Spiking Coffee Gives New York Bars a Fresh Buzz

Coffee shops, restaurants and bars around New York City are now spiking coffee drinks.  Customers are happy with the new concoctions and barista-bartenders are becoming inventive.

Kobrick Coffee Company is a coffee bean roaster that operates a retail shop in the Meatpacking District.  Besides the usual coffee drinks, the café serves “coffee cocktails” which are alcoholic drinks mixed with caffeine.  The Mexican Jumping Bean is a top-seller, and is made of espresso, tequila and liqueur.

SushiSamba, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant in the West Village, serves an espresso martini made with Bacardi Black rum, spiced maple syrup and dark chocolate liquor.

Fair Weather Bushwick, a bistro in Brooklyn offers a Shochu Latte during brunch that’s made with shochu (a Japanese distilled beverage), espresso and hazelnut syrup.

Mother’s Ruin, a popular bar in NoLIta, serves a Coffee Cordial Boozy Slushy which is served frozen and made up of coffee, white rum, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Sweetleaf Coffee, a café located in Long Island City and Williamsburg, makes a Java Flip from Jamaican rum, bourbon, egg yolk, cream and coffee liqueur.  Cold brew coffee is condensed and raw sugar is added.

Sweetleaf’s coffee and cocktail service don’t overlap, with cocktails starting at 5PM.  Mr. Vincent Vee, an experienced beverage manager is quoted as saying “They’re both high-profit businesses, but they’re only high profit for a short period of the day.  So when you have them both behind the same doors, it can make a lot financial sense.”

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Food Halls Offer Unique Opportunities for Food Vendors and Guests

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Food halls have been opening at a rate that’s made them difficult to ignore.

From a guest’s perspective, food halls provide the opportunity to pick and choose from different vendors to create just the elevated (shared or single) artisanal and chef-driven meal they want. They can drop impromptu without needing to coordinate party palates ahead of time. Food halls also offer a place to linger while enjoying the hustle and bustle of a busy food market.

From the operator’s side, the format is attractive as well. Tenants share overheard expenses while getting the exposure and traffic that comes from being part of a high-profile venue. For up-and-coming entrepreneurs, it’s a way to break into the business without a lot of capital. For established, even celebrity chefs, it’s a way to meet the people where they are and sell to their food—and their brand—to a broader audience.

New food halls are emerging most often in once-abandoned urban spaces as local governments and neighborhood groups bend over backwards in to pave the way for developers. There’s fierce competition for coveted vendor spaces. For operators looking to nab a spot, this means having a tight concept that’s on-trend and can turn orders quickly—all while offering food quality that’s several notches above standard food court fare.

America Throws Away Half of Its Edible Produce

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New research suggests that fully one-half of the nation’s produce now probably ends up as garbage. This dismal nugget from the story pretty well summarizes the findings:

Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.

The story distinguishes waste that’s “downstream,” or ruined because it goes bad on a grocery shelf or sits forever in a fridge bin, from waste that’s “upstream.” The first kind supposedly accounts for $160 billion worth of produce every year — which isn’t hard to believe when you remember each American family single-handedly trashes $600 worth of food in that time frame — but factor in ugly produce left to rot in the field or rejected by grocery stores, and The Guardian estimates this figure quickly climbs to half of all of the fruits and vegetables the country grows.

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Women Challenge the Gluttony Ceiling at a July 4th Ritual

The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is an annual American hot dog competitive eating competition. It is held each year on Independence Day at Nathan’s Famous original, and best-known restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, a neighborhood of BrooklynNew York City.

If you know the name Joey Chestnut (men’s hot dog eating champion with a record total of 70 dogs this July 4th), you should also know the names Sonya Thomas and Miki Sudo.  Ms. Sonya Thomas holds the female hot dog eating world record of 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes.  Ms. Sudo’s hot dog tally of 38 this year beat the fourth-place total in the men’s division.

Among the 15 female contestants were a hairdresser, a taxidermist, a truck driver, a marine mammal trainer and a fashion model from New Zealand.  “You have to be physically fit to stand up there for 10 minutes and go full force” said Nela Zisser, the 24-year old model.

Each contestant has his or her own eating method. Takeru Kobayashi pioneered the “Solomon Method” at his first competition in 2001. The Solomon method consists of breaking each hot dog in half, eating the two halves at once, and then eating the bun.  “Dunking” is the most prominent method used today. Because buns absorb water, many contestants dunk the buns in water and squeeze them to make them easier to swallow, and slide down the throat more efficiently.  Other methods used include the “Carlene Pop,” where the competitor jumps up and down while eating, to force the food down to the stomach.

