Let’s Dance — Cabaret Law Repealed

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A law known as the Cabaret Law was put into place during Prohibition to restrict dancing in New York City Bars. It was enacted in attempt to control speakeasies and since the 1920’s, bars and restaurants needed to obtain a cabaret license to allow dancing. In New York city, only 97 out of roughly 25,000 eating and drinking establishments had a cabaret license because these licenses were both extremely costly and time consuming to obtain. This November, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio repealed this law. Beginning this weekend, March 30, 2018 legal dancing in the city’s designated zones is allowed.

Our main question – who even knew about this law? Bars did. For being known as the city that never sleeps, how could dancing all night be banned? As New Yorkers, we walk into bars and see people dancing, grooving, swaying along to music but never once did it cross the average patrons mind that this was illegal. How have so many establishments been able to get around this law for so long?

It is said that the Cabaret Law wasn’t necessarily put in place to cut down on dancing, but rather to crack down on the people who dance. “The Cabaret Law was enacted during the height of Harlem Renaissance” and “even years after the law was enacted it targeted marginalized groups under the pretense that somehow they were more dangerous than anyone else. Basically, anything the NYPD deemed dangerous, this law was used to get in those spaces and shut them down” (Thrillist).

Over the decades, many bars have been forced to shut down after being hit with major citations. Bar owners and bartenders kept music down and dancing to a minimum to avoid these fines and penalties. Ever been asked to stop dancing by a bartender? This is why. Certain bars throughout the city have been fined purely for letting people “sway” to music.

So, what’s about to change? To some, it may not seem like a lot. But, to others, their favorite spots might turn into the bars their owners always dreamed they would be. Bars are more likely to start promoting dancing and music just because they can. This could change the entire nightlife culture throughout NYC. According to Thrillist, Royal Palms’ owner stated “we never had plans to become a dance club.” But, with this new appeal she said, “we might be a little bit more encouraging in our advertising and social media about coming to the club to get down.”

When dancing is banned, people still find a way to get down. Warehouse parties with well-known or aspiring DJs have become quite a scene. These parties are drug filled and considered “underground”. Many of them don’t announce the location until the day of; which, most warehouse party-goers probably didn’t realize is because the parties are illegal. The New York Times quoted “when we stop people from dancing they go straight to these warehouses…People haven’t stopped dancing, they’re just dancing in these extremely unsafe, unregulated environments”. Well, this is all changing.

Going out for a night on the town, dancing with some friends, and enjoying the best that music has to offer no longer means being restricted by certain DJs sets, having to go to a concert, being required to get a table at an elite club, or heading to an unknown location at a specific time. Now, you can bust a move wherever you please. Bars and restaurants will begin promoting a more focused music and dance culture. Random dance parties can, and will, breakout wherever anyone sees fit.

After signing the repeal De Blasio said “when freedom of expression is not allowed, it’s not New York City anymore. Imagine how insane it was that you needed a license to allow people to dance.” We couldn’t agree more.

MeMe’s Diner

header Their Success . . . There’s something to be said about taking an age-old concept like a diner and reinventing just enough to meets our modern culinary demands. Back in the 1400’s when Leonardo Da Vinci famously expressed “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Meme’s diner on Washington Ave in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn was most certainly not his inspiration. What did however spawn from that idea is the feeling you experience while dining at Meme’s. Their menu is sophisticated yet straightforward. Daring while self restrained. And comforting while modern. With classic menu items like Parmesan style chicken cutlet with greens to a mouth watering Patty Melt, not only will your taste buds be excited but your experience will be refreshing.

For dinner, be sure to try the Meatloaf or Crispy Noodle Salad. If you’re a side lover like myself, do not leave before ordering the Crispy Potatoes, which are spot-on-delicious (Hint: ask for a side of “Comeback Sauce”)

Weekend brunch fans? You do not want to miss this menu. Of course, there are the staples like a classic breakfast sandwich, which is offered on a potato bun with baked eggs, cheese sauce (cheese sauce!), greens, and bacon. Or the Breakfast Plate with everything you know any love about filling your belly on a Saturday or Sunday morning. One thing you wont don’t to leave without trying is the Meatloaf Sandwich. This monster throws down a slice of their classic meatloaf topped with a fried egg, on garlic toast with bbq sauce and crispy shallots.

Don’t blink at their cocktail menu either. Their eloquent soft-spoken bar, which blends effortlessly into the space, serves up unobtrusive classics like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, or Negronis. Meme’s wouldn’t be Meme’s though if it didn’t put a little flair behind their work. For this, try the Cosmopolitan, a cocktail that would have Annabelle Bronstein coming back for seconds.

