Resy's big buy, Illegal voter specials(?), and more... plus, you know, VOTE!
Family Meal - Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
Let’s get to it…
Fierce Reservation Tussles – Friday headline in the NYT: “Resy Acquires Reserve, in the Fierce Tussle Over Restaurant Reservations.” Details via Tejal Rao: “Resy would not disclose the financial details of the deal, which was signed on Oct. 27. But it said that with the addition of Reserve, which works with about 1,000 restaurants, most of them in Chicago, Washington and Boston, it will now serve about 4,000 restaurants in the United States…. For now, Resy will continue to run Reserve’s service as it is. The work of moving restaurants from Reserve to Resy’s platform will happen slowly, beginning early in 2019, after the holiday rush of private parties and events — the most chaotic time of the year in the restaurant business.”
P.S. The PR Consolation Prize goes to Tock (and Alinea Group) co-founder Nick Kokonas, who got out ahead of (and into) this story by telling Eater Chicago before the news broke, “We saw the deal months ago, we spent a solid week analyzing it in detail, and we absolutely couldn’t come up with a single reason why we’d want to do it.” No regrets?
The Law – “Offering food-and-drink deals on Election Day? It may not be legal.” NRN’s Lisa Jennings throws a wet blanket on voting specials: “Election scholars contend that promotions tied to voting could be seen as offering a reward or benefit to win votes for one candidate or another. ‘It is illegal in elections when federal candidates are on the ballot to offer free stuff (including free food or drink) to people upon proof of voting,’ said Rick Hasen, a law professor at UC Irvine.” I’m no UC Irvine law professor, but I’d say if you do go through with an “I Voted” special today, just make sure your staff know they absolutely have to be non-partisan about it. Not sure you’ve noticed, but we’re a litigious little democracy these days…
The Government – In D.C., WCP’s Laura Hayes reports, “More than 100 people have applied to be the city’s so-called ‘night mayor,’ a full-time job that will pay between $97,434 to $118,000 a year, according to the city’s job listing…. The director of nightlife will mitigate tension between residents and nearby nightlife venues as it relates to rats, trash, pooling vomit, traffic, and noise abatement.” #drainthe(vomit)swamp.
Michelin Season – A reminder that NYC’s Michelin stars come out today, and a special shout out to the person who scheduled the announcement for maximum impact on a slow news day. (If you want to play the guessing game, Ryan Sutton has his picks here. He thinks Ko, The Modern, Aska, Jean-Georges, and some “less likely candidates” (Jungsik and Ginza Onodera) have a shot at three stars. So… he voted!)
For the bar: Some sad news – Per David Wondrich on Twitter, “A grievous loss: Tom Vaught, bartender, character, ambassador of the old, weird America died [Saturday] night.” Wondrich profiled Vaught for Punch in 2014: “Tom works at the Brooklyn Inn, a dark, friendly neighborhood bar that was founded in 1885 and still doesn’t have a cocktail list… In 1991, he got his first bartending job at the clubby East Village dive Stella’s, which would later become Lucky Cheng’s… But then Tom got his first voice-over gig, and didn’t tend bar again for another decade or so [when he moved on to WXOU]. Instead, his baritone was the voice of MTV and a dozen other things (he can still be heard in Grand Theft Auto, where he gives voice to the lead biker).”
The (supply-side) Retirement – In CA, “When Laura Avery took the reins as head of the Santa Monica farmers market in 1982, the Wednesday event was only a year old, and the modern idea of farmers markets… was itself in its infancy. Today, restaurant groups employ people whose primary responsibility is shopping the market; in the early days, Avery recalls Nancy Silverton herself would walk along the stalls on Arizona Avenue, buy ‘$2,000 worth of stuff’ and toss it in the back of her pick-up truck to cart to her restaurant. Since then, under Avery’s watch, the Santa Monica farmers market has expanded to four separate markets weekly, drawing roughly 130 farmers and thousands of shoppers. It’s the first stop for any serious home or restaurant chef in greater L.A. Avery announced this week that she will retire at the end of the year, ending her 36-year run as market supervisor. A replacement has not been named.” Details via Noelle Carter in the LA Times.
The Media – From Newsday in NY: “Our FeedMe team is expanding - we have an opening for a food and restaurants critic / reporter to add to our coverage of Long Island's dining scene across digital, print and social platforms.” Details and application here.
And the NYT is ending newsroom summer internships in favor of the “New York Times Fellowship, a one-year work program aimed at cultivating the next generation of journalists… The fellowship also will target many of the same candidates as the internship: qualified recent college graduates and postgraduates.” If you or someone you know fits that bill, the Reporter page specifically says they’re planning to place reporting fellows in the Food/Cooking section…
And last and not least – At the risk of being patronizing and/or repetitive… Vote! If you’re waiting in line, here’s a handful of long reads and not totally restaurant related food writing to keep you busy:
Ruby Tandoh writes about the complicated food-writing legacy of one M.F.K. Fisher on the eve of the republishing of Fisher’s classic essay collection, “Consider the Oyster.”
Mike Ives says Singaporean and Malaysian food fans are arguing about whose hawker culture belongs on Unesco’s “intangible cultural heritage” list.
Jonathan Kauffman has been taking fantastic long looks at old school SF restaurants like 46 year-old Jeanne d’Arc, “the Frenchiest bistro in San Francisco”, and 50 year-old “old-school Italian” Gold Mirror, (“for a look at the original gold mirror, check out the NSFW painting next to the bathroom”).
And if you prefer a podcast, the Dave Chang Show can be cloying (if you’ve ever listened to the Ted Radio Hour, you’ll recognize the Guy Raz strategy of curling up at the feet of guests, murmuring, “You’re amazing,” before and after every question), but his recent interview with Evan Kleiman is worth a listen for its history of the LA / California food explosion of the ‘70s and ‘80s among other topics (e.g. restaurant ownership heartbreak).
And that’s it for today. Good luck, America!
I voted, I’ll be rooting you on from Hong Kong, and I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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