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Here today, gone tomorrow

Pop up shops have been popping up, well, pretty much everywhere. And pop up restaurants. And pop up art galleries. While the trend started long before the current retail downturn, and looks set to continue as companies strive to create interest in their products and services, will creative spontaneity start to look a little bit too planned and evolve into a mainstream retail channel?
posted by MuffinMan on May 6, 2009 - 10 comments

 

Don't call it a comeback

This weekend, at a pizza restaurant in the liberal suburb of Arlington, Virginia, more than 50 people attended the first event held by the National Council for a New America - which is intended to "be a dynamic, forward-looking organization that will amplify the common-sense and wisdom of our fellow citizens through a grassroots dialogue with Republican leaders." The speakers included former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who said, "This is not about messaging, this is not about branding. This is about trying to foster some discussion, because what's going on in Washington right now is not reflective of the mainstream of this country." [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on May 4, 2009 - 136 comments

The Future of Eating Out

The Inamo restaurant in London's fashionable SoHo district isn't known for its splendid food or accommodating waitresses. Instead, this new Asian fusion eatery is getting raves for its use of a touch pad-projection system that allows diners to send food orders directly to the chefs and makes the dining experience fully interactive. It's all one graphic application, with new iconography for signs and menus, graphic wallpaper and tablecloths, shopfront etched patterns and illuminated screens. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Mar 16, 2009 - 40 comments

Gills, Fins and Psychedelic Thai

There have been precious few times that a restaurant review had me laughing out loud, even on page 2.
posted by aletheia on Nov 20, 2008 - 71 comments

Waiting on you hand and foot

A restaurant in Japan employs Monkey Waiters. They're not the worst waiters in the world and you only have to tip them with edamame.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Oct 7, 2008 - 60 comments

Anger can make a man verbose

Giles Coren is restaurant critic at the Times (of London). Last week he wrote a very angry letter to the subeditors complaining that they were "tinkering with his copy". The subs were guilty of deleting a single indefinite article. [more inside]
posted by MrMerlot on Jul 24, 2008 - 132 comments

Crap, I'm hungry.

At Taipei's Modern Toilet restaurant, the chairs are toilets. You sit around sinks and bathtubs, and eat chocolate soft-serve out of little toilet-shaped bowls. Bon appetit!
posted by jbickers on Jun 2, 2008 - 55 comments

Your meal via an E ticket ride

Waiterless restaurants: Over a hundred years ago, you could get the food yourself. Now your meal can come to you, riding down little rollercoasters at 's Baggers
posted by jaimev on Apr 9, 2008 - 24 comments

Zen on the 2nd floor of a Richmond BC mall (reservations required).

According to the recently published book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, the best Chinese restaurant outside China is Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine, tucked away on the second floor of a mall along a section of Richmond, BC (a Vancouver suburb) that's known by the Chinese community as Eat Street. [more inside]
posted by myopicman on Mar 11, 2008 - 22 comments

Say it with small cheeseburgers.

DOH. Its Valentine's Day and you forgot to make a reservation, and now everyone's all booked up. Except White Castle. [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime on Feb 14, 2008 - 57 comments

Bangcook

Tastier tofu courtesy of Shiok Food, a fantastic Thai cooking blog run by chef and restauranteur madman.
posted by klangklangston on Jun 20, 2007 - 29 comments

what part of the cow do you use in the burgers cos i heard it was the teeth.

McDonald's UK goes Web 2.0 with a site answering user's questions. Apparently, all of them.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 15, 2007 - 141 comments

Mmmmm, toasty!

Ever considered buying or starting a franchised restaurant? Right now, Quiznos might be best avoided...... (You might also avoid the franchises sold by a company called Raving Brands.)
posted by metasonix on Mar 14, 2007 - 80 comments

Sambo. Little Black Sambo.

