Benno, Proudly Out of Step With the Age

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“Dated was the word one friend used after going to Benno, and if you’ve eaten there, too, you’ll know why. It’s as if the past 15 years in food never happened. The menu seems to be stuck in some time between 1994, when Thomas Keller bought the French Laundry, and 2004, when he opened Per Se with a young Jonathan Benno leading the kitchen.

The restaurant will probably be a tough sell to those diners who expect all restaurants to fall on a continuum between Noma and the Salt Bae place. But I prefer it to any number of newer, self-consciously modern restaurants, some of which are so determined to be of the moment that they might as well have a time stamp. Benno is not trying to be contemporary. It’s trying to be delicious. And it is, from start to finish, almost without exception.”

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Restaurant Boasting New York City Flair Coming to the Castro

“When it opens this spring, Gramercy Park will serve Californian cuisine in the evenings, New York City-style sandwiches in the afternoons, and all-American brunch on the weekends. Owner Mark White hopes to open the restaurant by mid-April at 216 Church Street, formerly Crepevine in the Castro.

White is fairly secretive about his background. He says he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America 20 years ago, and went on to own four restaurants in New York. But he sold off his stakes in those restaurants — which he did not name — and now has his eyes on San Francisco. He’s starting a new restaurant group, Madison Avenue Hospitality Group, and plans to open five restaurants within five years here. Gramercy Park is the first.”

“Gramercy Park will also occupy a smaller, 480-square-foot space next door — dubbed Gramercy Park To-Go — to serve commuters in the morning with coffee and grab-and-go items. It’ll also provide a streamlined area for delivery services like Caviar and Postmates to pick up orders without clogging up the main dining room. Between the two spaces, White hopes Gramercy Park will be the sort of neighborhood spot folks visit multiple times a month.”

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Impact of Min Wage Increase / NYCHA Survey & Results

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See here NYCHA Survey and Results on Minimum Wage Increase

Emeril Lagasse opens NYC restaurant

Emeril Lagasse in his new Greek restaurant, Rodos, at 39 W 24th street in Midtown

World renowned chef Emeril Lagasse has secretly opened his very first New York City restaurant — completely under the radar. For now, Rodos feels like your own private Greek island oasis, though it won’t stay that way for long.

Think healthy Greek fare with a splash of New Orleans decadence. The stealth chef launched Rodos in the lobby of Chelsea’s Hotel Henri with restaurateur Yiannis Chatiris on January 8.

“Yiannis and I have known each other professionally for years and became friends,” Lagasse said. “I’ve had more than 75 offers to open in New York but nothing was right until now.”

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NYC’s Most Anticipated Openings of Winter 2019

“To be sure, increased costs is having its impact. Some of the city’s most exciting restaurateurs are focusing their efforts on smaller spaces. The Franks of Italian favorite Frankies 457 are now working with one of Long Island’s most legendary pizzamakers, Umberto Corteo, but it will be for a slice shop. All-day dining — a format that, for some, is a way to help maximize sales — continues to flourish, like at Gertie, Pilar Cuban Bakery, and Bourke Street Bakery.

Money, after all, still runs things. The biggest change to the dining scene will be the debut of all the restaurants at Hudson Yards, the behemoth Manhattan far west side development from Related Companies that has cost $20 billion. Most of the chefs in it needed to have at least $2 million in upfront capital. It arguably isn’t great for the future of NYC dining.”

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Fresh Marketing Ideas For A New Year

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Get charitable.
Retailers can bring in new customers by hosting charity nights. Work with local charities and offer them a percentage of sales for every customer who walks through the door. That should encourage the nonprofit to market to their staff, friends, and family, thereby bringing in new shoppers.

For a service business, you can increase your exposure by allowing a nonprofit to give away a free service from your company as a prize. Many charities have auctions, dinners with prizes, or other events where this type of offer would be appreciated.”

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Word-Of-Mouth Recommendations Still Effective Among Diners

“When it comes to choosing a restaurant, it seems good old-fashioned word of mouth is not dead, according to a recent survey by reservation platform SevenRooms.

More than half of American diners (54 percent) turn to friends and family for restaurant recommendations. About 30 percent consult review sites like Yelp, and 25 percent were influenced by something they saw on TV, according to the survey, conducted with research firm YouGov.”

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