Jacob Riis Park Seeking Lease

Gateway NRA is seeking to lease Bay 9 at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. The goal is to provide fresh, creative and diverse food and beverage options to fulfill the NPS’ vision to create a destination known not only for its land and sea but for its food and enhanced seaside attractions as well. The Request for Proposal and Attachments A-G can be found here, questions and answers will be posted here.

Proposals must be received by the National Park Service no later than January 22nd, 2015 and can be submitted electronically at gateway_bmd@nps.gov or addressed to:

Gateway National Recreation Area
210 New York Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10305
Attention: Bay 9 RFP 

For more information on the space on the request for proposals process, click here.

Union Square Holiday Market

The Union Square Holiday Market is a European style market held in Union Square by Urban Space where local vendors set up stalls to sell artisanal products. The market offers a great atmosphere for an enjoyable holiday shopping experience. It opened yesterday and will run through to December 24th. The market hours are weekdays from 11AM-8PM, Saturdays from 10AM-8PM and Sundays from 11AM-7PM (please note the market will be closed on Thanksgiving). The market is set up in a maze of aisles decorated with holly and other Christmas ornaments where vendors get to know one another and jointly get in the festive spirit.

This alfresco winter market has over 150 local and national vendors selling anything from jewelry, leather goods, artwork and of course a number of food vendors selling pretzels, hot chocolate, cider and waffles amongst other treats! For a full list of the 2014 vendor lineup, click here. The market is easily accessible by train (4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R) to Union Square. Below is a list of items that can be found at the market this year:

  • An array of warm and indulgent food and beverage, from authentic Persian soup to rich hot chocolate
  • Local, handmade jewelry and accessories
  • Gifts for children, teens, and the young-at-heart
  • Artwork, from posters to framed prints and more
  • Socially-conscious goods (look for our Artisan Pledge stickers to verify that products are 100% made in USA, local, organic, fair trade certified, recycled, and/or handmade)
  • Home goods, from bowls crafted from natural olive wood to coasters made of slate
  • Candles, soaps, and skincare products for men and women
  • Winter accessories like scarves, hats, and gloves to warm you up on the spot
  • Gourmet pantry items, from small-batch jams to all natural olive oils

NYC Does Hot Chocolate Better

Its time to gear up for the cold by packing on those layers, and of course by locating New York’s best cups of hot chocolate. To take your mind off the dreaded words “polar vortex,” Grubstreet has compiled a list of a few spots in the city that serve an elevated cup of hot chocolate. This great city is full of chefs, bartenders, baristas, and bakers wanting to step up their chocolate game to offer exotic versions of the classic hot chocolate.  A few of these listed below are spiked with ingredients such as lavender, salted caramel, brownie batter, and actual alcohol. Here are some of the options from the Grubstreet survey to go out and try!

Price: $3.50
Secret Ingredient: Lavender
It’s no surprise that the bakery with the most amazing new chocolate chip cookie in town also makes a solid hot chocolate. The milk is infused with dried lavender, then strained, steamed, and combined with melted dark chocolate. Plus: Maman also sells prepackaged spoons made of chocolate, which melt beautifully into a mug of warm milk.

Blue Bottle Coffee at Gotham West Market
Price: $5
Secret Ingredient: Coffee
Of course, there’s coffee in this hot chocolate — making it a mocha, technically. Mast Brothers supply the chocolate ganache.

Victory Garden
Price: $4.50
Secret Ingredient: Cajeta
Sophia Brittan makes a salted-caramel hot chocolate, using traditional chocolate from Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s hand-frothed with a Mexican molinillo whisk and topped with homemade cajeta and sea salt.

Shake Shack
Price: $3.50
Secret Ingredient: Salted caramel
This year, Shake Shack’s hot chocolate includes a blend of bittersweet dark chocolates, caramel sauce, sea salt, and milk. It’s exactly what you need after waiting in line, in the freezing cold, just for a perfect burger.

Pasar Malam
Price: Free!
Secret Ingredient: Condensed chocolate milk
A wise business strategy at this relatively new version of a Malaysian night market: Give customers a hot drink as soon as they arrive. To make this “Pulled Hot Chocolate Tea”: orange-Pekoe tea infused with warm spices, and then drizzled in condensed chocolate milk.

To check out the full list of great spots in the city to get a cup of special hot chocolate, click here

Aaron Rezny’s Eating Delancey

As you flip through Aaron Rezny’s new book, Eating Delancey, you can see how it portrays Jewish food in beautiful photographs, recipes, and tender reminisces by notable New Yorkers. Delancey Street and those around it in the Lower East Side (Ludlow, Essex, Orchard, Rivington) are the historical home of Jewish immigrants, and therefore a great area to experience unique Jewish foods brought to America in the early 20th century during the great emigration from Europe.

Foods in the area that will make your mouth water include knishes, bagels, lox, pastrami, whitefish, kasha, dill pickles, herring, egg creams, and much more. Neighborhood gems are all referenced in Remedy’s book including infamous Katz’s Deli, Russ & Daughters and Sammy’s Roumanian. On Wednesday December 10th at 6:30PM, authors Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps will be joined by their contributors at 103 Orchard Street for a book sale of 15% and discussion and stories surrounding the many foods and memories in the book. Attendance is free and seating is first-come, first-served. For questions, contact Laura Lee at llee@tenement.org or 212.431.0233.