Sambo's Restaurant It turns out that many people enjoyed Sambo's restaurants back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, but apparently the real tale of Sambo and the tigers eventually became so infused with racist overtones that it overwhelmed the dining chain and essentially brought it down. The chain was named, incidentally, after the two men who opened the first restaurant: Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett.
posted by davidmsc on Mar 7, 2007 - 55 comments

From cocaine to foie gras

"From the first day on pots and pans, I knew what I wanted. I was never cool with being small-time -- that's what got me locked up in the first place: I wanted to be the man."
In 1988 Jeff Henderson landed himself in a federal prison for dealing cocaine. In 2007 he's executive chef at Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas. Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras is his story.
posted by teem on Feb 27, 2007 - 15 comments

I want to buy my own food critic, mommy

Restaurant crybaby lashes out at NYT's Frank Bruni (pdf). Jeffrey Chodorow's new restaurant (where each diner is constantly threatened with impalement by samurai sword, apparently) got a (funny and) decidedly lukewarm review in the Times. So he took out a full-page ad to complain about it (pdf linked above), price tag: at least $30k. He also whines about it on his new blog. The word "critic" is deployed in scare quotes.
[via this Slate piece by a former NYT food critic; interesting in itself]
posted by grobstein on Feb 23, 2007 - 53 comments

Now for some actual Bruce Schneier facts

You know Bruce Schneier the polymath security genius. Now meet Bruce Schneier the kind-hearted reviewer of local Minnesota restaurants. (He doesn't like to give bad reviews -- sounds like "security through obscurity" to me!)
[previously, also]
posted by grobstein on Feb 13, 2007 - 15 comments

Lazy Restaurant Conversions

Not Fooling Anybody. You know that new Chinese Restaurant that still looks like the Pizza Hut that shut down last year? How about that sandwich shop that still has a Taco Bell-shaped sign in front of it? Ever feel like a family-sized bucket of back repair? Find all of these, plus a guide to identifying them in your own home town.
posted by CrunchyFrog on Aug 24, 2006 - 44 comments

Get high at your next meeting

Bored with that same old business meeting? Why not try a dinner in the sky? But if it's a view you're after, you could probably take a few of your clients here for the same price. (flash & sound alert; film clip on main site is slow to load)
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 15, 2006 - 14 comments

Centralized restaurant location suggester

Equidistant Eats lets you find restaurants that are centrally located to two or three locations. Just enter at least two addresses and click "Submit." Street address, city and state are required. ZIP Code is optional.
posted by jonson on Apr 18, 2006 - 16 comments

Seeing double or worse

Twincerely yours .... Specialising in single malts.
posted by johnny7 on Mar 21, 2006 - 37 comments

A good place for a blind date

At Dans Le Noir ? you can "experience the unique interaction between clientele and guides as your food and wine are served in total darkness". Is it really a pitch-black dining room? "Yes it is ! The room where the dinner takes place is completely dark! We aren't used to completely dark environment since you hardly find this level of darkness in daily life as, we are used to small rays of light from the streetlights or moonlight but in the Dans le Noir ? restaurant there is no light at all!" Worried about going to the loo? Don't be, because "the toilets are fully lit".
posted by mr_crash_davis on Mar 17, 2006 - 52 comments

Corporate survivors

The world's oldest family companies start with a 1,400 year old Japanese family business that has always built Buddhist temples. On the corporation side, only one of the great chartered companies survives, Canada's Hudson Bay Company, founded in 1670, and now a large retailer, though there may be much older corporations. There is even a club with an interesting web site, Les Hénokien, for companies that are over 300 years old. If companies aren't your thing, there is always the world's oldest restaurant in Spain.
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 28, 2005 - 24 comments

New York Haute Cuisine

The Epicurean online. Charles Ranhofer's 1893 book The Epicurean is available online from the Michigan State University Library and the Museum as part of their Feeding America digital project. Ranhofer was the head chef at Delmonico's Restaurant from 1862 to 1894; he popularized the Escoffier version of French cooking to America, modifying it to take advantage of American foods such as turkey, squash, corn, and Pacific salmon. Besides thousands of recipes, The Epicurean discusses table settings, menus, various methods of presentation, and kitchen management. The book may be downloaded as a PDF in two parts.
posted by watsondog on Sep 11, 2005 - 7 comments

The Perceptor

Do restaurant reviews leave out too many details for you to get a feel for a place? For the last year, a chowhound with the handle perceptor has been sharing beautiful pictorial restaurants reviews (mainly in L.A.), to the delight of many. Here they are: (* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *) [MI]
posted by 김치 on Aug 3, 2005 - 41 comments

OpenTable Reservations

OpenTable, a free online restaurant reservation system in use at over 3,300 restaurants throughout the US and UK. [via / mentioned]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Aug 1, 2005 - 11 comments

Shitty Tippers Beware!

