SinglePlatform Customers on Food & Wine’s 40 Most Important Restaurants List

Food & Wine Magazine just released “The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years.” These restaurants have played a part in defining dining in America over the decades. The list is comprised of restaurants new and old, open and closed, across the entire country. We examined the lineup and found several SinglePlatform customers who were chosen as standout establishments. Below, we explore each restaurant part of the SinglePlatform family and what makes them unique.

Brennan’s of Houston

 Via Brennan's of Houston Via Brennan’s of Houston

This Houston spot has endured its fair share of ups and downs. It’s one of the best Southern restaurants in the country, but that doesn’t come without challenges. 2008’s Hurricane Ike resulted in a fire that burned the restaurant down. But, like the Phoenix, Brennan’s rose from the ashes and continued on.

Brennan’s of Houston opened in 1967 and is the sister restaurant of the famous New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace. For over 50 years, Brennan’s has been serving up Texas Creole cuisine like the Holy Trinity Crudo, Hunter’s Honey Roasted Duck, and Snapping Turtle Soup, just to name a few.

But, the food isn’t the only contributor to decades of success. Brennan’s of Houston is immensely proud of the Southern charm that their staff exudes, a sense of hospitality that can make anyone feel at home.  If you visit their website, you’ll see a section in the “About Us” dedicated to the staff. You can read their bios to learn more about the people who uphold Brennan’s standards. Plus, they’ve got a great blog with recipes, events, and more.

Spago

 Via Spago Via Spago

Spago of Beverly Hills is the brainchild of famous chef Wolfgang Puck. Back in 1982 when he opened its doors, Wolfgang was at the forefront of the “celebrity chef” concept. Spago is his flagship restaurant that attracts A-listers of the L.A. dining scene. Since, he has built up the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group with a host of restaurants, bars, and lounges nationally and internationally.

Spago’s concept is modern fine-dining and a 2012 renovation gave way to a sleek design. The menus are inventive and modern to match. Guests can enjoy items ranging from caviar to ricotta gnocchi and Japanese Wagyu. For a taste of the west coast, diners can choose to try the California Tasting Menu.

As for Wolfgang Puck, he got his start in Austria when he began cooking alongside his mother. At age 24 he moved to the states and immersed himself in the restaurant industry. Today, he is the famous face behind the brand that has expanded to three companies: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.

Daniel

 Via Daniel Via Daniel

Just the name Daniel is synonymous with restaurant royalty. The chic Park Avenue NYC restaurant opened in 1993 and is known for its European cuisine and a wine cellar that houses over 25,000 bottles. Named after the acclaimed chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud, the restaurant is steeped in French culture and cuisine.

Daniel is a Michelin 2-star restaurant that offers seasonal menus of the finest ingredients. Daniel offers prix-fixe menus and also hosts special pairing events, like the La Celebration Du Fromage, boasting an array of fine cheeses and wines. On the dinner menu? Foie gras, Quebec roasted suckling pig, and strawberry tarts, among much more.

As for the man behind the restaurant name, Daniel Boulud was named a “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine magazine in 1988. Since then, he has grown his restaurant empire with establishments in the US, Montreal, London, and Singapore.

Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House

 Via Emeril's New Orleans Fish House Via Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House

BAM! It’s no surprise to us that former Food Network star Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant made the list. It’s just one of many locations owned by the celebrity chef known for his bold personality and even bolder cooking. The Fish House is located in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand and boasts a twist on Louisiana’s classic Creole. The menu kicks it up a notch with items like PEI Mussels, Pecan crusted Texas redfish, and Emeril’s banana cream pie.

Emeril’s opening of the New Orleans Fish House prompted an influx of new restaurants on the Vegas strip. He was a pioneer of the dining scene that now exists in the flashy Nevada tourist hub. He also owns other restaurants across the country, including Emeril’s New Orleans and Emeril’s Coastal Italian.

Although born in Massachusetts, he is known for his “new New Orleans” cooking style. He even won the National Best Recipe award in 2003 for his turkey and hot sausage chili. Emeril is more than just a chef, restaurateur, and TV legend. He has written various cookbooks and created a cookware line as well.

No. 9 Park

 Via No. 9 Park Via No. 9 Park

Chef Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant is located in Boston’s Beacon Hill. It boasts elegant European design and dishes inspired by France and Italy. Barbara is a James Beard Award winner who has been on the food scene since age 13. In 2017 she was included in Time Magazines “Top 100 Most Influential People of the Year.”

No. 9 Park opened in 1998 and was immediately named one of the “Top 25 New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit and “Best New Restaurant” by Food & Wine. Twenty years later, the Boston favorite is still being recognized for its uniqueness and influence on the Boston restaurant scene.

The menu offers everything from caviar and gazpacho to swordfish au poivre and caramel souffle. As for Barbara, she is the head of the Barbara Lynch Group which boasts 8 restaurants in the Boston area, including No. 9 Park.

Momofuku Noodle Bar

 Via Eater Via Eater

The small ramen shop in New York’s East Village has spiraled into so much more since its 2004 opening. Owner David Chang is not only known for his inventive food and restaurants, he also has a hit Netflix show, Ugly Delicious and a media company, Majordomo.

Head to the noodle joint for lunch or dinner and enjoy items like shiitake buns, smoked chicken wings, and ginger scallion noodles (FYI: the Momofuku pork buns originated here).

