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Author: Susan Salk

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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And they’re off! Serving up fresh fare at Keeneland races

And they’re off! Serving up fresh fare at Keeneland races

Keeneland sits resplendent in the Kentucky bluegrass, exuding old-world grandeur and timelessness— a jewel in the world of Thoroughbred racing. Queen Elizabeth once visited the horses there, and many other dignitaries and horse racing royalty have passed through the richly appointed venues, watched the beautiful Thoroughbreds race around an immaculate oval track, or have bid at auctions where legendary race trainers met their future Thoroughbred stars. And at the heart of the Keeneland experience, which began with its inception in 1936, is…

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A tour de force from Thailand captivates NH restaurant scene

A tour de force from Thailand captivates NH restaurant scene

Emshika Aberini is hard not to admire. The Thai native, who possesses both sparkling charm and business-school savvy, has parlayed her dream to own her own restaurant, and to honor her sister’s memory, into a classic success story that has garnered her headlines and accolades for all she has achieved. The owner and chef of Chang Thai Café in Littleton, N.H. has infused her homespun recipes, learned from her family in Thailand, into a thriving restaurant, so notable, that the pioneering…

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Asian restaurant carves out niche in northern boomtown

Asian restaurant carves out niche in northern boomtown

Eight years after opening its doors in the burgeoning city of Portland Maine, the Kon Asian Bistro has remained relevant in the face of a restaurant revolution. The once-quiet restaurant scene now brims over with hundreds of pubs, diners, and eateries. It has become such a mecca that the Boston Globe newspaper declared in 2014 that a “boom” was taking place in the small city. And what was once an undiscovered fishing community was suddenly a big draw for foodies…

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