The Shitty Tipper Database. Ever undertip, for whatever reason? Did you use a credit card? You could be famous! Or infamous. (via)
posted by frykitty on Jul 25, 2005 - 200 comments

MenuVista

MenuVista (Quicktime req), the thesis project of ITP (NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program) student Chia-wei Chang, gives restaurant customers a preview of their orders by projecting photos of the meal on their empty plates. The system also allows them to modify their orders by using a projected menu with a touch sensor interface which includes menu text and food images. More ITP thesis presentations from last week »
posted by jenleigh on May 9, 2005 - 6 comments

Ever wondered how your dog feels when he takes a drink?

Toilet Bowl restaurant in Taipei. Dishes on the menu come in two sizes: number one (small) and number two (large). Soups On! [via]
posted by casu marzu on May 7, 2005 - 29 comments

World's Best Restaurant

World's best restaurant serves up molecular gastronomy.
(parallel thread)
posted by peacay on Apr 19, 2005 - 17 comments

Training Hanoi Street Children

KOTO is a charity training restaurant for street children set up in 1996 in Hanoi, Vietnam by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham (pdf file).
Of the more than 100 or so former street kids who have learned cooking, waiting and bar skills, 100% of KOTO graduates have since become employed in hotels and restaurants in Hanoi.
KOTO stands for Know One Teach One and they provide uniforms, accomodation, most meals and a small wage during the traineeship.
Even Bill Clinton ate there.
Street children number something in the order of 20,000 or more in Vietnam and most head to the city from poor villages in the countryside, seeking their own slice of the wealth that transition to a market economy is said to generate. Most make little money shining shoes and selling postcards and many become involved in drugs, crime, prostitution or are harassed and arrested by the Police.
Hoa Sua restaurant is another exemplary training enterprise (French affiliation) run along similar lines to KOTO excepting that they also have bakery outlets and embroidery training.
These organizations are hopeful examples of education combatting the cycle of poverty.
(Aside: but no contribution to the Vietnamese economy will be forthcoming from U.S. chemical companies who supplied agent orange during the war)
posted by peacay on Mar 11, 2005 - 11 comments

How Markets Go Wrong

These people scalp restaurant reservations. Can't find a table this Valentine's Day? If you're in LA, NY or SF, it may be because these people have reserved the seats weeks ago under an assumed name. Which they will sell you for $40. (Via MarhginalRevolution)
posted by Jos Bleau on Feb 14, 2005 - 39 comments

Restaurant Critics

Why Are The Six Best Restaurants in New York All French? Because William Grimes from the New York Times is a massive, provincial, toadying snob, that's why says so. [NYT reg. req.] With his haughty tone, architectural blatherings and whiney voice [Real Video link] he's undoubtedly my pet hate among restaurant critics, even though he obviously knows his stuff, not to mention a thing or two about cocktails [here is his take on the Martini]. My favourite critics are GQ's Alan Richman and the Anti-Grimes himself, a man who truly knows his food, Robert Sietsema of The Village Voice. What critics get your goat or vote? Which ones are worth reading and following? More importantly, which ones - or anonymous restaurant guides, like Zagat's, can you trust, if any?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jun 10, 2003 - 36 comments

Gasp!

Hooters is coming to San Francisco Oh My, Hooters, The ultimate in crass disgusting guy-ness and un-PC-ness is finally coming to San Francisco-the utlimate in PC-ness and "new-age-king-of-guy-ness." Will San Francisco be able to handle it? Granted the self-professed "slightly tacky yet unrefined" Hooters IS going into Fisherman's Wharf, which is tacky tourist-central. But, "it's about so much more than...that..." you know.
posted by aacheson on May 20, 2003 - 52 comments

underwater restaurant - dine with the fish

Looking for an exotic, interesting place for brunch this Mother's Day? This underwater restaurant sounds like just the place for any manner of memorable meal.
posted by darsh on Apr 29, 2003 - 6 comments

Sashimi! And Sushi Too!

