If there is one other thing that New York never does, besides sleeping, it’s running out of options for a good meal: from the mainstream staples to the bizarre and extravagant, if you can’t find it there, you won’t find it anywhere. And now Umami Burger, Los Angeles’ designer burger chain, takes the challenge of the Manhattan market with its first outlet on the island. What does it promise to bring to the table?
For starters, optimism. The west-coast group is betting on consumers returning to spend over 10 dollars for a burger, seeing the tail end of the economic slump. Not just for any burger, though: maybe one with shitake mushroom and parmesan crisp, or with truffle cheese and smoked-salt onion string.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, as the crisis is not quite over yet, there are meat lovers who won’t spend 50 dollars on a steak anymore and may see gourmet burgers are a reasonable downgrade. The signs are all around: the 500 largest dining chains in America grew 3.4% in 2011, after a 1.8% increase the year before, according to Chicago’s Technomic.
Foodies in Manhattan are unlikely to care about those numbers though; they may rather care for a hand-chopped ahi tuna and wasabi flakes burger. And now they can have it.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.