Meat Picks | 12.16.14

The Dawn of New Trends

L20 foodIf you haven’t heard about L20’s “reconcept” yet, check out Chicago Eater’s summative. The famed LEYE Michelin-starred seafood restaurant will close at the end of the year for redesign and reopen next February as Intro.

What makes this particular restaurant close so newsworthy is its next-gen objective: rotating chefs. When Intro opens next year, Rich Mellman, the undisputable Godfather of restaurant entrepreneurialism, will have created one of the freshest concepts to hit the Chicago market in recent years.

“Visiting” chefs will work two to three month stints at the new restaurant. The goal is to bring in top talent who operate at the executive chef level, but don’t have ownership. As Mellman described to Crain’s, “We’re going to introduce some of the bright young chefs in the country to Chicago and introduce chefs to a balanced way to think about business.”

Intro will also be the first LEY restaurant to embrace Tock, the cutting edge restaurant ticketing software developed by Restaurateur, Nick Kokonas of Alinea/Next/Aviary fame. LEY plans to “…initially sell pre-paid tickets, like Next and Alinea, costing between $65 and $95 per dinner, excluding taxes, gratuity and beverages.”

Mellman’s concept has all the makings of a home run if all pans out as expected – LEYE partners will have the opportunity to test new concepts and personnel, up and coming chefs will get the educational and exposure opportunity of a lifetime and customers will delight in a consistent flow of new offerings. The Intro stage is set for an ultimate Win-Win-Win.

It’s All Relativehandshake

In a recent Restaurant News post on How To Create Successful Relationships with Your Food Suppliers, buyers sound off on purchasing relationships.

One restaurant operator describes the procurement relationship “like a marriage” where there’s, “love, hate and everything between”. Another says that just shopping prices aren’t the way to succeed, “…building relationships with suppliers is crucial. If they’re not completely on your side, your product is affected.”

If you look up “relativity”, their sentiments make perfect sense: the state of being dependent for existence on or determined in nature, value or quality by relation to something else.

Limiting the number of suppliers you use, maintaining open communication and negotiable product pricing, are some of the top suggestions offered for building profitable, long-term and trustworthy relationships with your suppliers.

Social Outlooks

social graphicIt’s tough to keep up with the pace of digital media; frequency, relevancy and technology can quickly drive any business owner to drink!

True to the pace, social media marketers are consistently challenged by new tech and rapidly changing media platforms. For example, you can (finally) edit captions on Instagram and Twitter now offers the capability of being able to search every public tweet made since the platform’s inception in 2006 –that one, could be scary.

For more updates on these platforms and others (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+), read the Trib’s recent social media outlook post.

P.S. If the thought of dealing with all this “social stuff” stresses you out, check out this Forbes piece on How Successful People Handle Stress – great tips for getting through the holiday season too!

From the desk of John Cecala || Website  LinkedIn  @BuedelFineMeats  Facebook

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Meat Picks | 11.8.12

Restaurant Relief

Nation Restaurant News shared several stories this week about what restaurants in the storm center did to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. One in particular caught our attention:

The Margaritas Mexican Restaurant group shared their locations’ electricity and warmth and served food to emergency workers and storm victims. MMR’s newest restaurant in Lansdale, Pa., which had only opened a few days before Sandy hit, reopened Tuesday night [Nov. 1st] and gave away 1,200 free tacos to community members. The restaurant also delivered tacos to relief workers assessing damage around the area. The effort was advertised solely through word of mouth and social media.

Two lessons we can learn: Grass root efforts really do work and don’t ever doubt the power of social media or word of mouth again…

Dinner-for-donations and impromptu concert fundraisers, are just some of the things restaurants on the east coast have been doing to support Sandy relief efforts. Locally, Fish Bar, DMK, Ada St., Wormhole Coffee, and Market House On The Square in Lake Forest, all ran a variety of donation raising events to support the cause this week. On Saturday, November 17th, Shaw’s Crab House & Tokio Pub in Schaumburg will be holding a charity drive for relief efforts. Tickets are just $35 and available now.

The nationwide outpour of donations to the Red Cross now total over $100 million. Here are 8 other organizations you can also donate to for help.

Kustomer Kudos

Much has been written about, “the new modern Asian restaurant in the West Loop”, Embeya. Everyone knows opening a new restaurant ain’t no easy thang but reviews by Chicago Eater, Yelp, Red Eye, Open Table, Urban Daddy and TOC are all favorable. Congratulations, we wish you many years of success!

Bistrot Zinc recently scored a major hit with The Daily Dish by a self proclaimed (and unsolicited) foodie. That’s huge in our book of reviews, especially for well established eateries like BZ. Kudos!

Last, but not least, our friends at the Saloon Steakhouse just got all shot up by the Mafia Hairdresser. Former mobster, turned novelist, hairdresser and social media guru Jon-David, gushed out one of the most heartfelt “best steakhouse” raves we’ve ever read at The Local Tourist. He even mentioned little ole us – thanks, MH!

 

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From the desk of  John Cecala  Twitter @Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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Meat Picks | 9.27.12

Ambience Award

Mon Ami Gabi, Shaw’s Crab House LEYE restaurants, Macy’s Walnut Room and The Pump Room are just some of the restaurants that made the Chicago Eater list of “Chicago’s Most Iconic Dining Rooms” this week. Shots of all the (gorgeous) dining rooms here.

Pork Report

Early this week the Trib posted an article about a pork and bacon shortage which seems to be happening  in Europe. Fortunately, reports for the U.S. pork market were just the opposite.

Pork production soared in August as more animals were brought to market totaling 2 billion pounds, up 6 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.94 million head, up 4 percent from August 2011. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from the previous year, at 269 pounds.

There is no doubt however, the impact of our drought will be felt by the commodity pork industry which will face higher costs for feed that will be passed on to the consumer at some point.

Responsible producers like Niman Ranch, who practice sustainable farming, tend to ride their own market albeit at prices typically higher than the commodity pork market.  We may in fact see supply and prices from these types of “boutique” producers remain steady.

New Merlot in Town

A third Chicago area Eddie Merlot’s (the first in Burr Ridge and second in Warrenville) is tentatively set to open next week in Lincolnshire.  For those unfamiliar with this restaurant group, they aim for the “WOW factor” – delivering one-of-a-kind service.

Last July Eddie Merlot’s took a booth at the Taste of Lincolnshire and received close to 1,000 new email subscribers as a result, according to the local press. How many restaurants enjoy that kind of pre-opening interest months in advance?

The Lincolnshire location is set to open at 4 p.m. daily in the lounge; dining room hours begin at 5. Special holiday season lunch hours are currently being planned. For more info, check out Merlot’s blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

P.S.

Both routes (Knife and Fork) of the Wicker Park Bucktown Dinner Crawl are sold out! There is a waiting list you can try your luck with by emailing your name, phone number and route choice to: Info@WickerParkBucktown.com

 

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From the desk of John Cecala   Twitter @BuedelFineMeats   Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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