Seeing the Signs

January 18th, 2015

Sweet RevengeSince I opened my restaurant & wine bar Sweet Revenge® in 2008, my very loving & supportive parents have nudged (nagged?! :) ) me about putting out a sign to make us easier to find. One would think this very logical suggestion and fairly straightforward project would be easily & quickly knocked off the to-do list. I chalk up the fact that this project is now on the Year 7 to-do list as the fault of a smallbiz gremlin or two :) . These slippery little suckers sneakily divert my attention to all kinds of distracting and pressing to-dos.

As new restaurants have moved onto charming Carmine street in Manhattan’s west village, I study their signage: height, dimensions, awning vs hanging, light lettering on dark background vs dark letters on a light background (please weigh in on what you think is most readable!), type of material, colors etc. It is not lost on me that virtually all of my fellow restaurateurs have noticeable and easy to read signs. The Sweet Revenge® logos on the door and on our white brick wall are incredibly visible, if you are directly in front of them or have bionic vision from across the street. Ahh yes, there so many signs all around me, giving me clues about what I need to do. And bless my parents who continue to bring up this project year after year :) .

Mom and dad, this one’s for you. I’m getting the outside sign made STAT.

“How very wet this water is.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz

cheers to the obvious and getting it done,

Marlo

Let it Snow! We Have Mulled Wine!

January 6th, 2015

Sweet Revenge snowyAs I type this post, I am looking out on softly falling snow and a monotone gray sky. The start of 2015 is chilly – temps were 11F with the windchill last night and 20F right now. New Yorkers do not love the cold, and I’d venture that 80% of us own puffy coats :) . Once we have put up too many days back to back of nesting it in our small apartments, cabin fever descends and like magic, there is a happy flurry for me and my fellow restaurant owners of our patrons rejoining the land of the living.

January is the month for renewal, resolutions, & restarts aka excellence in gym attendance and diets both of the food varietal and the financial. As a small business owner, I am not a fan of January as 6 & 1/2 years in the restaurant industry have proven it is a countdown month. I am counting down the days until we are done with it. By February, peops are easing off of their new year’s resolutions and favoring a wee bit more indulgence. As a pusher of sugar, alcohol and internationally inspired comfort food, indulgence is my preference year-round :) .

My hubby G and I agreed that the arctic temps are really a blessing. We can combat the deep freeze, and we know how to warm up our patrons. We make an outrageoulsy delish mulled wine. Our Irish coffee and Irish hot chocolate are made with the absurdly decadent Chocovine, a chocolate red wine from Holland. Our spiked spiced cider is OFF THE HOOK yummy. As we already have our expectations properly managed and are cozied up with our warm boozy mugs, we are happy as clams to get bad weather and fiscal & food diets out of the way in one fell swoop in the first month of the 2015. In other words, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Let’s dump buckets of Frosty the snowman this month! When February hits and Valentine’s magic is aglow, our patrons will happily be abuzz out and about eating and drinking copiously, delighting in the (fingers crossed!) “better” weather. And all will be right and well in the world once again :) .

If cabin fever overwhelms, you find yourself saying bahhumbug to resolutions, you love playing in the cold, or if you are just so inclined, please join us for a cozy mug of mulled wine, oven baked cracked black pepper sea salt fries, a slice of turtle cheesecake or a cupcake or two :) .

cheers and happy new year!

Marlo

Gratitude

December 29th, 2014

As a small business owner, I count my blessings for having the support of generous patrons and the lovely West Village community in NYC. As 2014 rounds down to a close and I take a lookback at the year, I have much to be thankful for. It is healthy to pause for a deep breath and reflect on all that is good in life. It is all too easy to get caught up in dramarama, and in 2014 we experienced a lot of ups and downs. Here’s my top 5 learnings, doors closing and opening, and blessings.

