Sides Moving to the Front of the Menu

Sides Moving to the Front of the Menu

Side dishes. Even the name sends a message: they’re there to complement the main dish, the Robin to the main dish’s Batman. And because of their historical second-class status, it’s easy to overlook side dishes or think of them as nice additions to a meal, but ones you could do without if it came down to it.

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From Supplier to Restaurateur? PepsiCo Opens Modern NYC Restaurant

Petal to the metal 🌹🍸 #kolahouse #cocktails #nyc #meatpacking

A photo posted by Kola House (@kolahouse) on

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

PepsiCo has a new concept bubbling and this time it’s not soda. This renowned snack and soft drink supplier can now add restaurateur to its repertoire. In late September of this year, this big-name brand opened its first restaurant in Manhattan called Kola House — perhaps a fitting name, considering PepsiCo is known for its eponymous bottles of cola, but instead of stocking up on sugary, salty, and savory small bites and sips, Kola House is a new American concept that boasts locally sourced, farm-to-table fare and specialty cocktails.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this brand innovate in a new direction toward the dining segment, even if it was done specifically in the craft soda and fast casual space, but the news of this 5,000-square-foot, trendy restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood originally hit the news back in January.

“This isn’t a pop-up,” PepsiCo’s chief marketing officer for beverages in North America, Seth Kaufman, told the New York Times. “This is something much bigger than that.”

Kola House aims to offer an elevated, premium experience and is centered around the kola nut, which is a caffeine-containing fruit that is used as a flavoring ingredient for carbonated beverages, giving cola its name.

The kitchen will be manned by Executive Chef Jon Feshan, who trained under famous French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and who will use the kola nut — often described as an something between chocolate and coffee in terms of its taste — in protein dishes, such as chicken and pork entrées. The Kola House bar, which pours out craft cocktails, features the concoctions created by mixologist Alex Ott, who pulled inspiration for his creations from the kola nut, as well. The restaurant venue itself has enough room for live entertainment, essentially setting Kola House up to be the headquarters for the hipster scene.

Smokeshow #kocktails #KolaHouse

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The thirst is real... #KolaHouse

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Because no great story started with a salad. #KolaHouse

A photo posted by Kola House (@kolahouse) on

PepsiCo is also preparing to introduce Kola House to the San Francisco in the days right before the Super Bowl, enticing fans with kola sliders and drinks such as a vodka-based cocktail with kola bitters.

“We wanted to create a modern hub for consumers to share social and immersive experiences that were anchored in the exploration of our cola's artisanal craft and flavor," Kaufman said in a statement.

Will this shift truly work? While PepsiCo is far from promoting its Doritos or Pepsi products in the doors of Kola House (and if it ever did, they would do so subtly and sophisticatedly), will consumers who are aware of this brand deviation be able to separate the two?

“We are in a time where we have to transform how we connect with and engage customers. If brands don’t do that today, they will be irrelevant tomorrow. Whatever tomorrow is,” Kaufman said. Read More

New Yorkers Demand More Local Sourcing

New Yorkers Demand More Local Sourcing

The summer of 2016 promises to be a delicious one for New York City, with a focus on local sourcing and transparency.

As the demand for transparency of the food supply chain continues and more consumers become aware of what their food contains and where it is coming from, sourcing is becoming more and more important.

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New York Restaurants Fight Against Styrofoam Ban

In New York, a number of restaurants have banned together to combat the recent legislation that moved to prohibit "polystyrene foam food-service products" in the city limits. The ban, which technically went into effect July 1st, is not set to be enforced until January of 2016 however local restaurants are already taking steps to overturn the measure.

Joining together to form the Restaurant Action Alliance, over 100 restaurants have already backed a petition that looks to overturn the styrofoam ban. Opponents of the ban claim that foam is 100% recyclable and that there is a vibrant economic sector that focuses on recycling these materials. In addition, the fear is that small restaurants will suffer under this ban as their carry-out packaging would cost nearly twice as much as foam options. As such, many smaller restaurants may need to raise prices to respond to the new packaging materials. Read More

French Fries Get an Upgrade in New York

Photo Credit: NY Daily News

Photo Credit: NY Daily News

Would you like some Peking Duck Fries with that? 

No, Burger King isn't getting an upgrade - but the classic side dish, most commonly served at our favorite fast food chains, is. The newest trend for New York eateries is fries, but with an upscale twist.  Some of these include fries cooked in duck fat, like those at Hudson Common. Others seek to lure foodies in with accoutrements like calf's liver or truffle oil. No matter your taste, these restaurants are sure to entice you with their unique takes on the classic french fries. Read More