Five New York Companies to Watch (November 2017)

With Thanksgiving later this week, we thought it made sense for this month’s companies to watch to focus on five of our members that are helping re-think how we interact with food, whether it's what we’re eating, how we’re ordering it, or how we’re making it.

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Daily Harvest

What does your company do?
Daily Harvest Founder and CEO Rachel Drori: We aim to solve a modern eating dilemma: the desire to eat real food and maintain a clean diet, coupled with a busy schedule and no time to cook. Daily Harvest steps in to offer ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich foods that are ready to eat in as little as 30 seconds. Pre-portioned, individually packaged frozen smoothies are what we are most known for, but we also offer soups, overnight oats, chia parfaits, and "nice cream" sundaes. All of our ingredients are farm-frozen at peak ripeness to lock in nutrients and flavor, and each cup is nutritionally balanced and seriously delicious.

Why did you found it in New York?
RD: New York is where consumer businesses thrive. There's a vibrant ecosystem where founders and funders speak the same language and support each other, and no shortage of insanely talented people with diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
RD: Take advantage of the network that exists in New York, but be sure to pay it forward. Other startup communities aren't as willing to lend knowledge, but New York's collaborative spirit makes the whole network stronger.

What's your favorite Daily Harvest superfood?
RD: Pine pollen is one of the most nutritionally dense, adaptogenic (aka hormone-regulating and stress-relieving) foods in the world, but it's so hard to find in good quality. We get ours from the only producer of pine pollen in North America, lock in the nutrients with frozen technology, and use it in our Cacao Cookie Dough sundae for a boost of B vitamins, amino acids, and more than 200 other bioactive nutrients.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
RD: Roberta's in Bushwick. Love the Famous Original.

How do you get to your office?
RD: I walk. I use the time on foot to center myself and help transition between mindsets from focusing on work in the morning and on family at night.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
RD: Teardrop Park in Battery Park City.

What’s your favorite bagel?
RD: A whole wheat everything flagel (flat bagel) double toasted (and oh so crunchy!) with olive cream cheese and a juicy tomato. If you twist my arm, I'll also take some nova from Russ and Daughters but that requires a second stop since they don't toast their bagels.  

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
RD: ABC Kitchen.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
RD: Chillhouse on the Lower East Side.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?
RD: I'm a West Village girl through and through.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
RD: Having two kids!

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Goldbely

What does your company do?
Goldbely CEO Co-Founder and CEO Joe Ariel: Goldbely is a marketplace that finds America’s most legendary foods from across the country and ships them to your door, anywhere nationwide. For regional foodmakers, Goldbely offers a platform for these small businesses to grow their revenue and to reach new customers on a national level.

Why did you found it in New York?
JA: I was born and raised in New York. I was fortunate enough to develop a passion for food early on in my life, which was amplified through different food experiences, finding a deep appreciation for the artisan food makers, and New York’s one-of-a-kind food culture. New York is also where I met my co-founders—Vanessa Torrivilla, Trevor Stow, and Joel Gillman.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
JA: New York is the greatest city because there is so much going on, at all times. On the flip side of that is that there are many distractions in this city. As a founder, it’s crucially important to shut out these distractions for the first few years, however you can. Focus on building and improving your product and talking (and listening) to your customers. Don’t worry about going to the hottest new party or restaurant opening and certainly don’t waste time listening to naysayers.

What's your single favorite Goldbely item?
JA: This is a tough one. It’s like asking to pick a favorite child.  Let’s start by saying that I have personally tried everything that is available on Goldbely, from more than 300 merchants. However, picking my favorite really depends on season, and right now I’m loving this amazing spicy deep fried turkey from a wonderful purveyor in Texas called Uncle Ray’s. It’s incredible. I know you asked for single fave, but I’ve gotta give you my favorite sweet tooth item right now as well, Wisconsin’s The Elegant Farmer’s brown bag apple pie. It takes apple pie to a whole new level.