Since the opening of the first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku has expanded to a full restaurant group that includes Milk bar, Majordomo, and Nishi, among others. David’s endeavors combine his Korean heritage, a passion for cooking, and an inventiveness in the kitchen. We’re patiently waiting to see what he’ll do next.

Red Rooster

 Via Red Rooster Via Red Rooster

Yet another well-known chef, Marcus Samuelsson is one of the men behind New York’s Red Rooster. Located in the heart of Harlem, the restaurant boasts a schedule of live music performances and signature dishes that celebrate American cuisine. Along with Andrew Chapman, Marcus opened the restaurant in 2010 with the goal of positively influencing the Harlem culinary scene.

Red Rooster’s Americana menu offers items like chicken and waffles, ribeye, and Marcus’ cornbread. Down home style cooking can be enjoyed while patrons listen to live music. Plus, downstairs at the Red Rooster you’ll find Ginny’s Supper Club, a speakeasy with food and cocktails.

Aside from Red Rooster, Marcus has opened a number of other restaurants, appears on Food Network shows like Chopped and Cooks vs. Cons, and was named “Best Chef: New York City” by the James Beard Foundation in 2003.

Junebaby

 Via Junebaby Via Junebaby

Chef Edouardo Jordan is behind both Seattle restaurants JuneBaby and Salare. We recently mentioned him on our list of Top Chefs: 11 Amazing Restaurateurs To Keep On Your Radar Right Now. Junebaby puts a new twist on Southern food but stays true to its roots that are steeped in culture and history.

The primarily walk-in only restaurant brings Southern charm to the West coast. For lunch, you can enjoy buttermilk biscuits, chicken gizzards, and Gulf shrimps. For dinner, try the fried catfish or Momma Jordan’s oxtails.

Edouardo Jordan has been hot on the restaurant scene lately. He took home two awards in 2018 from the James Beard Foundation, Best New Restaurant in the country and Best Chef: Northwest. He was the first African American recipient. Junebaby just opened in 2017 but has already received tons of acclamations and praise.

We at SinglePlatform are lucky to work with some of the top talents in the restaurant industry. Congratulations to all of the restaurants who were represented on the list.


SinglePlatform Customer, Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers, Honored on TripAdvisor’s List of Top 10 Burgers in America

Yet another SinglePlatform customer was recognized on TripAdvisor’s recent Top 10 Burgers in America. We know, our customers rule!

Travel site and our partner, TripAdvisor, released the juicy list last month. To qualify, the restaurants had to have at least 200 reviews, at least 4.5 out of 5 stars, and 10 locations or fewer. The ranking was based on the millions of reviews and opinions the site has accumulated, so we’re pretty confident that spots on the list were well deserved. And Pearl’s Deluxe, a SinglePlatform customer, was one of the deserving burger joints to make the cut.

We talked about the other SinglePlatform winner, Brooks Burgers, last week on our blog. Today we’re focusing on the other honoree, Pearl’s Deluxe.

Pearl’s Deluxe

  • Where: San Francisco
  • Since When: 2003
  • Signature Burger: “The King” 1/4 pound patty topped with a 1/2 pound hot dog, American cheese, cheddar cheese and 1000 island dressing

Pearl’s Deluxe is a pleasant surprise where you least expect it. The small facade on a San Francisco strip has been home to some of America’s best burgers for fifteen years now. And although the outside isn’t all glitz and glam, what they’re serving up inside is something to talk about.

The menu items are a mixture of simplicity and specialty. All burgers can be made with a chicken breast, turkey, or veggie patty instead of beef. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also upgrade to a buffalo or Kobe patty. The classic burgers come topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo. If you’re feeling more adventurous, go with one of Pearl’s 11 “special burgers,” all of which come in ¼ pound and ½ pound sizes. The Phat Bob boasts BBQ sauce, bacon, mayo, onion rings, and jack cheese. The Bula is topped with jack cheese, bacon, mayo, and spicy BBQ pineapple sauce. The Bomb? An open-faced burger with homemade chili, shredded cheddar, and diced red onions.

Pearl’s uses natural beef from Niman Ranch, and offer other Americana staples like hot dogs, milkshakes, and an assortment of fries in addition to the burgers.

In fact, Pearl’s signature burger, rightly dubbed “The King” is topped with a ½ pound hot dog! The massive creation also features American cheese, cheddar cheese, and thousand island dressing.

 The King via The Hungry Muse The King via The Hungry Muse

If you’re not in the mood for plain fries, Pearl’s Deluxe also serves sweet potato fries, garlic fries, and homemade onion rings that TripAdvisor user Peterisme called “out of this world.” Can’t choose between fries and onion rings? The restaurant is also known for its “Frings,” a mixture of the two served in a single dish.

 Frings made with Pearl’s sweet potato fries via TripAdvisor user magnoliaeleven Frings made with Pearl’s sweet potato fries via TripAdvisor user magnoliaeleven

As for the owner, Sylvia Yi is a Korean American born and bred in San Francisco. She describes San Fran as a “food mecca” which influenced some spicy additions to the Pearl’s Deluxe menu.  And Sylvia’s family is no stranger to the restaurant industry. Her mom ran American diners, while her aunt and uncle had a fish and chips place. At Pearl’s Deluxe, Sylvia’s love for spicy foods has inspired her to mix south of the border ingredients with flavors from her Korean heritage.

The TripAdvisor reviews attest to the large selection in such an unassuming place:

“Wow wow wow wow wow!”

