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Author: Susan Salk

Jock hits grand slam in restaurant biz

Jock hits grand slam in restaurant biz

Long before it was “cool to cook,” Wade Barkman would sneak back to his dorm room after baseball practice and prepare a new recipe. And while he dreamed in those early junior-college days of playing shortstop for the New York Yankees, a different career aspiration simmered on the backburner. Until finally, after graduating Texas A&M business school with a degree in business management, Barkman turned up the heat on his true passion, answering the calling to cook. After graduating the…

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Mother’s cooking adds sparkle to gray city

Mother’s cooking adds sparkle to gray city

Lisa Schroeder was unhappily pulling 13-hour shifts in a fast-paced career when the simple question “What’s for dinner?” turned her life around. While deciding between Chinese, Thai, or other delivery options, Schroeder remembers that what she really wanted, and yet nowhere to be found, was a comforting, satisfying meal that only a mother can make. “Back in the early 90s, I worked as a telemarketer for major companies to try to help our family. I worked for Publisher’s Clearinghouse before…

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A splash of lime, a side of mango keeps the competition at bay

A splash of lime, a side of mango keeps the competition at bay

Ohio isn’t exactly known for its palm trees and tropical weather. But in the Cleveland Historic District, amid bright decorations, cheerful ambience, and a whimsical gecko mascot, Johnny Mango’s World Café & Bar has been pulling in customers like the tropics in the dead of winter. For 21 years, and going strong, Shelley Underwood’s pioneering hotspot has been serving up such delectable and healthy “world fare,” as Bangkok BBQ chicken (a longtime specialty), Jamaican Jerk chicken, Japanese ‘surf and turfo’…

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Sicilian street food lures diners to top of tall escalator

Sicilian street food lures diners to top of tall escalator

Providence is a tough city to plant a hospitality flag in. Italian restaurants long ago conquered their turf on Rhode Island’s legendary Federal Hill. And funky, creative eateries hold positions throughout the city, where many chefs earned their culinary stripes at the nearby Johnson & Wales University. Yet, into the fray stepped restauranteurs determined to return the city to “grand hotel dining” enveloped in the glamorous Centro Restaurant and Lounge. Located up what is arguably the longest escalator in the…

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Dishwasher from El Salvador seizes American Dream

Dishwasher from El Salvador seizes American Dream

When Martin Amaya arrived in the United States from El Salvador in 1994, he started his restaurant career as a dishwasher. Subsisting on three hours of sleep every night, Amaya worked by day in a bakery, and at night in the demanding kitchen of former Hadley, Mass. restaurant Carmelina’s. “I was always on time and I was so hungry to learn,” Amaya says. “And Damien DiPaola (then-owner of Carmelina’s in Hadley, Mass.) saw something in me. And over time, he…

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Bowling & good food — A crazy good idea

Bowling & good food — A crazy good idea

In 2002, when Boston nightlife mogul Patrick Lyons decided to mix buffalo wontons, steak tips and creative cocktails with a fun pastime once relegated to beer-stained venues serving deep-fried foods, Kings Bowl America was born. “Patrick Lyons, our president and founder, was a nightlife mogul who founded a lot of nightclubs on Lansdowne Street before moving into the restaurant space with successes like Sonsie of Newbury,” says Doug Warner, vice president of marketing and business development for Kings Dining &…

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The Wishing Well, going strong since 1936

The Wishing Well, going strong since 1936

On a tract of old farmland not far from the Saratoga Race Course flourishes a venerable restaurant, which has passed its good name along to generations of owners and even the mother of a Kentucky Derby winning racehorse. The Wishing Well restaurant in Wilton, N.Y. first opened for business in 1936. Nearly 40 years later, Robert and Brenda Lee purchased the property and relaunched it in May 1968. In that time, the pair, and now their son Robert Lee, created…

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In a Vienna state of mind

In a Vienna state of mind

Matt Prince was 19 when he opened his first bar at Hofstra University. The Long Island lounge called Bogart’s became so popular that the hospitality maverick opened a second and third location before selling them in a succession of sweet deals, the last about 10 years ago. The idea at the time, back in 2007, was to pursue a new lounge venture with former NY Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, and retire from the hospitality grind to raise his three…

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Guts & glory at California winery

Guts & glory at California winery

The call for help came at 1:30 a.m. in early October as longtime California winemaker Fred Peterson slumbered before daybreak, harvest time. The alarm was sounded as major wildfires that would destroy vineyards, homes and lives began hitting farms and wildlife sanctuaries 20 minutes from the Peterson Winery in Healdsburg. “We were in the middle of finishing our grape harvest when my father (the founder of Peterson Winery), who’s a volunteer on the fire department, got a call in the…

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There’s a new Monument in Charlestown

There’s a new Monument in Charlestown

Not far from the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Mass. begins a quiet revolution in neighborhood fare. With its rough-hewn accents of wood, and a bright red, wood-fire stove at its center, four veteran restauranteurs from Boston opened Monument Restaurant to bring comfort stables & family friendly hours to a neighborhood hungry for the basics, but with flair. “Every decision we made, from the menu to the look and feel of the place, was made for the neighborhood and community…

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