Empire Diner Seeks to Take Back the Empire

The Empire Diner, located on the western edge of Chelsea, has been open since the 1940’s.  Just like the city itself, the venerable diner has gone through a significant amount of change in that time.  Now, chef John DeLucie is taking on the project with restaurateur Stacy Pisone, and plan to reopen this Monday.

The 92-seat space was previously helmed by Food Network start Amanda Freitag, but her command didn’t last.  That iteration closed in 2015.  But, the far west side is seeing more and more development, as the massive Hudson Yards project works like a magnet on the surrounding area.  So the new team is battling current competition just south near Chelsea Market, and betting on the new residents just north to keep the seats full.

Additionally, DeLucie and Pisone completed an extensive 8-month renovation that brought the vintage diner into the modern age with new electric, ventilation, and interior design.

 

To read more, click here.

New York City Parks Releases Bid Request

The New York City Parks Department has just released two Requests for Bids for mobile food concessions throughout the city.  One is for various parks throughout all five boroughs, and the other is for locations specifically within Central Park.

Both were issued yesterday, and both have a Tuesday, May 23rd deadline.  If you’re interested in applying, be sure to read thoroughly through the rules and regulations of the application and the operation.  Historically, NYC has enforced stringent bylaws for these types of operations, including menu items and pricing, operating hours, and initial capital cost requirements.

 

To read more, click here.  Requires log in to download the RFB documentation.

By CHLOE No Longer Run By Chloe

In 2015, the vegan celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli opened the first location of By CHLOE in partnership with ESquared Hospitality.  The vegan fast-casual restaurant was an instant success,  and the team has gone on to open eight locations from New York, to Boston, to Los Angeles and a New York spin-off bakery, SWEETS By CHLOE.

But trouble began brewing last summer when Coscarelli sued Squared, alleging that Haber wanter her restaurants to serve meat.  Now, some nine months later, the partnership has officially spit; an arbitrator mediated a 12-day hearing to review 4,000 pages of transcripts, 600 exhibits, and seven witnesses.  The arbitrator ruled in favor of ESquare, determining that several of Coscarelli’s actions qualified as “gross negligence.”

According to documents provided to Eater, Chloe impeded lease negotiations, contract development with guest chefs, and proper account receivable procedures.  For ESquared, this is not their first time in the ring with a chef partner: previously, the group operated the BLT empire with Laurent Tourondale, but that split ended in a messy, public battle.

To read more, click here.

53-Yeard Old Le Perigord Shutters to Displace Union Labor

The costs involved with running a restaurant in New York City have never been more daunting.  Even for a stalwart of the fine-dining breed, labor costs can undue profitability.  And when a union is involved, the costs can become insurmountable.

Georges Briguer, who has owned the old-school French institution since 1966, has closed Le Perigord as he has not been able to reach terms with the restaurant union, Local 100.  The owner and the union had negotiated for four months to no avail.  Now, legally, closing and reopening as a new business is Mr. Briguer’s path forward.  According to the owner, “We would have to increase the price of the dinner too much…we have no choice,” in order to meet the new deal that would have required an additional $80 per day, per employee–about $12,000 per week–to cover the additional healthcare and pension requests.

In six months, the restaurant at 405 East 52nd will turn the lights back on under a new name: Restaurant 405.  Le Perigord, which once served neighborhood regulars and celebrities such as Truman Capote and Donald Trump alike, will be a memory.  The revised restaurant will have a new menu, but the owner hopes to rehire his staff, sans union.

To read more, click here.

 

Ikinari Steak to Open in the East Village

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Ikinari Steak, the popular Japanese quick service restaurant will be opening on Thursday in the East Village. Known for its lack of chairs, the restaurant offers 40-day wet-aged beef to diners looking for a quality meal on the go. The beef comes from an Illinois-based company that also provides the meat for the Japanese-based locations of Ikinari. Diners can eat steak, soup, salad, and rice during lunchtime for $20. This includes tip, but does not include a seat.

You can read more about Ikinari here.

Beer Lovers Don’t Mind Waiting in Line

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Yesterday the New York Times ran a story highlighting the culture surrounding limited edition beer releases. The author highlights the practices followed by multiple breweries when releasing limited edition beers. Of particular note is the focus on Other Half Brewery located in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The brewery, which is known for its limited edition can release parties, can see people lining up overnight for up to 11 hours just for the chance to buy some beer. Craft beer may be old hat to some at this point, with some arguing that it is a bubble ready to burst, but these breweries show they have a dedicated, loyal fan base willing to wait for simply a taste of their product.

 

You can read the full article here.

Vestibule Season has Arrived

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Photo: Eater.com

Ever notice around this time of year, a small detail about the outside of restaurant while walking down the streets of New York City? We’re talking about those acrylic and vinyl vestibules that pop up all around NYC as soon as winter hits. These vestibules are about the size and shape of a phone booth, steel-framed spring-door, and bolted to the doorway. Some have clear vinyl windows or heating elements, but they’re all essentially tiny way stations to capture the wind before you enter a restaurant. Although these may seem like a good idea, many people have their doubts. Some believe an outdoor vestibule may not do much to shield diners from the cold air if both the outer canvas door and the inner restaurant door open at the same time. There is also some question about where a restaurant’s property rights end and public space begins and whether these vestibules are even legal. Jay LoIacono, vice president of Acme Awning Co. a producer of these vestibules, told Eater that the city allows vestibules to take up sidewalk space so long as they’re removed in the spring. In other words, restaurants construct them because they can get away with it. And with a vestibule going for about $2,400 – it is a much cheaper alternative than interior renovations. To read more about New York’s fascination with vestibules click here.