Takeaways . . . The classic diner we all grew up loving has been declining in numbers over the years. Meme’s is brining it back in all the best ways. The menu is extremely inviting with subtleties that elevate dishes to a new level. It is refreshing, while offering top-notch hospitability in a dining space that is welcoming to the point where you might just stay for another round. Bottom line- everyone needs a Meme’s in their life.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 5pm – 11pm, Saturday: 10am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm, Sunday- 10am – 5pm

Location: 657 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Phone: (718) 636-2900

Retail Spotlight: ATLA

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When one of the best chefs in the world—the only chef with two restaurants on the Fifty Best list, in fact—opens a casual, all-day affair in Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhood, you get ATLA. Enrique Olvera’s stripped-down sibling establishment to the dressed-up Cosme is no slouch. Chef Olvera and his Chef de Cuisine, Daniela Soto-Innes, have created another hit: one that dabbles in all day-parts and succeeds from 8AM to 2AM.

 

The first thing you notice about ATLA, after the well-earned press and praise, is the space. It’s stylish, sleek, and minimalist. The focus here is food, beverage, and people—those inside and those walking past the giant, aquarium windows through NoHo.   Second: the cheery, attentive service team at the ready to settle you in for the fun—be it fresh juice, guacamole toast, single-farm mezcal, or the newly-launched tacos. Finally, that food, which is light, bright, and packing punches you don’t anticipate but welcome warmly. The chicken enchiladas, for example, bathed in either verde or rojo salsa, is excellent in its simplicity, but unlike any enchilada you’ve had before. Sweet blueberries come nested on top of coconut yogurt and drizzled in olive oil. And that’s just breakfast! Stay all day to catch the dinner menu, which abounds with more hits, like the ayocote hummus, fish Milanese, and ceviche verde.

 

The Takeaway: All-day dining is on the rise in NYC, as restaurateurs look to maximize revenue from rent-straddled locations. Few are doing it better than ATLA, which occupies a space that encourages sitting, watching, and indulging. The menu excels in the morning as well as at night—which is its key to approachability. Not designed to be Cosme-light, but rather of its own identity, ATLA succeeds by providing compelling reasons to visit: superb food, beverages, and service that cater to diners throughout the day.

7 Ways NYC Chefs and Restaurants Are Responding to Immigration Crackdowns

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In the wake of increased nationwide crackdowns on immigrant workers at restaurants, restaurants and chefs across New York are finding ways to both celebrate the varied foods that immigrants bring, as well as plant themselves as pro-immigrant businesses.

Most recently, Broadway actor Adam Kantor and Dinner Lab founder Brian Bordainick teamed up for Story Course, an event series that combines food and theater to spotlight immigrant chefs. It’s dinner with an interactive show, and each one is tailored specifically to the chef’s immigration story.

“We are essentially consuming migration stories on a daily basis without necessarily knowing it. If you know the story behind the food you’re eating, does it taste different? Can you be emotionally moved by a dish if you understand it in a narrative way?” Kantor says. “We wanted to explore these ideas of what it means to be an immigrant and an American and especially living in NYC, which is a city full of immigrant chefs.”

First up is Jae Jung, who until recently was a cook at Le Bernardin and will soon work the line at The NoMad. Jung emigrated from Korea in 2009 to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America before spending years cooking in Nashville and eventually returning to New York City. Her menu is an exploration of that journey, starting with a strictly Korean course and incorporating Southern and French elements as the courses — and her story — progress.

Read the full article here

Restaurant Workers Are Left Behind in New York’s New Paid Parental Leave Program

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  • New York State employers must now grant workers eight weeks of paid, protected leave. That will rise to 12 weeks in 2021.
  • Many restaurant staffers on leave will earn less than the minimum wage under this payroll tax-funded program, which pays one-half to two-thirds of a worker’s salary.
  • There could be a fix for high-cost areas like New York City: San Francisco, for example, requires employers to share the burden of leave pay with the state program, ensuring that most workers earn their full salary while at home. NYC should do the same.

 

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Chick-fil-A Expects Soon-Opening Grand Central Store to Be Its Busiest Ever

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Controversial fast-food chicken chain Chick-fil-A is set to open its third Manhattan location near Grand Central, anticipating it to be its busiest location ever. Come March 1, at the corner of East 42nd Street and Madison Avenue, the store will debut with two floors spread across 6,200 square feet, Buzzfeed reports.

Chick-fil-A first descended on Manhattan in 2015 to massive hype and very long lines, prompting it to quickly open its second Midtown location the following year. This new Grand Central location will be its third standalone restaurant in the borough, and it’s expected to become the busiest Chick-fil-A in the country — even despite backlash to Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy’s frequent anti-LGBT comments.

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Danny Meyer talks tipping, leadership and trust

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Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, said the restaurant industry is in a good position to help civilize the conversation on a number of issues.

The restaurateur and author of the popular book, “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business,” shared his views as he accepted the Workplace Legacy Award at the recent TDn2K Global Best Practices Conference in Plano, Texas.

“The Workplace Legacy Award is all about figuring out how to balance this people, profits and planet,” said Joni Doolin, founder and CEO of TDn2K, when introducing Meyer. “You are a poster person for it.”

The award recognizes a restaurant industry leader who demonstrates success in people practices and operations, in addition to benefiting employees, organizations and communities.

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