5. Diversifying Desserts – a work in progress :)

When I launched my restaurant and wine bar Sweet Revenge in Manhattan nearly 6 & 1/2 years ago, I deliberately designed the the business not to be tied to cupcakes, in the event tidalwave sized macro events went against that mini cake darling. Patron palettes change, tasty innovations are thankfully embraced, diets, seasonality, media coverage, demographic shifts and availability/accessibility can tip the scales favorably, or not, in the life of a restaurant owner. I am very glad that I made that business decision out of the gate. Over the years we have added what I jokingly refer to as “real food” menus. This year we began the process of focusing on our core skills. We decided to up the volume on our beautiful desserts and our unique place in the world as the only dessert, wine & beer pairings concept.  Although the following seems simple, the hurdle of allocating time, money, staff and attention is ever the challenge for entrepreneurs. We started simple. We add a cheesecake of the day, complete of course with wine & beer pairings. What a delicious undertaking! We offer 5 different cheesecake flavors for custom order and feature one cheesecake as the day’s special:  http://www.sweetrevengenyc.com/menus/cakes-pies-cheesecakes

Stay tuned for tasty dessert happenings in 2015.  Du jour offerings will include pies, cakes, cookie bars and other sweet treats. Prepare now for seriously sugarbuzzing in the new year with us!

4. Fighting the Good Fight: Department of Health Standards & Procedures

As patrons in NYC, the letter grade on the front of all restaurants is an instant identifier of quality and trust. I take great pride in maintaining an A since I’ve been opened and thanks goes to staff for making that a daily reality. I won’t sugar coat this process. It is extremely hard to do. We have highly detailed, comprehensive daily DoH checklists for the staff. It is the right and only way to run a restaurant. However, that being said, the health inspection isn’t always rational, sane or reasonable and often times takes a turn into madness. Talk to any restaurant owner in NYC and they will share some tales that will make your head spin at the unbelievably unfair things that happen. NYC has probably the world’s most demanding health standards related to food safety. I’m a proponent of this as it serves the public’s interest.  The reality in restaurants is that everything is human dependent. Humans make mistakes. Most of the time these errors are simple, easily fixable and wouldn’t cause any harm to anyone. An example from my last inspection: while my chef was cracking eggs and had asked the inspector for a few minutes of time while she finished the task, one egg shell, out of an entire carton (36 eggs to a flat), fell on the floor as she was tossing the shells into the trash bin by her side. The inspector sighted the eggshell as an indication of having debris on our kitchen floor and not properly maintaining it.  We went to court and presented photos of the floor, copies of our DoH procedures, receipts for new lids for trash bins and testified as to the exact happenings that day during the inspection. Thankfully justice prevailed and the judge sided with us, dismissing the charge and the fine. We do the right things by patrons and take the DoH standards seriously. Having one’s NYC Food Safety License is a mandatory requirement for my chefs and bartenders. With everything that can go against you in small business, it is essential to stand up for what you know is right, insisting on the highest of standards by employees and voicing the truth when your small business reputation is on the line.  Go to bat for yourself fellow small business owners. You owe it to yourself to fight the good fight.

3. Doors Closing…And Opening

Seven restaurants within one block of Sweet Revenge failed this year. For the sheer fact that we survived what other long term, beloved spots did not, I am so thankful. I attribute the restaurant closings to a shift in neighborhood demographics and rents that are way too high to support the reality of sparse foot traffic.  The corner of the west village where this has taken place has very little foot traffic, and this year has experienced a palpable decrease. We lost many regulars who worked at companies headquartered a few blocks away when their companies exited leases for more attractive midtown rents. The west village, while a precious place to live, is notorious for high rents and small spaces, making it ripe for patrons to love and then leave the neighborhood in search for a better quality of life (ie less rent, larger space = simple math). When a block goes quiet and there’s a lot of open commercial space, it becomes less inviting for folks to stroll down it. In my business, there are safety in numbers, so we are eager to see these commercial vacancies filled. Having yummy neighbors is a good thing. They provide reasons and buzz to bring patrons to the community, and that is helpful to all small business owners who make their living in the vicinity. Although there are sadly still holes, including one next door to us and two more at the end of our block, a few new beautiful venues have sprouted up. We wish them much success and are hopeful that their presence will be a present to all of us who love and cherish Carmine and Bedford streets. These changes in our neighborhood have inspired us to look at simplifying, overhauling some of our menus and brainstorming ways to get our products out into the world.  Bring on the new year!

