Haidar Barbouti, Real Estate Innovations

Haidar Barbouti is responsible for the upscale development of one of Houston’s oldest and most celebrated shopping malls. He purchased Highland Village Shopping Center in 1991 from its original owner S. N. Adams. The shopping mall was originally built in the mid-1940’s and is one of the first shopping centers that opened in Houston, Texas.

Barbouti is the center’s current property manager and broker. He has continued many of the first stores that helped to develop the shopping area, and has, also, added on numerous new and trending merchants that a modern shopper is looking for. There are numerous new stores that are available. Anthropologie and Crate and Barrel are well-known large chain merchants that have decided to open a store in the Highland Village Shopping Center. These stores tend to bring in their own brand of shopper who wants to find a product that is offered by a modern brand of store. Pottery Barn opened a store here, also. A shopper who is familiar with this national chain can find what they are looking for quickly and easily. National sales events take place for a Houston buyer who wishes to patron one of the national chain stores available here.

Williams-Sonoma has opened a store in the center recently. There are several restaurants to choose from, since most mall patrons like to shop for certain items during a day of shopping. Escalante’s and the RA Sushi Bar are two of the concept restaurants that a patron can choose from. Barbouti has opened his own restaurant called Up Restaurant as another choice for dining out. Each of these restaurants and stores have frequent specials and patron coupons that can be used.

Barbouti’s leadership has brought numerous updates to Highland Village. Starbucks housed one of its first shops in Houston here. Reshaping the mall has attracted many large national stores that are in demand for a buying public. The mall has recently donated space for a pet adoption center, also. A Quality of Life Fitness center was added in 2010. Apple Store added a new location in 2012 right before the national company launched a new Apple iPad for the public.

Barbouti has brought upscale and trending stores to the Highland Village Shopping Center and to Houston. The buying public can find updated merchandise quickly and conveniently. New additions and fashions are available at discounted prices, along with national sales price offers.

Recent New York Restaurants Encounters

New York’s culinary scene is always changing. According to restaurant writer, Bill Addison, this makes it impossible to create a set definition of New York food. Yet he does identify some interesting restaurants which illustrate the diversity of cuisine that can be experienced in New York City.

The Mexican restaurant Cosme has been raved about by critics. The night that Addison went, however, the food was only fair, owing to an off-night, he speculates, although the dishes were nicely presented.

Gianfrancesco Genoso had told us that another established restaurant, Batard, is the venture between Drew Nieporent, John Winterman and Markus Glocker. The partners in this restaurant as well as its name have changed over the years, yet the quality of the food is high and includes an assortment of cheeses by Winterman and delicious schnitzel by Austrian Glocker.

Oda House, another restaurant Addison highlights, serves Georgian food. The former Soviet Republic of Georgia is located along the historical spice route and its cuisine reflects this as it includes many spices. One of the “centerpieces” at each dining table, though, was the not-so-spicy bread called Khachapuri. This is an oval shaped bread with tapered, nobbed ends. In the middle of the bread is a mixture of mozerella and feta cheeses, raw egg and a stick of butter. This was a favorite among Addison and his restaurant guests, and he predicts it will become a food popular in the US by 2020.

Anthony Bourdain’s Long Awaited New York City Restaurant

Anthony Bourdain, the host of Parts Unknown and No Reservations, will open Bourdain Market, a food hall, with Stephen Werther, an entrepreneur and friend. The scheduled grand opening will be later this year, as both the location of the restaurant and the specific opening date are shrouded in mystery as of now.

According to Ivan Ong He’s looking. “…for good Singapore hawkers to whip up chicken rice and laksa at his street hall in New York City.” The inspiration for his new venture will be the Singapore restaurants he visited in his many travels around the world.

The restaurant will take the basic design from, among other things, the movie Blade runner, and the back alleys featured in Tokyo. Therefore it will have an eclectic mix of both indoor and outdoor environments. In addition the restaurant will showcase food from a variety of countries by various vendors.