The Most Delicious Food That's Also Very Good For You - - in fact, to my mind, the best food in the world, including all the tastiest unhealthy ones, is sashimi. And sushi comes second. But sometimes it's late at night or too early in the morning; you're broke; the restaurants are closed; you're nowhere near Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market and all your sushi etiquette, memories and knowledge; your favourite sushi websites; your well-thumbed sushi books and your fishy wishlists...are of no darn use to you. Then you remember it's late or early enough to hit your local fish market... And it's then that this ideologically incorrect and Hawaii-leaning, California-dreaming, somewhat Englishly-challenged set of video tutorials comes into its own! Truth be told, for the price of one fresh mackerel, one sardine, a slice of salmon... and sashimi is yours! [But who am I kidding? It's just not the same. Oh well, Windows Media required for the vids.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 19, 2003 - 28 comments

What Price Stars?

We know that the French take their food seriously, and restaurant ratings are a BIG deal over there. But here's a sad illustration of that: famed chef Bernard Loiseau was found dead yesterday of an apparent suicide, and speculation centers around his downgraded rating from the influential GaultMillau guide. Shades of Vatel?
posted by Vidiot on Feb 26, 2003 - 17 comments

LAPL's Menu Collection

Christmas Dinner, 1884. A large online database of restaurant menus from the Los Angeles Public Library's collection. Dating from the 1860s to the 1990s, most are from California establishments. Part of this set of LA-related collections.
posted by staggernation on Dec 17, 2002 - 8 comments

Menu History

In the long stretch of culinary history, the creation of the menu was a notable development. In the U.S., New York is the restaurant capital, and the New York Public Library has an enormous collection of menus, many of which they are currently displaying in a third-floor gallery. If you're in NYC (or will be visiting this winter) and are interested in such things, don't miss it; it's showing until March 1.
posted by languagehat on Nov 20, 2002 - 14 comments

Showbiz Pizza Place. (aka. Chuck E. Cheese)

Showbiz Pizza Place. (aka. Chuck E. Cheese) is every American child's right of passage. I, personally, am still haunted by nightmares of the animatronic terror that was The Rockafire Explosion. I can still hear their soulless robotic chanting. No mention however in the employee handbook about having to clean the 'accidents' in the ball-pit. (I only did it once after a large soda.)
posted by Stan Chin on Sep 4, 2002 - 25 comments

Ben's Chili Bowl,

Ben's Chili Bowl, a Washington, DC institution if ever there was one, has put up a site. This eatery was opened in the 50's, when U St. NW in DC was the 'Black Broadway', survived the riots (and the ensuing economic disintegration) and is going strong today, still run by the family that opened it. Next time you're in DC, go in and order a few half-smokes just like Bill Cosby does - he and his wife had their first date there - and say hello to Mrs. Ali. If you already live in DC, rejoice in the new online ordering interface and have your chili cheeseburger waiting for you when you breeze through the door.
posted by GriffX on May 11, 2002 - 12 comments

Burger King employees have been burned in a firewalking exercise to build team spirit. More than 100 staff walked barefoot over white hot coals during the "corporate bonding" trip to Florida ... One employee who suffered burns says she has no regrets and the pain was just a case of mind over matter. - Who in their right mind would walk on hot coals for Burger King?
posted by hotdoughnutsnow on Oct 6, 2001 - 33 comments

Osama's Place...

Osama's Place... "In a town full of soldiers, on the edge of Fort Bragg, there could be worse names for a restaurant these days than Osama's Place, but it is hard to think of any."
posted by stchang on Sep 28, 2001 - 14 comments

A heartening story about the increased patronage of an Afghan restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A heartening story about the increased patronage of an Afghan restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Have you heard/seen/been a part of reaching out to Afghans and Muslims who are as shocked and against the terrorist attacks? "Ahmad and Rahimi say they are living in an extraordinary moment. When they expected suspicion, they found trust. When they worried about rejection, they found the embrace of friends and customers."
posted by msacheson on Sep 25, 2001 - 9 comments

I think the splash page for Ciudad

I think the splash page for Ciudad is excellent. As a matter of fact, I think that the "Two Hot Tamales" have done a great job of carrying the design sense of their restaurants to both of their sites. I wish other restaurants did as well at conveying their ambiance online.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe on Feb 2, 2000 - 0 comments

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