“Quite possibly the best burger I’ve ever had! I’ve had a fair few in my time and this really does rank somewhere in the top 2 ever. The place only has about 14 or so spaces to sit so you may have to take away but it’d be well worth it for sure. There’s a broad selection of both meat and veggie options and a plethora of sides, drinks and options to make the meal your own. The chips and onion rings (Frings) were sublime and the coffee milkshake brilliant. All in all a great establishment and one I hope to visit again before the end of my stay here.”

“Best Burger I’ve Ever Eaten!”

“I can not recommend Pearls enough. It’s a tiny little place, very friendly with a really varied menu. My burger was delicious! I shared ‘Frings; with my husband which onion rings and fries together. The portions were huge! You can eat in but there are limited seats. Nice clean place. Located a short walk from Union Square. Please don’t miss this place out, it’s well worth the short walk there!”

“You won’t find a tastier burger across San Francisco!!”

This small, little cafe type burger bar is a hidden gem; especially if you want something quick and tasty. The staff are very helpful and the food is so good, we have been back twice. If you really fancy a good burger, and don’t mind squeezing into the small cafe, you won’t b disappointed!!”

And this isn’t the first accolade Pearl’s Deluxe has received. Did we mention that Tyler Florence chose Pearl’s Deluxe as his pick for The Best Thing I Ever Ate?

He’s not the only celebrity chef to give Pearl’s Deluxe two thumbs up. On GrubStreet’s The Food Chain, Susan Feniger called the Spicy Sly burger topped with jack cheese, grilled onions, grilled peppers, mayo, and habanero sauce a personal favorite. “I really love a gooey burger,” she said. “And this one is really gooey.”

 Spicy Sly via TV Food and Drink Spicy Sly via TV Food and Drink

Burgers are an American staple. But, the mastery of burger making goes far beyond the grill in our backyards. Pearl’s Deluxe has perfected the art of burger-making, from the quality of the ingredients to the abundance of the toppings. And after they were chosen as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Burgers in America, it’s safe to say their burgers are pretty darn delicious.

Congratulations Pearl’s Deluxe!

Pearl’s Deluxe has been a SinglePlatform customer since 2013.  

SinglePlatform Customer, Brooks Burgers, Honored on TripAdvisor’s List of Top 10 Burgers in America

Hamburgers are quintessential quarter-pound slices of Americana. They’re delicious whether slathered in cheese, bunned or un-bunned, and topped with virtually any fixing you can think of. We may not all agree on how best to serve a burger, but it’s safe to say that the popularity of these juicy bits of heaven stretches way beyond backyard barbecues.

When researching where the popular food got its start, the origins are a bit unclear. Legend has it that the influx of German immigrants to America in the late 1800s sparked the birth of German beer gardens and food. And with that came with “Hamburg-style” chopped steak. The rest is, well, history.

Fast-forward to modern times. And by modern we mean just this month. Travel giant, and our partner, TripAdvisor recently announced the Top 10 Best Restaurants for Burgers. This list of hits was based on millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor diners. The people spoke and TripAdvisor listened. And although we didn’t get to travel across the country and try every burger joint ourselves (which, to us, is an amazing idea), we did notice that a SinglePlatform customer made the shortlist.

All of our customers are kitchen rockstars. And it’s pretty cool that Brooks Gourmet Burgers & Dogs was honored in such an exclusive list of the best of the best burgers. So, we want to showcase what makes the restaurant great.

Brooks Gourmet Burgers & Dogs

  • Where: Naples, Florida
  • Since When: 2010
  • Signature Burger: “Donut Burger” topped with American cheese and bacon between two glazed donuts

 via Brooks Burgers Facebook via Brooks Burgers Facebook

Brooks Gourmet Burgers & Dogs keeps it all in the family. Todd Brooks and his wife own the 3 location Naples chain. The couple collectively has over 40 years of restaurant industry experience, which inspired them to open up their own establishment in 2010.

Todd is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of the back of the house. He started off as a dishwasher and worked his way up, becoming an executive chef, and eventually a Vice President of a 10 unit restaurant operation. Although becoming a small business owner proved to be entirely different than serving as a VP, after the economic crash, Todd decided to dive head first into a burger joint of his own. Luckily, over the past 8 years Brooks Burgers has enjoyed much success and a few impressive accolades.

The first location is housed in the same spot that was formerly Lindburgers, a Naples staple for over 25 years. It was formerly known for having the best burger in the state, so Todd thought the location was the perfect fit for his new venture. When launching Brooks Burgers, he added a sense of Midwestern hospitality to the mix and a unique aviation theme to the atmosphere.

He also introduced a plethora of specialty burgers to the menu. The Donut Burger is a signature item, but there’s a lot more where that came from. Guests can enjoy virtually any flavor they want, from the Pesto & Goat Cheese to a fan favorite, Todd’s Way (fried egg, crisp bacon, American & provolone cheeses).

And burgers aren’t the only thing you can get here – Brooks Gourmet offers an array of salads, hot dogs, and sandwiches. And although they won the award for the burgers, TripAdvisor customers praise Brooks Burgers for their other offerings, too.

“BEST Burger EVER”

“There were 6 of us and we only had to wait a few minutes. Heather was our server. Good craft beer selection. Fun atmosphere. The food was beyond delicious. I had the Fig and F.I.N.E. AHmazing. My husband had the Pesto & Goat and he loved it. My mom had the pastrami sammie, also delicious. My dad started with the stuffed onion ring. I wish we would have ordered more. He also had one of the dogs and he said it was the best he ever had. Both kiddos had hand-dipped corn dogs…yum! The fries were so good, too. I love when a restaurant exceeds my expectations and Brooks absolutely did!”

