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Author: Susan Salk

From family kitchen to James Beard mecca

From family kitchen to James Beard mecca

From the time Jasper Mirabile Jr. was 6 years old, he knew where he belonged. And it wasn’t the T-ball field along with all the other kids, but in the kitchen practicing culinary arts alongside his mother and grandmother. “I would watch my Mom take six ingredients and make a complete dinner,” says the chef who has overseen a family restaurant dynasty and been honored three times by James Beard. “I think I knew back then that restaurants would be…

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A lodge for rock stars, and everyone else

A lodge for rock stars, and everyone else

Gilbert’s Lodge in St. Claire Shores, Michigan has earned a place in the heart of a rock star, who got his start in its kitchen, and many others who have a soft spot for the unassuming lodge. Rock singer Eminem worked as a cook in Gilbert’s before he was famous. By day, the “very quiet, very nice kid” made burgers and other comfort food. And at night, often very late, he recorded at a nearby music studio, creating his Slim…

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4th gen restauranteur bucks college degree for true calling

4th gen restauranteur bucks college degree for true calling

Soon after hanging a shingle outside his commercial real estate office, Randy Gruber got an uncomfortable feeling. “I felt like a used-car salesman, and didn’t like it,” he recalls. Daring to reinvent himself after earning a college career that pointed him away from the restaurant biz and family tradition, Gruber returned to his roots. Following in the footsteps of his famous restauranteur grandfather Walter Shapiro, who cofounded the famous Cooky’s Steak Pubs, an 11-unit restaurant and catering chain begun in…

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The Chatham Inn wins hearts on the Cape

The Chatham Inn wins hearts on the Cape

Steps away from the beach, shops and art galleries of Cape Cod stands an inn so special it was ranked by Trip Advisor as the number 1 most romantic hotel in New England. The 1830s structure, renovated in creamy tones and modern coastal décor, has consistently attracted customers to its doors since husband-wife hoteliers Jeff and Kayla Ippoliti took over the property four years ago. Their dream was to “go big” in the quaint, seaside town they loved. “My wife…

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Q&A: Napa’s dentist winemaker

Q&A: Napa’s dentist winemaker

When Steve Reynolds was a boy, the notion of selling wine for a living was just not done. “Back then, being a doctor or a lawyer was considered a suitable profession. People who sold booze were kind of considered losers,” says Reynolds, proprietor of Reynolds Family Winery of Napa Valley. “So, I went to dental school, and opened a practice.” In the course of navigating his professional path, he and his wife Suzie purchased an old chicken farm in Napa…

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Three brothers: finding their joy

Three brothers: finding their joy

Over 30 years ago, Robert Gladchuk walked from his job in Boston’s Financial District to his home in the Charlestown Navy Yard with the feeling he was destined for other things. Passing bakeries and restaurants along the way, he would glance enviously at the “earthy production lines” of restauranteurs and bakers loading up supplies in readiness for a hard day’s work. And he thought of his two brothers, Steve and John, who were busy building a successful baking franchise in…

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Farm to table movement saves 500-acre tract

Farm to table movement saves 500-acre tract

Nearly 20 years ago, with bulldozers nearly at the ready to clear 500 acres for an 80-home development in Groton, Massachusetts, Steve and Nancy Webber stood up at a town meeting and offered a different plan. Instead of homes, they proposed a farm-to-table restaurant featuring produce grown and raised on site. Instead of cul-de-sacs and driveways, they argued to preserve the land where Gibbet Hill Farm once raised Black Angus beef cattle. “There was a major developer who proposed building…

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Tavern GM: ‘We do this really weird thing…’

Tavern GM: ‘We do this really weird thing…’

Tavern 4&5 in Minnesota leverages opportunity for success by doing a “really weird thing.” Even its name has a funny story, says General Manager Dave Guistolise, who has presided over the Eden Prairie neighborhood restaurant since it first flung open its doors five years ago. The longtime restauranteur and Boxerbrand customer explains the name, the concept, the “weird thing” in this week’s Q&A with Recipe for Success @ Boxerbrand. Q: How did Tavern 4&5 get its name? It’s kind of…

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Rustic Italian ‘sisters’ entice the MA suburbs

Rustic Italian ‘sisters’ entice the MA suburbs

Sofia Italian Steakhouse, 10, and Amelia’s Restaurant, 4, are rustic Italian “sisters” bringing sublime small plates and casual charm to neighborhoods in Massachusetts. Both restaurants flourish under the guidance of owner Marios Michalakis, a seasoned restaurant veteran who cut his chops working for a restaurant in Quincy, Mass., before opening Sofia Italian Steakhouse in West Roxbury, Mass. 10 years ago.  And four years ago, his success inspired him to open “little sister” Amelia’s in Stoughton. Serving small plates so beautiful…

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Golf club tees up fine dining

Golf club tees up fine dining

A championship par 72 golf course in Georgia has teed up fine dining. Last month, after decades spent successfully attracting athletes to its fine, bentgrass greens and first-class conditions, the operators of the Woodmont Golf & Country Club threw open the doors to The Summit, a destination restaurant open to everyone. “The decision was made because we wanted to improve the level of service and the quality and variety of food we offered,” says Food and Beverage Director Robert Gilbreath….

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