Kokonas pants, DoorDash buys, Bennett gone, Media moves, and more...

Family Meal - Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Hello Tuesday,

Quick public thanks to everyone who’s sent a kind note lately! “Best thing in my inbox!” “Love getting your newsletter!” “Not sure why I get these, but I like it!” “You’re wrong about that.”

If you like Family Meal, please tell your friends! If you don’t like Family Meal, you’re wrong about that.

Let’s get to it…

The Delivery Wars – “DoorDash has reached an agreement with Square to purchase on-demand food delivery and catering business Caviar. DoorDash has agreed to pay Square $410 million in cash and preferred DoorDash stock. Square bought Caviar about five years ago in a deal worth about $90 million.” Details from Megan Rose Dickey in TechCrunch.

The Profile Treatment – Favorite data point from this long Mark Caro profile of Alinea Group / Tock boss Nick Kokonas in Chicago Magazine: “When he homes in on a subject, it becomes an obsession, such as his 2017 social media quest to find exceptional casual pants. Amid an outpouring of suggestions, he created a spreadsheet detailing pages’ worth of brands and test-drove numerous pairs, and he says he’d like to continue his mission via a men’s pants blog sometime in the future.” His mission.

The Profile Treatment Too – In the LA Times, Karen Stabiner has a sort of joint profile of female pastry chefs forcing others (mostly men) to respect their work. Think Nancy Silverton, Liz Prueitt, Zoe Nathan, and more, including “The unlikely revolutionary who started it all… the first pastry chef at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse in 1971... Lindsey Shere, now 84.” Says Stabiner, “Female bakers, exiled to the pink ghetto of the pastry kitchen, built an alternate kitchen culture as different from the savory side as its inhabitants were. It has become a land of opportunity for women, not a dead-end but a first step toward better restaurant jobs or their own bakeries, cafe-retail hybrids, food trucks and stalls — whatever a young entrepreneur might come up with.”

Some sad news – Late to this, but in Oklahoma City, “Chef John Bennett, a pioneer in the culinary arts in Oklahoma, passed away [Monday, June 22nd]. He was 77. Bennett was chef of The Cellar at Hightower when it became the city’s first fine dining restaurant in 1964, and helped usher a new appreciation for food, dining and drink still felt today. A lifelong friend of James Beard and Julia Child, Bennett passed away quietly surrounded by family and friends.” Dave Cathey has a full obituary in The Oklahoman.

The Holders – In D.C., “It's official: Clyde's Restaurant Group, a 56-year-old institution in Greater Washington's restaurant scene, is now a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Co. Graham, which is led by members of the Graham family that formerly owned The Washington Post, did not disclose a sale price… Clyde's owns several of the D.C. area's busiest restaurants, including Old Ebbitt Grill, the Hamilton, and Clyde's... (Both Old Ebbitt and Hamilton regularly appear on a national list of the country's highest-grossing independent restaurants.)” Good. Now, Old Ebbitt Grill can finally take its rightful place alongside other storied Graham Holdings properties like Hoover Treated Wood Products and Joyce/Daton, “a leading manufacturer of screw jacks, linear actuators and related linear motion products.” Details from Rebecca Cooper in the WBJ.

The Shuffle – In my inbox: “Previously scheduled for April 15-19, the 27th annual [New Orleans Wine & Food Experience] will now take place March 18-22, 2020. French Quarter Festival (FQF) will now occur on NOWFE’s original April dates, as a result of the coordinated effort to host the NCAA Women’s Final Four event in New Orleans April 3-5, which were FQF’s original dates.” Got it? Good.

The Media – Some moves afoot at Eater SF. Per an announcement from Carolyn Alburger, “Vox Media seeks the next superstar to lead the charge at Eater SF. The new hire will replace Ellen Fort, the site’s guiding light for the past 4 years. Fort will move on next month for the grassy knolls of print journalism. We are beyond sad to see her go.” Fort says she’s off to become the Food Editor at Sunset Magazine.

Also per Fort, “There’s a new byline on the site. It’s with great pleasure that we announce Eater SF’s new reporter, Becky Duffett.” Big pic and full CV on her personal site. “A graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she completed her externship at Petit Crenn.”

Meanwhile, in Charleston, Hanna Raskin says, “Dave Infante this week joins The Post and Courier’s Food section as its lead drinks reporter.”

For Design Fans – Been noticing a return to wall-to-wall in some restaurants lately, but nothing prepared me for the throwback(?) high-traffic, punk-rock, airport carpeting in this new steakhouse in the D.C. suburbs. All nautical stars and rainbow swirls. My kingdom for a profile of the people who design these patterns!

And that’s it for today. Big weekend of protests starting again in Hong Kong tomorrow. Not to diminish the importance of this struggle, but I just realized that the extradition bill that started all this is the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, which makes all the protesters actual FOO Fighters.

What if they say they will never surrender?

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

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