2. Candles, Incense, Home Diffusers, Lip Balms, Perfume & Lotion oh My!

AKA my most fave new addition to the Sweet Revenge family! I got into making soy candles, beeswax lipbalms, good smelling products for the home and yummy scented lotions and a roll on perfume in 2014 (the original inspiration Sweet Revenge for Her perfume launched in spring 2012). I had a ball bringing these to life. I joke with my folks that I love doing arts and crafts and would like to do it for a living! It is feelgood and joyful to make deliciously fragrant home, bath and body products. I make everything from scratch from recipes I tinkered with in the kitchen at Sweet Revenge, using beautiful ingredients. You can buy these products at Sweet Revenge Shop online or stop in at 62 Carmine to get them in person! Stay tuned for our etsy store in 2015!

1. Support of My Loved Ones

My biggest learning in 2104 was a simple beautiful reminder. I am truly blessed to have the love, support and rahrah cheerleading of my family and friends.  Hubby Gur and I are going into 2015 hand-in-hand shoulder-to-shoulder to pursue our goals. My dear galpals offer up help and awesome ideas. My mom and dad, brother Matt & sister-in-law Brandy exude positivity, sending me good thoughts each day and reminding me of the importance of being kind to and taking care of myself (and doing meditation!). We have so many patrons who support our dream and who truly love Sweet Revenge.  I am leaving 2014 on a note of gratitude.

Wishing a happy, prosperous and healthy 2015 to all,

cheers,

Marlo

Behind the Scenes: ABC World News Now at Sweet Revenge for National Cupcake Day!

December 15th, 2014
Sweet Revenge Nog Cupcake

Sweet Revenge Nog Cupcake

I count my blessings as a small business owner. Several weeks ago, I heard from ABC World News Now producer Janine Elliot who reached out to discuss the possibility of being featured on their show for National Cupcake Day. I asked how she knew about my restaurant & wine bar, Sweet Revenge®. She explained she’d researched the best of the best in cupcakes and Sweet Revenge was tops on the list. What an honor!

We talked about ideas for the tv segment, and then I sent her a brief pitch on how we could feature the making of our holiday cupcake The Nog (eggnog cake, spiced cream cheese frosting, grated nutgmeg dusted on top) and taking show host Tina Trinh through our cupcake, wine & beer pairings.

To film a segment efficiently, we deploy some smarty prep up tricks. We mise out batter and frosting ingredients ie have them pre-measured out and ready for filming. We bake off a tray of cupcakes that doubles as b-roll for when the producers want to pull a freshly baked tray coming out of the oven, and its also used when demonstrating our decorating techniques. ABC World News Now Filming at Sweet RevengeOur frosting is at the appropriate temperature for easy decorating along with a filled piping bag. We plan out the cupcake, wine and beer pairings in advance with the show host so there is a smooth, organized work flow and everyone is on the same page as to what to expect. What you see Chef Danielle Falcon doing on the segment in a flash requires her to do the legwork in advance.  She and I talk through the anticipated order of events for the morning and any contingency plans that may be needed.

Marlo Scott & Tina Trinh ABC World News NowWhen it’s time to do the pairings, we pick out the “beauty shots”, ie the creme de la creme of our cupcakes (yes, it’s true there are some that are better looking than others….but they all taste the same, ha!) and we get just the right angle for the camera lens. Our signature rustic parchment paper and mohawk design require just the right positioning to look maximum delicious for the camera. Who woulda thunk that making some cupcakes and having a silly good time enjoying them with booze would require planning?! Indeed, we leave very little to chance when doing these amazing show segments.

It’s always such a good giggle when the show host tries the cupcakes with their wine & beer pairings and gets that “a-ha” look on their face acknowledging they taste the magic. I LOVE creating that moment.

