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New Sichuan Hot Chicken Spot Takes Steps to Tackle Wage Disparities

Hot Lola’s incorporates a 4 percent surcharge that goes toward employees’ health and wellness

A spicy chicken sandwich from Hot Lola’s.
Hot Lola’s/Facebook


Hot Lola’s is scheduled to open this Sunday in Ballston’s new Quarter Market food hall, selling Sichuan-style hot chicken sandwiches with a side of social activism. Washingtonian reports that chef-owner Kevin Tien, who’s up for a James Beard Award this year for his work at Himitsu, is implementing a 4 percent surcharge on all checks as part of a “fair wage and wellness” provision that promises to to cover healthcare, vision, and dental insurance for employees. Tien credits Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo of Chicago’s Fat Rice for innovating the wellness charge.

The fried chicken shop is pledging that no part of the charge will go toward ownership salaries or investors. Tipping will still be encouraged with suggested amounts of 18, 20, and 22 percent. The restaurant will also blur the lines between front-of-house and back-of-house employees by rotating workers through the kitchen and the cashier stations.

The opening menu for Hot Lola’s includes a fried chicken thigh sandwich with four levels of spice: too hot, hot and spicy, dry hot, and not hot. Sandwiches and chicken tenders are $11. A combo with fries and a drink comes to $15. [Washingtonian]

Endangered turtle

Multiple outlets reported yesterday that the location of the Greene Turtle sports bar attached to Capital One Arena in Chinatown will close at the end of potentila postseason runs for the Wizards (nope) and the Capitals. Monumental Sports and Entertainment — the parent company that owns the NBA and NHL teams along with their home venue — has bought out the lease of the bar with three years remaining. Washington Business Journal reports that all signs point to Monumental mogul Ted Leonis installing a dedicated sports betting facility following the legalization of the practice last year. [WBJ]

The legend grows

Grub Street spent a day with José Andrés in D.C. ahead of the opening of his massive Spanish market in New York. The feature came with the shocking news that sometimes the chef, restaurateur, and activist actually appears tired. Andrés also hinted that he and legendary El Bulli brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià may open an “ultra-high-end restaurant” in the market. Maybe they could call it grandebar? [GS]

C’mon Zuckerberg

The Alta Strada in the Mosaic District has been dealing with some distressing social media trolling. Washington City Paper reports that the restaurant was bombarded with 71 one-star reviews from questionable accounts on Facebook during a single day last August but has had no luck getting them removed. Alex Levin, the Schlow Restaurant Group’s executive pastry chef, reached out Facebook but was told the company couldn’t take action because the potential spam posts did not violate its community standards. Alta Strada is going to rebuild its Facebook page from scratch and deactivate the option to leave reviews. [WCP]

Quarter Market

4238 Wilson Boulevard, , VA 22203 Visit Website