Seen & Heard: Here Come the Coen Brothers

••• The Coen brothers’ new movie, Inside Llewyn Davis: One Man’s Colonoscopy is filming Friday on Reade between Church and Broadway. (It’s actually a folk-era film starring Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan.)

••• Chipotle has reopened.

••• Sure enough, Sarabeth’s Tribeca doesn’t allow Seamless users to choose a tip less than $2.50. You might recall that I’m on a quest to make Seamless users tip in cash so the deliverypeople definitely get their tip.

••• I ate at Mehtaphor last night—those fries!—and I asked chef Jehangir Mehta if he knew whether restaurants could set the minimum tip. He didn’t. But he agreed that cash is the best way to tip deliverypeople—and he said that the owner I had mentioned in that other post may not have been withholding tips so much as taking out taxes. When tips are paid via Seamless, they’re no longer under the table, and so they most likely get taxed. (Given the choice of helping deliverypeople or the U.S. government, I know what I’ll be choosing.) Mehta also said that he himself has made deliveries on five or six occasions, when no one else was around to do it. “I pull my hat down and hand over the food!” he said. I don’t know why he was embarrassed—I thought it was the sign of a restaurateur who prioritizes his patrons. (And he mentioned an upcoming $75 prix-fixe Persian New Year dinner, but the flyer I was given doesn’t list the date; I assume that if you’re into the idea you already know when Persian New Year is.)

••• The parking lot at 11 N. Moore (a.k.a. 20-24 Varick) has been fenced off in preparation for its transformation into condos.



  1. At Sarabeth’s we insist on a minimum 10% tip on seamless web deliveries because when we didn’t, our delivery men did not get tipped adequately.. I can assure you that we don’t skim from their tips. It’s unethical and illegal and I don’t know any legitimate operator who runs their business in this manner.
    I think your campaign is ill-advised and that it will cost the delivery men in the end. Although you may hear of restaurateurs stealing from their employees they are in the minority.

  2. Hi Eric!

    This is Deborah – Jehangir’s assistant. I just wanted to let you know that the Persian New Year event is on Wednesday, March 21st from 5:30pm – 11:30pm.

    Many thanks

  3. @Stewart: I hope no one thought that the initial restaurant I mentioned (that skimmed tips) was Sarabeth’s; it wasn’t, and I can’t say that loudly enough. But I do think mandatory tipping isn’t ideal, even if it also stinks that some people undertip. I am curious whether Sarabeth’s Tribeca withholds taxes from delivery tips paid via Seamless, because I think that’s the bigger issue than skimming — are deliverypeople now losing income on what used to be under the table?

  4. Totally agree with your strategy of not including tip on online order, and as
    we recently ordered through Seamless from an asian restaurant in the area,
    preferred to give it cash to the delivery man.

    Uncanny that it was on same day that read article about staff at one of Mario Batali’s numerous establishments win a class action payment of over $5M
    for withholding tips.

    Naughty Mario Batali and other employers that do that !