A few months ago, Christina Tosi met a cookie she expected to be meh. “It was called salted caramel crunch, and I thought it was going to be a total snoozefest,” she said. After all, these days a cookie carpet-bombed with salt is old hat. But this confection, discovered in an airport, blew Tosi’s mind. “Imagine a butter cookie with raw sugar on top, with hints of kosher salt — it was toffee bits and these pretzel rounds folded in so every time you thought you were getting a toffee bit, you got this amazing, salty, multi thing.”
It wasn’t simply that it was delicious, it’s that it was familiar. “It makes me laugh because I’m like, I did that,” she said. “Like, no one put pretzels in cookies. Like, holy shit, nine years ago this was not a real thing in the world.” When Tosi first started peddling baked goods, it was the halcyon days before Instagram. Before unicorn freakshakes, rolled ice cream, and Oreos with Oreo filling — back when people could still get it up for flourless chocolate cake on a square plate. Her creation, this airport cookie’s godfather, was laden with potato chips, coffee grounds, butterscotch, chocolate chips — and pretzels. Tosi called it the Compost Cookie (later registering the trademark because she’s smart) and it was weird. Subversive, even. It, along with a black hole of butter and two kinds of sugar called the Crack Pie, ushered in the era of the Stunt Dessert — FOMO-inducing, insulin-spiking sweets consumed as much for the performative pleasure as for the sugar rush, from slutty brownies to anything off the Cookie Dough Cafe menu and the incalculable number of crummy Cronut clones.
Marrying salty with sweet predates Christina Tosi, no doubt — hat tip to Dorie Greenspan’s salted chocolate chip cookies of 2006 and, hell, who hasn’t had a Snickers Bar? — but the high-low mix of Snyder’s of Hanover and Barry Callebaut, with a soupcon of stoner fantasia, is pure Milk Bar, which Tosi founded in 2008 as a small part of David Chang’s Momofuku insurgency. It’s the bakery that attracted a 45-minute wait at the opening of its DC location, baked Taylor Swift’s enormous birthday cake, and prompted Chrissy Teigen to Instagram its delights to her 14.1 million followers.
When I met Tosi, now the CEO of Milk Bar, for tea in Williamsburg back in December, she had just come off the red-eye she takes back and forth from Los Angeles to New York every weekend when filming on her other job: Since 2015, she has served as a judge for MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, the competitive cooking franchise on Fox that’s popular enough to merit its own cruise. In between guiding and (gently) crushing children’s dreams and running the ever-expanding Milk Bar empire — 12 locations in North America and counting — her side hustles have included posing for the Corcoran Group Real Estate (in a campaign shot by Annie Leibovitz), starring in a Subaru ad, and consulting on Kellogg’s NYC, a cafe that sold bowls of cereal for $7.50 to tourists in Times Square — an idea that sounds like a grim, half-hearted joke about the state of the universe, but was so successful that the cafe is moving to a bigger location downtown in a few months.
Slight, pale, with an old-timey face that evokes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring (especially when her hair’s covered by a bandana), Tosi, who is 35, is often dressed like a big kid from the cover of a Judy Blume novel, with a preference for stripes, overalls, jeans, and, almost always, Converse All Stars. Unless she has a meeting — where she’ll wear a little more jewelry and maybe short-heeled booties — or when she’s getting married. For her summer-camp-themed, restaurant-industry power wedding to Will Guidara, one half of Make It Nice, the restaurant group behind the (possibly) No. 1 restaurant in the world, Eleven Madison Park, and the NoMad, she wore J.Crew. It rained, they had the tallest Milk Bar cake on record, and she looked radiant under her plastic poncho.
Tosi’s childlike qualities, unfussy air, and lack of pretension are disarming, making her particularly winsome as a judge on MasterChef — she’s tough but fair, a solid foil for the blustery, irascible charms of one of her co-stars, Gordon Ramsay. It’s also probably why Tosi is so often characterized in interviews as playful or ebullient, like a cheerleader, or Samantha from Bewitched, or maybe Taylor Swift, who’s besties with Tosi’s bestie and occasional collaborator, the supermodel Karlie Kloss. But the blonde she most resembles to me is Tracy Flick from Election, punctilious and unflinching. The notion of a universally sunny, conspicuously inoffensive purveyor of cookies, cakes, and soft serve ice cream has a broad, easy appeal, but it’s inexhaustible reserves of grit that alchemize folksy sweets into a food empire. “I’m never ever, ever, ever the smartest person in the room,” she said. “But it’s not about smarts. It’s about will.”
