5.21.13: The Restaurant as Experience


Full-Time Creative Help: Creating Restaurant as Experience

Chicago’s smartie-chef Grant Achatz proves himself again. His restaurants are built around dining-as-art-form — at Alinea, for example, you need to alert your server before leaving your seat for any reason as to not disrupt the flow of the meal or precise food presentation. I’ve featured Alinea’s amazing intro video, and as it turns out, Achatz’s restaurants have a full-time, dedicated photographer and videographer to capture and document their art.

Restaurants work hard to create an experience; elements from building materials to colors to lighting to barware to flatware are meticulously curated. As the digital space extends to encompass more elements of offline life, continuing this experience is mission-critical to success. This full-time commitment to an all-encompassing experience reflects Achatz’s mission and sets the standard for a new standard in dining out experiences.


USDA Releases Farmer’s Market API

Last week, the US Department of Agriculture released a huge amount of farmer’s market data to app developers and designers through an API, allowing them to access location (and more!) information about fresh sources of food from local sources. Info includes over 7,800 farmer’s markets in all 50 states, and will be refined as more people take advantage of the data. Giving developers the keys to the market kingdom via API allows them to develop new apps and mobile technologies using this honed and confirmed data set. In turn, look out for new and innovative ways to find, shop, and interact with local markets. Awesome.


Experience Local Flavor with EatWith

The best way to experience travel in a strange land is through their food. Period. Even better: experiencing a local meal at the actual dining table of a local. EatWith is making that happen in Israel, Spain, and New York City, with plans to expand. EatWith connects hosts with visitors for real-life, authentic dinner parties. With a focus on safety, detailed profiles, and official verification, it’s like AirBnB for your taste buds.


Wired: “Should I Trust This Yelp Review?”

Wired published this flowchart last month, but if you’ve used Yelp, tried to use Yelp, or just read through the ridiculousness that is Yelp, you’ll appreciate its humor. The chart also illustrates what is perhaps Yelp’s fundamental flaw: the reader needs to know from where and whom the review comes from; a.k.a., why real reviewers have street cred.


Mario Batali, Superstar

Some weeks, a particular chef enamours you more than others. This week: Mario Batali, early adopter of so much tech (if you remember, he was VERY early to the Foursquare game). On Friday, his Tumblr entry cracked me up. Last week, he gave away his meatball-cooking secret and got a jab in at Alton Brown. And yesterday, a conversation with @RoseanneCash on the merits of the Whole Foods line turned Eataly-shilling.

Say what you will about the man’s choice in footwear; he gets it better than most.


Want Retweets? Give up on Bacon

According to an especially smart and in-the-know Twitter employee, tweeting about bacon won’t get you far if you’re looking to spread your message:

Prediction: Next up, Kale.


  • If you’re a hostess in a New York City restaurant, you should probably know who to impress/not piss off. — @Gachatz
  • Chris Cosentino Instagrammed some great photos from service at SF’s Incanto last night — offalchris on Instagram
  • Why Tech Journalism Is Like Food Journalism — Medium
  • What happens when Anthony Bourdain’s ride breaks down? He directs traffic (great pic). —@tvsuperstarr

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