This post originally appeared on August 10, 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.
Yesterday, major developer, restaurant investor, political donor, and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross threw a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in his Hamptons estate. Considering he’s given generously to Republican campaigns in the past and is, you know, a billionaire who profits from Trumpian tax cuts and the president’s vested interest in the real estate industry and who banned his football team from kneeling during the National Anthem, this is ... not a surprise?
But outraged fans of the businesses he invests in, including Equinox, SoulCycle, Momofuku, Milk Bar, and Bluestone Lane, called for a boycott. Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi released a statement distancing herself from Ross’s politics. Dave Chang promised to double-down on progressive efforts and, along with José Andrés, implored Ross to cancel the event.
It is indefensible to support a candidate who has done so much irreparable damage to our democracy and to the lives of so many thousands of people (and children) in our country and around the world. But my main thought is we should have canceled Ross long ago. Remember he is the mastermind behind Hudson Yards, a once-in-a-generation urban development opportunity wasted:
- His Related Group, alongside Oxford Properties Group, turned the opportunity of a lifetime into a boring, soulless, playground for the rich.
- He built a mall and filled it with duplicates of expensive restaurants and new projects from (mostly) wealthy white men.
- Instead of art, there’s a stairway to nowhere, “casting egregious shadows over what passes for public open space, ruinously manspreading.”
- Oh an he funneled $1.2 billion in public funds away from impoverished neighborhoods to finance the venture, and relied on lucrative tax breaks and the publicly-funded extension of a subway line to lure tenants.
It’s easy to raise the alarm about the big Trump headline, but the daily way big money influences our restaurants and our culture is what we should be more attuned to.
- Intel: In its biggest workplace raid in a decade, ICE arrested 680 suspected undocumented workers at food processing plants across Mississippi; Danny Meyer will open a D.C. location of his restaurant Maialino (called Maialino Mare) this winter in a Thompson hotel; a new star team of restaurant vets took over SF’s Tosca Cafe from April Bloomfield; a branch of vegan chain By Chloe will open in the old Coffee Shop space in New York’s Union Square; Smorgasburg is having a rocky start in D.C.; LA’s first “cannabis restaurant,” where one can smoke or vape openly, will open in September with no edibles on the menu; Montreal closed a baseball field after too many balls were landing near the Joe Beef restaurant empire; some chef in Dallas is putting Hot Cheetos on croissants; celebrated Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate is bringing his Las Vegas restaurant Once to New York City this fall; Nicole Rucker’s wonderful Fiona closed after just nine months in LA; a cool motel, dive bar, and swim club opened in Nashville; and Meadowood’s Chris Kostow will open a $7 million restaurant called Ensue in Shenzhen, China.
- Today in hyper-branded restaurants, please say hello to the new Nashville location of Parson’s (home of the Negroni slushie) and Oakland’s new hot chicken spot World Famous HotBoys.
- Review: Two stars for the pasta tasting at Rezdôra.
- An appreciation for weird restaurant Instagram accounts.
- If you didn’t make it to the Eater Young Guns Summit, here’s chef Reem Assil’s speech about how being able to fail is a privilege.
- This just in from my favorite newsletter: What’s the difference between brining, marinating, pickling, and curing?
- Meet the sisters behind SF’s most in-demand restaurant design firm.
- A conversation with the team that made bread with ancient Egyptian yeast.
- An exit interview Seattle’s outgoing and longtime restaurant critic Providence Cicero.
Say hello to our new podcast!
RIP Eater Upsell, HELLO Eater’s Digest. Daniel and I are still discussing the most interesting stories in food every week, but we have a new name, new logo, new producer, and a fun meaty segment at the top of the show. This week, we discuss how to get into super popular restaurants.