Every Milk Bar location carries a couple dozen items, from Bagel Bombs to soft serve to the also thoroughly trademarked Crack Pie. What every Milk Bar doesn’t have is that fresh-baked-cookie aroma, the enticing fragrance staged to sell million-dollar condos. Milk Bar’s Williamsburg commissary, the 11,000-square-foot commercial kitchen in Brooklyn that supplies all of its New York and Toronto shops and its online store, smells incredible, though. Like throwback supermarket vanilla flavoring, the see-through kind, not what Ina Garten calls the “good” stuff — a raw, primordial, cake-batter fragrance. It’s kind of like how McDonald’s fries smell bright yellow and Jamba Juices emit some tropical-fruit scent that doesn’t exist in nature. It’s more an aroma of general deliciousness than anything specific — a scratch-n-sniff sticker of a baked good.
Tucked behind the Williamsburg store, the commissary is Milk Bar’s NYC base of operations. It’s a space big enough to host a good-sized rave. On the wall near the front is an area dedicated to Milk Bar’s Hardbody of the Month, a collage of hastily photocopied and enthusiastically decorated pictures of the team’s hardest-working members. The rest of the commissary is perhaps better understood as a 3D model of the way Tosi’s brain works. It’s shrewdly mapped out with stations, and the accompanying walk-in fridges are positioned closely together. Products with multiple components — like cakes, which contain various fillings and different flavored layers, and need to be assembled before they are packaged — move through the kitchen systematically and chronologically, so that the finished product lands in the fridge closest to its shipping area. In the same way that chefs pride themselves on a scrupulously organized and maintained mise-en-place for optimal efficiency in the kitchen, Tosi and the team tinker with the layout constantly.
Tosi, as a whole, is big on tinkering. On the day I met her at the kitchen, she’d arrived with pistachio cookies that she insisted everyone under her employ sample. Near the R&D area, a nook tucked behind the dry goods storage racks is a stack of brown boxes. “I went a little crazy on Goldbely,” she said, opening the box closest to her. “I bought all the pound cakes they had to offer. I’m always curious how other people do it.”
Tosi and Courtney McBroom, a former Milk Bar employee who helped write and test recipes for Milk Bar’s two cookbooks, eyed a yellow bundt cake, breaking off small pieces with their hands. “The texture is nice and moist,” said McBroom, another blonde with an open face, who hails from Texas.
“No, it’s almost angel food cake-y,” Tosi said, smushing it between her fingers and popping the mass in her mouth.
“Okay, it’s not that moist,” McBroom demurred, crumbling a morsel. “But it’s still good in a weird way. It’s better than the ones we’ve been doing, but it almost…”
McBroom and Tosi looked at each other while chewing. “I wonder what that’s from,” Tosi said.
“It’s like cream cheese,” McBroom said, checking the ingredients to confirm. “It kind of dissolves on your tongue.”
“That’s the emulsifier, the cream cheese,” Tosi agreed.
This, ad infinitum, is how Tosi and her team deduce that corn cookies need golden flaxseed meal to be chewy, or that a pinch of citric acid makes Birthday Cake frosting really sparkle, or that there’s a special textural alchemy when you mix grapeseed oil and buttermilk for your cakes. Though it’s been said roughly one million times in a thousand different ways that nostalgia is Tosi’s “secret ingredient,” the ethos, really, is what her team refers to as Tosi’s “pure approachability.” But as accessible or sentimental as her food tastes, it requires a fiercely analytical and precise mind to make a Milk Bar Birthday Cake reminiscent of an old-school birthday cake from a box. This is why Milk Bar recipes are exhaustive, harrowingly convoluted ways of getting to a particular flavor destination from our collective youths. Liberating textures or flavors that would otherwise stay trapped inside the minds of Nabisco food scientists is not easy.
