Tag Archives: Union Oyster House

Central’s Week in Brief: August 5, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1.) On Wednesday August 3, the Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, one of the largest meat distributors, had voluntarily recalled around 36 million pounds of ground turkey meat due to the possibility of salmonella contamination. In this CNN article, they include this PDF which includes the product recall list in full. For more information, visit the Cargill website which includes a full news release and other information.

2.) For many families who receive free or reduced-cost lunches throughout the school year, those free meals for their children stops when the school year ends.  But lunch lady Brenda Watford of Thomasville, N.C., extends her cafeteria duties well into the summer to ensure the city’s children continue to receive healthy meals.  This CBS article showcases Watford, who goes out with her team each day over the summer and provides lunch for about 1500 of the city’s children. To read more about Watson and watch a video, view the CBS article here.

3.) Happy birthday to America’s oldest restaurant! Union Oyster House in Boston, Mass. just celebrated their 185th birthday. The restaurant had an oyster special lunch for $1.85 and many other fun activities. Boston’s WCVB TV 5 spoke with owner Joe Milano and family (who they note have been operating the restaurant for the past 40 years) and Milano said it was their day to thank the public for their patronage. Pictures of the event can be found here on the WCVB website.

4.) Many restaurants are reaching out to their customers by investing more time and money into things like social media, their website, etc. But has your restaurant ever stopped to think about the impact the music you play has on your customers? In this Nation’s Restaurant News article, they look at Quaker Steak & Lube, who is looking more closely at the music they play. The Senior Vice President of Promotions and Marketing in their Sharon, Penn. location told NRN it was revealed to them the arrangement of the music could increase sales.

5.) Opening one restaurant can be overwhelming–could you imagine opening one per day? McDonald’s plans to take this on and open one location per day in China, for the next four years. This Bloomberg article explains they are taking on this aggressive goal to challenge competitor Yum! Brands to dominate in Asia. According to the article, this would increase the number of 1300 locations to 2000.

What do America’s longest-running restaurants have in common?

I read a great article today in Business Week that profiled the country’s longest-running restaurants.

Among others, they include the Union Oyster House in Boston (est. 1826!), Delmonico’s in New York (1837), Berghoff’s in Chicago (1898), el Charro Cafe in Tucson (1922) and the Original Pantry Cafe in Los Angeles (1924).

These institutions have survived a host of economic meltdowns and natural disasters, not to mention changes in the surrounding geography and changes in ownership. So what is the common thread that ties them all together?

It would be easy to say all it takes to stay in business is good food, great service and atmosphere, and a boatload of capital to get you through the hard times, but even with those crucial conditions, I think it goes a bit deeper.

Staying relevant

The article touched briefly on what I like to call the “Madonna technique” – being able to reinvent yourself to fit in and stay relevant in any decade. In the 1820s, when the Union Oyster House opened in Boston, John Quincy Adams was president, the very first photograph was taken, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna. It is indeed a delicate balance for an establishment to both stay true to its roots as well as continue to be timely and trendy.

Being first

Delmonico’s in New York City is credited with a number of culinary innovations. It is the birthplace of Eggs Benedict, Lobster Newburg and Baked Alaska. Moreover, the restaurant was the first to present diners with a menu, and the first to offer private dining rooms.

Social psychologist Kurt Lewin said, “if you truly want to understand something, try to change it.” It’s just that sort of inventive and creative nature that I believe is not only helpful, but essential to staying ahead of the competition.

Being genuine

Antoine’s in New Orleans (est. 1840) is still family-run by the fifth generation of Antoine Alciatore, an immigrant credited with making New Orleans a “culinary capital.” The dining room is rich with memorabiliia, and its owners are said to regard each member of their staff as extended family. This type of sincerity is no-doubt reflected in every facet of the establishment, and is something that customers will recognize and will return to.

What are some of the establishments YOU think will still be around in 100 years?

The short piece is also accompanied by some great photographs.