Esquire's list, 50 Best's list, RB's list, The Menu list, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, November 18th, 2022
As mentioned in Tuesday’s Family Meal (copy/pasted below for non-paying subscribers as usual), we are hurtling head-long into a week of endless turkey-and-sides and alternatives-to-turkey-and-sides and contrarian-anti-turkey-and-sides and personal-essay-related-to-turkey-and-sides pieces.
Those can be great! But they are not what you’re here for, so I am taking next week off.
After this one, the next Family Meal will go out to paying subscribers on Tuesday, November 28. Non-paying subscribers will see it next on — brace yourselves — December 2nd.
If you’d like to see Family Meal one more time before the last month of the year (and help keep it going into 2023!)...
Light and listy today. Sorry?
Let’s get to it…
The Big Lists – Just out yesterday: “Esquire's Best New Restaurants in America, 2022.” It’s 40 restaurants long, with a few individual awards mixed in and some interviews with past “BNR hornorees” for good measure.
Top 10 from 1 to 10: Kann (Portland, OR); Yangban Society (LA); Neng Jr.’s (Asheville); Canje (Austin); Le Rock (NYC); n/soto (LA); Kasama (Chicago); Saffy’s (LA); June + Audrey (Nashville); and San Ho Wan (SF).
Some individual recognitions: Chefs of the Year - Katianna and John Hong (Yangban Society); Rising Star of the Year - Silver Iocovozzi (Neng Jr.’s); Cocktail Guru of the Year - Colleen Hughes (Supperland, Charlotte); and Wine Guru of the Year - Arjav Ezekiel (Birdie’s, Austin).
The Big Lists Too – Take this self-reported one with a grain of salt, but Restaurant Business is out with its 2022 Top 100 Grossing Independent Restaurants in America list, and at the very least it’s a fun look at total covers and check averages at some places you may not know too much about.
Case in point for me: Are you aware of Frankenmuth, MI? A town of Bavarian buildings where Zhender’s of Frankenmuth did over 900k covers last year at a $19 check average, and the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn did over 600k covers at $25 a pop? I was not. But I am now.
Top 5 (plus sales): Komodo, Miami ($41M); The Boathouse, Orlando ($40M); Swan, Miami ($31M); Maple & Ash, Chicago ($30M); and Mila, Miami Beach ($27M). That’s two in the top five for Groot Hospitality, so congrats mostly to them and Miami! (And their PR teams…)
The Big Lists Three – In international news, the Latin American 50 Best list was announced this week. It’s here if you’re into that 50 Best kind of thing. Top 5, top down: Central (Lima); Don Julio (Buenos Aires); Maido (Lima); A Casa Do Porco (São Paolo); and El Chato (Bogotá).
Congrats, all… again!
And last but not least: The Menu – I cannot wait to see the new fine dining horror show (literally) The Menu, so I am not reading any of the many reviews that have been coming out this week, including in the New York Times. But if I were to read something about it — and I haven’t — it would be Eater’s “How the Minds Behind ‘The Menu’ Created an Authentic Fine Dining Hellscape,” or the one in the SF Chronicle headlined: “How an S.F. star chef made this restaurant horror movie feel frighteningly real,”
I know the chef referenced there is Dominique Crenn, but I don’t want to know anything else.
Thank you very much.
And that’s it for today. Except of course for Tuesday’s Family Meal, which is copy / pasted below as usual.
I will see paying subscribers back here on November 28th, and everyone else on December 2nd, for next Family Meal.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! If you’re open and/or working the holiday, I hope you make gobs of cash. If you’ve got the day off, I hope it’s as good as it can possibly be, or better.
As always, friends, I am grateful for you.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or an authentic fine dining hellscape to email@example.com. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!
Here begins the Family Meal that went out to paying subscribers on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022:
Flyfish HQ, Draper lbl, Molyneaux gone, and more...
Slim pickings this week, and I think that’s the way it’s going to go until after food media’s Thanksgiving recipe season, so… I’m taking next week off. You will still get Family Meal on Friday as usual, but the next one after that will be Tuesday, November 29th.
If I’m missing anything meantime, please lmk! Otherwise…
Let’s get to it…
The Tenants – Inbox: “The search is over.” 11 months after launching “The world’s first NFT restaurant,” Flyfish Club finally has… a restaurant. Or, at least they have a lease. Gary Vaynerchuk, David Rodolitz, Josh Capon, Conor Hanlon, et al. announce: “We’re thrilled to share that Flyfish Club NYC now has a permanent home: 141 E Houston St… our private dining club will be in an incredible building by acclaimed architect Roger Ferris. More details on the location can be found on our website.” (Dramatic video of the ol’ glass-and-steel here.)
“Now,” said Rodolitz on the Flyfish discord, “we build.”
And now, we see what these guys do with their millions in upfront NFT-sale cash, and hundreds of thousands (conservatively) in recurring NFT-sale royalties.
NB: Rodolitz also told members, “It’s going to take the greater part of 2023 to do what we want to do,” so if you bought your Flyfish NFT in January of 2022, you’re looking at a full two years of membership before those club doors open…. HODL!
P.S. - Crypto types will be amused, with everything else going on, that the Real Deal reports Flyfish’s upstairs neighbors (renting 4 pricey floors) will be Solana Labs.
For the Somm – More of a first person meandering than full profile, but Esther Mobley has an interesting piece on “Paul Draper, who made the wines at Ridge, one of California’s most important wineries, from 1969 until 2016, when he officially retired (though he remains involved in the winery and is, in many ways, still its face).” Mobley says she “was struck by how indebted today’s natural-wine movement is to him — even if it rarely credits him.”
Much of that debt is tied to a somewhat radical transparency, even though he wasn’t the only pioneer there: “The saga of Ridge’s back labels culminated in 2011, when the winery finally received permission from the federal government to list ingredients. Draper had sought to do this for years, but the government had denied his requests. Then, in 2008, he noticed that Bonny Doon winemaker Randall Grahm had gotten the green light to add an ingredient listing, so Ridge went back to the feds and finally got the OK.”
Some Sad News – In the UK, “Joyce Molyneux, an innovative chef whose unpretentious restaurant in Dartmouth, England, the Carved Angel, received a star from the Michelin Guide in 1978, making her one of the first women whose kitchen received that distinction, died on Oct. 27. She was 91.” Neil Genzlinger has her obituary in the NYT.
And last but not least: The Market Share – The NYT goes full Restaurant Cosmo with: “What Does Your Favorite Reservation App Say About You.” No new news (or quiz!) from Priya Krishna, but a useful by the numbers buried in there: “OpenTable maintains an outsize presence in reservations, with more than 50,000 participating restaurants. (Resy, in comparison, has more than 16,000; Tock, around 10,000 businesses; Yelp, more than 11,000; and SevenRooms declined to share a figure.)”
What Does Declining to Share a Figure Say About You?
(A: Nothing. It’s fine.)
And that’s it for today!
I’ll see you all back here Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or a permanent home to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!