Milk Bar currently employs 220 people, 50 of them in the New York commissary, with more around the holidays. When you’re hired as a pastry cook, you start at the bottom, and that means spending a few months at the standing Hobart — a human-sized mixer where you negotiate with a 500-pound blob of cookie dough, as unwieldy and unaccommodating as a futon mattress, and try to coax it into hotel pans. If you don’t master the cookie dough, you never level up. “It’s a very individualistic sport,” Tosi said. “Working the 140-quart is only for the people that mean it. It’s stamina, it’s love, it’s care, and there’s no one to complain to.”
After cookie dough, you’re moved onto ice cream. “Soft serve is more about blending, technique, and the balance of flavor,” Tosi said. “If you think about making a cup of tea, you have hot water and a tea bag, but it depends on how hot your water is, how long you steep, the tea-leaf mixture, how fine the mesh of the bag is, how humid the day is, and the temperature of the kitchen. When we make Cereal Milk soft serve, we take cornflakes and toast them and grind them down. If someone grinds the toasted cornflakes a little more or less, the surface area is different. And inevitably we’re using organic, farm-fresh milk, and where we buy our whole milk the cows are eating in different pastures, so the nuances of the flavors of the milk are different — so it holds notes of cereal milk differently. All of those things make a difference, all of which make me go, ‘Why in the world did I decide making food for a living was a good idea?’”
Alison Roman, a food writer and cookbook author who worked at Milk Bar in the early days — her most enduring contribution is an apple pie cake that is filled with liquid cheesecake — recalled Tosi’s exacting standards. “There was this chocolate soft serve,” she told me. “It was brownie, and I made it a thousand fucking times and Tosi would be like, ‘No, it needs more this.’” This was the key to some elusive flavor profile known only to Tosi. “Part of the challenge for Milk Bar was that you were making things that had never been made before so there was no reference,” Roman said.
If you’re able to make it through the gauntlet, after a year, you’ll finally be allowed to touch a cake. These secrets are amongst Milk Bar’s most valuable launch codes. Despite the nondisclosure agreement that you have to sign when you’re hired (and the multiple trademarks), Tosi hasn’t gone after former Milk Bar employees who have erected copycat bakeries. She’s simply quietly lost respect for them while she’s gone on to develop new techniques. “I believe in sharing recipes,” she said. “We have cookbooks. But we know why we’re adding ingredients. We know why we’re adding this much salt and this much baking powder. We’re the ones who are going to do it the best, because they’re ours.”
Tosi’s easygoing pluck is, however, piqued by corporate copycats. When Ben & Jerry’s announced a new run of flavors called “Cereal Splashback,” a clear rip off of Cereal Milk soft serve, it was a buzzkill. “I’m bummed,” she said about her state of mind when everyone texted her the news. “Why couldn’t [Ben & Jerry’s] just come to us? Like, I’m not trying to say I’m Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert, but I think they would have gotten so many more cool points and authenticity points in doing something together.” It’s inevitable that other sweet shops and brands ape your best concepts; just ask Dominique Ansel. The only consolation is that imitators are merely catching up, and when they do, they won’t do it quite as well.
If there’s a specific era that dominates Milk Bar’s brand identity, with its chalkboard menus, bright-pink logo, and rainbow sprinkles, it’s the ’80s. Part Punky Brewster and part Lisa Frank, a lot of the attitude comes from its founder, who grew up in Virginia. When I asked Tosi what table she sat at in the high school cafeteria, she told me, “I was always a ‘march to the beat of my own drum’ person.” She recalled a cross-country practice where she wore “spandex shorts with the map of the world in blue and grey velour.” Her friends were cool, but insists she wasn’t. “I was in Dorkestra,” she said. “I was in all AP classes. I was a no-nonsense person.”
Tosi’s house was the spot where all the kids would go to after school to ransack the pantry. Snacks were plentiful, as were sheet pans full of fresh baked goods, and her mom was usually at the office. “My mom raised us to be super independent people,” Tosi said of her and her sister. Her parents, who’d been separated since her early childhood, finally divorced when she was 15. Her mother, who she lived with, remarried and her stepfather traveled a lot for work. “The day of your 16th birthday you get keys to the family minivan, you get your credit card and your chore list.” Baking was part of that — part chore, part birthright. “We baked cookies as kids and we’d bring them to someone we didn’t know who was sick in the hospital,” she explained. “That’s the tradition of our family. You can never go home to visit my mom or my grandma for some R&R. That’s not a thing.”
