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About Adrian

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  1. This seems to me to be more damaging at the mid-and-upper mid range. I can't say that I have noticed a meaningful difference, in the context of the overall cheque size, between overpaying for wine at North American 2 and 3 stars and doing the same in Europe. The problem is that there are innumerable wines that drink great as village quaff with a bistro meal or at a better restaurant but that hit similar menus in North America for 6x the European menu. Once you reach a certain price level, you want more from the wines than they offer.
  2. How awesome would it be to spend a few days hanging out in the Hot New Food Town bemoaning the homogeneity of the North American restaurant scene right now?
  3. Pedant time. The Paper Plan is a Sam Ross variation on the Last Word. Phil Ward's variation is the Final Ward.
  4. I think we are back to normal in terms of behaviour way quicker than people expect, but I think the economic damage is bad. Also, this:
  5. In the long run we are all... But I here that. My gut, however, is that this accelerates the trend towards large operator-run restaurants and restaurant groups (though I can be convinced otherwise). The other question is which restaurants do we lose. If this is the death of a large number of classic or institutional restaurants, then those aren't as readily replaceable as the latest best new restaurant.
  6. PPP is clearly useful for lots of places. It’s a good idea. But, depending on the labour costs and revenue of the business, my understanding is that there are situations where the economics are better for both the employees and the business of they lay them off take enhanced unemployment benefits (I think - and I could be wrong - that for a lot of lower wage employees the enhanced benefits are better than wages). If they are coming in and working for tips while receiving benefits, and both parties are better off, it’s hard to be mad about it . There’s a legal risk, but my guess is that the chance of enforcement is low. From what I understand takeout and delivery is limiting the bleeding, but few are making rent from it.
  7. PPP probably isn’t useful for most restaurants because they have no sales. Ori’s hypothesis seems correct and also the efficient solution.
  8. I don't disagree with this. GS is making a lot of self serving points! I do think, regardless of the ethics of this particular situation, it's a bad outcome if operators are forced to sell equity (at fire sale prices), or expose themselves to personal risk, or even drain the kitty because they have been forced to close. This should, obviously, not come at the expense of workers. Nor should operators bear the brunt of this (though structurally they do bear the most risk). Landlords are probably best situated to weather the loss, but probably shouldn't either! The prohibited political comment is that if government is going to tell people to shut down their business, it should cover them - especially when they can make the money printer go brrrr. Landlords do have contractual recourse against the assets of the business itself (notwithstanding AB's post about repo folks) and the security deposit so, they have some cover and, given the circumstances, I think that advocating for limitations on personal liability, or policies that prevent immediate recourse against personal assets, are a good thing. I think the benefits likely outweigh whatever damage it does to the sanctity of contract law. Again, this isn't a defense of Stulman's behaviour in any other regard, just a statement that his argument about whether he should be exposed to any level of personal liability in this situation resonates.
  9. Yeah, he's intentionally confusing things and he's not the most sympathetic cat, but, I don't know, it is somewhat hard to entirely sympathize with the literal economic rent extractors as against the operational (smallish) business. If you assume you can rent to a much bigger business at higher rents when this all ends, and you also can realize on the personal guarantee to make yourself whole for the lost rent for the three to six months the tenant is required to be closed, it's a rational move by the landlord to boot Stuhlman and not, I think, the socially beneficial outcome. It's pretty vicious to be told that you have to lose your house because the government has banned your otherwise operational business for four months or whatever. When you went into things with your eyes open you also weren't expecting that the government would shut down your operation and, even if they did, there is a virus that makes people not want to hang for a few months. It seems to me that, mostly, whatever we can do to avoid having this thing reallocate capital away from businesses that were viable pre-COVID we should.
  10. That is an awful story. But I don't like it serving as the basis of an article to make that point. I actually think that Eater has been pretty good on this front. Without self-celebration, they have celebrated places like The Grey, Kwame Onwuachi's restaurants (and publish his articles), they treat a large variety restaurants as being part of the Eater 38 (not as ghettoized ethnic curiosities, but as definitive and important restaurants in these cities) including on the America's essential restaurant list, they have criticized the Big Boy chefs during COVID, celebrated progressive restaurant policies and brought light to related issues (childcare being one), the Young Gunz lists are far from a group of cis-white-males (though with some self-celebration by Eater). There are hypocrisies - some structural (the reliance on heavily funded PR campaigns for stories, for example) and some are blind spots of Sanders-supporting Jacobin readers. etc.. But, whatever the history, Eater seems at least conscious of the issues and not bad in this regard (on a relative scale). But Daniel Humm does not have access to capital because he is a cis-white male, he has access to capital because he is one of the world's very best chefs and has built a successful restaurant. That he did so with massive structural advantages, through a system that makes it difficult for women and minorities to proceed to elite levels (like at law firms or investment banks), makes us all poorer both ethically and from a pure dining perspective, frankly. But Humm's identity is not why EMP gets publicity and cash and Nukkad did not. Sen gets to it obliquely, but the question of what would happen if Jesus Melendez had tried to obtain capital to start a restaurant is maybe a different and more troubling story. There's another point lurking here, but the subject matter of the article makes it very hard to make, which is a big part of why I dislike the article itself. But to the extent that a portion of the argument rests on Kothari's food making a contribution to culinary discourse, I question whether that part holds, even if her food was very good (for example, here but maybe more importantly here undermine that premise). These issues are important and Kothari's story heartbreaking, but I don't love the linkage of the two.
  11. Maybe but it’s a bad outcome if landlords use the pandemic this way. Kind of precipitates the prediction of commercial consolidation or disappearance or otherwise viable businesses. They are not running him out to replace joseph Leonard with a better bistro or higher density housing.
  12. yeah, I'm a little biased because my professional life is nearly all ex-US - but you guys are completely missing the huge wall of money + the political and emotional pressure on the banks to let them completely play ball. Businesses that were going to fall down in 18 months are gonna fall down in 6, but if your business was fundamentally ok going into this you should be fine so long as you are diligent about pursuing the programs available to you. (the group that might really be screwed - and weep not for them - are the CRE landlords whose mortgages are wrapped up in various structures - like CLO documents never saw a situation in which it might be in the ultimate economic interests of the noteholder to allow forebearance so the servicers evidently can't make it happen) The idea that people won't literally burst out into the streets when this is over seems weird to me. Like when people said no one would fly again after 9/11. That said be prepared to get your temp taken a lot and probably wear masks in public places. I mostly agree, but I do think that this accelerates consolidation. I am also a little skeptical about the efficacy of the implementation of the various programs. And I think they are probably too small and the economics of much larger make a lot of sense, but I am a communist. I think people will burst into the streets - this is a pretty discrete thing - but I also think that there has been a lot of wealth and income destruction and people are overestimating the pent-up demand. AB - it would be great to hear your take on the Euro vs. US approaches.
  13. I would think that it will accelerate current trends - in particular, it will bias large well funded groups.
  14. That’s not how I read the cdc guidance. Though would love to see what you’re referencing. But, regardless, the issue here isn’t personal preference. The problem is that if you act based on your own idiosyncratic risk you increase the spread of the disease and increase the risk for all.
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