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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Big Sodas Win, Trappist Monk Shortage and how to make the perfect burger

  • Union Square Cafe Forced to Move Due to Rent Hike: Danny Meyer's trailblazing Manhattan restaurant, Union Square Cafe, will close in its current location by the end of 2015. The space that holds the near 30 year-old restaurant, which was the very first in Meyer's now massive empire, goes on the market next week, the Times reports, because even the king of hospitality himself can't keep up with the soaring rent. 
    • Union Square Cafe Joins Other Victims of New York City’s Rising Rents: It is one of the hard truths of New York real estate: Restaurants help revitalize neighborhoods, then are forced to close when their rents skyrocket.  The latest casualty is Union Square Cafe, a pioneering restaurant that became the mother ship of the fleet run by the entrepreneur Danny Meyer. It will forfeit its lease at the end of next year, close its doors and move to a location to be determined.
  • Why It’s Become More Tempting Than Ever for Chefs to Leave New York: Any chef who dreamed of seeing their name emblazoned on a cookbook cover knew that doing so meant first making that name in New York. Chefs who dreamed of making it big — really big — had to build a reputation for him or herself in NYC. But things are changing: Thanks to a number of factors, chefs increasingly feel like they can avoid or leave New York without sacrificing the potential for fame. 
  • New York City's Soda Ban Fizzles Out For Good: The state's Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the city's ban on Thursday morning, ruling that the city's health department had "exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority" when it prohibited the sale of sugary drinks sold in containers larger than 16 ounces.

  • Deconstructing the Perfect Burger: How to make a great hamburger is a question that has bedeviled the nation for generations, for as long as Americans have had griddles and broilers, for as long as summertime shorts-wearing cooks have gone into the yard to grill.  But the answer is simple, according to many of those who make and sell the nation’s best hamburgers: Cook on heavy, cast-iron pans and griddles. 
  • The Death of Auto Grat; How the IRS is Turning Servers Into Slaves: Apparently, the IRS is treating auto grats as wages. Which means a lot of new rules regarding payroll and whatnot. Long story short, the days of feeling confident that even if that party of 12 that has made you run your ass off seems like the type of people who have never tipped, even in the collection plate, you'll still get paid are over.
  • Serious Trappist-Monk Shortage May Threaten Future of Some Really Awesome Beers: A dwindling interest among Europeans in becoming part of the brotherhood, it seems, is causing collateral damage to some of the world's most sought-after Trappist beers.


  • Pastry Cases Sample the French Treats at Bosie Tea Parlor: In each installment of Pastry Cases, sweets fanatics and lovers of (most) things baked Charlotte Druckman and Gabriella Gershenson (of Every Day with Rachael Ray) share a favorite confection, slice of cake, ice cream scoop, or other delectable delight worth the sugar high—and the trek. In this week's edition, the coquettes nibble authentic French pastry with piping hot tea at the venerable Bosie Tea Parlor in the West Village.
  • Chumley's Looks Likely To Vanquish NIMBY Lawsuit: It's been seven years since the historic building that housed Chumley's collapsed, and the bar's seemingly never-ending quest to reopen crossed another important hurdle this week, when a judge told the NIMBYs who sued to stop the re-opening that their case was a real long shot and they should consider settling out of court.

  • New American: Dan Barber Explores a Brave New Cuisine: Barber just released The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, a book he says started as an exploration of how unique individual ingredients are grown, and morphed into a blueprint for a new American cuisine. He goes beyond our current farm-to-table paradigm, under which we still cherry pick produce and other ingredients for our restaurants and plates, to champion a diet that considers the health of the land and a system of farming that will preserve our ecosystem for generations to come. 

  • The High Line Hit List: Yes, the High Line can be unpleasant, especially when you find yourself elbow fighting with tourists for a spot in line at one of the few food vendors that are up on the park itself. The good news is that the High Line can also be an excellent place to spend a lazy summer afternoon – as long as you know how to do it right. Instead of dealing with the options available above the street, bring some food of your own and settle into a chair near the 14th Street entrance.
  • Restoration Hardware May Take Over Pastis Building: Restoration Hardware recently filed a document with the city that indicates it will take over the lease of the entire building that until recently held Pastis. Although the owner of the building still tells DNAinfo that "we don't know yet" who the tenant will be, the home goods company did file a memorandum of lease—a document outlining the terms of a lease agreement—with the city last week. 

  • Trend Spotting: New York’s Renewed Bagel Obsession: Seeing as they’re one of New York’s signature foodstuffs, we tend to take great bagels for granted, from the oversized, sesame seed-flecked frisbees at Ess-A-Bagel outposts throughout Manhattan to the compact, highly burnished orbs at Bagel Hole in Brooklyn.  But lately, a growing crew of young, hip chefs and shop owners have revived interest in the iconic breakfast item, elevating bagels to so much more than doughy calorie bombs, topped with basic, cream cheese schmears.
  • Cherche Midi – Reviewed: It’s amazing how a few tweaks can transform a space into a whole new restaurant.  What was once a chichi pizza joint named Pulino’s has been triumphantly reinvented as a French bistro called Cherche Midi.

  • The 10 Best Men's Shave Spots In NY: Frank's Chop Shop is of the nouveau barbershop persuasion, offering up a veritable hip, contemporary vibe complete with hip-hop music and $40 snapbacks, all the while doling out classic cuts and shaves for the "modern gentleman of leisure."
  • Don’t Turn Up Your Nose at the City in Summer: NEW YORK CITY has always had a challenging relationship with odor, which given its density, could hardly be otherwise. And as summer gets going, so does the season of smell.

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