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Barney’s Beanery Kicks-Off Anniversary with a Chili Cook-Off



Barney’s Beanery, the third oldest restaurant in Los Angeles and venerable roadhouse/famed celebrity hangout, will kick off its 90th anniversary celebration with a “5 Alarm Chili Cook-off” on Saturday, October 9, from Noon to 4pm, at the venerable roadhouse’s original location here in West Hollywood, which opened in 1920.

In a throw-down style competition, off-duty LA County Firefighters will be volunteering cooking efforts to showcase their favorite chili recipe in hopes of winning the coveted first place prize: having their chili served at all five Barney’s Beaneries through the end of the year as part of the 90th Celebration.

Tom Leykis will MC the event and serve as one of the panel of tasting judges, including Sally Hall, AIDS Walk LA Team, Ricardo Reyes, Pop-A-Shot Phenom, and a representative from the City of West Hollywood.

The event will be held in front of  the restaurant on Holloway Drive which will be closed off during the cook-off.

The public can taste and judge chili entries with $10 taste tickets and weigh in with their vote for the best.  Proceeds from the cook-off event as well as orders of the award-winning chili served to Barney’s patrons through the end of the year will benefit the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing burns and fires and providing services to those who have been affected by a burn injury.

“Our plates of chili beans have been served up to customers since the 1920s which is how Barney’s got its name,” said co-owner David Houston. “The chili cook-off not only marks our milestone of having been in business for 90 years, but allows us to salute the Los Angeles County Firefighters for their courage in being our first responders in times of need,” said Houston.

For 90 years Barney’s Beanery has been offering a mega menu that has grown to more than 700 items along with 200 beers (with 40 on tap).  The company now has five locations.

The roadhouse’s history includes a continuous following of Hollywood celebrities, including Quentin Tarantino who wrote parts of Pulp Fiction tableside, Doors’ Jim Morrison who spent many a raucous night there, Janis Joplin, who was served her last meal there, and over the years iconic regulars, including Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, W.C. Fields, Mae West, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Moore, Adam Sandler and Drew Carey.

Last fall, Barney’s busboy and Pop-A-Shot Phenom, Ricardo Reyes, was made famous on Jimmy Kimmel Live! after he beat Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmello Anthony, Lamar Odom and Charles Barkley in the Pop-A-Shot hoops competitions.

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Consumer News

Drives Aim to Keep Historic Restaurants Alive During Outbreak



Owner Dimitri Komarov at the famous Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

LOS ANGELES (Daily News) — With restaurants limited to takeout service or shut down completely by the coronavirus outbreak, a drive has been launched to keep some of Los Angeles’ legendary eateries from fading away.

Known as 1933 Group, the team operates about a dozen themed bars and restaurants in Los Angeles, including the barrel-shaped bar Idle Hour in North Hollywood, Harlowe in West Hollywood, Highland Park Bowl and the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood.

Many of them have shuttered in recent days amid strict orders implemented by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti, aiming to stem the flow of deadly COVID-19.

“We are struggling to survive,” said Dimitri Komarov, the venues’ co-owner. “The impact is dire. We’re losing our […]

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Celebrity News

Billy Eichner Calls for Aid to Servers Hurt by Restaurant Closures



WEST HOLLYWOOD (Los Angeles Blade) — Comedian, actor, and activist Billy Eichner took to social media to voice support for service industry employees experiencing loss of income during the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Billy on the Street” star went on Twitter to respond to a tweet from Justin Tranter calling on out singer Lance Bass to shut down his West Hollywood bar and eatery, the popular Rocco’s WeHo.

The tweet included a photo of the bar showing it packed with customers.

Eichner tweeted, “This is unacceptable. We MUST find a way to subsidize these workers (please tell me a reliable org to donate to and I will!) but my god if there is one community that should know the consequences […]

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Starbucks Changing to “To Go” Service in Canada and U.S.



SEATTLE — In a letter to all U.S. partners today, Starbucks shared changes the company is implementing to encourage social distancing, in an effort to help contain the COVID-19 virus.  

“As we all know, the situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities,” wrote Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada.

Starting today, Starbucks will be moving to a “to go” model in all company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada for at least two weeks.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • We are pausing the use of all seating, including both the café and patio areas
  • Customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through the “order ahead” feature in the Starbucks app, via the drive thru and use delivery
  • We will have a modified condiment bar in all stores
  • You may see modified “order ahead” handoff areas on a store-by-store basis
  • Temporary closures for company-owned stores in high-social gathering locations, such as malls and university campuses
  • Temporary store closures or reduced operating hours in communities with high clusters of COVID – 19 cases 

Williams continues, “Every community’s needs are incredibly different. We want to make sure we play a constructive role by taking responsible actions, in partnership with the CDC and local public health authorities, so we can continue to do what’s right for our partners and customers.”

The announcement builds on a foundation set by Starbucks chief executive officer Kevin Johnson last week in a letter sharing how the company has been preparing to respond quickly to COVID-19 emerging situations.  ROSSANN WILLIAMS’ FULL LETTERSTEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR ORDERING AHEAD

“We appreciate your understanding that, as a customer, your Starbucks Experience may look different as we navigate through this time together,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO. “While we are currently maintaining regular operations across the U.S. and Canada, our stores are prepared to modify operations with options that still allow us to serve you your favorite beverage and food. This means that as we navigate this dynamic situation community-by-community and store-by-store, we may adapt the store experience by limiting seating to improve social distancing, enable mobile order-only scenarios for pickup via the Starbucks App or delivery via Uber Eats, or in some cases only the Drive Thru will be open. As a last resort, we will close a store if we feel it is in the best interest of our customers and partners, or if we are directed to do so by government authorities. In any such situation, we expect store disruption to be temporary.” 

The company has gleaned insights from its experience in China, he said, where there are encouraging signs of recovery and over 90 percent of the stores have reopened.

“It is our intent to remain transparent,” he wrote. “Starbucks resilience is owed to our unwavering Mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” KEVIN JOHNSON’S FULL LETTER


Starbucks partners who are sick or need to be quarantined won’t have to choose between working or taking care of themselves, wrote Rossann Williams, evp and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada. It is one of a number of resources being offered to partners during the COVID-19 outbreak, detailed in an open letter published Wednesday.

“You have our full support when it comes to partner care, including access to catastrophe pay, benefits that support your physical and mental health, as well as a network of partners who are all here to help,” she wrote.

In addition to existing benefits such as sick pay and personal time off, the company will offer catastrophe pay to any partner who has been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 or comes in close prolonged contact with someone in their store or household who has. It also will be available to partners experiencing symptoms, even if they haven’t been in known contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, and to those who may need to take extra precautions, such as those 60 years or older or who have underlying health conditions. The full catastrophe pay benefit is for 14 days, but if partners are still unable to return to work, additional pay replacement may be made up to 26 weeks, she wrote.

Partners can also access other resources such as a range of mental health benefits including free counseling through the Employee Assistance Program and Headspace for mindfulness and meditation. Another resource is the company’s CUP Fund, which provides grants for partners experiencing financial hardship.

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