Franklin Becker’s Ghost Kitchens
The chef and restaurateur Franklin Becker has opened four restaurants under one roof in SoHo. Each has a different identity, but no décor or tables. Mr. Becker rented part of the space owned by Zuul Kitchens, a ghost kitchen company that also leases space to a number of restaurants for takeout and delivery. Except for Shai, which serves Mediterranean food emphasizing hummus and got a start in Philadelphia last fall, Mr. Becker’s brands are all new and exist strictly for food to-go. Universal Taco takes a global approach with stuffed tortillas, offering such fillings as Peking duck and chicken shawarma. Galinha has Portuguese barbecue with chicken and linguiça sausage seasoned with piri-piri sauce. With the chef Chris Scott on board, there is also Butterfunk Biscuit for assorted biscuits garnished with choices like sausage gravy, chopped cheese, fried chicken and avocado. Each entity has its own website for menus, ordering and fulfillment.
fbeckerhospitality.com; Shai, 646-759-3067, shaihummus.com; Universal Taco, 646-759-3060, universaltaco.com; Galinha, 646-759-3064, eatgalinha.com; Butterfunk Biscuit, 646-759-3061, butterfunkbiscuit.com.
In the nearly seven years since Marian and Hannah Cheng unveiled their East Village storefront to prepare and sell Taiwanese dumplings made from the recipes of their mother, Shirley (also known as Mimi), their business has taken off. They added a store in NoLIta in 2016, have continued frequent collaborations with marquee chefs and ship nationwide. Now, they have opened a store with seating on the Upper West Side.
309 Amsterdam Avenue (74th Street), 646-344-1030, mimichengs.com.
This new organization lines up chefs to arrange cooking instruction, sends all the ingredients and then allows you to interact with the chef over video while you prepare dinner. The meals start at $80 per person, and there are wine and beer pairing options. Coming up on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. is an Irish dinner for St. Patrick’s Day with soda bread, leek soup, lamb shanks and apple trifle with Kathleen O’Brien Price of Food Network’s “Chopped” and a founder of Multicourse directing the cooking and plating. Ingredients are sent partly prepared but must be ordered by March 10. Delivery is $5 in New York City, $30 to Westchester and parts of New Jersey.
The Bushwick stalwart, with outlets in a couple of UrbanSpace food halls in Midtown Manhattan, plans to open a spot on the Upper West Side, inside the Columbia University complex, this summer. It will be a small, mostly counter-service operation with 20 seats; brick-oven pizzas will be the mainstays.
2913 Broadway (113th Street).
Chefs on the Move
Early in his career, this French chef worked closely with Alain Ducasse. He has been on the American scene for decades and is now the consulting chef for creative development for Starr Restaurants, Stephen Starr’s company.
The National Arts Club on Gramercy Park has accepted women as members since its founding in 1898. Now it has named Ms. Merriman as its first female executive chef. She had previously been at Prune and the Waverly Inn. She starts her new job March 15. Her appointment comes as part of a revision of the club’s programs, including food-focused events open to the public.
There are more than a dozen chefs, including Akiko Thurnauer, Ivan Beacco, Francis Derby and David Mack, who have signed onto this new organization that brings chefs to cook in people’s homes and helps to supplement the chefs’ incomes. They come with everything they need to cook your dinner and follow Covid-19 protocols. Prices depend on the size of the party, the extent of the menu and the prestige of the chef, starting at around $70 per person and could reach $400 a person. Detailed information is available only on the company’s app.
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