On a recent episode of the Serious Eats podcast Special Sauce, Ed Levine talks to Danny Meyer about the origins of the Shake Shack.
Did Meyer have any idea that that hot dog cart would eventually become the massive sensation it is today? Not at all. It was a happy accident, born of his love of burgers, Chicago hot dogs, and the custard that's still served at Ted Drewes in his native St. Louis.
Eater has the scoop: Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group is eliminating tipping at all of their full-service restaurants.
Big news out of Manhattan: Dining out is about to get turned on its head. Union Square Hospitality Group, the force behind some of New York's most important restaurants, will announce today that starting in November, it will roll out an across-the-board elimination of tips at every one of its thirteen full-service venues, hand in hand with an across-the-board increase in prices.
Why are they doing this? In part because cooks get the shaft at restaurants:
Under the current gratuity system, not everyone at a restaurant is getting a fair shake. Waiters at full-service New York restaurants can expect a full 20 percent tip on most checks, for a yearly income of $40,000 or more on average -- some of the city's top servers easily clear $100,000 annually. But the problem isn't what waiters make, it's what cooks make. A mid-level line cook, even in a high-end kitchen, doesn't have generous patrons padding her paycheck, and as such is, on average, unlikely to make much more than $35,000 a year.
I hope this catches on.
Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality is opening two Shake Shacks and a Blue Smoke in Delta's new Terminal 4 at JFK airport.
The Shake Shack is turning into Danny Meyer's accidental fast food empire.
"A hamburger stand is a very democratizing amenity," he said. "We hope that each new Shake Shack can become both a citizen of, and mirror of, their communities."
Danny Meyer on the difference between service and hospitality: "Service is delivering on your promise. Hospitality is making people feel good while you're delivering on that promise." Meyer has a new book, Setting the Table, out tomorrow. (via eater)
Megnut reports that Thomas Keller (an In-N-Out fan) may be doing his own burger joint in the Napa area. He must have tired of Danny Meyer crowing about the Shake Shack at all those restauranteur slumber parties. (ps. Shake Shack reopens in 6 days!)
Right around 1985 is when American cuisine took hold in NYC...and with it came other changes. "It can be argued that fine dining finally lost its haughty attitude then, that cloches became less important than customer comment cards. A fascination with classic French cooking was forevermore trumped by an insistence on something lighter, more flexible and less hidebound. The trickle of a simpler sensibility from California became a tide. The glories of the Greenmarket took ineradicable root."
Esquire jumps the gun on the whole end of the year best-of lists thing and names their favorite new restaurants of 2005, with Danny Meyer's The Modern taking the top spot. Worth reading if only for the sidebar item on "wired and tired" dining trends.
The folks at Danny Meyer's Shake Shack go above and beyond the call of duty. When a birthday party shows up after an erroneously posted closing time, the manager has food sent over for them from the kitchen at Eleven Madison Park. Amazing service.
James Beard Award winners for 2005. Batali is best chef, Per Se is best new restaurant, Danny Meyer is "outstanding restauranteur".