Apology redos, Review undos, PR woohoos, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, July 9th, 2021
Apologies for the slightly late send, but Family Meal comes to you today from Central Standard Time, on a lake just outside St. Louis, where my brother-in-law is pouring “Common Bond,” a whiskey collaboration between a bunch of local breweries that apparently raised some money for service industry workers last year? I have not checked the details of the fund, but I have checked the bottle’s contents and design, and I liked both.
Slow summer news week; quick Family Meal. Let’s get to it…
The Critics – A headline shot / chaser from Pete Wells in the NYT this week. Shot: “The Restaurant of This New York Summer Is Outerspace.” Chaser: “Hours After a Glowing Review, Three Chefs Leave Outerspace.” From the latter: “Anthony Ha, Sadie Mae Burns and Chinchakriya Un informed the owners of Outerspace, an outdoor venue in East Williamsburg, Wednesday morning that they were immediately terminating the residency they had begun on Memorial Day weekend.” Outerspace’s owner Wells Stellberger told the NYT that he and co-owner Molly McIver “were shocked” and had thought any disagreements could have been smoothed out.
But on Instagram, the account of Kreung Cambodia (Un’s side of the pop-up space) criticized Wells’s brief follow-up piece (“this write up benefits them, exposes their white saviorism, but also saves their ass from any foul play”) and posted a long, vaguely indirect note about what sounds like a classic bad food hall deal, saying that when the truth is finally ready to be told: “I will speak of owners driving their bar business off the backs of people who make their space relevant and while we worked 20 hour days and were struggling to keep a restaurant flowing just off of food revenue they collected bar and skimmed an extra 10% of the top and continued to stay inflexible with our consistent warnings, concerns.”
Always get a cut of the bar.
P.S. – Guess not technically a critic piece, but kind of weird to see the NYT give a big spread and recommendation to a one-week-old restaurant that the writer apparently attended for just one friends and family dinner? Congrats to Esmerelda in Vermont! Pretty good PR if you can get it…
The Redo – As Eater Seattle’s Gabe Guarente points out, Edouardo Jordan is out with a new Instagram apology in an attempt to improve on his previous iteration: “The chef initially denied the majority of the allegations [reported a few weeks ago by Jackie Varriano and Asia Fields in the Seattle Times]; on the day the report was published, he released a statement on Instagram that seemed more defensive than apologetic — a post that was later removed. (The text is published here). In his new statement, Jordan acknowledges, ‘My initial response was rushed and filled with the obvious emotion of defending myself, which was not my intention. It lacked the depth, empathy, compassion, and humility that I have endeavored to embody since the day I chose to share my voice through the food I serve within a community I love.’” It’s still a little light on concrete plans (apparently he’s going to keep running a non-profit he started in 2019 as a way to make amends?), but an apology for an apology is… something? (Probably up to the victims to decide.)
Meanwhile, the Seattle Times tweeted this ominous-if-you’ve-been-a-bad-person thread on Wednesday: “Since writing about allegations against chef Edouardo Jordan, our reporters have heard more accounts of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct at Seattle restaurants. If you have a story, we'd like to hear from you…. Contact reporter Asia Fields (email firstname.lastname@example.org or DM @asiakmfields) or send us a confidential news tip.”
The Media – On Twitter this week, Joseph Hernandez announced he has left Bon Appétit and is moving south to join the Philadelphia Inquirer as Deputy Food Editor. Congrats to all involved! And ATTN PA PR: Hernandez adds, “Tell me things I should know! I have always loved the city, but I'm very much a newbie! I'm thrilled for this opportunity to get to know Philly's communities, leaders, and citizens from all walks of life, from within the food/drinks world and without.”
That Hospital $$$ – Tom Colicchio’s restaurant group has seen a food market gap and it’s… pre-made sandwiches in hospital food courts! WaPo’s Tim Carman has: “Can Tom Colicchio help fix hospital food? That’s the goal of his new fast-casual restaurant.” Friends, that is absolutely not the goal.
And last but not least: For Design Fans – What is it about the logo for new restaurant investment group Apres Cru Hospitality — which just bought stakes in PDT, Pig & Khao, and Marc Forgione’s group, according to Bret Thorn in NRN — that makes it look like it should be rolling across the sponsors screen after a rerun of Nova on PBS? The green / gold color scheme? The exaggerated kerning on the tapered sans font? You tell me. Please.
And that’s it for today. For those of you posting my movements to celebrity tracking sites (stop don’t stop): Tonight, I’ll be in St. Louis proper, and tomorrow it’s off toward Baltimore via Interstate 64 through southern Illinois, a sliver of Indiana, central Kentucky, and one night in West Virginia. If you’ve got recommendations along that route, please send them my way!
I’ll see paying subscribers here Tuesday, and everyone else on Friday for next Family Meal.
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