New York City Parks Releases Bid Request

The New York City Parks Department has just released two Requests for Bids for mobile food concessions throughout the city.  One is for various parks throughout all five boroughs, and the other is for locations specifically within Central Park.

Both were issued yesterday, and both have a Tuesday, May 23rd deadline.  If you’re interested in applying, be sure to read thoroughly through the rules and regulations of the application and the operation.  Historically, NYC has enforced stringent bylaws for these types of operations, including menu items and pricing, operating hours, and initial capital cost requirements.

 

To read more, click here.  Requires log in to download the RFB documentation.

53-Yeard Old Le Perigord Shutters to Displace Union Labor

The costs involved with running a restaurant in New York City have never been more daunting.  Even for a stalwart of the fine-dining breed, labor costs can undue profitability.  And when a union is involved, the costs can become insurmountable.

Georges Briguer, who has owned the old-school French institution since 1966, has closed Le Perigord as he has not been able to reach terms with the restaurant union, Local 100.  The owner and the union had negotiated for four months to no avail.  Now, legally, closing and reopening as a new business is Mr. Briguer’s path forward.  According to the owner, “We would have to increase the price of the dinner too much…we have no choice,” in order to meet the new deal that would have required an additional $80 per day, per employee–about $12,000 per week–to cover the additional healthcare and pension requests.

In six months, the restaurant at 405 East 52nd will turn the lights back on under a new name: Restaurant 405.  Le Perigord, which once served neighborhood regulars and celebrities such as Truman Capote and Donald Trump alike, will be a memory.  The revised restaurant will have a new menu, but the owner hopes to rehire his staff, sans union.

To read more, click here.

 

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.”

Please click here to read more…

How To Make Your Restaurant A Pokemon Go Hotspot!

pokemon go

As smartphone apps go, the augmented-reality “Pokemon Go” really is a monster. “Pokemon Go” has been downloaded to more than 15 million smartphones in less than a week, according to the analytics consultancy SensorTower, and restaurant operators are asking how they can capture them as customers as well as Pokemon hunters catch the little Pocket Monsters.

A restaurant operator can buy 30 minutes of heightened Pokemon action by buying Lure Modules and installing them at PokeStop locations. Here’s a seven-step tutorial on buying and using the “Lure Modules” that the developer Niantic is selling and experts recommend to draw customers’ attention:

  1. Make sure your location and your smart phone are near a PokeStop, which is designated by an elevated blue cube on the app that turns into concentric three-dimensional spinning circles as you near it.
  2. If your restaurant is within yards of a PokeStop, buy Lure Modules by first tapping the red and white ball at the bottom on the “Pokemon Go” app. That will take you to a “Settings” screen with options such as Items, Pokemon and “Shop.” Tap “Shop.”
  3. You are now on a purchase screen, and you can purchase PokeCoins through the iTunes or Google Play stores by scrolling to the bottom. A Lure Module costs 100 coins (99 cents). You can buy larger amounts such as 550 Pokecoins for $4.99 and 1,200 coins for $9.99.
  4. After the PokeCoins are purchased, you can by a Lure Modules for 100 PokeCoins or eight Lure Modules for 680 PokeCoins. Your purchase will show up among the Pokeman Go “Items.”
  5. During the period when you want to increase possible “Pokeman Go” traffic for 30 minutes, tap on the spinning “PokeStop” and click on the white bar immediately beneath its location.
  6. A screen noting an “Empty Module slot” will open and tap the white bar to install the module. Your location is a “Lure” spot when you see what looks like a mini blizzard of pink leaves. The Pocket Monsters will show up for you and others for 30 minutes.
  7. Let potential customers know you’ve made in investment by posting your alluring purchase to your Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat fans, such as Just Salad did in New York as seen in the tweet pictured above.

Craft Brewers Go Hi-Tech

craft hop

The dirty secret behind today’s IPAs: There’s little dirty about them. Brewers are sourcing their signature bitterness in sterile labs, not muddy hop fields.

The hop plant contains oils and resins that give beer its bite; lab-made extracts of those flavorful and bitter oils and resins were once relegated to Big Beer’s industrial toolbox, while craft brewers stuck to cramming whole cones of the hop vine into the brewing kettle. No more. Not that industrial hop extraction is anything new. In the 1870s, the New York Hop Extract Company supplied brewers with hop resins made by soaking flowers in gasoline. Today, labs use liquid CO2 as a solvent, boiling hops to extract oils and then venting the gas away. The liquid that remains is clean, shelf-stable and concentrated, easy to preserve and to ship. “Extracts have better longevity [than raw hops], particularly in countries with developing logistics or harsher climates,” said Alex Barth, CEO of John I. Haas.

Still, the new wave of extraction is small. Robert Bourne of Extractz makes variety-specific extractions in an Ohio garage. He supplies a few local brewers but admitted he’s on the fringes: “It’s more of a home-brew thing.” Even when they come from a garage, extracts haven’t quite shed their industrial associations. The Hop Stoopid label shows a rustic barn; the fine print proclaims the “mountain of extracts” in the beer. “People read the label and call us up saying they won’t drink it,” says brewmaster Jeremy Marshall . “They think it’s some industrial, nonnatural thing.” Others maintain that whether from a leaf or a vial, flavor trumps all.

Read more here.

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?”

Please click here to read more…

Why You Should Buy Produce in Chinatown?

28-chinatown-produce.w710.h473.2x

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.