Beard Classics, Delivery data, Boston bureaucracy, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, February 24th, 2023
The Monday holiday (followed by Mardi Gras!) added up to to another brief week in both restaurant news and Family Meal. But…
Let’s get to it..
The Classics – Beard Season has officially begun, with the James Beard Foundation announcing its America’s Classics winners — “locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community” — on Wednesday.
Details on the official announcement page here. Fun li’l profile videos to follow at some point soon, I’m sure…
Congrats to: Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop (Austin); La Casita Blanca (San Juan); Manago Hotel (Captain Cook, HI); Nezinscot Farm (Turner, ME); Pekin Noodle Parlor (Butte, MT); and Wagner’s Village Inn (Oldenburg, IN).
Those Delivery Numbers – Expedite’s Kristen Hawley and I did not get a chance to record our podcast this week, but I still recommend her newsletter yesterday, which contains this near perfect paragraph on the state of delivery companies: “Though [DoorDash] reported a net loss as usual, by using the standard adjusted accounting measure known as EBITDA (that’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation), it generated a quarterly record of $117 million. Still, using stock price as an overall indicator of the health of the business might not be the best idea; until market close on Thursday (when DoorDash issued its report), the price was down 30 percent from last year, and after a brief climb, it’s fallen since.”
Money is a construct, sheeple!
The Bureaucrat – In Boston this week, “Mayor Michelle Wu announced that Corean Reynolds will serve as the new Director of Nightlife Economy for the City of Boston.”
And what is the super specific job description for a Director of Nightlife Economy for the City of Boston, per the official press release? “In this role within the Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Cabinet, Reynolds will be responsible for engaging internal and external stakeholders to better understand the post-pandemic challenges to a nightlife economy; working to redefine and reimagine late night in Boston; and analyzing citywide initiatives through a racial equity lens with the goal of achieving Cabinet-level priorities, which include advancing post-pandemic recovery efforts, revitalizing Boston’s neighborhoods, delivering equitable investments, and providing access to shared prosperity. Additionally, Reynolds will focus on citywide efforts that help residents build generational wealth, establish Boston as a family friendly city, and foster and retain local talent.”
Mission creep theirs.
Generation wealth… ours?
And last but not least: The Critics – Everyone keeps writing their influence off for dying, but this Slate piece from Dan Kios is a tour de (critics’) force: “Last year, business was pretty good. But not like this. Everything changed on Jan. 3. That’s when the Washington Post’s Tim Carman placed unassuming [Virginia chicken spot] Charga at the top of his list of the area’s top 10 casual restaurants. Food critics might be the last local journalists flexing 20th-century levels of media power: Overnight, business almost doubled at a restaurant that, like many, had struggled to staff, supply, and stay afloat in the COVID era.”
It’s a fun, if stressful, read on what happened next, but I thought most worth sharing was the way founder Asad Chaudry sums up his big future goal: “I want the kids who grow up around here, when they’re in their 40s, they say, ‘My favorite place was Charga.’
“And then people will ask, ‘Which Charga did you go to?’”
And all the old people will be totally chill about saying they went to the original, I’m sure.
And that’s it for today!
I am doing a “night brunch” tomorrow night, and need to prepare mentally and physically for that… now. Thoughts and prayers appreciated.
I’ll see paying subscribers back here on Tuesday, and everyone else on Friday for next Family Meal.
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