Working with producer Janine & show host Tina Trinh at ABC World News Now was such fun and they were a delight to work with. Although they couldn’t try the alcohol on camera, I convinced them to take a sip and a bite afterward, guilting them with the fact that we were just going to sadly throw everything out after they left! They loved the pairings, and I received lovely emails afterward about the filming.

Yesterday we dropped off cupcakes  to ABC’s studios so that on-air show hosts Reena Ninan and TJ Holmes could enjoy them during the segment that aired early this morning. I’m eternally grateful to ABC World News Now for choosing Sweet Revenge for their Insomniac Kitchen show today.

Celebrate National Cupcake Day today December 15th by joining me for our outrageous cupcake, wine & beer pairings! I think every day should be celebrated with a cupcake, and a wine or beer pairing of course :) )!

WATCH THE ABC WORLD NEWS NOW SEGMENT!

cheers,

Marlo

 

 

Marlo Scott is on ABC World News Now for National Cupcake Day!

December 15th, 2014
Marlo Scott on ABC World News Now at Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge Owner Marlo Scott, Chef Danielle Falcon, ABC Producer Janine Elliot, ABC show host Tina Trinh

We are thrilled Sweet Revenge® and owner Marlo Scott are featured on ABC’s World News Now in celebration of National Cupcake Day today, December 15th!

Watch the Insomniac Kitchen segment that ABC filmed at Sweet Revenge® with Tina Trinh. Chef Danielle showed the behind-the-scenes scoop on how we make the Nog cupcake (eggnog cake, spiced cream cheese frosting, nutmeg dusting) for the holidays. Marlo and Trina have fun with cupcake, wine & beer pairings although Tina has to do the virgin ie non-alcohol versions :) .

Massive thanks goes to ABC producer Janine Elliot for choosing our restaurant & wine bar (and cupcakes, wine & beer pairings!) for their show!

WATCH MARLO SCOTT & SWEET REVENGE ON ABC WORLD NEWS NOW INSOMNIAC KITCHEN

Burger Me Up Scotty – Our Signature Burger Now Served at Brunch!

November 29th, 2014

Sweet Revenge Signature BurgerWoop woop! After hearing from our patrons who know & love our Signature burgers on the weekdays, we are pleased as punch to let you know they are debuting them THIS weekend on brunch!

Our 100% local beef patties are topped with caramelized onion marmalade, a crispy rosemary potato haystack and a choice of ooey gooey sharp cheddar or Jarlsberg cheese. They are served on toasted English muffins with a shmear of herb butter (aren’t we tres fancy? ;) ) and come with our oven baked cracked black pepper & Kosher salt Idaho fries.

 

 

Sweet Revenge Signature Burger with Santa Rita Chardonnay & Blanche pairingsDepending on whether you’re having a Cheddar burger or Jarlsberg burger, we also have wine & beer pairings to complement the world’s greatest burger experience! We recommend our San Huberto malbec (Argentina) and Blanche de Bruxelles (Belgium) for the cheddar burger. We pair our Jarlsberg burger with Santa Rita Chardonnay and also Blanche de Bruxelles.

Join us for brunch peops!

Burger me up Scotty!

cheers,

Marlo

Power Fuel Up with Us for Your Power Shopping on Black Friday!

November 28th, 2014

Sweet Revenge Signature Burger with JarlsbergThe biggest shopping day of the years demands energy, your gameface and mega resilience to brave manic crowds for all the insane deals. Fuel up on this chilly day with our mouth watering Signature burgers, outrageous Belgian waffles with bellini & beer pairings, and our hearty chicken pot pie skillet.  And of course it goes without saying, a little sugar buzz ala our cupcakes is frankly just good for your inner shopper’s soul :) .

My restaurant & wine bar Sweet Revenge® is hear for all your fuel up needs. We will help you power through Black Friday shopping!

cheers & happy power (eating) & shopping!

Marlo

Sex & Cupcakes: Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Book Launch Party!

