A classic freshman late night favorite food truck located outside Balch Hall.

Food Trucks and Restaurants Battle Over Hours, Terrain

The debate between food trucks and local restaurants has been heating up recently, as food truck owners urge the City of Ithaca to relax restrictions on their trucks and restaurant owners accuse food trucks of policy violations. Under the current policy, food trucks may not operate closer than 200 linear feet from the nearest brick and mortar restaurant. At or around Cornell, students have access to a number of food trucks that include Louie’s Lunch Truck, Dos Amigos, That’s How I Roll, the Hot Truck, Franny’s and Collegetown Crepes. However, many of these food trucks only begin operation late at night to avoid violating policies. In an effort to address issues facing restaurants and food trucks, a Board of Public Works subcommittee on street vending convened a meeting on Jan.

A guest arrives at the Statler Hotel, where professors often teach students of the School of Hotel Administration.

Hotel Professors Find Restaurants Not Harmed by Minimum Wage Increases

A study recently released in December by the School of Hotel Administration combats the commonly held view that increasing minimum wage would lower a restaurant’s profitability. The controversial new study — conducted by Prof. Michael Lynn, hotel administration, and Prof. Christopher Boone, hotel administration — shows that modest increases in the minimum wage over the last 20 years have not affected the number of restaurants or employment levels. Boone said the study — titled “Have Minimum Wage Increases Hurt the Restaurant Industry? The Evidence Says No!” — was prompted by the United States’ new focus on wages that resulted from the recent recession. “There have been a large number of proposals to raise the minimum wage at the national, state, and local levels,” Boone said.

Authentic Artisanal

 Last year I wrote a rave review for Terrance Brennan’s Picholine. This year, I herald my return by visiting another of his Manhattan restaurants, Artisanal. It is designed to look like an authentic French bistro, complete with weaved chairs, cushioned booths, black and white tile floors, and high ceilings. In appearance it reminded me of Café Luxembourg (a bistro near where I live) and L’Express (a favorite of mine in Montreal). However, Artisanal differs in a way as would be suggested by its name. Artisanal generally means traditional and small scale and the restaurant holds an astonishing array of artisanal meats and cheeses, many of which are aged next to the diners.

Collegetown Restaurants Adjust as Sales Decline

Compared to typical, economically thriving times, Collegetown restaurants have seen fewer customers enter their establishments while their costs of operation continue to increase during the current recession. In order to continue earning a profit, Collegetown restaurants and bars have had to change many of the details of their operation.
Collegetown’s more formal restaurants seem to be most effected as students look to spend their money more efficiently. Once a popular weekday lunch spot for Ithaca’s locals, the Japanese restaurant Miyake’s weekday sales are reportedly down about 20 percent compared with this time last year as it has been forced to rely on increasingly frugal college students to sustain its business, according to its owner.

Picholine Perfection

The night before I came back to Cornell, I had the pleasure of eating at Terrance Brennan’s Manhattan restaurant, Picholine. Though I had had an unpleasant experience there five years ago, complete with terrible service and even worse food, recent reviews had piqued my interest in returning. I was willing to give Picholine another chance and I was glad that I did.
From the moment I walked through the door, I could sense a distinct change in the atmosphere of the restaurant. Though the décor was still outdated compared to other bastions of haute cuisine, the proprietor had certainly made an effort to modernize.