Fed Money, Shed Drama, Booze News…

Originally Published : April 7, 2022

Dear HL Clients and Friends,

All appetizers on the newsletter menu today.  Enough just-over-the-line important hospitality matters to put on your radar as we barrel into spring with low positivity rates and high positivity vibes.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The DC Dolts continue the big tease of refilling the RRF fund with another $40 Billion to make up for their shortfall screw up.  The House and Senate both introduced bills to fund applicants who applied and qualified but were left out because the program ran out of money.  So let’s see if they can get their act together this time and make it fair and fix it and make it so.  We should know in the next week or two so keep an eye on the news.

Revenge of the Nimbys

The Open Restaurant program that has been a lifesaver for the NYC hospitality industry has been dealt a court loss that puts its future in limbo.  A Hall-of-Fame roster of downtown Nimbys filed a lawsuit claiming that the program, set to become permanent later this year, should not be implemented because the City ignored the impact on the environment by failing to conduct an environmental impact study.  Restaurants are too loud!  Restaurants attract people and they drink and have fun!  We want locksmiths and Waldenbooks and Linens n’ Things!!  Sheesh. Nimbys – turning NYC into Boston one complaint at a time.

So now, the City lawyers can appeal and we play the litigation waiting game.  We will keep you updated but in the meantime keep serving outside and having fun.

Alcohol To-Go 

As many of you remember, Governor Hochul vowed to bring back “booze to-go” for restaurants and bars throughout New York State.  She even hoisted a prop champagne flute at her presser to make the point more emphatically leading all of us to believe that she had worked out the politics of it all.  Well, fast forward a few months, and our dreams of the return of booze to-go for good are hanging by a thread because the Governor made a promise that she may not be able to keep. We will be watching what happens in Albany and will let you know when something develops.
Ryder Kessler for New York State Assembly

While we have hesitated to endorse politicians in the past, we have decided that supporting Ryder Kessler for State Assembly was important for the good of the hospitality industry.  We need politicians that care about our industry and who we can rely on to have our backs in Albany and City Hall. For all of you with restaurants in the 66th District, pay heed.

Ryder Kessler is a lifelong downtown Manhattanite and Democratic candidate for State Assembly in the 66th District (Greenwich Village, Soho, Noho, Tribeca, and parts of Chelsea and the East Village).  He is an outspoken advocate for outdoor dining, against the consensus of Community Board 2, on which he serves — and against the current Assembly member, Deborah Glick, who wants to shut the program down.

Beyond permanent outdoor dining, Ryder supports legalized to-go alcohol, streamlined Community Board and code enforcement processes, and other steps that will help restaurants, their employees, and their patrons. He has already outraised Glick and been endorsed by a broad coalition of local and national organizations, but he needs our help to get his message out. 

Donate here, and reach out to campaign manager Charlie Goldensohn at [email protected] with questions or to discuss potential collaboration (e.g. hosting events, posting literature at restaurants and online, sharing policy concerns and ideas, etc.).

Awesome New Talent Recruiters

Our partners at August Point Advisors have launched a new talent recruitment practice serving the hospitality industry. The practice is led by Christophe Hille, a former HL client and owner of  one of my all-time favorite LES restaurants; Northern Spy.

We were thrilled that Christophe agreed to join August Point as we continue to search for ways to improve life in the industry.  We know that there is a need for more reliable, resourceful and ethical recruitment firms and that’s what Christophe has built.  He has deep industry connections and he finds great matches because he understands what owners are looking for and he doesn’t waste anyone’s time.

Some of his recent clients include Talbott & Arding Cheese and ProvisionsButcher GirlsPhilo Ridge FarmStissing House, and Butterfield, for positions ranging from Retail Manager to Executive Chef to Director of Hospitality.  If you’d like to learn more or have a position that needs to be filled, please reach out for more information.

Congratulations to all the HL clients who were nominated for James Beard Awards!  Too many to list and we love you all and wish you luck.  See you there!

Hang in there,