For weeks, Amanda Cohen has been teasing fans of her beloved vegetarian restaurant with beautiful images like this on Instagram. Now the day has finally arrived. She’s reopening Dirt Candy at 86 Allen St. this evening, after relocating from the East Village.
The Daily News highlights Cohen’s decision to dispense with traditional tipping, adding a 20% administrative fee to each check:
The move is designed to provide all restaurant staff, both the servers and those in the kitchen, with a fair wage, Cohen says. “New York is losing cooks to cities that have a better standard of living,” Cohen says. “I can’t be part of a system that pays people $12 an hour.” Rather than a service charge, which could only be shared among waitstaff, Cohen is charging an administrative fee that goes to funding the entire restaurant. Everyone who starts to work at the restaurant, from dishwashers to cooks, earn $15, with more depending on seniority. Depending on how the restaurant fares, she’ll also award bonuses… Cohen wanted to build the cost into the menu prices, but worried that customers would have sticker shock. Her goal, once people know the mission – which is currently printed on the bottom of the menu – to have the cost be all inclusive.
Cohen sent out an email blast yesterday, heralding tonight’s 5:30 p.m. opening:
Reservations open at 9am on Tuesday, February 3. You can make them at Open Table or call the restaurant at 212-228-7732. But please don’t call before 9am tomorrow! The new Dirt Candy will be open five nights a week (Tues – Sat, closed Sunday & Monday), and we have a real live bartender at our full bar, giant new menus at our brand new tables, and robot crickets in our enormous bathrooms. Soon, we’ll be open 7 nights a week, then we’ll roll out lunch, then we’ll roll out brunch. But for now, I can’t wait to see you guys starting tomorrow night!!!
Dirt Candy was located on East 9th Street for eight years before making the move below Delancey. Grub Street and Eater have more details about the expanded menu. Also check out our preview we published back in November.