Since opening in 2010, Brooks Gourmet Burgers & Dogs has expanded to become a chain of 3 locations throughout Naples, Florida. Each location exudes the same authenticity, freshness, and quality. Brooks Burgers uses SinglePlatform to power their online menus for all locations.

“SinglePlatform has been an essential part of our success story. It has given us peace of mind and time to focus on the most important part of our business: Our customers! We don’t have to worry about if our menu is accurate on TripAdvisor, on Yelp, on the website or anywhere else. One click and changes are made. Our menu is the most searched item on our website. For new customers who haven’t been at Brooks Burgers, this is the #1 thing they are looking for. Making sure that they find the menu easily is key to draw them into their first Brooks Burgers experience.”
-Todd Brooks – owner and founder of Brooks Burgers (visit them at brooksburgers.com).

When asked about the TripAdvisor Top 10 Burger in America honor, owner Todd Brooks said,

“This is an unbelievable recognition and I couldn’t be more proud of our staff and customers who made this happen. As a local and family owned restaurant we truly appreciate the love and support of our community. We are honored to represent Southwest Florida in such a great way not only because of our great burgers but also because our staff treats guests like family!”

Although Naples, Florida, isn’t in the vicinity of our NYC office, it’s definitely on our list of places to visit next time we travel out of state!

Congratulations to Brooks Burgers and the rest of the honorees who made the list!

The Current State of Employment’s Effect on Your Restaurant

In today’s employment market good help is hard to find. And the current state of employment in the US directly affects your restaurant business. Of course, as a restaurant owner, you want to stay afloat despite any potential difficulties. It’s important to stay in-the-know about current industry trends and realities in order to adjust accordingly. Today we’re discussing the state of the employment industry as it relates to the restaurant industry & what all of it means for your restaurant.

Low Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate is currently holding steady at a record low at 4% (the lowest it’s been in 17 years). This is a great thing for our economy but can pose threats to your restaurant business. If everyone has a job, they don’t need a new one! Despite the unemployment rate, the restaurant industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. There are too many positions available and not enough talent, which really makes it an employment seeker’s market. This notion means that candidates might strategically negotiate higher wages because they know restaurants desperately need roles to be filled. And if a potential new hire isn’t happy with your offer, they might just go across the street to another restaurant to negotiate for a higher wage. Current minimum wage varies; you can see the current minimum wages by state here.

Without enough employees, you’ll find it even more difficult to keep running your operations smoothly. That’s why creating a solid company culture is ever-so important. Although it may currently be a challenge to bring on new employees, you should also focus on keeping the ones you already have happy. A business is strengthened by its people and without your staff, you’d have to close up shop.

Ideas for Increasing Employee Longevity:

  • Offer ongoing training opportunities
  • Create some attractive company perks and incentives
  • Establish an open line of communication between owners and employees

High Staff Turnover

Another factor,  the elephant in the restaurant dining room, is high staff turnover. As a restaurant owner, you know it exists. We discussed staff turnover in our blog on company culture and offered up some ideas on how to improve your restaurant’s culture.

Unfortunately, the hospitality industry sees over 70% in turnover rates. There are many factors that contribute to this in restaurants.

Many restaurant workers are part-time, using it as a first job opportunity and as extra cash while they’re in school. On the other hand, some employees discover that the long and demanding work hours just aren’t for them.

Plus, many restaurant industry jobs are tip-based, which can prove to be an undesirable source of income for some workers. And when it comes to tips, the current tip debate may pose additional threats. Although some believe that having a pricing model where the tip is already factored into the cost can help mitigate tip theft and other issues, others are standing strong against it. According to the article by Food & Wine:  “Some servers say this means lower wages and more turnover.” 

The turnover percentage varies based on restaurant type as well, with fast-food restaurants experiencing the highest rates.

According to the National Restaurant News:

[Turnover among limited-service restaurants is 153 percent, including a 60-percent turnover rate among managers. Full-service restaurants have a turnover rate of 101 percent, with managers churning at a 37-percent rate, he said, citing data from Dallas-based analytics firm TDn2K.]

The cost of turnover is detrimental to restaurants, as rehiring and retraining are an ongoing burden for your finances and resources. This is another reason why keeping your current employees happy is extremely important.

Of course, not every employee is going to stick around for a lengthy tenure, but it’s wise to have a plan in place for keeping workers around. Creating a solid and desirable company culture can help your employees see the benefits of working for you.

Ideas for Boosting Company Culture: 

  • Fun, interactive team outings
  • An inviting break room
  • Consistent check-in one-on-one meetings

Current Government Status

The government’s crackdown on immigration laws is also influencing the restaurant industry’s hiring pool. Since 2017,  seasonal work visa allowances for immigrants has lowered. An article by The Sand Paper states:

[Prior to the Trump Administration, the U.S. would allow some 66,000 non-agricultural workers to work seasonally on what’s called an H-2B Visa, where business required more labor than the local workforce could supply. Traditionally, workers who returned season after season weren’t included in the 66,000 cap.

These are legal, temporary immigrant workers who are taxed. They return to their home country at the end of the season.

The current administration decided to keep the cap at 66,000, which has left many U.S. businesses scrambling, particularly ones that are busiest in the summer. In May, the Department of Homeland Security raised the cap, allowing another 15,000 workers. But for some businesses it may be too late.]

