Caviarteria to Return to NYC

Caviarteria, located at 75 Murray (between W. Broadway and Greenwich), is a new caviar-based restaurant that is located in the former home of Silver Lining Jazz Bar. The brand used to have outposts all over—Beverly Hills, Vegas, and the Soho Grand but by the time Walter Drobenko took over the brand in 2006, it was mainly a mail-order operation. Drobrenko is planning for a champagne-caviar brunch on the weekends as well as a pianist on Friday and Saturday nights. While the full menu be available within a week or two, less complex caviar dishes are still available.

The locations retail case opens at 5 p.m., along with the bar.

Four & Twenty Cafe at Brooklyn Public Libraray

Emily and Melissa Elsen recently opened Four and Twenty Blackbirds Cafe in the Central Brooklyn Public Library. The sisters are the owners and operators of one of Brooklyn’s most beloved pie shops by the same name since 2010. They have been operating a temporary version of the cafe, with a limited menu, since the beginning of the month, but have officially rolled out the full menu at the new space at the library in Grand Army Plaza.

Cafe Hours: Mon-Thurs 9AM–6PM, Fri-Sat: 10AM–6PM, Closed Sunday

Balancing Technology and Hospitality in the Modern Age— Is There a Happy Medium?

Restaurants are adapting to the ever-changing technology climate—is this a good thing? These days there is an app to facilitate almost any dining experience including making reservations, tracking wait times, placing orders, and processing payment. The adaptation to modern technology in the restaurant sphere has altered the dining experience for both guests and operators. Can human hospitality and technology cohabit in restaurants, or must one dominate the other?

From a guest standpoint, technology can provide a no-frills, however sterile, experience in which getting from point A to point Z requires few superfluous interactions in between. Are these interactions actually superfluous though? While it’s not far fetched to assume that one day all restaurants could be completely operated by iPads, do servers, hosts and managers possess an indispensable human quality that machines cannot replicate? Then the question becomes, “Is the hospitality experience created by the service team’s human interaction a requisite for guests, or are technological apps that can perform the same duties without the small talk sufficient?” From an operator perspective restaurant apps can ultimately lead to more profitability. Theoretically, guest traffic count would increase and fewer front of house staff would be required.

The app Cover allows guests to pay the bill without having to ask and wait for the check. Guests can select a tip percentage of their preference to be automatically calculated, and they can opt to divide the tab by the number of guests in their party. This is an example of an app that eliminates a tedious process that often leads to frustrating lag times; in this instance, hospitality is not of the utmost importance. However, when guests have control of their entire dining experience from appetizer to dessert at the tip of their fingers, literally, are the seemingly unnecessary steps of interacting with a server really that unnecessary? It may seem appealing to a single diner who is not in the mood for chit chat or to a group of friends who would rather focus on their conversation as opposed to the ordering process— but would the presence of a server actually provide an additional benefit instead of creating an unnecessary obstacle?

Servers are humans at their core, with life experience, people skills and opinions— all qualities that programs cannot acquire no matter how intelligent they are. Servers, hosts, managers and other front of house team members can guide guests in the right direction depending on guests’ moods, dietary preferences and any other concerns. Hypothetically, even if apps could somehow be designed to form humanlike judgments and opinions, will their efficiency and intelligence ever be a suitable replacement for the comfort of human interaction? Whether there’s a standard that restaurants should live up to in terms of balancing human hospitality with technology is ultimately up to the restaurateur; there may not be one right answer.

Coffee Green Bean Prices on the Rise

The biggest arabica coffee rally in two decades is beginning to force smaller-brand roasters to quietly raise wholesale prices, even as top names such as Starbucks Corp resist. The price of arabica coffee futures, the type used primarily in roast and ground brews, surged 80 percent in less than seven weeks on Wednesday, rising above $2 per lb in the biggest such rally since July 1994.
One private-label roaster in the New York area is set to raise its prices by 10 percent to 15 percent within the next few weeks. NY TIMES ARTICLE

RFB: Food Trucks at Central Park and Washington Square Park

A Request for Bids (RFB) has been released for Mobile Food Units at Central Park and Washington Square Park in Manhattan. These locations offer an opportunity for mobile food businesses to cater to a wide variety of customers at these popular NYC destinations. All bids in response to this RFB must be submitted no later than Friday, April 11, 2014 at 11 am.  

