Yelp Will Now Tell You If a Business Is ‘Women-Owned’

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“The restaurants and shopping reviews app and website is adding a feature that will tell customers whether a business is women-owned. Businesses owned by women can mark themselves as women-owned via their Yelp accounts, and the distinction will appear in the “more business info” section of a Yelp page alongside features like “accepts credit cards” and “gender-neutral restrooms.”

“We’re excited to help raise the profile of millions of women-owned businesses who drive the local economies of our cities and towns,” says Miriam Warren, Yelp’s vice president of engagement, diversity, and belonging. “We’re hopeful that this new attribute not only makes it easier to identify and connect with great women-owned businesses on Yelp, but that it also drives more dollars directly to the bottom line for these female-owned businesses.”

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Toby’s Estate Doubles Capacity with New Bushwick Roastery Cafe

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“Toby’s Estate has opened its second production roastery in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, alongside a new cafe space with seating for 40, a daily brunch menu and a pourover bar outfitted by Saint Anthony Industries.

The New York arm of the Australian-born brand created by Sydney native Toby Smith in 2001 is co-owned by Amber Jacobsen and Adam Boyd, who first opened a Toby’s Estate roastery cafe in Williamsburg in 2012.

Since then, Toby’s Estate has opened four other retail bars throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, with a temporarily closed Flatiron location in Manhattan to be replaced this year by another Flatiron bar, according to the company.

At 8 Wilson Ave. in Bushwick, the new roastery will allow the company to double its current production capacity with the addition of a 22-kilo Probat roaster. The roastery will also be home to a new wholesale partnership initiative, through which cafes, restaurants or other wholesale partners can receive a more tailored coffee program.”

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The Future of Hotel Dining Will Be Branded

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“Paris-based Accor is one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, with more than 4,500 places to stay (homes and hotels) in 100 countries and 10,000 dining outlets that — according to Accor CEO of food and beverage and lifestyle, Amir Nahai — generate more than 5 billion euros, or $5.7 billion U.S. dollars, in revenue on an annual basis.

And now that SBE, the Los Angeles-based hospitality group whose hotel and restaurant brands include the Mondrian, SLS, Delano, Cleo, Katsuya, and Umami Burger, is partly owned by Accor, you can expect to see more of those thousands of restaurants and bars being rebranded under SBE.

Over the next seven years, Accor and SBE plan to open at least 100 Umami Burger restaurants worldwide, as well as focus on opening other SBE dining and beverage brands such as Carna, SkyBar, and Dandelyan within Accor properties.”

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Murray’s Opens a Mac-and-Cheese Restaurant in the West Village

Murray’s has a cheese store that also sells charcuterie and condiments on this busy West Village block, and, a few doors down, Murray’s Cheese Bar, serving wine and a cheese-friendly menu. Now, in an empty storefront, formerly Amy’s Bread, on the same block, the company has opened a macaroni and cheese restaurant. It’s a counter-service spot, with 20 seats, featuring a build-your-own menu. Start with a bowl of pasta cooked with cheese and other ingredients, then add other cheeses, vegetables, meats, sauces and toppings, all in four possible portion sizes (snack to family). Classic, barbecue, French onion and Buffalo chicken are among the style and flavor options. The pastas — all radiatori — are made by Sfoglini, a pasta company in upstate New York. There’s also a breakfast mac and cheese made with sausage, bacon, egg and Cheddar that’s served only on Saturdays and Sundays.

254 Bleecker Street (Leroy Street), 212-243-3289, ext. 350, murrayscheese.com.

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Billionaires Are Betting Big on Alternative Meat

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Creating designer protein that can make your veggie burger taste like the real thing is as easy as brewing beer. Or at least that’s what a new subsidiary of Boston-based bio-manufacturing startup, Ginkgo Bioworks Inc., says.

Ginkgo’s Motif Ingredients, which aims to replicate animal protein for meatless alternatives, is getting $90 million from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, whose board includes tech billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Jack Ma. Commodity powerhouse Louis Dreyfus Co. and Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, New Zealand’s dairy-exporting giant, are also backing the company.

The goal at Ginkgo is to get alternative products to market faster, chief executive officer Jason Kelly said in an interview. In a statement announcing the funding, the company likened making alternative foods to the beer-brewing process, because vital ingredients such as vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and flavors are made through fermentation with genetically engineered yeasts and bacteria. Eliminating extra time in the lab can streamline the process and make it go faster, Kelly said.

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In New York City, Restaurants Welcome Tables for One

Customers dine at Boqueria for lunch. The Spanish restaurant’s tapas, or grazing-style menu, appeals to solo patrons.

In New York City restaurants, the party-of-one is becoming a cause for celebration.

OpenTable, the online reservation platform, said that bookings by solo diners at restaurants in the city jumped by 80% from 2014 to 2018. And while OpenTable said those parties-of-one represent a very small slice of overall bookings, some restaurants said that business from solo diners can now account for up to 10% of their sales.

Even on Valentine’s Day, the most couple-oriented dining occasion of the year, New York restaurants are making room for patrons dining alone. OpenTable said that Valentine’s Day solo reservations in 2018 increased by 33% over the previous year. And perhaps for good reason: Restaurants said solo customers represent the ideal, as they are truly there for the food and experience rather than the social occasion.

“The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” said Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Restaurants are doing their part to encourage such business. At such establishments as L’Artusi, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, and Odo, a Japanese spot in the Flatiron District, solo diners are given a free offering—say, a small serving of an off-menu item or a glass of sparkling wine. And on Valentine’s Day, some restaurants said they make an extra effort to welcome the solo crowd. For example, at Jones Wood Foundry, a food-driven pub on the Upper East Side, a communal table is set aside for party-of-one diners.

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Fluffy Japanese Pancake in Chinatown

People are going wild for these Japanese souffle pancakes

“Chinatown Japanese dessert shop Taiyaki is drawing wildly long lines with a new menu item: fluffy souffle pancakes. People waited in a two-hour line to grab the pancakes last weekend, which come topped with sugar, butter, whipped cream, and syrup, or with matcha cream. The Chinatown restaurant at 119 Baxter St., between Canal and Hester Streets, is selling a stack for $7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.”

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