To read more about the event, click here



Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry

On Tuesday December 2nd from 8AM-4PM a conference will be held at the New York Institute of Technology hosted by the Global Center for Hospitality Management, the New York State Restaurant Association & Green Hospitality Initiative. The conference will be on “Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: A Global Perspective.” This conference will bring together leaders from all aspects of the hospitality industry to discuss and share their expertise regarding sustainability in hospitality organizations and related industries. The sustainability issues that will be addressed will pertain to: Food, Operations, Work Culture and Community.

Several events will be held on the day of the conference including a continental breakfast networking session; guest speaker presentations; short films; “green flash” presentations on current trends in sustainability; and reception following the conference. Below are a few of the many knowledgeable speakers that will be attending the conference:

  • Dr. Rahmat Shoureshi, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
  • Sadri Altinok, President, Turkish Cultural Centers
  • Dr. Robert J. Koenig, Associate Dean and Professor of the School of Management and Department of Hospitality Studies, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
  • Alan Someck, Director, Green Hospitality Initiative
  • Alan Fairbairn, M.A./C.H.A./C.H.I.A.
    Professor of the School of Management and Department of Hospitality Studies, New York Institute of Technology(NYIT)
  • Alex Askew, President and CEO, BCA Global
  • Karen Washington, Co Founder at Black Urban Growers and La Familia Verde
  • Hervé Houdré, Regional Director of Operations & General Manager InterContinental New York Barclay

For a more comprehensive list of speakers and more details on the conference, click here. Admission to the conference is $22.75 with a $2.24 processing fee, to  register for the event click here

Webinar Event: 2015 Industry Trends

On December 9th at 1PM EST fastcasual.com will be hosting a Webinar with trend analysts from PeopleMatter on the 10 biggest industry trends for 2015. This hour long webinar will be based around discussing whether or not these trends are worth the time, or just all hype. It is important for operators to begin planning for 2015 now, even though it may seem difficult to do simultaneously with the holidays.

The webinar panelists will first identify the 10 most popular trends employers will need to plan for in 2015 and then discover which are worth the time and worry and which are not. This will then segue into discussing the full cost impacts these could make on your bottom line. This also ties in to what operators need to really focus on to slow rising costs and maximize their profitability. The panelists will also offer very specific tips on how to increase customer and employee satisfaction. A portion of the webinar will also be reserved for a live Q&A.

To read more about the webinar speakers and to register, click here

For The Love of Local

“Farm-to-Table” restaurants have gone from niche to mainstream, and using local products is now nearly a rule for any restaurateur or chef opening a new enterprise. However, not every cafe needs to rely entirely on the city’s Greenmarkets in order to make an impact with local items. In this month’s Enterprise Insight, we will review three methodologies for sourcing locally and examples of each.


Sometimes, the easiest way to keep it local is simply by sticking with what you can get in each season. For Maman, a new bakery-café in SoHo, their strategy is just that; vegetable-focused fare that’s seasonally and locally sourced. The café doesn’t call out specifically from which farms their products are coming; they let the produce speak for itself. This method goes hand in hand with the café’s preference for vegetable—but not necessarily vegetarian—dishes, which we discussed earlier this month in our Retail Spotlight.


Eataly’s items might be mostly imorted from Italy, but its flour is New York State grown and milled. Obviously, the majority of Eataly’s products are coming from Italy—jams, sauces, coffee, etc—but the bakery runs on flour milled in nearby Clinton Corners by Wild Hive Farm. Wild Hive Farm owner Don Lewis sources whole grains of heirloom wheat from local farms and mills over 300 acres worth just for Eataly—roughly 3,000 pounds of local flour per week!

Programs similar to these are most common—using local ingredients for high-impact items balance the benefits of using and highlighting local ingredients with the problems of availability and seasonality. For example, a patisserie could exclusively use local eggs, and make a note of it on the menu. Bars have a huge inventory of local wine, beers, and spirits to choose from, and intrinsically must note where the beverage comes from.


The most obvious and most common form of using local ingredients is now almost a necessity. Citing the provenance of specific ingredients started back in the days of Savoy, Blue Hill, and Union Square Café getting their food from the greenmarkets. Restaurants like these put a strong emphasis on farms and the relationship between the chef and the farmers. This movement has evolved to the use of rooftop gardens, like Rosemary’s, and functioning farm-restaurants, such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

For many hospitality enterprises, accessibility is the biggest issue with local sourcing. Fortunately, New York State is making big progress in this area—going as far as to set up a marketing campaign around local products. “Taste NY”, as the program is called, even has a retail store in Grand Central Terminal, which exclusively sells products made in state. And GrowNYC, the agency that runs the Greenmarkets around the City, has started a local distribution company, Greenmarket Co, which delivers from farmers to wholesale customers. Whether you’re operating a fine dining enterprise that is showcasing the best in season from the best producers or seeking to bolster local agriculture on a larger scale, using regional product can drive revenue and good will.


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