November 13th, 2014

Rachel Kramer Bussel Sex & Cupcakes Book Launch Party at Sweet RevengeWe are thrilled to host the “Sex & Cupcakes” book launch party of acclaimed cupcake expert & erotica writer Rachel Kramer Bussel. Join us on Monday 11/17/14 from 6-8p to meet this accomplished, successful & incredibly talented author and co-founder of Cupcakes Take The Cake.

From 6-7p, her Publisher Thought Catalog is generously sponsoring an open bar, the first 24 cupcakes and giving away 25 of Rachel’s e-books.

Rachel will be signing post cards of her e-book cover. This is a must attend event.  Sign up now at Rachel’s Facebook event page!

See you at this fabulous night celebrating her juicy collection of essays!

Sex & Cupcakes Book Launch Party with Rachel Kramer Bussel
Nov 17, 2014 6-8p
Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street, btwn Bedford & 7th Ave, West Village
NYC, NY 10014

BUY TIX NOW! Halloween Fright Night Bash at Sweet Revenge!

October 15th, 2014

Halloween 2014 Party at Sweet RevengeJoin us for a KILLER Halloween at Sweet Revenge®!  We’re the only joint in NYC with unlimited cupcakes, an open bar (select wines & beer), spooky sangria & deadly salty bar snacks for just $45 (pre-fixe 8-10p; party goes until 2a or the last ghoul standing). Buy in advance and save yourself $5 BLOODY bucks at the door.

Don’t be SPOOKED by eating a HORROR show of cupcakes & drinking CREEPY CRAWLY sangria. Yes, this is TERRIFYING. Only the skilled & the fierce will dare enter FRIGHT NIGHT at Sweet Revenge® on Friday, October 31st, 2014!

NYC’s famous Halloween parade is just 2 short blocks away at 6th ave.  Watch it start and then get your FREAK ON with us!

BUY TIX NOW for only $45!  $50 at the door btwn 8-10p for pre-fixe.  $20 cover after $10p. Tickets are limited, so don’t miss out! BUY NOW!

Must be 21 or older to buy tickets and enter. Once purchased, payment is NON REFUNDABLE. Sales tax added to final order.

Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street (btwn Bedford & 7th Ave, WEST VILLAGE)
NYC, NY 10014

Getting our A at Sweet Revenge

October 6th, 2014

Marlo Scott A Grade at Sweet Revenge in NYCIn small business, you are held accountable, and rightly so, to standards that are in the best interests of employees, customers, and your local community. In NYC, we undergo a rigorous scrutiny by the Department of Health (DoH) every year. Talk to any restaurant owner in town, and they will share their war wounds and the whispers about epic inspections at other establishments. NYC has a letter grade system that results in the inspector placing a prominently displayed grade card on the restaurant front so everyone knows their review.

We recently had our inspection at my restaurant & wine bar Sweet Revenge®, and I’m pleased as punch to brag we got an A. I’ve had an A since I opened 6 years ago; however, every year it has gotten more difficult and the inspections are ever more relentless.  I have an open kitchen, so 100% of the time everyone can see into our operations. Downstairs in the basement, I can confidently invite guests in, also at any time. I can assure you that this is uncommon in my industry. What makes me confident is that my staff uses a Department of Health checklist I created for them.  This form is based on the city’s Department of Health guidelines and feedback from my many conversations with inspectors through the years. My front of house ie bartenders/baristas, back of house ie chefs and the facilities crew accomplish their DoH responsibilities upon arrival every day. A closing checklist ensures cleanliness at the end of the shifts and end of the night.

When I was growing up, I took great pride in studying hard and getting straight As. No amount of  studying can prepare you for one of these DoH inspections. Getting an A requires a full-team effort giving a full-court press every day without fail. I appreciate my wonderful staff for taking these standards seriously and upholding them. Although these checklists don’t make me a popular boss, they teach staff to hold themselves to the highest standards and not accept less. This will serve them well as they embark on their own entrepreneurial paths down the road or work anywhere else.

I think Anthony J D’Angelo sums it up perfectly: “Set high standards and few limitations for yourself.”

High five fabulous team-o-mine! Thank you for doing a marvelous job!

cheers,

Marlo