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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CBD-Infused Food and Drinks Have Been Banned From NYC Restaurants and Bars

“If you’ve been relying on a smidgen of CBD oil in your latte to relax after a long day at work, you might want to look into alternative methods of decompression (at least temporarily).

According to the New York Daily News, as of Tuesday, the New York City Department of Health is prohibiting restaurants and bars from selling any and all perishable products containing cannabidiol (or CBD, for short), a compound found in marijuana purported to have therapeutic effects.

This might seem dire, but the ruling was basically inevitable. When it comes to the ever-fluctuating invocations of cannabis law, state governments aren’t going to take any chances with validating CBD oil as a safe ingredient until the compound is confirmed to be harmless on a federal level. CBD oil was banned from Californian food last July, and authorities in Maine are taking steps to strip businesses of the marijuana-adjacent treats this week.”

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Digital Ordering to Triple by 2020

Restaurant mobile app

Restaurant digital orders have grown an average of 23 percent, per year since 2013, and will triple by the end of 2020, according to a report from NPD Group.

The report, called Delivering Digital Convenience, found that 70 percent of a restaurant’s digital orders come through its mobile app or its website, with the remaining orders coming through third-party apps or websites. Customers used the restaurant’s own app most of the time because of rewards points or savings, and other brands appeal to customers because they want to create a custom order or take friction out of the ordering process.

Third-party apps like DoorDash, UberEats or Grubhub/Seamless accounted for 40 percent share of the 20 most used apps, and are used by consumers who want to look up various food items and check prices.

“Digital orders will remain an outsized source of growth for the restaurant industry over the next few years, and operators who desire to grow need to embrace a digital strategy,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry adviser and author of Eating Patterns in America, said in the announcement. “There are clear leaders in the digital ordering space, and third-party providers who have achieved critical mass the fastest.”

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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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Why small wine lists may be ideal for restaurants

“Picture yourself in a fancy restaurant known for its wine list. The host hands you a heavy leather volume, or maybe an iPad, to peruse pages upon pages of bottle selections.

Maybe you’re in the mood for something specific, so you navigate to the category you want. From there, you focus on a country, a grape and finally, you make a selection from 10–12 bottles. But if you don’t have a predetermined wine in mind, you’re left guessing what your companions like and what will complement their meals. Sure, the floor sommelier can help, and it’s exciting to have s many options, but it can also add a layer of complication and intimidation.

Enter the small wine list. If a big tome conveys gravitas and leather-bound luxury, a small printed list speaks to elegance, simplicity and ease. Instead of flipping through numerous pages of bottles before you even look at the menu, you can order wine at a glance and focus on your date, friends or family.”

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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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