This post originally appeared on October 19, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
This week I learned about a new exciting (lifechanging?) benefit restaurateur Camilla Marcus is offering the 30 staffers at her restaurant west~bourne in downtown New York: Free, flexible, and close childcare.
In much of America the average cost of childcare has exceeded the average cost of college. It is deemed unaffordable by pretty much every metric. In pretty much every region. For hourly restaurant workers, who oftentimes lack consistent schedules, work outside the hours of normal daycare operations, and don’t earn enough money to live close to their workplaces, finding safe and affordable childcare is an all-consuming problem.
Marcus met the founders of Vivvi, a VC-backed childcare startup that aims to build a more flexible, employer-sponsored daycare, and convinced them to extend hours to 2 a.m. for restaurant workers. Using federal and state incentives, she’ll be paying around $50 per day of childcare for her employees that want to use it. (FWIW, from what I’ve found market rate in NYC is around $125 - 200/day.) Instead of committing to a schedule, they can use it when needed.
As someone who pays the equivalent of a good full time salary for childcare for two children too young for public school, I’m sitting here wonderning what the catch is. Am I too credulous to think these well-intentioned people with big money backing and government credits can solve a seemingly intractible problem? And how can I sell my company on it?
- Intel: Dave Chang plans to open a Momofuku Noodle Bar in Vancouver; a third location of Jon & Vinny’s will open in South LA in 2020; New York’s City Bakery will shutter its 30 year-old Union Square location; Mourad Lahlou reopened Aziza in San Francisco after a three-year hiatus; California banned school lunch shaming; the internet went nuts over this TikTok video showing how Panera makes its mac ‘n’ cheese; Michelin-starred Aquavit has a new look and a casual bar menu; a cultishly-loved ramen spot from Tokyo opens in SF on Sunday; a hotel group bought the Freehand for $400 million; Walmart can now deliver groceries to customers’ fridges; a former employee is suing Chicago’s biggest restaurant group for sexual harassment by a major wine director who now works in Austin at some very prominent places; California chef Chris Cosentino opened a new plant-filled restaurant in Houston; Christina Tosi just raised a lot of money to bring Milk Bar to gorcery stores on a national level; a new sleek cocktail bar and restaurant with branded ice opened in LA’s Little Tokyo; there’s a new nonprofit aiming to help food service workers survive medical debt emergencies; SF’s oldest black-owned bar, Sam Jordan’s, will close; Philly institution Fork has a new chef and a new menu; and Detroit’s newest bar is a nostalgic study in ‘50s and ‘60 drinking and bar snacks
- New York has transcendent sushi, if only you can handle the sushi bros.
- I just love how George Reynolds sneaks some very biting and amusing commentary into a column about instagram shots.
- Watch: I love chef Daniel Son’s Korean-American take on the traditional omakase and how he combines influences and traditions at Kura in LA.
- The Dallas restaurant inspired by ultra-moody Hong Kong film In the Mood for Love.
- Meet Ruth Hauntz, a 30-year veteran of the State Fair of Texas who can trace its long and troubled history.
- How one Seattle company wants to be the ‘Tesla of coffee’ — without using beans.
This Week on the Podcast
Daniel and I discuss the dinner party. First Vox.com’s Nisha Chittal takes us through the history and evolution of the dinner party. Then author Alison Roman discusses her new book Nothing Fancy and how she defines entertaining for a new generation. Then, as always, we talk about the biggest food stories of the week.
- Restaurants and coffee shops across New York are flouting rules prohibiting CBD in food and drinks. [AP]
- FreshDirect is shopping itself. [NYP]
- Of course chef and empire builder Renee Erickson’s Seattle house is gorgeous. And while we’re here, so is this A-frame. [Curbed Seattle]
- Love this Soleil Ho talk about how it feels once you become the representation you’ve been fighting for. [XOXO Festival]
- How and why Jean-Georges Vongerichten runs his far-flung empire. [NYTMag]
- Shoutout to my friend Yoni who is one of the drunks in this hilarious short about nutcrackers. [Desus & Mero]