Briefly: You have a very clever way to get customers to spend a lot of money, because everyone orders off trolley carts (without prices) rather than off menus. Guests choose their dishes after making an emotional, visual connection with the food, rather than making a rational decision based on the price. That all said, I dig it and award TWO STARS in my review for Eater.
Would you rather pay $12 for pizza at Roberta’s or $17 at Franny’s? The answer is ostensibly simple, but because pizza is a hyper-local item, it’s likely you’ll pay the extra $5 if you live closer to Franny’s than Roberta’s. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the competitive environment for pizza in New York means you probably won’t overpay by much more than $5 for a good pie. Click through for my full observations on PIZZANOMICS for Eater!
We all know you can usually save a few bucks by hitting up a restaurant at lunch instead of dinner. But at Jean-Georges, you can easily save anywhere from $100-$200 per couple!!! My fun little chart above shows you how, or check out the full GAME PLAN over at Eater.
The Modern is one of Danny Meyer’s most successful restaurants. It gets more business than Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, North End Grill or Union Square Cafe. It’s not where one would expect Meyer to lower his entry-level price by $10, or slash the tasting menu down to five-courses.
But that’s exactly what he did, even amid our era of rising food prices and ninety-course tasting menus. It’s less a story about money though, and more a story about saving people time.
Check out my full EATER ESSAY right here, good peoples!
"I do not fault any business for any corkage fee they choose to charge - $50, $100 or $1,000. What would we say if a customer walked into Luger’s, brought in a great cut of rib eye with asparagus, olive oil, sea salt & pepper, passed it to the host and said "Medium please. Don’t worry, I will buy some drinks. Table for two!" — James Mallios, owner of Amalia.
That’s one of the many fine comments reacting to my Eater piece about how Per Se has increased its corkage fee to $150 per bottle. Check it out.
Thomas Keller’s Per Se ($310) and The French Laundry ($295), two of America’s most expensive restaurants, are now commanding what are surely America’s highest corkage fees, at $150 per bottle, as I reported this afternoon for EATER. That’s OODLES more than what most other high end restaurants charge; Joel Robuchon in Vegas levies a $100 fee, while Masa in New York asks $95.
Are such policies necessary to sell wine and maintain a restaurant’s profit margins? Do they hurt consumers who are looking to enjoy their own wines in a restaurant? Should guests even be able to enjoy their own wine in a restaurant? We don’t bring our own fish into Le Bernardin, after all, so why should it be appalling that Le Bernardin doesn’t allow outside wines? Whatever your position, please do state it in the comments!
There don’t appear to be any lobster roll or truffle-style “MP” prices for margaritas on American menus just yet. But consumer lime prices in the U.S. are more than double last year’s as heavy winter rains hurt the winter crop in Mexico, where 98% of our limes come from, NPR reports.
Also hurting the Mexican crop is a tree-killing bacteria called Huanglongbing, which has wreaked havoc on Florida citrus, and which could threaten California crops as well, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The threat of disease notwithstanding, lime production should pick up, says NPR, citing Mexican authorities, which is likely why some U.S. restaurateurs are simply eating the higher prices rather than passing them along to the consumer.
Over at Eater, where The Price Hike’s Ryan Sutton (that’s me) works full time, Hillary Dixler has a fine roundup of precisely how Rosa Mexcano and other restaurants are coping. It’s a GOOD READ.
Alma in Los Angeles, Bon Appetit’s best new restaurant of 2013, is going tasting menu-only. For some, this will be a PRICE HIKE, as chef Ari Taymor will no longer offer his $65 five-course option. For others, this will be a PRICE DROP from the current tasting, priced at $110. Click through for my full Eater interview with Taymor; he talks why he’s changing things up and whether he’ll go service-included in the coming years. (Graph Credit: Eater).
Pine Intermezzo at Elizabeth Restaurant, Chicago. Chef Iliana Regan gathers up spruce and blends it with sugar, water and CO2. How does it taste? Sharp, sweet, and fragrant. I’ll call it a drinkable Glade Plug-In. Great [expletive-omitted] stuff. It’s part of a tasting menu that generally runs $100-$165, depending on the day of the week. See my full writeup over here.
Rating: STRONG BUY. Elizabeth, incidentally, uses the Nick Kokonas-brand advance ticketing and dynamic pricing system. Rock on.
I’ll be joining Eater as a restaurant critic and a data guy! Am humbled to be working with other new hires like steakmaster Nick Solares, jack-of-all trades Robert Sietsema, and national restaurant editor Bill Addison. Am also stoked to say I’ll continue filling The Price Hike & The Bad Deal with great content, both original and from around the web. I’m very grateful to all of who’ve read The Hike & The Deal over the past three years! You’re the BEST!
This short documentary will survey the custom of tipping and what it means for fair wage, discrimination, and women’s issues.
YOU GUYS let’s make this happen? A young filmmaker, Anna Savittieri, is gonna make a movie about one of our favorite topics, TIPPING. She’s set a goal of $1,550 and has raised $250 so far. She’s fixin’ to visit Boston, DC, New York and Chicago to interview service industry workers. Tipping is a BIG DEAL, as the hospitality industry is the second-largest private sector employer in the United States, providing work for more than 13 million people, many of whom earn the tipped minimum of just $2.13/hour.
This issue is particularly significant as restaurants like Sushi Yasuda have moved to abolish tipping, and as efforts to raise the tipped minimum have faltered. So we hope Savittieri raises her Kickstarter goal many times over and gives us some serious film making!
Chicken Breast. Mushrooms. Blood Pudding. Almonds. Looks like an abstract rendition of Continental drift, right? See South America separating from Africa? And guess what? Tastes really good. The iron and funk of the boudin noir make up for the brilliant neutrality of the bird. Part of Contra’s $55 five course menu. Rating: STRONG BUY. (Photographer: Ryan Sutton).
GOOD FOOD! GOOD PRICE! GOOD PHOTO BY OUR SISTER TUMBLR!
Iliana Regan has some serious tattoos, a Michelin star, and wicked future ahead of her. She is a real deal forager, serving up fried lichens, raccoon snausages, and the broth of freshly killed deer. And house made Cheerios. It’s all part of the loooong tasting at Elizabeth Restaurant on Chicago’s North Side. Expect 17-plus courses.