With fewer workers on visas allowed into the country for seasonal work, there are even fewer options when it comes to temporary hiring. Businesses, especially those who boom in the summer months, are finding it difficult to fill roles even for a short length of time.

Aside from legal immigrants, illegal immigration is being closely looked at as well. Undocumented workers are aplenty in the restaurant industry, but their potential deportation poses even more of a threat to restaurant staff numbers.

Studies from 2017 show that immigrants make up 17% of the US labor force, with almost one-quarter of those workers being undocumented. Pew Research finds that if immigration declines, the workforce numbers will fall along with it. As Baby-Boomers phase out and the US birth rate remains low, there are less homegrown citizens in need of work. It’ll be important to keep tabs on the state of immigration laws and how they evolve to see how they’ll impact the workforce.

Piecing it All Together

It’s no secret that there are many factors making hiring and maintaining employees difficult in the restaurant industry currently. As a restaurant owner, you’re probably feeling the effects. If your business has had a history of high-turnover, consider some of the suggestions we’ve made for keeping employees around longer.

Work as an Experience

Today, employees aren’t just looking for a paycheck; they want incentives and benefits that make the job worthwhile. Implementing even the smallest of changes to make the work environment more enjoyable can help keep workers around longer.

Educational Opportunities

Giving your employees additional opportunities to learn an advance can prove to be beneficial. Ongoing training and education can inspire workers to climb the ladder at your company instead of going elsewhere. Providing opportunities to learn shows that you care about their career path.

Preparing for the Inevitable

Of course, turnover is always going to be a factor in the restaurant industry. How you deal with it will help in the long run. If you have a tried and true training strategy mapped out, it will be easier and faster to bring on new employees. Make sure that your training staff is well-educated and prepared to take on new hires.

Smart Recruiting

When it comes to immigration laws, there isn’t much that we as common citizens can do about them. But, instead, the restaurant industry should prepare to adjust.

Get creative when recruiting new employees. Showcase what makes your restaurant unique and provide reasons why prospects should work there. Make sure that the application process clearly shows your brand identity and highlights your strengths. Be transparent during the interviews so the candidate knows exactly what to expect from the start.

Referrals are also a great way to reel in quality employees. Ask current driven employees if they know anyone who would be a great fit. Of course, you should incentivize the employees who gave you the recommendation if you decide to hire their referral.

Don’t just hire to hire, hire because you see the individual as a great fit for the company. Although these ideal employees may be hard to find, they have more of a chance of lasting longer.

The employment landscape is always changing, but as a restaurant owner, you need to know how to adapt quickly in order to stay afloat. It’s important to be aware of current employment rates, industry turnover percentages, and government regulations. Being informed and prepared will aid you in making more informed decisions so you can hire smarter and keep employees around for the long haul.


Thanks for reading. Interested in improving your restaurant’s online presence? We can help! SinglePlatform puts your menu and business information accurately on the search, review, travel, and social sites people are using to find new restaurants. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you stand out everywhere that matters online.

Top Chefs: 11 Amazing Restaurateurs To Keep On Your Radar Right Now

We’ve rounded up a list of restaurateurs to watch from across the United States. Each of these restaurateurs (or restaurateur groups) brings a unique point of view to their newly opened restaurants (they’ve all opened at least one within the last year). While some of them have been in the restaurant business for longer than others, they all show great promise and should definitely be on your radar.

1. Edouardo Jordan

  • City:  Seattle, WA
  • Restaurants: JuneBaby, Salare
  • About: Edouardo Jordan honed his skills at the widely acclaimed French Laundry. In 2015, he opened his first restaurant, Salare. Salare boasts a refined menu that is primarily European but draws upon African, Caribbean, and Southern cuisines for inspiration. Jordan admits that he initially ran away from the idea of cooking classic southern food because he did not want to be pigeonholed. However, this year, he opened a second—and uber-successful—restaurant, JuneBaby, that pays tribute to the southern food of his childhood. The venture has already earned him two James Beard awards—best new restaurant in the country (he’s the first African American chef to take home that honor) and best chef – northwest. The house specialties at Junebaby include fried catfish with grits and fiddleheads and “Momma Jordan’s Oxtails” with grapes, trumpet mushrooms, turnips, and black rice.
  • Learn more: Bon Appetit, The Seattle Times

2. Rose Previte

  • City: Washington, DC
  • Restaurants: Compass Rose, Maydan
  • About: Rose Previte has quickly become one of the biggest names in the D.C. food scene. Growing up in a Sicilian-Lebanese family, she helped her mother run a Lebanese catering business out of their kitchen in Ada, Ohio. She developed an appreciation for other global cuisines when she visited over 30 countries during the time her husband, NPR journalist David Greene, was stationed in Russia. Her travels inspired her first restaurant, Compass Rose, which she opened in 2014. The menu features traditional street food dishes from across the world. Diners can enjoy Malaysian chili shrimp, Russian beet-cured trout, and Peruvian steak in the main dining room or in the Bedouin tent built on the back patio for private parties. The restaurant’s signature dish is khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread common in street food stalls across the world and especially ubiquitous in Georgia. This year, Previte returned to her culinary roots when she opened Maydan, a Middle Eastern restaurant just four blocks North of Compass Rose. The fare is inspired by family meals in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Flatbread is brought out continuously to eat with the wide selection of spreads (including Beiruti hummus, taktouka, and labneh), vegetables, seafood, kebabs, and larger plates—Previte’s lamb shoulder with Syrian seven spice is widely praised.
  • Learn more: Eater, Washington City Paper, Vice, WETA

