High Road Organizing & the New York City Restaurant Industry Roundtable

High Road Restaurant Week!

We are very excited to launch the first ever NYC High Road Restaurant Week to celebrate restaurants with good food and ethical employment practices.  High Road Restaurant Week will be held in dozens of restaurants across Manhattan and Brooklyn (TBA).  Visit our High Road Restaurant Week website, and help spread the word on social media using #HighRoadNY!

2014 High Road Restaurants:

Congratulations to the following restaurants for being awarded “High Road Restaurant” status based on their employment practices. See below for the full guide, and for more information on High Road criteria.

Manhattan Restaurants

Blue Smoke (@BlueSmokeNYC)
Cafe 2 (Cafe2Terrace5)
Cafe Duke
Colicchio & Sons (@Colicchio_Sons)
Craft Bar
Craft New York (@Craft_NewYork)
Crema (@CremaRestaurant)
Good (@GoodChefNYC)
Gramercy Tavern (@GramercyTavern)
International Gourmet Kitchen
Jazz Standard (@JazzStandardNYC)
La Palapa (@La_Palapa)
Maialino (@Maialino)

Mexicue (@Mexicue)
North End Grill (@NorthEndGrill)
One if by Land (@OneifbyLandNYC)
Riverpark (@RiverparkNYC)
Shake Shack (@ShakeShack)
Terrace 5 (@Cafe2Terrace5)
The Green Table (@MaryCleaverCo)
The Modern (@TheModernNYC)
Topping Rose House (@ToppingRose)
Union Square Cafe (@UnionSquareCafe)
Untitled (@UntitledNYC)
WichCraft (@WichCraft)

Brooklyn Restaurants

Bogota Latin Bistro (@BogotaBistro)
Egg (@PigAndEgg)
Hot House (@PeachesHotHouse)
Little Brother
Little Brother Bedstuy
Peaches (@PeachesBrooklyn)
Rose Water (@RoseWaterBrklyn)
Shake Shack (@ShakeShack)
The Smoke Joint (@TheSmokeJointBK)

How to support High Road Restaurants

High Road Restaurants

What is a High Road Restaurant?
A high road restaurant:


Look for this sticker at high road restaurants throughout the City

      • Complies with city, state and federal laws governing employment, as well as requirements set forth by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

      • Creates a respectful work environment free from hostility or abuse

      • Offers a regularly updated employee manual and establishes a neutral grievance procedure

      • Makes training, reference materials, and the opportunity to be promoted available to all staff

      • Offers health care options to its employees, or at minimum, helps employees obtain access to information on affordable health care in New York

      • Works toward providing paid sick days and other forms of paid time off to all staff

ROC-NY and ROC National Diners Guides
We honored 37 New York City High Road Restaurants in our 2014 New York City Diners’ Guide, “Recipes for the High Road.”  The 2014 Guide expanded on our 2013 ROC National Diners’ guide, which provided information on the wages, benefits, and promotion practices of the 150 most popular restaurants in America in 9 major cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to New York City. The 2013 ROC National Guide included 26 High Road Restaurants in New York City. Both guides are below.

ROC-NY 2014 Recipes for the High Road by ROCNY

2013 ROC National Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating by ROCUnited

NYC Restaurant Industry Roundtable

What is the Roundtable?
The New York City Restaurant Industry Roundtable is a collaboration of restaurant employers, workers, consumers, and ROC-NY who come together to promote alternative, ethical models of doing business in the industry. The Roundtable meets regularly to develop and share strategies that will help restaurants take the “high road” to profitability. All New York City restaurants are encouraged to learn more about and become a part of the Roundtable. The Roundtable is committed to providing valuable support for any employer striving to become a High Road restaurant.


Accomplishments of the NYC Restaurant Industry Roundtable

In 2006, the Roundtable, workers, owners, and city agencies came together to produce the New York City Restaurant Owner Manual, an informative 60-page manual on restaurant owners’ legal obligations to their workers.  The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs agreed to publish and distribute the Manual to restaurant owners who seek to obtain a license from the city. ROC-NY has also worked with the NYC Department of Small Business Services, NYS Department of Labor, NYC Department of Health, other non-profit organizations, and various attorneys to offer free trainings and workshops to restaurant owners.

In 2009, the NYCRI Roundtable and ROC-NY held the first annual Exceptional Workplace Awards, which recognized restaurants that provide good work environments and benefits to their workforce.  The awards were based on a set of principles created by the Roundtable and ROC-NY, known then as the Code of Conduct.

The Roundtable honored a new group of restaurants on July 26, 2011, with an event featuring the release of the second edition of If You Care, Eat Here: The NYC Diner’s Guide to High Road Restaurants.

In 2013, we launched a Brooklyn chapter of the Roundtable, featuring a diverse group of Brooklyn restaurants.

To learn more, visit ifyoucareeathere.com.

What are the benefits of being part of the Roundtable?

Great publicity and exposure for your business.

  • Listing as a member of the NYCRI
  • If a high road restaurant, listing in ROC’s national diner’s guide that is distributed to consumers throughout New York City and around the
  • Other forms of promotion of your restaurant to conscientious consumers

Training and development for your staff.

  • Free training in front and back of the house skills, including customized classes to suit your restaurant’s
  • Free prep courses for your staff to enable them to obtain the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Food Protection Certificate, offered in English and
  • Access to a pool of experienced and trained restaurant workers for staffing
  • In-depth assistance with laws regarding labor, immigration, and health and safety, as well as human resource practices

All NYC Restaurants are Encouraged to Join the NYC Restaurant Industry Roundtable

To learn more details of Roundtable membership, including information on our Best Practices Agreement, current members and partners, and future initiatives, please contact Andrew Nguyen at andrew.n@rocunited.org or (212) 243-6900.  Connect with us on our special Roundtable Facebook page.

Consumer Engagement

Encourage Restaurants to take the High Road
Consumers have a powerful voice in the restaurant industry.  Just as restaurants are responding to consumer demand for local, organic, and environmentally sustainable ingredients and practices, we believe that restaurants will respond to consumer demands for a just and sustainable food system that includes fair treatment of workers.  Watch this video to learn more about what you as a consumer can do to create change in this industry.
Suggest a restaurant!
Do you know a restaurant that meets some or all of our High Road criteria?  Contact Andrew Nguyen (andrew.n@rocunited.org) with your suggestions.