The women trained throughout the year by exercising, eating healthy and practicing techniques at smaller competitions such as gobbling dozens of Twinkies in six minutes.

Ms. Mary Bowers of Beverly Hills, California said she hoped the women’s competition would eliminate a cultural stigma that often discourages eating among young girls.

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The Spritz: It’s All Built on Bubbles

Spritz culture is rooted in the cities and towns of Northern Italy.  The drink can be found at restaurants, cafes and even at the airport.

The Spritz is a wine-based cocktail commonly served as an aperitif (an alcoholic beverage served before the meal to stimulate appetite) in Northeast Italy. The drink is prepared with prosecco (Italian white) wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur such as Aperol, CampariCynar, or, especially in Venice, with Select. The glass is then topped off with sparkling mineral water. It is usually served over ice in a lowball glass and garnished with a slice of orange, or sometimes an olive, depending on the liqueur.

Thanks to the recent publication of a light-hearted book named “Spritz”, these drinks have become popular and American bars will serve them this summer.

American bartenders have taken the liberty of creating their own spritz concoctions.

At the Llama Inn in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the bartender mixes gin, fino sherry, strawberry shrub, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Peychaud’s bitters, Spanish sparkling wine and Perrier for the Señorita Spritz, a pretty pink concoction.

At Montana’s Trail House in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the owner piles Aperol, grapefruit juice and sparkling white wine atop a base of Mezcal with agave syrup.

Summertime is the perfect time for something light, refreshing and bubbly.  One bartender on the Lower East Side is quoted as saying, “Who doesn’t like something that feels like its dancing on your tongue?”

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Why You Should Buy Produce in Chinatown?

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As anyone who’s spent an afternoon nibbling on roast pork while perusing the markets of Chinatown can attest, the neighborhood’s streets are home to an astounding variety of produce and vendors. In terms of fruits and vegetables, it’s an unparalleled shopping destination for the home cook in New York. This is in large part thanks to the remarkably cheap prices, but also the fact that you can consistently find new things to cook. The Wall Street Journal toured the neighborhood with economic botanist and From Farm to Canal Street author Valerie Imbruce, who filled the paper in on how the Chinatown produce economy works.

“You really can’t exaggerate this kind of variety”, says Imbruce. She counted 200 different fruits and vegetables, ranging from lots and lots of cherries to multiple varieties of choy and jackfruit, but also celtuce, long beans, bitter melon, dragon fruit, and all of the durian you would ever want. As far as their low pricing is concerned, Chinatown’s produce markets aren’t cheap because they’re peddling second-rate products, but because they’re actually kind of farm to vendor. Operators are linked to a network of small family farms, like home gardens in south Florida, and minor wholesalers that function independently of those that supply most supermarkets.

Furthermore, with low overheads — no credit cards, minimal staffing, and makeshift sidewalk stands — and collaboration among vendors to get bulk discounts means you’re paying as close to wholesale prices as you ever will. Chinatown’s markups typically run as low as 10 to 12 percent and don’t just beat Whole Foods (a.k.a Whole Paycheck), but also affordable chains like Key Foods.

Read more here.

 

Manhattan Food and Bar Leasing Up Double Digits

Across the city, landlords want a seat at the table.  More specifically, they want the seats, and they want the tables inside their buildings.  Fast-casual restaurants, coffee shops, and juice bars are expanding across Manhattan, driven in part by a large millennial workforce and dense, wealthy demographic.

Also, though, as consumers behaviors have changed, opportunity has opened up for foodservice operators.  More and more retail and apparel is being purchased online, which has caused these companies to trim store sizes.  Now, with new inventory available, restaurants are building new locations even faster.  In 2015, the fast-casual segment grew to $44 billion nationwide–an 11.5% increase from 2014, according to Technomic.

Similarly, Manhattan lease transactions in the food and bar category increased 22% in 2015 over 2014, Cushman & Wakefield reports.  Meanwhile, drugstore leases were down 64% and apparel and accessories retails were down 22%.

Where banks and retailers once occupied large-footprint spaces, some landlords are building out food halls or dividing spaces into smaller units.  “You’re getting more [rent] than what a single tenant would pay,” said Brett Herschenfeld, SL Green Managing Director.

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