3. Philip Krajeck

  • City: Nashville, TN
  • Restaurants: Rolf and Daughters, Folk
  • About: Philip Krajeck’s appreciation for good food began when his family moved to Brussels when he was ten years old. He opened his first restaurant, Rolf and Daughters, in late 2012. The restaurant’s specialty is homemade pasta, which diners enjoy in the restaurant’s exposed brick dining room. Customer favorites include the hand-cut farro gemelli with mushrooms, kale, and parmesan and the paccheri with spring onion, heirloom beans, and pine nuts. The restaurant was an instant success, and was even named one of Bon Appetit’s top three new restaurants in America in 2013.  Naturally, diners eagerly awaited Krajeck’s next restaurant, Folk, which he opened in April. Krajeck, who previously staged at famed new York Pizzeria Roberta’s, has described Folk as a passion project. At Folk, he hopes to share his love of pizza with the world. The restaurant’s specialty pizzas include a tomato mozzarella pizza topped with a salad of spring lettuces, herbs, and Italian dressing and clam pizza with agretti, bonito, lemon and chili. The rest of the menu focuses on minimalist vegetable dishes that use just a few ingredients each.
  • Learn more: Star Chefs, Bon Appetit, Eater, Eater, Food & Wine

4. David Nayfeld, Matthew Brewer, and Angela Pinkerton

  • City: San Francisco, CA
  • Restaurants: Che Fico, Theorita
  • About: Business partners David Nayfeld and Matthew Brewer have worked in some of the best restaurants in the country. Nayfeld, who is originally from the Bay Area, worked at Eleven Madison Park in New York returning to California to open a pop-up restaurant, Fifty Seven, in Los Angeles. Brewer spent two years at the Michelin-starred L20 in Chicago before founding Hogsalt Hospitality restaurant group (Au Cheval and Bavette’s), where he directed operations until 2014. That same year, a mutual friend who knew that Nayfeld and Brewer were both looking to open restaurants of their own introduced the two. They recruited pastry chef Angela Pinkerton, another Eleven Madison Park veteran, to handle desserts. In March of 2018, the trio finally opened Che Fico (the name, which roughly translates to “what a fig,” is an Italian slang term that means “that’s so cool”). Despite the Nayfeld and Brewer’s fine-dining backgrounds, Che Fico serves rustic Italian and Roman Jewish fare with a focus on local California ingredients. The menu features handmade pasta, in-house charcuterie (there’s a room dedicated to aging charcuterie in the middle of the dining room!), and Neapolitan pizzas as well as seasonal specials. Pinkerton’s desserts range from cannolis with housemade ricotta to olive oil cake with elderflower gelato). Even though Che Fico is only a few months old, it is wildly popular and counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Anderson Cooper among its devoted diners. Now, devotees are eagerly awaiting Theorita, a pie-focused luncheonette the three are opening this fall.
  • Learn more: Food & Wine, Haute Living, SF Gate

5. Erling Wu-Bower

  • City: Chicago, IL
  • Restaurants: Pacific Standard Time
  • About: Three-time James Beard nominee Erling Wu-Bower has an impressive pedigree. He’s worked at some of the best restaurants in Chicago, including Avec, The Publican, and Nico Osteria.  This April, he opened a windy city restaurant of his own with his restaurant group Underscore Hospitality. At Pacific Standard Time, Wu-Bower trades in precision cooking (the style of choice in his previous kitchens) for wood-fired hearths and pizza ovens. The menu at Wu-Bower’s “obsessively anticipated” restaurant changes daily and pays homage to authentic California cuisine. Wu-Bower, whose mother immigrated to the U.S. from China, is inspired by the intercultural conversations that California diners have come to expect in their meals. Therefore, PST’s menu incorporates flavors from across the world and also adopts California’s emphasis on seasonal cooking. Dishes at PST range from wood-fired flatbreads and coal roasted vegetables to soft shell crab with bacon, pickled onion, bibb lettuce, and tomato and sea bass in a poblano broth with clams, snap pea, and radish.
  • Learn more: Chicago Tribune, Wired, Michelin Guide

6. Edwin Zoe

  • City: Boulder, CO
  • Restaurants: Zoe Ma Ma, Chimera
  • About: Edwin Zoe’s parents owned multiple Asian restaurants in the Midwest before relocating to the west coast. In 2010, Zoe and his mother opened Zoe Ma Ma, an authentic Chinese street food restaurant, in Boulder. Zoe Ma Ma emphasizes high-quality ingredients such as organic noodles and cage-free eggs.  In 2015, they opened a second location in Boulder’s Union Square. Now, Zoe is back with a more upscale restaurant, Chimera. At Chimera, located next door to Zoe Ma Ma, Zoe does not stick to the confines of just one Asian cuisine. Rather, he draws on his father’s northern Chinese heritage, his mother’s Taiwanese heritage, and his own Midwestern upbringing to offer diners a taste of the Pacific Rim. The menu features everything from Jasmine-tea smoked chicken to Korean hotpot, and soup dumplings. Since opening in April, Chimera has received rave reviews and even tops Eater’s list of The 14 Hottest Restaurants in Denver, June 2018.
  • Learn more: Westword, Eater

