Service is key to happy foodies

Service is key to happy foodies

Everyone’s a critic in the world of food service. Or a hobby chef. Or a foodie. Keeping those sophisticated, even somewhat demanding taste buds happy, is what inspires Peter Raimondi to lead the charge to provide great food and service at eight hotels within hospitality industry leader, Highgate. As the Complex Director of Food & Beverage at Park Central Hotel, the buck stops with Raimondi for every bar, restaurant, and in-room dining experience at locales from New York and New…

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Despite challenges, the beat goes on

Despite challenges, the beat goes on

Robyn Quattlebaum was polishing the bar at his new restaurant when he flipped on the TV news and was rocked back on his heels. On a beautiful September day in 2001, Quattlebaum and his wife Michele were just getting ready to throw open the doors of their new restaurant, the Driftaway Café, when their excitement turned to shock, then horror. “Everybody remembers where they were on Sept. 11. That was the night of our grand opening,” says Quattlebaum. “I spent…

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Wild idea keeps bakery bustling

Wild idea keeps bakery bustling

Mark Handman tells everyone to try the same experiment the next time they dine out. Instead of letting the server clear empty plates with usual alacrity, hang onto them instead. Politely shoo the server away, and see what happens next. “What you’ll probably find is that you’ll sit there longer, have a better time, and your attention will turn from being solely focused on the food, to your dining companions,” says Handman, co-owner of ridiculously successful Wild Wheat Bakery &…

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Vacationland grill house rocks lobster & more

Vacationland grill house rocks lobster & more

In the state that calls itself Vacationland, where the very best lobsters are farmed, and the windswept seashores beckon, sits a rustic, sophisticated restaurant that exists to pamper and to serve world-weary travelers. “We want everyone who enters … to feel like they are visiting our home,” says Margaret Duplessis, assistant GM of the Royal River Grill House of Yarmouth, Maine. Rough-hewn wood beams, smooth granite counters, and waterside fire pits overlooking a peaceful harbor add to the ambience of…

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Attracting diners in city with more seats than residents

Attracting diners in city with more seats than residents

In a “crazy competitive food town” on the Seacoast of New Hampshire, the number of seats for prospective dining patrons now outpaces the actual population of the city. That statistic, first reported in 2013 by local newspaper the Portsmouth Herald posed the question in its headline of the Sept. 4 story outlining the restaurant boom: “Is Portsmouth being overrun by restaurants?” Reporting that the city had 156 food-service permits issued that same year, and that the city itself had 22,417…

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Anna Maria: Chef to the stars

Anna Maria: Chef to the stars

Anna Maria Santorelli, the feisty female chef who once cooked for celebrities and dignitaries at New York City’s Gracie Mansion before fulfilling the lifelong dream of opening her own restaurant in 2006, knows how to pull culinary delights from a pressure-cooker kitchen. After working 12 years for Gracie Mansion in greater and greater roles, ultimately achieving the title of Executive Chef, the native of Italy continues to strive for and achieve her American dream with each Eggplant Parmesan she prepares,…

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They keep their friends close, their farmers closer

They keep their friends close, their farmers closer

World-class restauranteurs Elaine and Chris Jego have a motto they live by: Keep your friends close, and your farmers closer.” That adage, which served them so well in the years spent running exclusive hotels in the French countryside, is the underpinning of their new America restaurant Pasture & Pearl. (Elaine pictured in red and Chris to her right). Situated in Sanibel Island, Fla., the year-old modern American restaurant, which emphasizes French and Caribbean cuisine, owes much of its rave reviews…

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Running a restaurant in Jell-O country

Running a restaurant in Jell-O country

When Clinton Fowler agreed to head up the food and beverage management of a Radisson Hotel restaurant in Salt Lake City recently, he faced a little challenge. Namely, to bring farm-to-table fare to people who downright love potluck dinners at church, and who consume Jell-O like it’s a staple. Nothing against the delightfully wiggly and fun snack food, he says, acknowledging that most everyone loves a little Jell-O. But, he adds, Utah is a unique dining demographic, which challenges his…

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Restauranteurs go back to the farm

Restauranteurs go back to the farm

On a recent morning in Wisconsin, employees of The Informalist restaurant took a field trip. Clad in jeans, sweatshirts and sturdy shoes, they toured DragSmith Farms in the town of Barron to walk among the micro greens and organic vegetables they’d be serving later that night. “We toured the greenhouses and the farmer’s house and saw a good deal of our salad mix,” says The Informalist’s front-of-house manager Amy O’Connor. The idea, she notes, is to ignite the staff’s passion…

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The man at the helm of Treasure Island dining jewel

The man at the helm of Treasure Island dining jewel

When Troy, Ohio businessman and entrepreneur Larry Smith was asked by city planners to head up the centerpiece restaurant at the heart of Treasure Island Park on the Great Miami River, he said no. Emphatically no, despite several requests. Smith, who owned and operated Greentech Lawn and Irrigation, was just getting ready to retire, his three sons ready to buy him out, when fate and Troy officials tapped him on the shoulder. They knew that in addition to Smith’s business background, he had…

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