Any special items for the winter holidays?
JA: We actually just revived the most famous deli in the world, the Carnegie Deli. We now ship their famous pastrami on rye, corned beef, and iconic cheesecake to people nationwide. The shop closed last year, but we convinced the family that owned it to ship with us. It’s a really fun item that people have a lot of nostalgia for.

How do you get to your office?
JA: Walk. I live in the West Village and our office is in Soho so it’s only about a mile each way. It’s good way to burn of calories from all the Goldbely taste testing we do on a daily basis!

What’s your favorite NYC park?
JA: Washington Square Park. It used to be more run down and seedy when I was a kid, but now I love it. It’s chaotic but fascinating. It’s so New York. Currently there is an art installation by Ai Wei Wei under the arch that is very neat. Pro tip: Walk west to east in the early morning as the sun is rising and the park is quiet. It’s magical.

What’s your favorite bagel?
JA: Ess-a-Bagel. It’s worth the wait on the long lines. When I walk up to the counter I’ll always ask them for the bagels that just came out of the oven. I love when they are chewy and warm. I’ll usually go with a schmear of scallion cream cheese, lox, and slice of tomato.

What’s the best condiment on a New York hot dog?
JA: There are only two acceptable condiments on a NY hot dog: mustard and sauerkraut. If I see ketchup near my dog, yuck, I won’t even touch it.

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Pilotworks

What does your company do?
Pilotworks Co-Founder and CTO Mike Dee: We provide our members affordable shared kitchen and co-working space, tailored mentorship programs and workshops, flexible working hours, and, most importantly, a community of supportive culinary professionals looking to achieve the same goal: change the way we think about food. Our membership model can accommodate businesses of almost any size, and our pricing structure dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for new businesses looking to make a leap into a commercial kitchen.

Why did you found it in New York?
MD: New York's diversity, thriving food scene, and strong tech scene made it an amazing place to start a food-tech business.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
MD: Accept that your solution, product you are offering, will not work on the 1st or even 10th try.

What's one New York food you can't live without?
MD: Ice cream. Davey's on First Avenue is my favorite in the city.

What brought you to New York?
MD: I was born in NYC, but spent most of my childhood and adolescence in Washington D.C. I came back after college because NYC has the best tech scene on the east coast and I wanted to start programming.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
MD: The Pizza Park BBQ Chicken slice on the Upper East Side.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
MD: I don't drink coffee, but my favorite coffee shop is Whynot Coffee on Orchard Street in the LES because they have great hot chocolate. It also has great seating and atmosphere.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
MD: The Pfizer Building in Brooklyn. Our company is based there so I am biased.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
MD: My apartment flooded. Luckily I moved out of that place!

What’s the best condiment for a New York hot dog?
MD: Cheese.

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Truffle

What does your company do?
Truffle CEO Tom Limongello: Truffle is the best way to share the restaurants you love with the people you love. We have an iPhone and iMessage app for keeping track of your favorite places and those restaurants you've saved to try later. Once you've put in your favorites, you can send those as lists like #brunch, #sushi over chat. The more you use Truffle, the easier we make it for you to recommend places and make plans for going out to eat.

Why did you found it in New York?
TL: NYC has all the restaurants.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
TL: Figure out your office rhythm before the winter comes. There are lots of great, affordable ways to have an office, whether that's the AWS loft in SoHo, coffee shops with WiFi, or even just hanging around public spaces in office buildings. After a while I realized that I liked having a desk, and spent a few months at Voyager, which was great because there were like-minded travel startups to talk to during the day. I also really like the flexibility to go to multiple places or explore the coffee and food in other parts of the city, so I ended up really liking Spacious, because it's affordable, easy to access (they have an iPad sign in) and dinner-focused restaurants have much nicer bathrooms than office buildings do.

