Locol retreats, Glocker moves in, An ADA PSA, Cult cult wine, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, August 24th, 2018
Quick note: The online NYT recently removed bylines from their homepage, which is funny because I’ve been trying to include more here. Two reasons: First, I think it’s important / useful for the restaurant industry to keep up to date on who is writing what. And second, credit where due. Please let me know if you have strong feelings pro or con. I’m fer it.
Let’s get to it…
The Close – In L.A., “Locol opened as a grand restaurant experiment: Could a pair of celebrity chefs — one best known for launching the insanely popular Kogi truck, the other a Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurateur — successfully launch a fast-food chain aimed at serving neglected neighborhoods, with food that was affordable and more healthful? … Co-founders Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson called it a revolution and vowed to open ‘a million’ locations across the country. Two and a half years later, Locol as a restaurant entity is no more.” They say they’re pivoting to catering and the dream is not dead, but the retail side of things is at the very least mostly dead. Mostly an obit from Andrea Chang and Laura Newberry in the LA Times.
P.S. FYI LA – The Jonathan Gold tribute set to start at 5:30PM this Sunday has been moved from the City Hall steps to the Grand Park Performance Lawn at 201 Hill Street, per LAT Food’s Instagram post.
The Suits – In D.C., the group behind Founding Farmers, one of America’s most highly Yelped / poorly reviewed restaurants, “agreed to pay up to $1.49 million to settle claims it didn’t provide sick leave required by a city law and underpaid tipped employees.”
And a woman who alleges Mario Batali groped her when she asked for a selfie in April of last year has now filed suit against him in Boston.
The Law – ATTN: East Bay, CA: “On Tuesday, Julya Shin and Steve Joo were cooking a dinner as chefs of Nokni, a 3-year-old pop-up, at the Kebabery in Oakland, which was closed for the day. An Alameda County Environmental Health Department inspector spotted the dinner… shut down Nokni mid-meal and issued a cease-and-desist notice. ‘Pop-ups are illegal,’ it read in part…. According to Jackie Greenwood, a supervisor at the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health, the widespread assumption that the event is legal as long as chefs are cooking in a licensed commercial kitchen is incorrect.” Ramifications ad absurdum via Jonathan Kauffman in the Chronicle.
The Empire – Per Eater DC’s Tierney Plumb, “Atlas Restaurant Group, the prolific brand behind the glitzy Great Gatsby-themed Bygone perched atop Baltimore’s Four Seasons Hotel, is making a huge D.C. debut next spring by opening two separate dining destinations — including a splashy glass-enclosed rooftop bar — inside downtown’s modern Moxy Hotel… 2019 is shaping up to be a huge expansion year for Atlas, with plans to open a total of seven additional restaurants in Baltimore, Boca Raton, Houston, and D.C.”
“A Big Get” – “Restaurateur Keith McNally’s less than two-year-old FiDi jewel Augustine now has a big-name new chef: Markus Glocker, the chef-partner behind Michelin-starred Tribeca fine dining restaurant Bâtard.” Serena Dai has the details in Eater NY.
ADA PSA – In Charleston, the Post & Courier’s restaurant critic Hanna Raskin went along with four different wheelchair users to four different restaurants (The Obstinate Daughter, Chez Nous, Minero, and Hen and the Goat) to try to understand (and grade) their experiences. A lot of simple tips in there for hospitality on this front (elevator signage, phone protocol, etc.), and FYI: What I read as the worst experience – a woman and her wheelchair nearly falling off a temporary ramp because of untrained staff – got the highest grade (A+) because the customer felt so well treated and respected by said staff. Kindness is the best PR. (TM for throw pillows and needlepoint.)
For Design Fans – Compare and contrast this photo spread of Brass Heart, “Former Longman & Eagle chef Matt Kerney’s 20-seat fine dining restaurant” in Chicago, with this 360 image of the previous tenant, 42 Grams. Two very different visions of a pretty standard space.
For the Somm – A lot of cults came and went through California in the 60’s and 70’s, but the Chronicle’s Esther Mobley tracked down one with an extensive vineyard operation, and gave it the longread, multimedia experience it deserves: “That is Apollo, the world headquarters of the Fellowship of Friends — legally classified as a religious group, known to many as a doomsday cult. Apollo is the sanctuary where, since 1970, the Fellowship’s members have sought enlightenment through the fine arts: ballet, opera, painting. And wine… These wines are alive. They’re young. They taste fresh, vibrant and, dare I say, ageless. Their belligerent tannins are only now beginning to disarm. The 1999 Premiere Cuvee, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend, is pulsing with energy, hinting at cherry and soy and earth. The 2001 Claret Prestige, a cuvee of Bordeaux varieties plus Syrah, is laser-focused, savory and lean, the rare red wine that implores me to use the word ‘mineral.’”
Come for a massive excess stock of bottles that will probably sell out after this article (unless buyers read all the way down to the allegations against the still living “guru” who will profit from the sale), stay for visits “by angelic incarnations of Walt Whitman and Leonardo da Vinci.” And of course, Armageddon 2018. That link again here.
The Media – The editor of thekitchn.com is looking for food writers.
And last but certainly not least – You can take all your two-minute, rapid-cut, tips, tricks, and quick fix recipe videos and place them gently into the digital dumpster. Priya Krishna has all the cooking content we need in the New Yorker this week: “The Indian Filmmaker Who Made His Dad’s Village Cooking a YouTube Sensation: Jaymukh Gopinath, cooks huge meals en plein air, filmed by his son Arumugam, an amateur filmmaker… The pair have since made hundreds of such videos, featuring Jaymukh making everything from stewed lamb head (you can see the eyeballs intermingling with the chilies) to fast-food-style burgers… In just two years, according to Arumugam, his channel, Village Food Factory, has attracted close to two million YouTube subscribers and has earned the family more than seven million rupees, or close to a hundred thousand dollars, in advertising revenue—a small fortune in India.” Good. (Fingers crossed no Milkshake Duck.)
And that’s it for today. If you happen to be in Hong Kong tomorrow and notice a speck bobbing around Victoria Harbour, I have fallen off my first junk boat trip. Please send help.
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