Welcome to Appetizers, OpenTable’s weekly column that aims to uplift, delight, surprise, and motivate with a weekly roundup of the most inspiring food-world news of the week. Start your weekend with the things that are making us laugh, cry, think, and just plain hungry for more.
Making Us … Inspired
The first issue of Sweet July is out, a magazine founded by lifestyle maven Ayesha Curry that’s dedicated to showcasing joyful stories of “people doing groundbreaking things and supporting their communities.” The International Smoke restaurateur shares some of her favorite recipes, music, and wellness tips throughout. In an age where print magazines are folding and gutting staff regularly, the idea of a new one getting off the ground is exciting.
Making Us … Proud
A group of restaurateurs met with a White House panel this week that included President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to talk about what the restaurant industry needs to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees included independent restaurateurs such as Will Guidara (Eleven Madison Park co-founder) and Tim Love, as well as representatives from chains like Taco Bell and Burger King. Guidara shared a clip of him speaking, which is inspiring to watch.
Independent restaurants have long had no representation in government, and the formation of the new national lobby Independent Restaurant Coalition — started by Tom Colicchio, Naomi Pomeroy, and others during this pandemic — has already resulted in a sit-down with the President and Vice-President. The panel has faced criticism for a lack of diversity, but it’s progress, and hopefully that progress will lead to helpful change.
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One silver lining of this crisis is that it has brought our community together in ways I never could have imagined. It was just seven weeks ago that we started the Independent Restaurant Coalition in an effort to save our industry and give a united voice to 500,000 independent restaurants across America and their 11,000,000 employees. In that short time, chefs and restaurateurs from all around the country have worked TOGETHER to get a seat at the table. Yesterday was a good step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. LET’S GO! #saverestaurants @indprestaurants
Making Us … Hopeful
Los Angeles losing longtime Jewish deli Nate ‘n Al’s earlier this year was a major blow, but this week brings the good news that the institution is back. The fact that a restaurant has managed to reopen now is especially comforting, since so many favorites — from two Momofukus and NYC’s Toro to Bon Temps in LA and D.C.’s The Source by Wolfgang Puck — are permanently closing left and right. It’s a dark time for the industry, and some revived pastrami is a ray of hope.
Making Us … Hungry
A couple restaurants are doing their best to make dining at home as much of a restaurant-like experience as possible. Philadelphia Armenian spot Apricot Stone will take diners orders via video chat, deliver the food, and then check in to see how it is and offer a virtual cheers. Over in Wayne, New Jersey at new American restaurant At the Table, the owners are setting up Zoom calls with anyone who orders dinner that night to talk them through the menu as they package the meals. It’s certainly not the same as dining in a restaurant, but helps provide that personalized hospitality we’re all missing right now.
If you’re not near either place, bring some restaurant-quality food into your home with this cooking video from acclaimed Raleigh chef Cheetie Kumar. She demonstrates how to make keema, an Indian-spiced meat stew that comes together in 30 minutes.
Making Us … Wistful
oh to be browsing the crisp aisle in a foreign country with someone you love
— leah (@chickpee_) May 18, 2020