One of West Africa’s Most Accomplished Chefs Opens an NYC Restaurant Soon

“Former Le Grand Dakar chef Pierre Thiam — who strives to be an ambassador of Africa’s culinary history — will open a Pan-African restaurant in Harlem’s Africa Center next month, where he’ll showcase his native cuisine in fast-casual format.

Teranga, which translates roughly to “hospitality” in Wolof, a language spoken in Senegal, will focus on Senegalese cuisine, as well as foods from Nigeria, Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea in bowl-like formats.

The menu is molded by West African ingredients like sorghum and millet paired with dried fruits for breakfast, as well as fonio, a grain that’ll be served within salads and bowls during lunch and dinner, Thiam told the Times in August.

Vegetable and protein bowls like grilled chicken and caramelized onions over Liberian red rice will also be available, plus other vegetarian options like a sweet potato and black-eyed pea stew. Drinks range from hot and cold African coffees, teas, and juices. The menu is gluten-free; see it in full below.

The location of Thiam’s new restaurant within the cultural center makes sense, as he is a vocal advocate for Africa’s culinary history and even appeared in a 2016 episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown in his native Senegal. The restaurant will take up a 2,000-square-foot space in the center, overlooking Central Park.”

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Minimum Wage Hikes in New York City Cause Restaurants to Eliminate Jobs, Cut Hours, Raise Prices

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“New York is known for its incredible food scene, but legislators in the Big Apple may have bitten off more than they can chew with the newest minimum wage hike.

The city’s mandated increase, which took effect on December 31, requires businesses that employ 11 or more people to boost wages from $13 to $15 per hour. But most restaurants operate with the tipped wage, offering servers and bartenders a lower hourly base pay and the opportunity to rake in the rest in tips, which often yields better pay overall. If workers don’t earn enough this way, employers are required to make up the difference.

That tipped minimum just rose from $8.65 to $10 an hour. A 16 percent jump is fairly punishing, considering the industry operates on razor-thin profit margins.

A new study conducted by the New York City Hospitality Alliance lends credence to the idea that substantial increases made to the tipped wage are far costlier than they are beneficial. After surveying 574 restaurants, they found that 2019 looks bleak: 75 percent of full-service establishments plan to cut employee hours, and 47 percent will eliminate jobs entirely in response to the forced minimum wage hikes. That follows closely on the heels of a dreary 2018, when 77 percent of full-service restaurants reduced employee hours and 36 percent cut jobs, both of which were also in response to the mandated wage increases.”

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Why small wine lists may be ideal for restaurants

“Picture yourself in a fancy restaurant known for its wine list. The host hands you a heavy leather volume, or maybe an iPad, to peruse pages upon pages of bottle selections.

Maybe you’re in the mood for something specific, so you navigate to the category you want. From there, you focus on a country, a grape and finally, you make a selection from 10–12 bottles. But if you don’t have a predetermined wine in mind, you’re left guessing what your companions like and what will complement their meals. Sure, the floor sommelier can help, and it’s exciting to have s many options, but it can also add a layer of complication and intimidation.

Enter the small wine list. If a big tome conveys gravitas and leather-bound luxury, a small printed list speaks to elegance, simplicity and ease. Instead of flipping through numerous pages of bottles before you even look at the menu, you can order wine at a glance and focus on your date, friends or family.”

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New NYC restaurants: Danish bakery Ole & Steen’s stateside debut, and more

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“Ole & Steen

“NYC’s Nordic offerings continue to grow beyond destinations such as the Great Northern Food Hall with the stateside debut of this 28-year-old Danish bakery. Find Danish rye breads, pastries and tarts, as well as sweet or savory porridges, open-faced sandwiches, salads and more on the all-day menu. Now open Mon.-Fri. from 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 873 Broadway, 929-209-1020”

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The Rise, Decline and Section 363 Sale of the New York Coffee Chain Fika

Fika coffee new york

“Though the word “fika” famously refers to the Swedish cultural practice of slowing down to relax with those around you over coffee or tea and a small bite, the New York City coffee chain Fika has been operating at a breakneck pace in recent years.

By 2016, ten years after opening Fika with a single Manhattan location, founder Lars Akerlund had led the boutique coffee chain to 17 locations while signaling the company’s intentions to expand its physical footprint into more U.S. cities and countries overseas. Two years after that, by Sept. 2018, Fika had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Today, the company is down to six New York locations, and it has recently been acquired through an auction process under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, section 363, according to an announcement made by Cozen O’Connor, a law firm involved with the acquisition process.

“The expansion required significant start-up costs for each of the locations before they could become profitable,” the firm said, noting the rapid addition of 12 Fika cafes that began in 2013. “FIKA was subsequently unable to secure additional investors to cover the expansion costs and its operations alone could not absorb the increased start-up expenses. The legacy costs from the aggressive expansion forced FIKA, therefore, to close a number of locations and return to a streamlined, conservative business model centered on fewer stores.”

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WeWork Ventures into Coffee Retail with Bluestone Lane Partnership

WeWork coffee bar

“The popular co-working and office space provider WeWork today unveiled Made by We, a public retail concept that includes a full cafe from New York-based and self-described “Australian-inspired” coffee chain Bluestone Lane.

Located at 902 Broadway in the heart of Manhattan’s Flatiron district, the Bluestone Lane bar stands at the center of the new concept from WeWork umbrella company The We Company, which signaled an intention to open more retail locations in the future.

While the Made by We location includes 100 bookable individual workspaces and meeting spaces for groups, it varies from other WeWork locations in that a subscription or booking is not required to enter.

In addition to Bluestone Lane, there are other vendors within the retail space offering items like snacks, apparel and digital accessories. Bluestone Lane said it is including its full extensive coffee and espresso drinks menu, along with its freshly prepared toasts, and grab-and-go items including gluten-free pastries from Husk Bakeshop.”

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Request for Proposals for the Sale of Food and Beverages from Mobile Food Units at Flatbush Ave & Plaza St, 9th St & Prospect Park West, Dog Beach, 10th Ave Ballfields and the Vanderbilt Playground Loop in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

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