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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Weekly Roundup: David Chang's Ando Launches, Restaurant Workers Get Overtime Raise and The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In America

  • Super-Chill Governor Cuomo Wants to Let Brunchers Drink Before Noon: The rule's been around since Fiorello La Guardia was New York City's mayor, and it turns out Cuomo himself maintains a pretty forceful dislike of it: "The law was created 80 years ago right after Prohibition," he told reporters yesterday. "It is the most bizarre, arcane, frustrating, maddening law that you could imagine."
  • Meet the Author Whose New Novel Is All About New York Restaurant Culture: Like many writers, Stephanie Danler has also held more than a few restaurant gigs, working in well-regarded places like Tía Pol, Buvette, and Union Square Cafe. But unlike other authors, who treat their day jobs as nothing more than a way to pay the bills, Danler channeled her experience into a debut novel, Sweetbitter, which is out next week
  • Upper West Side Charmer Telepan Closes After 10 Years in Business: The Upper West Side just lost a bit of its culinary soul. Bill Telepan sends word that last night was the final service at his excellent farm-to-table restaurant, Telepan. The chef explains: "Like most restaurants, we operate with very small margins. As our costs go up each year and our revenue has not kept pace, we have been operating at a loss and cannot sustain the business."  
  • AndoWatch 2016: Cheesesteak Bibs, $60 Order Cap, Vegetarian Dishes on the Way.  David Chang's enigmatic new restaurant Ando launched earlier this week with service for 200 people, and a delivery range limited to Midtown East.  Throughout the week, Team Ando has been sending access codes to more customers, and now, bits of information are starting to leak from the Momo Mothership that suggest that Chang has some very big surprises in store for this new venture.

  • Amazon Will Launch Its Own Private-Label Foods: Amazon couldn't stand everyone else getting their own cool meal-delivery kit, but apparently that's not the only new push it wants to make into the food world. The company will reportedly launch several new lines of private-label brands with an emphasis on food and household items and a potential lineup including baby food, coffee, cooking oil, nuts, snack foods, spices, tea, and vitamins.
  • Obama’s New Overtime Rules Will Give Restaurant Workers Much-Deserved Raises: President Barack Obama is raising wages unilaterally because he can't raise wages through Congress. It's pretty incredible when you think about it: In the face of staggering income inequality, wealth inequality, and stagnant pay — even during a time of economic growth, when workers should be getting raises — Republicans in Congress have blocked the president's effort to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, a paltry $15,000 a year, to $10.10 per hour. 
  • The First Role for Many Actors: Waiter.  While waiting for their big break, many performers put in time as waiters and at other food service jobs. They may not be on Broadway yet, but they often toil in tantalizing proximity, either at restaurants in or near the theater district or as servers at glitzy parties with boldface guests.
  • Ben & Jerry’s New Flavor ‘Empower Mint’ Is More Political And Punny Than Ever: Called Empower Mint, the creamy peppermint ice cream was launched as part of the brand’s Democracy Is In Your Hands campaign, a yearlong effort to bring attention to social issues, such as voter ID laws in North Carolina that Ben & Jerry’s says “disproportionately keep African-Americans and other minorities from casting their ballots, confusing registration processes and shorten[ing] early voting periods.”


  • Bleecker Street locals weigh in on empty storefronts and commercialization: It’s manifested in more than 15 empty storefronts between Christopher Street and LaGuardia Place and the juxtaposition of small businesses with big-box brands and high-end fashion boutiques in the shopping district.  Locals would love to see the strip returned to its mom-and-popglory, when institutions like Bleecker Street Records and Aphrodisia Herb Shoppe attracted throngs of tourists and community patrons. But challenges stand in the way, none bigger than commercial rent prices.
  • The Absolute Best Doughnut in New York: The Doughnut Project: The “everything” doughnut, sesame seeded with a whiff of dehydrated garlic, seems like a shameless bid for a particular kind of Instagram fame. Same to the jumbo chocolate-bone-marrow, a holdover from the West Village shop’s recent “Meat Week,” which seems like a hybrid PR stunt and Dickensian punishment but still ends up fairly delicious. 

  • Vegan Hotspot By Chloe Opening New Location In South Street Seaport: Uber trendy veggie burger destination By Chloe is opening a huge new outpost in the Seaport District — the third big name to announce restaurant locations in the Howard Hughes Corporation's downtown development plan. The West Village restaurant will take over 2,500-square-feet of space on Front Street by 2017, and diners will be able to eat food in the restaurant or to-go.

  • How One Business Owner Grew to Be the Big Apple’s Go-To Cookie Shop: Eleni Gianopulos is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her company, Eleni’s New York. What started as a classic cookie company run out of Eleni’s kitchen is now well-known in the Big Apple and across the country as the go-to place for adorable and intricately decorated sugar cookies, homemade classic drop cookies, and eye-catching and delicious cupcakes.
  • Hummus Sensation Dizengoff Will Open in New York Next Week: As of now, the Chelsea Market stand will open officially May 25 — and, just maybe, earlier — serving five types of hummus and three salatim, or vegetable salads, all day every day, and breakfast shakshuka until 11:30 a.m. The beer will be local, the wine Israeli, and the frozen mint lemonade spiked with bourbon, if desired.
  • High Street on Hudson, A Review: High Street on Hudson draws crowds at most hours of the day, some for their excellent breakfast, many for the amazing sandwiches they offer during lunch, and dinner is usually bumping too, when the menu turns more advanced and adventurous. We've been various times for various meals, and we like High Street a lot. They certainly do a lot of things, and they do a lot of them well.

  • The 16 best dim sum restaurants in America: Given Doyers Street’s notoriously grisly gang wars in the early 20th century, it’s a surprise that the original owners of Nom Wah decided to set up a dainty tea shop there in 1920, turning out reputation-making moon cakes. Today, the biggest fight on the block is the weekend wait for Nom Wah—now the oldest dim sum parlor in the city. 
  • Taste-Testing Durian, The World's Smelliest Fruit: ’Tis the season for durian, the large, notoriously pungent fruit native to Southeast Asia. If you’ve never tried durian before, the experience is pretty unlike that of eating any other fruit—or food, for that matter. 

  • Brooklyn Brewery To Open Huge Brewery, Rooftop Restaurant at Brooklyn Navy Yard: Following in the footsteps of Russ & Daughters and the Mast Brothers, Brooklyn Brewery confirmed this weekend that they, too, will be planting a massive production facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Williamsburg-based brewery signed a 40-year lease for 75,000-square-feet at the Navy Yard — space to be used for offices, a brewery, and a huge rooftop beer garden and restaurant. 

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