7. Antoni Porowski

  • City: New York, NY
  • Restaurants: TBD
  • About:  Antoni Porowski has captured hearts across America as the designated food expert on the Netflix revival of Queer Eye (season 2 premiered June 15). Some viewers believe that the dishes Porowski prepares on the makeover show (like fresh guacamole and French omelets) are too simple for him to be taken seriously as a chef. However, his defenders maintain that he needs to cater to the skill levels of the men and women the “fab five” advise (most of whom don’t know their way around the kitchen). Porowski will have the chance to prove his cooking chops once and for all when he opens his first restaurant, a fast-casual place in New York. While most details about the restaurant are still under wraps, Porowski says that the restaurant will open within the next few months.
  • Learn more: Eater, Vogue

8. Samantha Kincaid, Jon Nodler, and Michael Fry

  • City: Philadelphia, PA
  • Restaurants: Cadence
  • About: Husband and wife team Samantha Kincaid and Jon Nodler met Michael Fry when they were working at Ellen Yin’s Fork. Together, the three opened Cadence this past March. The chefs cook with the best ingredients that the region has to offer and incorporate many obscure ingredients and offcuts, like lamb heart, in order to create a dining experience that is “at once thought-provoking and familiar.” For example, the chefs upgrade traditional chicken wings by stuffing them with a chicken mousseline flavored with Thai chilis, herbs, and lime. Kincaid is responsible for the desserts which include a malted chocolate tart and oat milk shaved ice. Diners can choose to order a la carte or set-price menus. The restaurant is BYOB, but offers an extensive menu of non-alcoholic drinks like house-made vinegar shrub sodas, kombuchas, and high-grade teas (the teas are paired with the tasting menu). They can also recommend wines that are available at a nearby liquor store to go with each course.
  • Learn more: Philly,  Philly Mag

9. Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis

  • City: Los Angeles, CA
  • Restaurants: Bestia, Bavel
  • About: Husband and wife team Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis burst onto the culinary scene in 2012 when they opened Bestia with established restaurateur Bill Chait. Menashe served as chef while Gergis served as pastry chef. The Italian restaurant has been called one of the biggest restaurants to open in Los Angeles in the last decade and, six years after opening, is still almost impossible to get a reservation there. Menashe and Gergis have cemented themselves as restaurateurs in their own right since the opening of their second restaurant, Bavel, in 2018. Bavel’s Middle Eastern menu pays homage to the couple’s ancestors in Israel, Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt. The menu includes three kinds of hummus, foie gras halva, and other spreads as well as a selection of appetizers, flatbreads, and entrees, all.intended to be served family style. The slow-roasted lamb neck shawarma with tahini, fermented cabbage, pickled turnips, and laffa is particularly well-reviewed. In addition to developing inventive desserts like licorice ice cream bonbons and rose clove chocolate donuts, Gergis contributed to the interior design of both restaurants.
  • Learn more: The Infatuation, The Infatuation

10. Jonathan Benno

  • City: New York, NY
  • Restaurants: Leonelli Taberna, Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria, Benno
  • About: Chef Jonathan Benno has been called “criminally under-appreciated.” Benno, who has worked in Per Se, The French Laundry, and Gramercy Tavern among other esteemed restaurants, is well-respected among other chefs, but his name is relatively unknown to the public. That may change soon though. Last year, he left a six-year tenure at Lincoln to develop three restaurants of his own in the Evelyn Hotel. All three restaurants are Roman-inspired. The first, a cocktail bar and lounge, opened just last week. Leonelli Taberna’s menu features snacks like charcuterie and fried coquettes to share as well as antipasti like grilled octopus, pasta like a gnocchi with braised oxtail, and mains like a pork chop with horseradish gremolata. The second restaurant, an all-day bakery and cafe is set to open this month. Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria will feature pastries, focaccia sandwiches, soups, salads, and flatbreads that are largely influenced by Roman pizzas. The third restaurant, Benno, is slated for a fall opening. The most high-profile of the three, Benno will serve upscale Mediterranean food.
  • Learn more: Eater, Vogue, Grub Street

11. Anthony Lombardo

  • City: Detroit, Michigan
  • Restaurant: SheWolf
  • About: Chef Anthony Lombardo got his start at Bacco, a longstanding Italian restaurant in Southfield, Michigan. He later left his home state to work at the renowned 1789 and The Hamilton in Washington D.C.  Last year he ventured to Italy where he worked in numerous Michelin-starred kitchens. Now, he’s back home in Michigan where he just opened a restaurant, SheWolf, in Detroit with his childhood friends. SheWolf’s rotating menu, which Lombardo describes as “a more modern, chef-driven” Italian is inspired by the pastificios (“little pasta factories”) he explored while in Italy. The menu features starters like “Italian Divorce Soup,” a play on Italian wedding soup and entrees like a 16-ounce tomahawk veal chop with peas and bone marrow. The highlight of the menu, though, is the pasta. What makes Lombardi’s pasta so special is that he mills the organic, heritage whole wheat flour in-house in an enclosed glass room. The flour is used to make ten styles of pasta. Standout dishes include the cacio e pepe and the amatriciana (spicy red sauce) both made with tonnarelli, the spicy lamb neck ragu over orecchiette, and the conchiglie (shells) stuffed with octopus bolognese.
  • Learn more: Eater, Detroit News, Yelp

We love that the restaurant industry is so innovative & always evolving! Restaurateurs like these make us excited to be in an industry full of talent, craft, and deliciousness. If you haven’t already, make sure to check these restaurateurs’ restaurants out the next time you’re in their neighborhoods!