What's the best restaurant you've found out about through Truffle?
TL: So, so many, and so many that I want to try in places like Detroit, Portland (ME & OR), Copenhagen and Melbourne. In NYC, the ones that I've really enjoyed are one's that are in neighborhoods I don't know as well. Like Freek's Mill in Gowanus, Saragina in Bed Stuy, and Casa Enrique in LIC.

What's one New York food you can't live without?
TL: We're getting close to winter so I have to say Ramen. Since I've lived here, NYC has become the UN of Ramen. We now have LA's Ivan, London's Wagamama in addition to Totto, and all the tiny, great Japanese ones in the East Village. I like that vegetarian ramen is taking off here and Ippudo is better in NYC than it is in Tokyo because it's the main event instead of an after-hours thing.

What brought you to New York?
TL: I grew up in the Hamptons, so I was always the kid who wanted to know what was happening in the city. I've been taking the Hampton Jitney my whole life. It took me a while to start living here though. I worked in China after college and went to business school in Chicago before coming back.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
TL: Joe's on Carmine Street. I've gotten pretty excited about Detroit pizza lately, but those are like eating bouncy castles compared to NY slices.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
TL: It's hard to beat the baseball fields on the Great Lawn in Central Park. My favorite recent one-two punch meet up was Parkette Coffee and then watching the eclipse in Sunset Park.

What’s your favorite bagel?
TL: The Jerusalem bagel at Nur. It's platter-sized and they go with hummus instead of cream cheese or butter. I feel like their interpretation of the bagel experience means I should do it more often, and bring friends.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
TL: I really like Sanctuary T in SoHo. For those who aren't coffee people they have all the teas you could want, you could get food but you don't have to, and there are a lot of tables and bar space.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
TL: Seven Grams for the homemade Canelés and their simple but dependable dark and light roasts.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
TL: The new Brooklyn Waterfront Museum above Empire Stores in Dumbo.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
TL: My wife was a project manager building One World Trade when we started dating so when I look up and see OWTC from wherever I am in the city, I get all the feels.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
TL: I used to have to take the L to get to work.

What’s the best condiment on a New York hot dog?
TL: I was strictly Colonel Mustard on this, but I recently had the hot dog at the bar at Huertas and they taught me a whole new appreciation for sweet peppers and mayonnaise on hot dogs.

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Wine n Dine

What does your company do?
Wine n Dine Co-Founder Joshua Stern: Wine n Dine helps people decide where to eat and what to order at restaurants.

Why did you found it in New York?
JS: My co-founder Adam and I both grew up and live in New York, so starting the company here made sense since all our contacts and relationships were here as well.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
JS: Time moves really fast in NYC. And there's always a lot to get done, so be ready to rise and shine super early to get your day started.

What is your favorite new restaurant that you've found through Wine n Dine?
JS: We actually found this Italian spot in Nolita recently called Emporio using our new Hungry tab, where you can swipe new dishes right and left for dishes you Wanna Try. It was absolutely delicious. I think I gained four pounds during the meal but it was completely worth it.

What's one New York food you can't live without?
JS: The Big Eye Tuna Tart at BondSt is just ridiculous. We also love the pasta sampler at Il Cantinori, which I think I created on the app.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
JS: I'm not a big slice guy. I prefer a mushroom pie at Lucali's but Adam loves Joe's. He orders it every weekend...at 2 a.m.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
JS: I love Carl Schurz Park. The boardwalk overlooking the East River is awesome.

What’s your favorite bagel?
JS: Fresh daily Tal Bagels is our go to. But you need to eat them the day of. And post them on Wine n Dine.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
JS: We've had a bunch of lunch meetings at Hillstone, which we love. We're not big coffee guys, we'd rather eat.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
JS: The Museum of Natural History for me. Adam's is The Guggenheim. But we'd both rather go see a movie.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
JS: The Frick Building and The Guggenheim (Adam's).

What’s the best condiment on a New York hot dog?
JS: Fried onions. Trust.