Tosi's freshman year of college was spent at the University of Virgina. While her peers rushed sororities and turned up at frat parties, Tosi got a job. “Those southern schools, you go to college to meet your girlfriends and your husband,” she said. “That’s not my thing.” First she worked at Bed Bath & Beyond, but when she transferred to James Madison University, where she majored in applied mathematics and Italian — “There was a lot of ego and kind of stuff about elitism that just didn’t sit right with me,” she remembers of UVA — Tosi began working at a microbrewery in Harrisonburg called Calhoun’s. She started out as a hostess, put in hours on the waitstaff, and eventually muscled her way into the kitchen as a prep cook. It was an inauspicious start, but she was hooked. “It was my social outlet,” Tosi said. “I like the renegades in the kitchen. I like the restaurant life. I was like, school is fine, but I’m not trying to go do a keg stand.”
Tosi’s love of the kitchen prompted her to begin researching culinary school. She enrolled at the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center) and moved to New York, where she’d go to school during the day and work at night. Living in a tiny walk-up in Nolita, she started out as a reservationist at Aquagrill, worked her way up to maitre d’, and then friends of friends introduced her to the pastry chef at the hyper-soigne Bouley, where she worked for 2 1/2 years. From there she staged at Wylie Dufresne’s now-defunct molecular gastronomy mecca, wd~50. Tosi, being Tosi, didn’t just walk into a job at wd~50; she kept showing up for no money for a full year before one opened up.
In 2005, she made herself indispensable by volunteering for the Herculean task of writing wd~50’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan, a tangle of health department bureaucracy that details everything a restaurant kitchen does in terms of food safety, from how it handles raw produce to the minimum temperature of roast beef. A job typically reserved for food scientists, it’s such a monumental pain in the ass that even by 2011, Mario Batali’s restaurant group declared it wouldn’t even bother with sous vide cooking, just to avoid revising its HACCP. Tosi, of course, basked in the challenge. “I like to always be in over my head,” she said. “I’m at my happiest, and most challenged, and typically most successful when like the water is somewhere between ‘here,’” her hand hovered at her forehead, “and ‘here.” She stretched a slender arm way above her head. “I like the constant pursuit of better, bigger, stronger, faster.”
Around that time, David Chang had just tossed $1,500 worth of vacuum-sealed food thanks to the watchful eye of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which relished raining fines down on kitchens for preparing sous vide foods without an established protocol. Chang called up Dufresne, a friend and a chef he’d long admired, to ask him about Tosi. “I asked for help,” Chang told me over the phone. “Back then before the internet you just heard about the people who were good. She was always on my radar and when I got in trouble with the health department because I was organizing my foods in Cryovac, she helped me get out of purgatory.”
Before she knew it, Tosi was doing everything at Momofuku — in fact, her unofficial job title was “et cetera.” She ran payroll, helped out on the line, managed restaurants, and ordered supplies like an office assistant. “She’s so goddamned smart,” Chang said. “So regiment-oriented. It’s what I don’t have. People forget or else they don’t know that she’s a mathematics major.” Nothing was too arduous or too menial, and after full days she’d hone recipes into early morning and bring baked goods into work the next day. Desserts were her in. At the time Momofuku had no pastry program, offering spicy ginger chews or Hershey’s Kisses with the bill. An early creation, a Tristar strawberry shortcake recipe, was such a resounding success — tart, sweet, and a little salty — that Momofuku began integrating more sweets across the restaurants, like soft serve ice cream and deep-fried apple pie, just like the kind you used to get at McDonald’s before 1992, when they started baking them.
When the laundromat next to Chang’s Ssäm Bar cleared out in 2008, Tosi opened Milk Bar in the space that November. Then she didn’t sleep for two years. Open until 2 a.m., partly to complement Ssäm Bar’s late-night menu, Milk Bar was the rare bakery positioned as a pitstop for East Village bar crawls. Tosi dubbed it “Dairy Queen with pork buns.” It was an immediate hit, with hypebeasts queued out the door as people clamored to devour Blueberry & Cream Cookies and Candy Bar Pie, washed down with corn-flake-suffused milk. Despite the potential to blanket the city immediately, over the next few years Milk Bar grew deliberately, opening just three more locations by 2011.
