approved of closing a busy restaurant, (seems crazy, tbh) but we’ve said all we have to, and ten years in this business is a LONG FUCKING TIME.”

Critic Chris Nuttall-Smith gave an early eulogy on Twitter: “The opening of The Hoof was a turning point in [Toronto] restaurants: when the youngs took over, when formality went to shit, when fun became the most important goal of going out for dinner.”

Agg and her husband, Roland Jean, also recently ended their involvementin Agrikol, the bar they founded with some local celebrities (read: Arcade Fire) in Montreal. She says that split was amicable and only due to the difficulty of Toronto–Montreal commuting, but if she weren’t usually such a nakedly open book about her life and thoughts, I would wonder what was going on with her and/or her company.

Strike that: I still kinda wonder.

Awards season – The 2018 Association Of Food Journalists Awards Finalists list is out, and here are all the writers and editors you should remind PR to congratulate in pitches. Congratulations, all!

Speaking of food writing – Huffington Post Food & Style Exec Editor Kristen Aiken tweets: “I’m hiring freelance writers for HuffPost Food & Drink! Reach out to me at if you’re interested and I can send you more info. Here’s hoping you all have lots of fun/weird/great ideas! SPREAD THE NEWS.” Done and done.

The critics – FYI, CA: Eater’s Bill Addison appears to be on his way west to plan an Eater Guide to California, “roaming from Sacramento to San Diego, zigzagging for as many stops as possible until early June.” Last chance to make your case…

Food hall fever – Tom Colicchio is throwing his weight behind a food hall in Kansas City. Actual words he said to Restaurant Hospitality: “‘Food halls are extremely popular right now… I think it is the future of dining. I thought it was about time we dipped our feet in that pool.’” #vision.

The Interstate – Per “South Carolina barbecue pitmaster Rodney Scott, who just last week won the James Beard Foundation Award for best chef Southeast, has partnered with Birmingham restaurateur Nick Pihakis of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and the Pihakis Restaurant Group to open another location of his Charleston restaurant Rodney Scott’s BBQ” in Birmingham, Alabama.

The (3×2) profile treatment – “The Female Couples Remaking the Restaurant Industry” in the NYT profiles the work/life partnerships of Rita Sodi and Jody Williams (Via CarotaBuvetteI Sodi); Deborah VanTrece and Lorraine Lane (Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours); and Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura (White Gold Butchers). Not much new stuff in here, but the kicker made me smile: “Nakamura recalled an afternoon last fall when a father brought his young daughter into White Gold. Beaming, he waved a hand at the butchers behind the counter. ‘Look!’ he said. But what did he want his child to see? Two women, smiling, holding knives. Two women with power, who know how to use it.”

Cobblestone hutong – Per the NY Post: “London-based Aqua Restaurant Group quietly signed a lease at the end of last year with Vornado Realty Trust for an 18,750-square-foot spot in which to install its Hutong concept eatery [in the space previously occupied by Le Cirque]… Aqua was founded 15 years ago and now has 25 venues across Hong Kong, London and Beijing.”

For the bar – Shot (beer): “Melvin Brewing has fallen into a #MeToo-style storm, with Seattle bars boycotting its products after a sexual-misconduct allegation in Bellingham, complaints of offensive content on its website and overall ‘bad-boy’ culture.”

Chaser (cocktails): Wine Enthusiast spirits editor Kara Newman got an advanced copy of the next Dead Rabbit cocktail / comic book and was unimpressed: “Takes until page 84 for any of the women to appear fully clothed… If you look at the photo, the ‘rabbit’ is paying these women. They are literally depicted as whores…. Who thought this was OK”? She goes on: “A more horrifying revelation: I’m now recognizing many of the faces throughout the book. Are these scantily-clad women all women in the bar industry?” Answer: Probably. Side note: “whores”?

For design fans – Here’s the photo spread for Dushan Zaric’s new Downtown LA bar Rick’s. No rooftop bars are more impressive than their views, and this is no exception, but I will fight you for the wicker throne.

And that’s it for today. A short one, I know, but better that than clickbait. Right, #anthonybourdaineatscarrotsHOW???

I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and send tips and/or visionary considerations on the future of food halls to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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