City Council is looking into ‘ghost kitchens’
So-called “ghost kitchens” — restaurants created solely for delivery — are on the rise in New York, and City Council is now looking into the concept in hopes of protecting smaller restaurants. The oversight hearing will take place on February 6 and will look at how the businesses work. Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj, chair of the Committee on Small Business, is spearheading the effort; he’s the same person who has been leading inquiries on Grubhub in light of news that the delivery platform charged restaurants for calls that never resulted in orders.
Many of the new ghost kitchens are tech world startups backed by millions, such as ex-Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s Cloud Kitchens, which has $700 million in funding. They often house space for multiple restaurants to do delivery. Zuul in Soho has space for restaurants as varied as Sweetgreen to Jewish deli Sarge’s. But Gjonaj fears that the giants will negatively impact the city’s restaurant scene, forcing less monied players to shut down. “We have to look at the needs of the city and how we prevent small businesses from closing,” he tells the Post.
In other news
— “I guess one moral of this story is that if you run a family company, don’t sell it to a private equity firm unless you don’t care what happens afterward,” Bloomberg writer Joe Nocera writes of Fairway’s financial troubles.
— Seaport is now home to a bodega with a floral-print cocktail bar in the back.
— A Park Slope jazz club Made in New York Jazz Cafe & Bar is closed after a fatal fire this week.
— And in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, police are seeking three people who assaulted workers at a Chinese take-out restaurant.
— An aggressive species of luxury crab — adorably called mitten crabs — are being illegally smuggled into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its seized 3,700 of the crabs, worth up to $50 a pop, many of them headed for New York.
— In Tribeca, Canal Street Oysters got approval for sidewalk seating, but Sweetgreen did not.
— In the reviews, the Times Hungry City column looks at the flaky, Haitian patties of Kafe Louverture in Bed-Stuy, plus the colorful, untraditional Jamaican patties of Branch Patty, which pops up at Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg. New Yorker’s Tables for Two finds lots to love at the new Elmhurst location of HK Food Court, from hot-and-sour soup from Lao Ma Spicy to the fish of Chili Boiled Fish.
— Dylan Sprouse of Suite Life of Zack and Cody fame (and twin to Riverdale star Cole Sprouse) made booze in his NYU dorm room before opening All-Wise Meadery in Williamsburg.