Vapiano: Generic Restaurant Chain, Energy Hog

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Rebecca Marx

Although we recycle, buy local eggs, and dutifully haul bags of frozen vegetable matter to be composted at the Greenmarket, we've got a guilty appreciation for stores that leave their doors ajar in the summer, allowing icy puffs of air-conditioner breath to briefly cool passersby. It's completely objectionable from an environmental standpoint, and completely wonderful from everyone else's.

But while we expect and frankly look forward to those little blasts of cold air, we were unprepared for the full-throttle Arctic chill that hung over the sidewalk on University Place the other day, courtesy of Vapiano. As the photo above illustrates, the restaurant, which is part of a generic-looking Italian chain, has enormous windows, and through them comes an enormous amount of air. We always thought the point of having huge windows was to let the air come in, but while we're all for the prevention of customer flop sweat, this is ridiculous. Given how cold the sidewalk was, indoor conditions must have been identical to a morgue's.

Really, this sort of thing is kind of embarrassing, almost as much so as Vapiano's description of itself as "somewhere between the nicest of fast casual and hippest of casual dining restaurants." Guys, you're trying too hard, and making a mockery of all of the little boutiques that do New York a great public service with their comparatively timid waste of energy. Learn some subtlety, and plant a few damn trees while you're at it.


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