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.

Time to Make a Trip to Fort Greene

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Photo: New York Times

Set to open this month, Gotham Market at the Ashland in Fort Greene, Brooklyn is sure to be a hit. This new food hall is owned by Gotham Organization, which also runs Gotham West Market in Hell’s Kitchen, but has even more of an emphasis on sit-down drinking and dining. The food hall has nearly 400 seats indoors and some outdoor seating.The food hall with have a variety from Mason Jar, Flip Bird, Apizza Regionale, Bar Granger, and many more. To take a look around click here.

Tip-Pooling May Head to the Supreme Court

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Photo: Eater.com

The National Restaurant Association (NRA)  has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case to decide if employee tips may be collected by the employer and pooled among tipped and/or non-tipped employees. As a recap, in 2011 in response to a court ruling, the Department of Labor amended the  Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to specifically outlaw the practice of sharing tips between tipped employees and non-tipped employees. Now,  the NRA — which wants tipped and non-tipped employees to be able to share tips — is questioning the DOL’s authority to make changes to those laws. This all started from a 2010 case, Cumbie v. Woody Woo Inc., in which a server in Oregon sued her employer because her tips were being pooled between front and back-of-house staff. The case was initially dismissed but then appealed and favored with Woody Woo Inc. To read more about how tip-pooling works and and what is at stake, click here.

Grand Opening of Pig Bleecker Set for Today

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Photo: Grub Street

The team from Pig Beach is set to open their new BBQ themed brick-and mortar restaurant in Greenwich Village tonight, Pig Bleecker. The team – Rob Shawger, along with Ed McFarland, Shane McBride, and Matt Abdoo – creators of Pig Beach Burger on Union Street are now starting this new venture. Matt Abdoo, who formerly worked at Del Posto will head the kitchen at Pig Bleecker, which combines Pig Beach’s populist leanings with a more refined Manhattan-restaurant fare. To read more about what Pig Bleecker has to offer and a look at some of their menu offerings, click here.

Ramen in Isolation

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Photo: New York Times

Many people find the idea of eating alone a bit strange. However, this Japanese ramen chain, Ichiran, in Brooklyn is taking eating alone to a whole new level. When dining at Ichiran you have the option to sit at a booth or a table. The tables are arranged just like any other restaurant you walk into. However, the booths are where it becomes interesting. The booths  are two long rows separated by a long alley where the wait staff work. They are then separated from this backstage area by bamboo shades. According to Ichiran these are “flavor concentration booths.” There is even a sign over the booth that reads, “Flavor Concentration in progress — please be quiet and silence your phones.” That may be hard to do for most people. To read more about the Ichiran experience click here.

Small Spaces with Large Offerings

 

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New York has its fair share of tiny restaurants. Ones where you are basically sitting on top of your neighbor, listening to their conversation, basically sharing a meal with them. Ever wonder why these places were made so tiny? Why didn’t the owner just get a bigger space or design the floor plan better? Well, maybe the owner did plan better, and smarter than everyone else. Look at Talula’s Table, a 12-person restaurant in Chester County, PA. From a practical perspective, a small restaurant is also a smart restaurant. Servers here also do clean-up, saving the owner from having to pay a busboy or busgirl. Chefs also throw the towels in the laundry in the back, saving money that could have been spent on a laundry service. If the food is good enough to charge guests a little more money, a small restaurant can make a profit with less risk than a large restaurant. The rent is cheaper, the build out is cheaper, and the return comes in a little faster. To read more about the business model of a small restaurant and how they offer just as much, if not more than a large restaurant  click here.