Yelp's bell, Brock's big move, Bon Appetit's long list, hotel hires, and more...
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Alright, let’s get to it…
Low country loss – “Sean Brock is heading in a new direction. Effective August 1 (this past Wednesday), [Brock] will end his twelve-year partnership with Neighborhood Dining Group. According to a statement shared exclusively with Food & Wine, Brock is ‘resigning from his current role to focus on his own restaurant endeavors in Nashville, TN.’ Brock will serve as ‘founding chef and culinary advisor’ at the Husks in Charleston, Nashville, Greenville, and Savannah, but will no longer be involved with Minero, McCrady’s, or McCrady’s Tavern.”
The Post & Courier’s Hanna Raskin adds next steps and the local take: “‘It sounds to me like Sean’s got a big project planned,’ Brock’s close collaborator Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills theorized when he learned of the departure. Roberts compared the move to Danny Meyer selling Eleven Madison Park in 2011, on the heels of the New York City restaurant receiving its third Michelin star. With Brock out of the picture, Minero Charleston has promoted Wes Grubbs to executive chef. Orlando Pagan will assume the same role at McCrady’s Tavern, and Jim Stein will serve as executive chef of McCrady’s... Travis Grimes… will continue running the kitchen at Husk Charleston.”
The Lists – Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton is out with a long list of finalists for his “Hot 10” Best New Restaurants 2018 (due out August 14th). This initial cut is supposed to be 50 restaurants deep, but includes an entire Line hotel as a single… line item, even though there are three different concepts under that vaulted ceiling. Let’s call it 52.
The follow-up: In D.C., writer Laura Hayes dove a little deeper into Yelp’s inclusion of health inspection data alongside reviews, and that prompted me to ask Matthew Eierman, co-founder of the company that provides that data, why they refuse to show their math in places like Washington, where HDScores calculates its own grades based on pass/fail government reports. In our long back and forth, this quote sticks out:
“We use a tally system, then we compare all establishments scores in a single jurisdiction. So all establishments sit on the bell curve, and stack and rank go into a 100% system by their score. That’s how we get an HDScore.”
Grading on a curve happens in other jurisdictions – Seattle has studied and implemented a curved system, arguing that it compensates for variations between inspectors – but this is the first time I’ve seen HDScores mention it. Eierman says they’re “working on a clear and consist blog post using D.C. as an example of how we get an HDScore. We will make that Public shortly.” Looking forward to it.
That Hotel $$$ - The new Virgin Hotel in SF’s SoMa neighborhood has announced the exec chef for its Commons Club restaurant: Adrian Garcia, previously of Quince, Benu, and Stonemill Matcha. Eater SF has details and some digital renderings of the space.
And per Eater NY, “John Fraser, the chef behind Michelin-starred restaurant Nix, is partnering with famed hotelier Ian Schrager at the upcoming Edition Hotel in Times Square. Fraser will be in charge of all food and beverage at the 452-room hotel… which includes several dining rooms and a 5,000-square-foot outside deck across four levels of public space.”
The Fallout – Finally admitting to the Washingtonian that his flagship Graffiato is gone, D.C.’s Mike Isabella tells Anna Spiegel, “I have a lot of restaurants. You learn you have restaurants that are great, and restaurants that sometimes aren’t that great… I’m definitely thinking of closing one or two more and focusing on the rest.” (P.S. Scoop goes to the Washingtonian, but if you need that story plus additional video reporting on the devastating Ruby Tuesday situation in Virginia, the Richmond Times has you covered. You’re welcome.)
For design fans – “We didn't want to be too pastiche-y but to allow that palette to almost sink into the texture so that you have the duality of the signature colours and of the textured walls." Translation: It’s green and white, OK? Here’s what a $620K lunch counter build looks like in London: Photo spread of Soho’s new-ish (opened back in May) Lina Stores Italian restaurant via DeZeen.
And last and least – Can’t believe this scandal isn’t getting the attention it deserves in the national press: A lawsuit from former employees alleges that at the 2017 CrossFit Games, “The food was supposed to be [Trifecta brand] food, which is advertised as ‘90% lean or greater, and Organic, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free and Non-GMO,’ but instead was McDonalds hamburger buns, IHOP pancakes, meat and egg products, pork and other meat products from local BBQ shack, etc.… Throughout each day, Defendants specifically arranged for IHOP and other local restaurants to deliver food to the CrossFit venue in unmarked vans so no one would see.” The headlines write themselves.
I reached out to Justin LoFranco, author of the original Morning Chalk Up blog post, with the questions we all have about this story (“Was there boysenberry?”), but he is busy at the 2018 CrossFit Games and will have to get back to us.
And that’s it for today. Have a fantastic weekend, and I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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