Thanks for reading. Interested in improving your restaurant’s online presence? We can help! SinglePlatform puts your menu and business information accurately on the search, review, travel, and social sites people are using to find new restaurants. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you stand out everywhere that matters online.

Anthony Bourdain: Departing to Parts Unknown

The restaurant and entertainment industries, foodies and Netflix bingers alike, mourn the loss of one of the great and unique voices of the past twenty years. Anthony Bourdain’s passing was sudden and unexpected. It is with sadness but also deeply felt respect and admiration that we share our own perspectives on Anthony Bourdain.

Brilliant storyteller, acclaimed chef, tv globetrotter, fearless eater…however you describe or remember him, Bourdain was an inspiration for many. At SinglePlatform we speak with thousands of restaurants every day. Whenever we speak with a restaurant operator we love to ask them how they got involved in the industry or what inspired them to open their own business and make some of the choices that they have. It doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough we’ll find when you start talking about inspiration, Tony’s name would come up. And reading his writing it was easy to see why.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bourdain had a long career in food, he spent many years as an executive chef at Manhattan’s brasserie, a SinglePlatform customer, Les Halles. But, his resume reached far beyond the kitchen. Bourdain became well known for his New York Times best-seller Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. His honest work of nonfiction brought the intensity and turbulence of a restaurant kitchen to life, while weaving in his own personal experiences not only with cooking, but drug use. The book immediately shot Bourdain to fame. It’s safe to say that many restaurateurs, possibly including yourself, have read through its pages.

We recognize that many of our customers work in exhausting, thankless, physically punishing jobs. Running a kitchen is hard work. You’re actually cooking yourself along with your food between the screaming hot flat tops and the cauldrons of boiling stock and water; you’re exhausted from breaking down quarter cows and case after case of produce; and between it all you’re providing hospitality and service to your customers who have no clue about the absolute chaos that is taking place behind the kitchen doors. And when service is over, you’re cleaning out a grease trap until midnight. No writer peeled back the curtain on that scene better than Bourdain. And in the process he inspired a generation of chefs and diners along the way. He was not afraid to reveal the difficulties of the industry, and he was just as likely to champion one of his dishwashers or a prep cook as he was Joel Robuchon.

After his book’s success, Bourdain was offered his own series on the Food Network, A Cook’s Tour, that premiered in 2002. The premise allowed Bourdain to travel to exotic countries, tasting meals and exploring the culture across the globe. Throughout his career, from Food Network to Travel Channel, and finally to CNN, he stayed true to his craft in combining cuisine and culture.

Deemed the “original rock star of the culinary world,” Bourdain was known for pushing boundaries. He openly challenged the concept of “celebrity chef,” and often criticized those who he believed traded authenticity for celebrity status. Bourdain wasn’t afraid to share his perceptions of the world, expletives and all.

When asked about his work, Bourdain told The New Yorker:

“I have the best job in the world. If I’m unhappy, it’s a failure of imagination.”

Although cut short, Bourdain’s influence on many was palpable. He has definitely left a longstanding impact on the culinary world & how it is perceived by those outside of it.

As far as his opinions about life, Bourdain leaves us with something poignant,

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

At SinglePlatform we’re honored to work with Michelin starred restaurants, former lawyers who have realized their dreams of owning a coffee shop, sons and daughters who have inherited the custard shop their grandparents started and emigres who started their businesses with their life savings and a box of family recipes. We work with no shortage of young chefs who went to the Culinary Institute in large part inspired by watching No Reservations or reading Kitchen Confidential. Anthony Bourdain helped us find the value, the authentic, and frankly the plain delicious at each of these places. Former President Barack Obama, who once dined with Bourdain in Vietnam, spoke well of him,

“He taught us about food–but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him”.

At SinglePlatform, we concur. And we say “Thank you, Chef.”

Calories Count: What to Know About New FDA Regulations

Health and nutrition are increasingly important to today’s population. Americans are busy and on the go, which means they’re dining out often. Because of this, the FDA has created new regulations requiring calorie information on chain restaurant menus with 20+ locations.

Chain restaurants with 20 or more locations will be required to provide this calorie information to customers by May 7, 2018.

Is this you? Don’t worry, SinglePlatform is here to help! We can get your calories onto your menu to ensure your restaurant is abiding by government regulations online as well. Just provide the calorie information to us to get started!

FYI: At your physical locations, calories are required to be listed prominently on menus and menu boards, either next to the name or or price of the food/drink. Items on buffets and salad bars will have signs with calories near the food. *Calories are not required to be listed for condiments, daily specials, custom orders, or temporary/seasonal menu items.

In addition to calorie information, restaurants are also required to provide written nutrition information on their menu items, including total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein. This information can be displayed on posters, tray liners, signs, counter cards, handouts, booklets, computers, or kiosks.

From the FDA:

To help consumers better understand the new calorie listings in the context of a total daily diet, FDA is also requiring restaurants to include a statement on menus and menu boards reminding consumers that “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”

For menus and menu boards targeted to children, FDA is also permitting the statement “1,200 to 1,400 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice for children ages 4 to 8 years and 1,400 to 2,000 calories a day for children ages 9 to 13 years, but calorie needs vary.”

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Enterprise Team at enterprise@singleplatform.com.

For additional official FDA information, head to https://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ucm436722.htm

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