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Resy Founder Gets $24 Million From Amex, Others for New Restaurant App

Plus, a pop-up known for its Frito pies now has a storefront — and more intel

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Resy and Eater founder Ben Leventhal has raised $24 million in funding from investors like Amex for Blackbird Labs.
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Ben Leventhal, a co-founder of Eater and the reservation booking platform Resy, launched Blackbird Labs in April, with the mission to convince diners to take restaurant NFTs more seriously. And while it’s easy to roll eyes at, money talks: This week Leventhal raised $24 million in funding from the Silicon Vallery venture firm a16z and American Express — which purchased Resy in 2019 — according to a spokesperson. Since launching earlier this year, Leventhal has positioned Blackbird as a way to incentivize diners to become regulars at restaurants. A press release states that over 20 businesses have signed on, including Vietnamese restaurant, Di An Di, Ignacio Mattos’ Corner Bar, the Michelin-starred Crown Shy, Momofuku, and Mexican spot Ensenada. The New York-based company is expanding to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Disclosure: Ben Leventhal co-founded Eater in 2005.

A pop-up known for its Frito pies opens a storefront

During the pandemic, Autumn Moultrie and Brian Villanueva launched Back Alley Bread a pop-up that became known for its “angel doughnuts” (a play on the beignet), savory pastries, patties, and Frito pies. The business is now called Bread & Butter, and as of this week, it has a new home at 53 Rockaway Avenue, between Marion and Sumpter streets, in Ocean Hill. It replaces Butter & Scotch Luncheonette, a short-lived pivot from the team behind empanada spot, Love, Nelly, which operated out of the same space. Moultrie says Bread and Butter will be more than a bakery, with programming that centers aid for local food insecurity. Pre-ordering for baked goods is available online.

A South Asian bakery lands on the Lower East Side

Nazli & Co, a cake shop infusing South Asian flavors, is taking up residence inside a Lower East Side events space through the end of the year. Cake flavors include ones like a chai sponge cake with stone fruit jam, salted honey, and a vanilla bean buttercream. Pre-orders can be placed online, and walk-up service runs from Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and, Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find Nazli & Co at 15 Essex Street, near Hester Street.

A cider festival is coming to Brooklyn

On Saturday, October 7 Industry City will host a cider festival with tastings from around 20 makers. Tickets are online and include bites to go along with drinks.