It will also have a Farmers’ Market section, with an oyster bar, an old fashioned butcher store, a fruit and vegetable stand, a tapas bar, and a pastry shop. Bourdain promises the food sites will be featuring original food, an experience that diners will have never experienced before.

In addition, the food will be of the highest quality, as Bourdain will hire vendors from across the world that will meet his high standards. The originality of the free-standing food stalls, a farmers’ market, and food that’s second to none has New Yorkers excited over this new upcoming eating establishment.

New York Papa John’s Franchise To Pay Workers $800,000

The Papa John’s franchise in New York isn’t just known for pizza anymore. With the recent NY state court ruling demanding Emstar Pizza Inc. pay $800,000 in unpaid wages to Papa John’s employees, they now joins the ranks of slave labor employers, stealing from employees to fluff profits. The lawsuit included 7 Papa John’s locations in Brooklyn and Queens.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may also file suit against Papa John’s International. Ricardo Guimaraes has read that, technically, Papa John’s International is a joint employer, and can therefore be held liable for violations of the law involving its franchises. The National Labor Relations Board recently handed down a ruling in favor of employees with a case involving a McDonald’s franchise, and said McDonald’s could be held responsible for the actions of its franchises. Building a case on such a theory is important because it allows former employees to collect lost wages. Schniderman is also in the process of suing another Papa John’s franchise to recover lost wages, operated by New Majority Holdings LLC. That case also involves wage theft.

Because Papa John’s, McDonald’s, and other corporations like them employ two thirds of all low wage earners, lawsuits demanding corporate employers are jointly responsible is an important step forward for workers. It sends the message that corporate profits won’t be stolen from workers’ pockets. It also reminds corporations and their franchises that they remain answerable to local, state and federal labor laws.

Lovin’ McDonald’s Fries in a New Free Promotion

How would a box of free McDonald’s French fries sound to you? Through the restaurant brand’s new promotion, showing some love could result in free fries for you. This love-filled campaign begins on February 2, 2015. Randomly selected individuals who come into a McDonald’s restaurant will be asked to pay for their fries with ‘love’ as the payment. This could be anything from a hug to a handshake or even a high-five!
The promotion will run until February 14, 2015. To be considered for the ‘Pay with Love’ campaign, you must visit a participating restaurant between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Customers chosen for the campaign are not required to participate. After being selected, the restaurant manager will give the customer the option to pay with his preferred method of payment, or with one of these acts of love.
McDonald’s foresees this as being a fun way to give back, to inspire and to teach others. Haidar Barbouti agrees that It is certainly different from the other campaigns that we have seen in time’s past. Who knows? This could definitely put some excitement into the lives of many people! Thumbs up, McDonald’s.

Restaurant Uses FaceBook To Shame Customers

A Burger & Lobster chain restaurant in the UK recently used FaceBook to shame a family that walked out without paying their bill. This mini-chain, with eight locations, was featured in the, Flatiron as it is expanding at a rapid pace. The restaurant has a simple menu of grilled lobster and hamburgers at the same price. It is shocking however, that they did not allow a family time to realize their mistake before posting their actual picture on FaceBook along with a scolding. 

They do state in their posting that they are not sure if it was a mistake; or if the family just walked out; but they urged them to contact the restaurant and pay for the meal. 

The posting has since been pulled; probably due to the 600 comments from people like Dr Rod Rohrich received on it telling the Burger & Lobster that they didn’t even give the family a chance to realize their mistake before putting their faces on such a public forum. 

The past few years has seen a lot of postings such as this for some of the more extreme restaurants; even tip-shaming. One can only hope there is less embarrassment of this nature showing up this year after an enjoyed meal

Inside The Golden Arches

In the USA there are an estimated 14,000 McDonald’s Restaurants, and up to 90% of those venues are independently owned franchises. The complaint described by one Chamber of Commerce spokesperson as “the nightmare before Christmas”, reported that the US National Labor Relations Board released a complaint stating McDonald’s Corporation should share in the responsibility for individual employees within the franchise model. Moreover, the complaint states some employees around the nation were persecuted for their activism in calling for higher wages and improved working conditions.