“It’s scalable,” Sujean Lee, who came on as Milk Bar’s COO at the end of 2016 from Greek yogurt monolith Chobani, told me over lunch. “But how long it’s taking is a conscious decision on Tosi’s part. It’s a conscious evolution.” Since Lee’s arrival nine months ago, she’s overseen store openings in the Financial District, West Village and their now westernmost outpost in Las Vegas. This accelerated expansion is likely to continue, with their eagerly anticipated Los Angeles flagship slated to open early next year on Melrose.
Business appears to be brisk but Milk Bar is tight-lipped about actual sales figures. Lee framed the metrics in the most Milk Bar possible way by telling me that last year, they sold 600,000 B’day Truffles and about 300,000 Compost Cookies, and that they go through nearly 200,000 pounds of flour and over 100,000 pounds of butter annually. It’s fantastic and whimsical to picture heaping, toppling mountains of scrumptiousness akin to however many Ding Dongs you need to get to the moon and back, but what that means for Milk Bar’s finances remains deeply mysterious.
In terms of branding, since 2014, Momofuku Milk Bar has quietly become, simply, Milk Bar. “I’ve never been as involved as people think,” Chang told me. “No matter what the fuck I say, people just assume it’s a Momofuku product. We even dropped the Momofuku, so I don’t even know what the fuck’s up with that.”
“Milk Bar is mine,” Tosi said. “Dave would never disagree with that. And Momo will always be him.” Momofuku Holdings, the umbrella company for all of Chang’s businesses, remains a key investor in Milk Bar, though the bakeries operate independently from the other restaurants in Momofuku Group. No one would tell me precisely how the ownership of Milk Bar is split up, nor how much equity Tosi actually has; Milk Bar declined to comment on who owns the majority stake in the business.
In the last few years, Momofuku Holdings appears to have shifted gears for stratospheric growth: In addition to Milk Bar’s recent expansion, Momofuku has launched a delivery-only restaurant in New York and moved into fast food. They’ve also sold a minority stake for an undisclosed sum to Matt Higgins and Stephen M. Ross’s RSE Ventures, a firm that is invested in stuff like a drone-racing league and VR events. More recently, Chang hired Harvard MBA and hospitality vet Alex Munoz-Suarez, formerly of the Batali-Bastianich empire, to act as Momofuku’s president. But Milk Bar insists there’s minimal meddling, with Chang, Munoz-Suarez, and RSE considered valued advisors above all. “There’s a lot of email-forwarding,” Milk Bar’s Lee said. “Like, ‘Hey not for me but for you?’”
The clarity of the delineation between Momofuku and Milk Bar operations might be a factor in the success of the enduring Chang-Tosi collaboration, which stands out in a streak of Chang partnerships that have ended abruptly and unceremoniously: Most recently, Lucky Peach, the quarterly he founded with Peter Meehan, folded earlier this year despite critical and commercial success. Last year, Booker and Dax, the highly acclaimed bar that Dave Arnold operated in the original Milk Bar space, shuttered with little warning; its future remains up in the air. And this past spring, a tenured hospitality exec replaced longtime Chang business partner Andrew Salmon as president of Momofuku. (Last year, Salmon became an advisor to Milk Bar; he was not made available for interview.)
Tosi’s stamina could be a matter of will. Mettle. A testament to her high pain threshold or her corn-fed predilection for the “right thing to do.” But this wildly discounts not only her agency in the matter, but her patent shrewdness. “Everyone’s here because they want to be here, right?” she told me, rolling her eyes when I asked whether it’s hard to work with Chang. “Like, no one’s putting a gun to anyone’s head.”
“The easiest way to get along with Dave,” she said, “is to prove that you care and that you mean it even more than him.”
In many ways, Tosi is of the last generation for whom selling out is even a thing. You can tell she cares by how often she talks about it in interviews. But scaling a business is by nature selling out, even when it’s cast as a way to share Tosi’s delicious treats with as many people as possible. It’s particularly dicey because the margins on sub-$3 cookies are murder and each competitive advantage won at the hands of economies of scale feels to her like a compromise.
