At Zauo, Diners Can Catch Their Own Dinners

“It’s catch-and-relish, not catch-and-release, at this new Japanese import. Customers can opt for baited hooks to snag rainbow trout, salmon trout, fluke, shrimp, flounder, farmed striped bass, rockfish, lobster or abalone swimming in the pools. Or a staff member can lend a hand. (Prices are $16 to $125 if they do the fishing, and $12 to $110 if you fish.) The chefs then prepare the seafood to order, salt-grilled, simmered in soy sauce, sashimi or tempura. Whimsically instructive menu cards provide guidance. The restaurant, which has 13 locations in Japan, was introduced there in 1993 by a company called Harbor House: The New York restaurant is its first branch outside that country. Takuya Takahashi, whose father was the founder, is president of the New York branch. A narrow but soaring space, the restaurant has a fish tank opposite the bar on the ground floor, and two more tanks on a loftlike second floor. The hull of an immense, hand-built polished wooden boat hangs from the ceiling. In addition to the freshly caught seafood, the menu offers a vast array of Japanese standbys, mostly seafood, including salads, sushi, hand rolls and rice and noodle dishes”.

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Restaurants Are the Next Big Coworking Trend

Spacious members working at Crave Fishbar in New York City’s Upper West Side.

“If you walk past Crave Fishbar on a weekday afternoon, you might make the mistake of thinking it’s open for lunch. The restaurant, located on New York City’s Upper West Side, certainly looks busy enough. On a recent Thursday visit, I counted a few dozen people sitting in the restaurant’s booths or at the bar. Most of them were hunched over their laptops. A few were quietly taking phone calls. Curiously, no one was talking, no one was eating, and no one was there for lunch.

Crave has gotten into the coworking business. In April, the restaurant partnered with a startup called Spacious to transform its dining room into a weekday workspace. After all, in an age where everyone seems to have a side hustle, why shouldn’t a restaurant? Founded in 2016, Spacious bills itself as a cheaper, more flexible alternative to traditional coworking spaces like WeWork.”

“Brian Owens, the restaurant’s owner, said the Spacious partnership has been a welcome source of revenue in an industry where profit margins are tight. Crave has another location, in Midtown East, which is open for lunch because it’s near offices and other businesses. But the Upper West Side, Owens said, is a dead zone on weekday afternoons.”

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The Pennsy Now Open for all Your Upscale Food Court Needs

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Photo via travelandliesure.com

The Pennsy, the new upscale food court with celebrity chef credentials, is now open in the space formerly occupied by Borders Penn Station. Along with a full service bar, 8,000 square feet, and additional outdoor space, The Pennsy boasts stalls from Marc Forgone, Franklin Becker, Pat LaFrieda and Mario Batali (the latter in collaboration with Mary Giuliani through Mario By Mary). There you can get everything from lobster rolls to tempeh sandwiches, and Italian panini to  gluten-free bowls at The Little Beet.

So far The Pennsy has a 4-star review on Yelp, indicating it’s already getting a lot more love than its eponymous railway station. Hopefully this carefully curated food hall can lighten the burden of wading through crowds to catch the LIRR

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David Chang’s Maple Expands Delivery Zone

As of today, workers in midtown now have the option to order there lunch from Maple – the streamlined food delivery competitor of Seamless and Grubhub backed by Momofuku’s David Chang. The Maple app launched last spring, and has since then allowed users downtown to order lunch or dinner from a rotating selection of menus (roughly 5 a day) to be delivered to their work or home. What separates Maple from other delivery apps is that there is no restaurant or selection of restaurants you are ordering from; instead, their small staff operates out of a commissary kitchen testing, preparing, and packaging the recipes each day (although Chang describes the operation as a “real restaurant,” with the app and delivery logistics taking the place of typical front of house operations).

Maple is a favorite of downtown 9-to-5’ers for it’s focus on presentation, affordability, and simple, healthy options. Chang originally invested in the project because he believed that “no one [had] ever taken the time to really do delivery food well.” They are expanding slowly for now, and still have all the trappings of a service-focused start-up: they have a small team of well-paid employees with a high attention to detail, and if you contact them with any problems (like a food order that arrives after 30 minutes), you’re likely to get emails back from a real person whose top priority is keeping you as a customer. Orders even include a free sugar cookie to set them apart. So far all thi has worked to Maple’s advantage, and press has been consistently good. We’ll know soon whether they can build the momentum necessary to compete with top delivery apps on a larger scale.

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