Whole Foods Unleashes Its Cheaper Concept in Fort Greene Today


365_FTG_Exterior.0.jpgWhole Foods Market 365, an offshoot of Whole Foods that offers lower prices, makes its East Coast debut today with the grand opening of its new location in Fort Greene. The 30,000-square-foot space is located at 292 Ashland Pl. at Lafayette Avenue, and not only has cheaper prices but also has a cafe level with four restaurant concepts, including a popular West Coast vegan burger chain and a homegrown bakery.

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Five Reasons McDonald’s Is Back on Top


After years of declining sales, McDonald’s has seemingly righted its ship: Since CEO Steve Easterbrook took over in 2015, changes such as the launch of all-day breakfast have helped propel the fast-food titan out of its sales slump. It’s managed to maintain its upward trajectory over the past year, with its stock price rising by more than 40 percent in 2017.

The chain just reported its best sales growth in six years, with domestic same-store sales up 4.5 percent, and it’s seen an increase in foot traffic to its restaurants for the first time in four years. “We’ve successfully completed the transition from turnaround to growth,” Easterbrook told investors on the company’s quarterly earnings call.

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Popular Taiwanese Dessert Chain Takes on NYC


Popular Taiwanese dessert chain Meet Fresh has opened its first New York City location, offering taro balls, shaved ice, tofu pudding, and more at 35 Cooper Square at East 6th Street.

The East Village store opened to long lines this weekend, EV Grieve reports, for the treats made in Taiwan and imported here. Started by siblings in Taichung, Taiwan, the chain now has more than 100 stores in Taiwan, plus a few sprinkled across the U.S., Asia, and Australia. The extensive menu, below, offers many variations of its signature items with over 100 dishes on the menu, such as mango shaved ice, boba tofu pudding, green tea with whipped cream, and hot almond soup.

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The Extinction of the Early Bird


The east coast of South Florida feels like purgatory. There’s Miami, and there are beaches, but drive for 20 minutes outside of either, and it’s just vast plains of boxy, beige retirement villages, distinguishable only by their names, which all sound like euphemisms for a place you go when you die — Valencia Isles, Windward Palms, Mangrove Bay — and the relative elaborateness of their welcome fountains. The sky is a flat blue, and the temperature ranges from a chilled 62 degrees indoors to a muggy 85 degrees outside. Entire strip malls have been colonized by medical centers, generically advertising “Eye Care” or “Dermatology,” and every home purchase comes with a subscription to Nostalgic America magazine. “If Florida is the Great American Escape, it is also less enticing: the Great American Dumping Ground,” wrote Gloria Jahoda in Florida: A History in 1984. “It is where Mom and Pop go to die.”

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Pelicana Is the Finest Korean Fried Chicken in New York


“No one eats Pelicana chicken in Korea anymore,” my mom said, surprised when I raved about Pelicana, one of the biggest fried chicken chains in Korea that opened its first location in Manhattan recently. “There are so many fried chicken chains here. Pelicana is like a dying brand in Korea now,” my mom said as I continued to praise Pelicana’s fried chicken. But despite my mom’s negative insights about the future of the chain in Korea, Pelicana’s entrance into Manhattan is still a big deal. Located on the third floor of Food Gallery 32, a food court in the heart of K-town at 11 West 32nd St., between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, it’s the best version of Korean fried chicken that New Yorkers can probably find outside of Korea.

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Rice & Gold’s Pricey $30 Pho Is One of the City’s Most Memorable


There’s not too much competition for the most expensive bowl of pho in town. While most Vietnamese cafes offer an all-in bowl of Saigon-style pho for $8 or $10, Nightingale Nine pours a premium Hanoi pho for $15, and so does Hanoi House at the same price. Even Bunker, an intentionally buzzy spot, demands only $17, or an extra $4 with oxtail. We have fine-dining Vietnamese restaurants, too, but these places offer it as an app. Thus the pho at Le Colonial comes in at $12, while that of Indochine is $13, both for smaller servings. This leaves Rice & Gold, which serves a bowl for $30, an open field to offer the priciest version in New York.

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Tyson’s New Sauce Wristband Solves The Double Dipping Issue


You never know you invited a double-dipper to your party until it’s too late. One moment, they’re just enjoying some delicious ranch dipping sauce, and the next, the ranch is RUINED by their need for more. While no one can be blamed for needing all of the ranch in their life, their desire might have jeopardized the rest of your party.

However, Tyson’s new device might have solved your issues once and for all. Wear your sauce on your sleeve with their new Chicken Wing-Mate, a wristband that has a section just for your personal dipping needs. Just think of the combos you can make in there!

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Every Starbucks Employee in America Is Getting a Raise


shutterstock_639108535.0.jpgU.S. corporations just got a big tax cut, and Starbucks is using some of its savings to boost worker benefits. The coffee giant announced this morning that all domestic employees, both hourly and salaried, are getting a pay raise; it’s also doling out company stock and expanding paid sick leave and parental leave.

Pay raises will take effect in April, and are in addition to the regularly scheduled annual raises employees have already received this year. Starbucks did not indicate how much the pay hikes will be, but says they ”will be allocated based on regional cost of living and laws that vary from state to state.” It will also dole out stock grants of at least $500 to all employees at its stores, plants, and support centers who worked for the company as of January 1, 2018.

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The Joy of Black Brunch


black_brunch.0.pngIt still thrill at the memory of the last time I went to Woodland, a two-floor restaurant down the block from Barclays Center, for a sweat-inducing birthday gathering. We’d been seated near DJ Yung Hova, whose bass-heavy mixes of hip-hop, soca, and reggae, all reflecting New York City’s robust West Indian immigrant population, slowly turned the space into a full-blown party. Neighbors hoisted their sloshing drinks in the air and gyrated their hips as a conga line of happily fed patrons — whose high-heels had shifted impatiently beneath them while waiting to be seated — turned raucous and jubilant to the same songs that power the annual Eastern Parkway Labor Day parade. It wasn’t deep into Friday or Saturday night, though — it was just a normal black brunch, a scene repeated every Sunday afternoon like clockwork.

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How Restaurants Are Surviving Higher Minimum Wages


diner_waitress_wage.0.jpgFor chef Nelson German, running a fulfilling restaurant meant full-service dining: It didn’t feel right unless there were hosts at the door and servers whisking entrees from the kitchen to the dining room. When it came time to open his own business — Cajun-influenced Oakland, California, seafood restaurant AlaMar — in 2014, he made sure it operated with the same attentive-service environment that he had grown accustomed to working in. But all that changed in December 2016, when the restaurant announced rather abruptly that it would be doing away with all the formalities of full-service dining in favor of a counter-service format. The root of the radical service change: minimum wage hikes.

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