PPP2 FAQ, Manhattan fire sale, Sweetheart interviews, Pizza reds, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, January 12th, 2021
And hello to paying subscribers only. If you got this as a forward, just $5 a month will get you Tuesday editions on Tuesdays. In the words of one Mr. J. Fogerty: You don’t need a penny just to hang around, but if you’ve got a nickel won’t you…
Quick update before we get started: I ended last Family Meal on a somber note about a new anonymous discussion board where owner/operators struggling through the loss (or near loss) of their businesses can find others to talk to, but was waiting for permission to include a link. Permission granted, link here.
Oh, and also that Beard Foundation fund for Black and Indigenous American restaurateurs is open for applications, and this is the last week to nominate me (or whoever) for Eater’s New Guard program. Good luck, all!
A bit NY-centric this morning, but let’s get to it…
The Relief (Resources) – As round 2 of Paycheck Protection Program loans open up, Eater critic/wonk Ryan Sutton has a very useful FAQ which should answer most general questions and ends in a link to the actual application page. Key dates per Sutton: “January 11: In order to ‘promote access to capital,’ per the Treasury Department, only community lenders will be able to start accepting loan applications today. Only first-draw borrowers will be eligible. January 13: Second-draw borrowers can start accessing loans through community lenders. ‘Shortly thereafter,’ the program will open to larger banks and financial institutions, according to the government. March 31: The PPP will stop taking applications.”
And on YouTube yesterday, the Independent Restaurant Coalition released an hour-long video walking restaurateurs through PPP2. Reader, I have not watched it, but you sure can!
The Reality – In his Astrolabe newsletter this week, Gary He has a story I’ve been expecting to see play out around the country: “Sweet rent deals and turnkey spaces are enticing takers even with the pandemic continuing to cripple [NYC]…. For example: “John Fraser shut down his vegetarian joint Nix in June. But by August, the space had been taken over by vegan restaurant group Blossom, which cherry picked that location because it didn’t require many changes… [according to] Blossom restaurant co-founder and owner Ronen Seri, who confirmed to me he received half-off rent for the first year.” Mr. He also says the Uncle Boons space (closed in August) is already under construction for a new project, and real estate agent James Famularo (maybe biased) told him, “There has never been a better time to get great deals on commercial spaces in Manhattan.”
The Implicit – In the NYT, Korsha Wilson has a feature on “How High-End Restaurants Have Failed Black Female Chefs,” (also available in French!) that leans on the kind of anecdotal evidence that will launch a thousand nods (this is exactly how it happens!) and shrugs (the kitchen is tough, maybe…. that wasn’t racism?). If you fall into the latter group of readers, take a trip into the studies Wilson links to, especially the Seattle civil rights one where the fine dining staff stories diverge from the moment (identical) resumes are handed off. Among many instances of Black applicants being asked to leave their resumes or apply online while white applicants were ushered straight to the back office for a chat, there are gems like: “General Manager shook white tester’s hand only.”
Among the most cringe-worthy entries: “The GM encouraged the Black tester to apply at a fine dining restaurant far north of the city. The GM joked with the white tester and asked if she had a flexible schedule, if she was interested in a position as host, and if she could start immediately. The GM referred to both testers as ‘sweetheart’ at the end of the interview.” Italics mine, sport.
The Explicit – Per Tanay Warerkar in Eater NY: “The father-and-son team behind Prince Street Pizza, one of New York City’s most popular slice shops, is stepping down from day-to-day operations after food blogger Joe Rosenthal resurfaced racist comments made by the pizzeria’s founder, Frank Morano, on Yelp over the past three years. Rosenthal also resurfaced a now-deleted 2016 Facebook post from Morano’s son and restaurant co-owner Dominic Morano’s account mocking Black Lives Matter protesters being hit by cars.” The Yelp comments are… something else.
Shout out to the school of customer service that teaches ending online guest interactions with (real quote): “I guarantee you this old ass will break your fucking jaw in one punch you communist scumbag.”
The Regulators – Missed this on Thursday, but Eater’s Erika Adams reports that after similar legislation went into effect in CA on January 1st, “A new bill has been introduced in New York that aims to ban delivery apps like Grubhub and DoorDash from listing restaurants on their marketplaces without permission from the businesses.” Under the proposed legislation, “If a restaurant requests to be removed from a service like DoorDash, the company has five days to remove the business from its platform. After that period, delivery services would be fined $500 per day for every day that the restaurant continues to be listed on the platform without its consent.”
The Critics – In Chicago, Mark Caro reports (via tweet) that longtime Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel is “packing up.” No other official word yet, but presumably Vettel is participating in the latest round of buyouts there. More on what’s next when I know it.
And that’s it for today. Everybody ready for a normal week?
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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