Retail Refugees

Marais, Paris
October 7, 2010, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Market Info, Retail Events, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

T Magazine’s The Moment blog had an interesting look at Paris’s Marais district today exploring some of the interesting shops, restaurants, and other sites.  Take a look if you have any plans to visit the city of lights anytime in the near future.  Definitely a must see for shopping and eating, the retail scene seems to be among the most innovative in the city.

For a long time now, the Haut Marais has attracted indie boutiques and avant-garde designers. More and more, they’re foreign-born. The American modernist Jack Henry made his home at 25, rue Charlot, which is just down the street from Plagg, Barbara Kurdziel’s shop devoted to Scandinavian fashion, which is just down the street from the Korean designer Moon Young Hee’s whimsical atelier. And just around the corner on rue de Vielle du Temple, the New York design collective Surface to Air opened its new flagship featuring edgy-urbane men’s and women’s fashion. Foreign flair is suddenly everywhere, and for a city that’s infamous for resisting change, it’s a welcome infusion.

The latest international arrival is Koko. After years of talking about it, and then a year of red tape and on-the-ground planning, the New Zealand expat Catherine McMahon is opening Paris’s first and only store devoted to Kiwi goods. McMahon was often complimented when she wore clothes designed by her compatriots, but, she says, “I realized not many people know anything about Kiwi fashion.” When her boutique opens on Sept. 17, it will be her mission to familiarize the locals with names like Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Trelise Cooper.

The neighborhood’s worldliness isn’t only the result of boutiques and designers. Merce and the Muse delighted French coffee snobs this summer with its in-house brew, which the American owner went all the way to Denmark’s Coffee Collective to learn. And then there’s Mary Quarta — next door to Merce, both a bread-crumb trail from Koko — an Italian who started scooping up divine cones of Nutella and stracciatella gelato this past season. The French will never lose their taste for espresso at zinc counters and macarons at the salon de thé, but global flavors go down easy, too.

DESCRIPTIONCyrille Weiner The Surface to Air store in Marais.

Move over Hooters, there is a new trashy restaurant in town
March 18, 2010, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

In a former life, I was a fan of Hooters, but as the promise of skin and cheap flirting became more readily available outside of a buffalo wing restaurant, the attraction wained.  Now we see how some restauranteurs have reacted- by making the girls wear even less…

A Texas-based sports bar is launching a full-frontal assault on Hooters‘ dominance in the scantily-clad server category, announcing plans to take its “bikini babe” concept nationwide.  “Our competition has been getting stale,” says Doug Guller, who opened his first Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill in North Austin in 2006. “If they’re Microsoft, we’re Apple.”

Guller isn’t the only entrepreneur who suspects Hooters’ sovereignty is waning: Heart Attack Grill, with its sexy “nurse-waitresses” and the Tilted Kilt chain, where servers wear tartan bras and short skirts, are among the more notable recent attempts at improving upon the concept pioneered back in 1983 by Hooters, a chain that’s lately been getting attention for its struggles in Vegas and less-than-flattering cameo appearance on Undercover Boss.

“The market is growing,” Guller confirms.   At Bikinis, the standard server costume is cowboy boots, a short denim skirt and a bikini top. Each diner is guaranteed visits from at least three servers. While the Bikinis’ uniform isn’t much racier than what’s on view at most American beaches, Guller said even he was surprised when he opened his first restaurant outside Texas last year and nobody complained.

I wonder why?…

Photo: Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill

Tavern on the Green bankrupt?!?
September 11, 2009, 11:03 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , , ,

This is a sad day for New York, Central Park, and the restuarant indsutry in general… ”

Less than two years after it announced grand plans for a national expansion, Tavern on the Green, a New York landmark, filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York.

Tavern on the Green, which has appeared in such films as “Arthur”, “Wall Street” and “New York Stories”, and where generations have celebrated weddings, anniversaries, graduations, was taken over by Warner LeRoy more than 25 years ago. It was once one of the most successful restaurants in the country. A $40 million dollar operation with a staff of 525 and nearly 500,000 patrons annually, the restaurant is known for its prime location in Central Park in addition to its beautiful garden and its elaborate decor of crystal, mirrors and Tiffany ceilings. Its eclectic menu consisted of contemporary American and seasonal fare.”

(via daily finance)

Poor Outlook for the Restaurant Industry
July 21, 2009, 8:28 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , ,

Some interesting statistics came out of NPD Group about the performance of the restaurant sector in light of the recession.  With a total traffic decline of 2.6%, the only brand that is still experiencing healthy growth is McDonalds with 2.7% same-store increase.  Elsewhere in the industry… Casual Dining (Chili´s or Olive Garden) is down 4%, Midscale (IHOP) is down 6% and breakfast is down 9%.  Another statistic they pointed out was that while overall traffic is down, spending per head (the “splurge effect”) is actually up 2%.

“Most Successful Restaurant Chain in the World”
July 6, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , ,

Darden Restaurants is the largest and most successful full-service restaurant company in the world.  Headquartered in Orlando, FL with turnover in the billions, they have evolved, grown, and optimized operations to turn out one after the other winning concept.  Fast Company recently devoted a slideshow and article to Darden with key information about the brand.

Check slideshow here.

Innovative Outdoor Eating: Chi Sing, Berlin
July 1, 2009, 7:34 pm
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Local favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Chi Sing, created a stir this afternoon when putting together their pop-up outdoor eating.  Complete with real grass, DJ, and tent to keep things cool, the restaurant was packed, and we predict will continue to be so until the weather no longer permits.

Please send any pictures of innovative outdoor eating spaces that you encounter around the world!


London’s Mean Streets
February 6, 2009, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , , , ,

From London’s Urban Junkies…

It’s the toughest street on the block. It eats shops for breakfast, demolishes businesses for fun, and crushes hopes and dreams underfoot, leaving the select few who survive on top of the Soho Pile.

“Poland Street, also home of UJHQ (we have tamed the beast), has seen more new arrivals and departures than a half term at Heathrow. Newbie survivors so far include Kati Roll, home of handmade Indian savouries, The Chippy, a glossy black fish & chip bar, and the hair salon, Headmasters. Casualties include the Blink Gallery, which seems to be permanently ‘closed for rehanging’, the unceremoniously abandoned Polka Bar, and the cursed space next to Vasco & Pierro’s, which has in 6 months been a salad bar, a Russian charity shop, an empty shell, and a supermarket.

So next to take on the Poland Street beast is Cattle Grid – seemingly taking a leaf out of Bodean’s survival book, serving a variety of Cow and Pig dishes, from steaks to ribs with sides and sauces to spare. With a no nonsense set up and top-notch nosh, we’re feeling a fight coming on.”

Sounds pretty hardcore!  If you have a street in your city that does its best to keep the indpt shopowner down, let us hear about it!