In New York City, Restaurants Welcome Tables for One

Customers dine at Boqueria for lunch. The Spanish restaurant’s tapas, or grazing-style menu, appeals to solo patrons.

In New York City restaurants, the party-of-one is becoming a cause for celebration.

OpenTable, the online reservation platform, said that bookings by solo diners at restaurants in the city jumped by 80% from 2014 to 2018. And while OpenTable said those parties-of-one represent a very small slice of overall bookings, some restaurants said that business from solo diners can now account for up to 10% of their sales.

Even on Valentine’s Day, the most couple-oriented dining occasion of the year, New York restaurants are making room for patrons dining alone. OpenTable said that Valentine’s Day solo reservations in 2018 increased by 33% over the previous year. And perhaps for good reason: Restaurants said solo customers represent the ideal, as they are truly there for the food and experience rather than the social occasion.

“The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” said Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Restaurants are doing their part to encourage such business. At such establishments as L’Artusi, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, and Odo, a Japanese spot in the Flatiron District, solo diners are given a free offering—say, a small serving of an off-menu item or a glass of sparkling wine. And on Valentine’s Day, some restaurants said they make an extra effort to welcome the solo crowd. For example, at Jones Wood Foundry, a food-driven pub on the Upper East Side, a communal table is set aside for party-of-one diners.

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How Urban Development Shaped the Way 19th-century New Yorkers Ate

“New York City is famous for its food culture, whether it’s a $500 tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a bodega bacon, egg, and cheese. It’s possible to find food from every corner of the world, no matter how obscure. Restaurants make, and sometimes unmake, entire neighborhoods.

This is a city that eats out. But that wasn’t always the case. Rewind just over 200 years, when New York was caught between being a Dutch colony and a city, and dining out was a rarity. As the city urbanized, how its residents ate profoundly changed.

An oyster cart, circa 1885

“Food serves as a nice medium to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of New York City history,” says Victoria Flexner, the founder of Edible History, a supper club that creates dinners themed around specific historical moments. Recently Flexner and chef Jay Reifel hosted a meal at the James Beard House that told the story of New York City’s urban development in the 19th century through how its residents dined out.

As the city became rapidly industrialized in the 19th century, a new system emerged to feed these workers: the mobile food cart.

While politicians, businessmen, and other white-collar workers went to oyster cellars and restaurants for their midday meals, lunch came to the working class. Vendors would park outside of factories and docks and, for a few pennies, would sell items like gingerbread, yams, oysters, and corn.”

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Refined British Restaurant Found Hiding in a Brooklyn Bar

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“Cherry Point sits on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, a few steps from the corner where Bedford Avenue, having flowed all the way across Brooklyn from the shores of Sheepshead Bay, suddenly comes to an end. The area is marked by a cluster of restaurants. Some have a washed-up feeling, as if they’d all been drifting along in Bedford’s currents and had been stranded there. A few stand out in the landscape.

In the fall, Cherry Point took a decisive turn into the second category when a new chef took over, but not everyone in the neighborhood seems to realize it yet. People still tumble in for happy hour, when servers whose hairstyles take a minute to adjust to will pour three-gulp martinis, manhattans and Rob Roys (due for a revival) in little Nick & Nora glasses for $8 each, and then after happy hour ends at 7 p.m. most of the crowd generally drifts out to find somewhere else for dinner. The space, with its old-timey wainscoting and its central bar, is easy to mistake for a tavern.”

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A New Bill Proposes Foie Gras Ban for NYC

Foie gras could soon be illegal to eat in NYC. A new bill from lower Manhattan councilwoman Carlina Rivera is proposing that the sale of the fatty duck liver be illegal, on the basis of animal cruelty. The bill proposes that violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor, with the potential for $1,000 in fines and one year in jail for each offense. The bills follows the Supreme Court rejecting a challenge on California’s foie gras ban. Brooklyn councilman Justin Brannan backs the bill, telling the Post, “Don’t tell me you’re a fan of the Central Park Mandarin duck but you think foie gras is ok.”

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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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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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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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