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Noosh lock out, Meehan force out, Fast casual ins and outs, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, November 22nd, 2019
Is there some kind of holiday coming up? Food media, help me out. I can’t tell. Thanks.
Let’s get to it…
The Suits – In SF yesterday, “Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz, the wife-and-husband culinary team who were co-executive chefs at Noosh in Pacific Heights, were terminated from their jobs today, following a lawsuit filed Wednesday by restaurant co-founder John Litz that charges the chefs with fraud, misappropriation of funds and breach of contract.” Chronicle reporter Justin Phillips says Emily Luchetti will step in as culinary director. Details here, though I echo Phillips’s colleague Janelle Bitker who tweeted, “I would like to know more about this. Yes I would.”
The Suits Too – Press release from the Office of the Attorney General for District of Columbia: “Attorney General Karl A.Racine today announced a lawsuit against DoorDash… for its practice of encouraging consumers to tip for food deliveries and then pocketing those tips instead of passing them along to workers… OAG is seeking to recover from DoorDash millions of dollars in tip money that consumers thought they were paying to workers, and to impose civil penalties.” To avoid the harshest penalties, DoorDash may want to embrace the new description Bloomberg is using in another story about the company this week: “DoorDash Inc., the unprofitable food delivery company, is weighing a direct stock listing …” Italics mine, quarterly losses theirs.
The Suits Three – “The California Restaurant Association filed suit against the city of Berkeley Thursday alleging that its recently approved ban on the use of natural gas in newly constructed buildings will have ‘uniquely negative impacts’ on the culinary community.” Details via Richard Gonzales on NPR.
The Force Out – “Jim Meehan… is no longer involved in PDT, the acclaimed East Village speakeasy that he helped found 12 years ago. He confirmed this week that he was forced out of his position as a managing partner, as part of an organizational restructuring in March.” Meehan told the NYT’s Amelia Nierenberg, “It’s not a black eye… but it’s not inspiring.” Seems Meehan’s drawing a New York paycheck from his home in Portland, OR was a bit of a sore point for the other partners, though he and Brian Shebairo will still take their cuts of PDT Hong Kong in the Mandarin Oriental hotel here. In NYC, “Jeff Bell, the bar’s general manager, who started there nine years ago as a barback, said he is in the process of buying the bar and Crif Dogs, the adjacent hot-dog joint on St. Marks Place, from Shebairo, the current owner of the two businesses.”
Gone Fast Casual – Per Caleb Pershan in Eater NY, Amanda Cohen joined “the fast casual fray [on Tuesday] with the opening of Lekka Burger in Tribeca. The food at 81 Warren Street… is all chef Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy, but the South African accents — including the name, which is Afrikaans slang for cool and tasty — comes from business partner Andrea Kerzner.” Meanwhile in SF, Janelle Bitker says Preeti Mistry “will resurrect the Juhu Beach Club name with two kiosks” at Oakland Assembly food hall, alongside concepts from Reem Assil, Matt Horn, and others. Good luck, all!
Gone Fast Casual – In Chicago, Dalton Barker reports in Crain’s that Food Network host Jeff Mauro’s “Pork & Mindy’s is no more after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Nov. 5… the company filed in the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Illinois and listed liabilities between $1 to $10 million with an estimated 50 to 99 creditors,” and in DC, Kwame Onwuachi is shuttering the remaining location of his fast casual concept next week. Per Laura Hayes in WCP, “Now Philly Wing Fry is in a holding pattern as Onwuachi says he's focusing all of his efforts on his next full-service concept, plus making sure Kith/Kin ‘continues to be a great restaurant.’”
The Lists – Thrillist is out with its big Best New Restaurants 2019 list, the first under Food Editor Nicole Taylor, who started there this past summer. And the listed are: Alta Adams (LA – with no mention of Daniel Patterson…); Automatic Seafood and Oysters (Birmingham); Benne on Eagle (Asheville); EEM (Portland, OR); Gertie (NYC); La Strega (Las Vegas); Lazy Betty (Atlanta); Maison (Charleston); Tailor (Nashville); Thamee (DC); Um.ma (SF); and Wherewithall (Chicago). Congrats, all! (And digital design fans, please open this one up on a real monitor and let me know what you think…)
Michelin Season –A press release tells me: “The Michelin Guide Spain & Portugal 2020 selection has been released, featuring a grand total of 241 starred restaurants, 30 of which are new.” Forbes has helpfully broken out all the new stars for you here, including these in the top two tiers: New 3-Star: Cenador de Amos, Cantabria, Spain — New 2-Star: Angle, Barcelona; Bardal, Málaga; El Poblet, Valencia; Noor, Córdoba; Skina, Marbella; and Casa de Chá da Boa Nova in Porto, Portugal. Congrats, all!
For the Somm – Two big stories from Esther Mobley at the SF Chronicle this week: First, “E.&J. Gallo, the country’s largest wine company, has purchased Pahlmeyer Winery, one of Napa Valley’s most famous high-end labels. The purchase includes two brands — Pahlmeyer and Jayson by Pahlmeyer… — but no physical winery or land. A purchase price was not disclosed.” And second, “This year, for the first time, a winemaker [will receive the Smithsonian’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal]: Napa’s Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the creator of the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon that won the Judgment of Paris.” Mobley says Winiarski joins past winners such as Stephen Hawking, Walter Cronkite, Dolores Huerta, Jacques Cousteau, and that “there has been one food-related recipient before: Julia Child in 1966.” Details plus a solid bonus profile here.
And last and wonderful – Found via a Khushbu Shah tweet this morning, on Viet Nam News: “Last year, Vietnam’s entry for Miss Universe donned a bánh mỳ-inspired outfit. How can you top that? This year, Hoang Thuy will wear a costume based on 'Ca Phe Phin Sua Da' (Iced coffee with condensed milk).” Pictures included. You’re welcome.
And that’s it for today. A good portion of this was written on an airplane somewhere over SE Asia this afternoon, so please blame any typos or errors on Boeing tray table designers. Thank you.
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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