Mantry is an innovative food service started by three veterans of the food, beverage and product design industries: Reggie Milligan, Kyle Zien and Tony Hancock. They came up on a great idea a couple of years ago to provide a mail-order subscription service geared towards men dealing in artisanal foods and varied edible products. With the explosion of cooking shows geared towards men on both network and cable television, it seems like a perfect time for a service like this to gain some major traction. And of course, there is the ongoing “Americana” trend of bearded male hipsters in cities all over the United States (from Brooklyn to Portland) falling in love with everything “craft” and handmade” which also bodes very well for this service.
We reached out to Reggie, one of the founders to find out more about the Mantry movement.
“Food is about impressions and taste is numero uno …”
What was the number one inspiration behind starting Mantry?
Helping people discover amazing Artisan Food makers from around America.
When it comes to NYC – there is an abundance of riches when it comes to fine eating restaurants. What are some of your favorite artisanal places to eat in NYC?
Pok Pok in Brooklyn is amazing, the cool thing about NYC is hopping on a bike and doing simple food tours in new neighborhoods. You can have a Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich, Vietnamese Noodle Soup and Korean BBQ in the same hour, pretty fortunate to have that opportunity.
You guys come across as a well-cultured collective – what cities in the world do you personally think have the best food scenes?
In America, if you stick to farm markets and where the locals are eating you can’t go wrong. Portland, Austin, New Orleans and Raleigh have some pretty amazing things happening. I was recently in Panama City, the food is just incredible. The central fish market has all these ceviche stands brimming with local fish.
Since we are a style-based magazine, how important do you think style and appearance is with regards to food?
Food is about impressions, taste is numero uno but I think more and more people have a greater appreciation for how aesthetics impact a meal. You see restaurants like Noma with exacting focus in both food and engineering a unique environment to experience it.
I recently read an amazing book by Dan Ariely called “Predictably Irrational,” – there’s a chapter where he breaks down through research how important presentation is to inducing satisfaction. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone interested in how style plays a role in improving many experiences we don’t even think about.
Do you have plans on taking the Mantry movement outside of NYC and spreading elsewhere?
We ship nationally right now, we are looking at the UK and Australia next.
So it’s getting to Valentine’s Day and guys get a little antsy around this time because their girlfriends/wives expect something special – can you give us some surefire tips on artisanal foods, restaurants, cooking tips etc that will make this V-Day their best ever?
(Before I answer this, I just want to say that being the “this is how you should live your life guy” always makes me feel a little pretentious, so below are some simple pieces of advice from foodie friends that I love)
1. Consider making something, the gesture is more endearing than going to a restaurant. It can literally be anything, even if you just make a nice cocktail and order in Pad Thai. Anything from Morris Kitchen will make a great drink.
2. Make pancakes for breakfast, it’s simple and a nice gesture for anyone. For a special treat try Noble Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup.
3. Make a day of it, cruise to the Farmer’s Market, pick out some things together, grab a bottle of wine and cook together in the kitchen. Even if you have no idea how to cook, a couple nice cheeses and some artisan meats with a simple salad is a great start.
4. Go out for dessert, reservations on V-Day can be a hassle. Eat at home and stroll to a local pastry shop or even go for a cupcake and a coffee.
5. Surprise them at work with chocolates, It’s ridiculously cheezy and played out and that’s why it’s great. Anything from Olive & Sinclair in Nashville.
For more information on Mantry’s services, visit www.mantry.com