This post originally appeared on April 6, 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.
Last month, while I was in Austin, I stayed at the Carpenter Hotel, a new boutique hotel run by the former co-owner of the Ace Hotel group. I chose it because I knew Christina Knowlton and her husband Andrew Knowlton (editor at large at Bon Appétit) had a hand in the food and beverage operations. I loved the restaurant, loved the bar, loved the cafe, loved the Eastern Bloc vibe in the corridors and hip minimalist-verging-on-bunker rooms. But most of all, I loved the mini bar.
Here is why:
$2 for all the drinks? $3 for all the snacks? It made me realize that sometimes the most hospitable thing a place can do is just not gouge its captive audience. Hotels, airports, and stadiums get away with exorbitant pricing because they know their guest doesn’t have much choice. As the guest, you end up resenting the fact that you didn’t plan better — that you didn’t pack a lunch for the plane or grab a bottle of water before you got to the hotel.
Thus, in Austin, feeling like a queen, I spent $20 on the mini bar when I would have spent nothing. I had flat water, I had sparkling water. I had Bjorn Corn, I had cheese crackers. I had a beer while sitting on my balcony staring out upon the highway. They didn’t make much margin on those items, but they did make me want to book again.
- Intel: Progressive Seattle ice cream chain Molly Moon’s introduced pay transparency across the company for Equal Pay Day; LA’s splashy newcomer Simone will undergo a major overhaul following the departure of its chef; Galit, a new Middle Eastern restaurant from a former head chef at New Orleans’s Shaya, just opened in Chicago; Netflix will launch a TV version of Ruth Reichl’s memoir Comfort Me With Apples; Keith McNally’s revival of Pastis with restaurateur Stephen Starr is about a month out; Urban Outfitters closed the D.C. location of Pizzeria Vetri; Bricia Lopez, one of the owners of LA’s lauded Guelaguetza, has a new Vegas restaurant called Mama Rabbit; LA’s pasta king Evan Funke and art world don Larry Gagosian partnered to open a restaurant and private gallery in Beverly Hills; Lisa Vanderpump now has a Vegas cocktail garden; for some reason, Infatuation will bring back the print edition of the NYC Zagat guide; Kourtney Kardashian is offering surprisingly good wine advice on her new lifestyle site; Daniel Patterson will hand one of his restaurant spaces (Aster in the Mission) to the the owners of a Guamanian restaurant displaced by a rent hike; a Gramercy Tavern sous chef who was fired two years ago for alleged misconduct is getting a new start with a restaurant called Ssal in SF; Seattle chef Renee Erickson is turning a restaurant she acquired from fellow empire builder Josh Henderson into an homage to her mother.
- Previewing pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s new book, Franklin Steak.
- How you can help bartenders and customers who are being harassed in bars.
- Chef Katy Kindred’s favorite work shoes are actually super cute.
- This very quaint and lovely mom-and-pop Burger King in Illinois won a court case to prevent the chain of the same name from opening within 25 miles of them.
- As we’ve learned from Paul Qui, canceling bad men is iterative and messy and uneven.
- Black chefs cooking with cannabis fight an uphill battle to be taken seriously in an industry whose sheen is often associated with whiteness.
- I did not realize our astronauts left their poop all over the moon. [Vox]
- New York food writing legend Robert Sietsema celebrated five years with Eater this week and also had a great interview on the Taste podcast. [The Taste]
- Maybe the only restaurant worth visiting in the Hudson Yards mall is Neiman Marcus’s Zodiac Room. [The New Yorker]
- When your father’s death trends on Twitter, because your father is David Carr. [The Cut]
- What it feels like to be a black chef when all the critics and food writers are white. [F&W]
- Ralph Fiennes seems spectacular. [GQ]
- Sweet things I want to eat: these date bars from Margarita Manzke; this orange cake with coconut and poppyseeds and a blood orange glaze (!) from Melissa Weller; these puits d’amour (seriously WTF) from Marie Aude Rose. [NYTMag; @melissafunkweller; @marierosedreams]