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Author: Susan Salk

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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Steak House does land-office business for 60+ years

Steak House does land-office business for 60+ years

When The Top Steak House first opened its doors in 1955, it was to serve a clientele of well-dressed customers, the women in dresses, the men in neatly pressed suits. They swept into an elegant dining room, paneled in wood. The dim lights turned everything a golden hue, while piano keys tinkled an enchanted melody of sophistication and taste. Times have changed dramatically since Lee Henry and Bill Sapp first conceived of the supper-club fine-dining restaurant in the hub of…

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Honest food—not from bags—entices New York diners

Honest food—not from bags—entices New York diners

One of the first things Josh Miles will tell you about his five-year-old restaurant in downtown Rochester, N.Y. is that the food is “honest.” And by honest, he means nothing is harvested from a bag or a freezer. The seven varieties of oysters and other seafood on The Revelry’s menu is locally sourced and freshly harvested. And the food itself is inspired by Miles’ childhood connection to home-cooking in South Carolina’s ‘Lowcountry.’ But while happy memories of red peas and…

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Building foot-traffic by design

Building foot-traffic by design

What makes one restaurant thrive while another flounders in the same neighborhood? This very question is what makes the three-person team of Le Billyclub of Montreal get up every day and get to work. Their task is to help restauranteurs in Quebec differentiate their eateries in a sea of robust culinary activity. Le Billyclub is a branding and marketing firm whose mission is to launch a restaurant’s name and brand into and above a vibrant scene, “finding ways to bring…

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From the kitchens of Italy to the American dream

From the kitchens of Italy to the American dream

Every Sunday morning as a young boy, Gian Piero Mazzi was awakened to the sound of pots and pans clanging to life in his mother’s kitchen. “She would start cooking at 9 a.m. Every Sunday I heard that sound, and I’ll never forget it,” says Piero, chef and owner of Piero’s Corner in Herndon, Va. “Food was a big part of our family, and my mother’s love of cooking had a tremendous influence on me.” Despite his parent’s suggestion that Mazzi…

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