The decision to spring for the cookie-scooping machine four years ago was just one example. “I held out as long as possible,” she said. “I could scoop cookies faster than anyone else and that was my business model. But I know better than that. That’s not a responsible thing for me to do. But it also means the cornflake marshmallow cookie is the same cookie but texturally, its nuances are different. It’s the same recipe but it’s a different cookie.” With each acquisition — a mechanized hamburger patty stamp that’s been modified for cake truffles, a $60,000 flow-wrap machine to package cookies in cellophane — Tosi’s struggled with the death of the romance. “They used to make English muffins to order,” Meehan, the former Chang collaborator who was always around in the early days, said. “There was a crazy preciousness to the food they did.”
In Milk Bar’s first year, cookies were baked fresh and handed to you on a plate or in a box or paper bag. “We were super worried that the packaging would feel less personal,” she said of their current cellophane sheathes. “It’s one of the things that made me the most sad about the original Milk Bar.” It’s a piece of Milk Bar lore that curmudgeonly food critic Alan Richman bought two dozen cookies to serve to his friends and finding them broken, emailed her with some constructive criticism. “You can’t bake a bunch of cookies and sell them fresh right out of the bakery case and expect them to stay in one piece,” she said.
Milk Bar started selling packaged cookies as “day-old” goods for 50 cents cheaper, until they realized that people wanted them not only because of the discount but because you could save them for later or send them to friends. “I think it was one of the most challenging moments, deciding to put the cookies in bags,” she said. “They’re still obviously every bit as fresh but for me, that was the moment I had to decide.”
Scaling’s also tough when your founder’s afflicted with a conscience. “There’s no such thing as an overnight baker at Milk Bar,” she told me over tea. “Everyone gets to leave. That’s important to me.” Health insurance is also important to her. As are dental and vision and paid time off for hourly employees. Milk Bar offers four weeks paid maternity and paternity leave, and while she doesn’t give stock options or have a bonus pool, she hopes to someday soon. “I don’t have that part of my act together yet, but that is so representative of what I believe in.”
Another indication of how Milk Bar is evolving is Milk Bar Life, the umbrella brand under which it peddles gluten- and dairy-free options, as well as pressed juice. If you’re a longtime Milk Bar patron, the juice feels like an odd move — in fact, the knee-jerk instinct is slight disappointment. Same goes for their yogurt parfaits, or “Brekkie Cups,” which sound bafflingly Australian. Tosi’s past collaboration with Karlie Kloss, called Karlie’s Kookies, inspired the line of cookies now under the Milk Bar Life umbrella, which are no longer affiliated with the supermodel. (MB HQ swears it’s still all love, though.)
These changes can be seen as brand dilution, though Milk Bar insists they’re part of a rejiggering, addition and not subtraction. “Juice is the newest addition to Milk Bar because it’s the newest addition to my life,” Tosi said. “Why am I going elsewhere to get juice when I can make juice here?” (It’s worth noting that if the margins on cookies suck, the wriggle room on cold-pressed juice is somehow worse, even at $5.25 a bottle.)
To be truly approachable, Tosi has made peace with the idea that Milk Bar must be everywhere, from a collaboration with JetBlue where premium customers can opt for Milk Bar juice, a cookie, or bagel round (they’re not called “Bagel Bombs” because, well, airplanes) to cookie mixes at Target to that full-body-eyeroll-inducing Kellogg’s branded cafe in Times Square. The dream is for Milk Bar is to have an online ordering system that eventually rivals Domino's in terms of coolness and interactivity — and to one day have wedding cakes delivered by drone.
Still, there will always be an emo core to Milk Bar, one true to Tosi’s heart as a home baker. As all-consuming as her life has become, Tosi maintains a cake list — like some sugar-slinging Santa Claus, everyone important to her gets a cake when she thinks they deserve one, by any means necessary. “She’s relentless,” Chang said. “Every birthday, every special occasion. I don’t know how she does it. I recently got married. We eloped and somehow — I don’t know how — that fucking cake got to where I was.”
This gives Tosi enormous pleasure. “Who gets surprised anymore?” she said. “No one goes out of their way to surprise anyone. That’s why I started baking in the first place.”
Mary HK Choi is triggered by all the talk of sugar and carbs in this piece :(
Lorraine Nam is an illustrator, designer and prop artist based in Brooklyn.
Fact checked by Jenny Hendrix
Copy edited by Rachel P. Kreiter
Can’t see the above signup form? Click here to subscribe to Eater’s newsletter.