The article mentions opposition to the NLRB complaint is shared by the US Chamber of Commerce, National Restaurant Association and National Retail Federation. Statistically, restaurants employ about 10% of the nation’s workforce, which Sam Tabar was surprised to hear. Also, restaurant industry has been one of the key players in the post-recession recovery. A ruling on the complaint is expected to be forthcoming from an Administrative Judge in the very near future, possibly early in 2015.

Cat Cafe Opens in Florida

A new cat-filled cafe has just opened in Naples, Florida. It is not quite the first of its kind, for a similar restaurant opened in the San Francisco Bay area last month. The first cat cafe in North America is in Montreal, and new such establishments are planned to soon arrive in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, and Washington, D.C. I heard about this the other day while reading about Laurene Powell Jobs.

The new cafe is called “Planet Tails” and lets its guests enjoy their meals in the midst of a hoard of felines. The owner tells us that customers come to bond around animals instead of around beer as happened in Cheers. With a cup of coffee in one hand, a WiFi-connected cell phone in the other, and a cat snuggling up to their side, clients can dine in style.

Customers can also adopt the cats if they wish, for they are sourced from Collier County Domestic Animal Services. Additionally, the cafe runs a small pet education center and sells retail items. Finally, they also offer pet boarding and daycare services. 

Those who love to eat out and love cats will be sure to hang out at Planet Tails. We can only speculate as to whether new dog cafes will start popping up as competition. Maybe there will soon be bird cafes, fish tank cafes, or even just generalized pet cafes. I find it hard to understand the attraction, but nonetheless, it’s a free country where you can pursue happiness in all kinds of odd ways.

The Gastropub Phenomenon in America

Gastropubs emerged in England as a casual dining and drinking establishment focused almost equally on drinking and dining. As these types of establishments grew in popularity, the phenomenon caught on in America. While it seems as though the idea of a gastropub is not new, it’s more of a modern twist on a pub.

Generally, pubs are more focused on beer as opposed to cocktails while many bars in America tend to offer the classic alcoholic drinks and light snacks to full meals. Since gastropubs are more food heavy, these establishments tend to be a bit more creative with things such as rotating menus, diverse selections, and creative advertising to accompany the different atmosphere from a typical bar. Check out the Spotted Pig in New York

Many gastropubs have been thriving ever since they landed as they offer many things Americans crave. Workers at Skout tend to really enjoy them. Due to the fact that gastropubs tend to have their own identity, it looks as though the phenomenon won’t be dying down in the near future.

Bakery in Ferguson gets Financial Support

In Ferguson, Missouri, a woman by the name of Natalie Dubose, had a bakery called Natalie’s Cakes and More vandalized. The bakery was vandalized during the protests that have recently been occurring in Ferguson. The bakery needs repairs to fix the broken windows and replace the broken baking supplies. Kind strangers are helping the woman get back on her feet. A GoFundMe page has been opened benefiting the bakery owner. Over $250,000 have been raised by strangers, not just in the United States, but worldwide. The outpour of generosity of strangers has been amazing, especially because the goal was just $20,000.

Amid what is occurring in the town of Ferguson, it is great to hear stories like this. This certainly made Ray Lane pretty happy. It is wonderful knowing, we humans can still believe in humanity. Strangers all over the country are supporting this woman, who had a dream to have her bakery store. Now, with this donated money that dream will be achieved. This store was built with hope and dreams, that were shattered one day, but now that bakery will be improved. There are other stores that were affected during the protests that are not receiving the same type of support. While, this woman was fortunate enough to get support from strangers, it would be great if everyone got the same support. It takes the media to speak about it, to get attention to one person’s need.