Hard copies of the RFB can be obtained through Friday, April 11, on weekdays only, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m at this location:

Revenue Division of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
830 Fifth Avenue, Room 407, New York, NY 10065.

To download the RFB, visit http://www.nyc.gov/parks/businessopportunities and click on the “Concessions Opportunities at Parks” link. Once you have logged in, click on the “download” link that appears adjacent to the RFB’s description.

 

TERROIR: WINE BAR ENTERPRISE

284 5th Avenue at First Street (Park Slope) • 718.823.9463

Terroir

Terroir

Their Success…Terroir may dub themselves “the elitist wine bar for everyone,” but their amiable service and budget-friendly menu paint a different picture. Terroir, the sister outpost to the East Village’s Hearth, currently has locations in the East Village, Tribeca, Murray Hill, Park Slope, and on the High Line. A large majority of wine bars have a reputation for being too wine-centric and not paying mind to the food, often providing only limited snack options. Contrarily, Terroir’s food impresses its guest just as much as its wine. Moreover, Terroir’s food and wine options cater to guests at all price points.

Terroir’s humble interior, reflected through rustic aesthetics and communal tables, is deceiving at first glance. Most guests would assume that a wine bar with such a casual vibe would not be capable of serving rare, exquisite grape varietals and a full-fledged Northern-Italian inspired menu comprised of small plates, main courses, and everything in between. Terroir has proven that incredible cuisine and wine can coexist at a wine bar.

Another way Terroir is thinking outside of the wine bar box is through their varied price points. Traditionally speaking, wine bars offer a handful of crowd-pleasing snacks and tapas. Instead, Terroir has designed an extensive menu that appeals to all appetites, group sizes, and spending preferences. Terroir’s flexible wine menu includes 3oz pours, traditional 6oz. pours, half bottles and full bottles. Their Happy Hour makes headlines given the low price point and high calibre of cuisine and wine. On the low end, sherry pours before 7pm are $2.50 and vins doux naturel range from $3.50 to $4.50. Each location’s menu features slight modifications in design and content, but the one common factor is the boundless possibilities of dining and “wining” experiences.

Lastly, Terroir caters to their guests’ experiences with their target demographic’s location in mind. We were excited to discover Terroir Park Slope offers a kid’s menu and brunch upon visiting. Since families comprise a large segment of Park Slope’s demographic, and Park Slope residents’ favorite weekend pastime is having brunch, this is fitting. Terroir Tribeca’s menu highlights “salads” in large font in the center where it’s impossible to miss, which is appropriate considering Tribeca’s health-conscious demographic. Terroir takes their customized menu model to another level through differentiating the font, design, layout and food categories at each location. Quirky and playful menu categories like “cool stuff you must eat” and “sugar gives you energy” position Terroir in a delightfully unexpected light.

Take Aways…Terroir is the premiere wine bar for everyone. The food consistently complements the wine in calibre. Likewise, the price point and ambiance create an environment suitable to an all-inclusive demographic.

A New Take on Blue Bottle Iced Coffee

Recently VC-funded Blue Bottle Coffee released its newest product this week at EXPO West, a natural-foods conference in Anaheim: a ready-to-drink, packaged version of its New Orleans Iced Coffee. Blue Bottle partnered with Clover Organic Farms to offer this all-organic product with the same ingredients you’d find at a Blue Bottle shop – coffee, roasted chicory, cane sugar, and Clover milk. Except now, it is packaged in a 10.66-ounce milk carton and scheduled to hit shelves at every Whole Foods in Northern California by mid-March. Future roll-out will include Blue Bottle’s shops (Bay Area, L.A., and NYC), west coast Whole Foods stores, followed by a launch in the NYC area in mid-to-late May.

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