Clean Slate Rocks Plan B

Clean Slate Rocks Plan B

The ink was barely dry on their lease when husband-wife partners Jason and Melissa Scrymgeour were sent back to the drawing board. “We signed the lease for Clean Slate Wine Bar in downtown Solvang on the central coast of California in February 2020, and immediately, the world shut down, Jason says. “Our original concept was to be a wine-focused, wine-driven concept, which happened to serve really good small plates.” The idea was flipped on its back, however, when terms of…

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Fire on the water in Washington

Fire on the water in Washington

Despite escalating food costs hovering between 100 to 400 percent, Chef Derrin Davis of WaterFire Restaurant in Washington reports that sales at his Pacific rim concept have never been stronger. Restaurant revenues are up 115 percent over pre-covid sales, says the chef/owner, who attributes strong numbers to a growing and supportive customer base. “I think with Covid we may have gained support, and also drew in first-time customers,” Davis says. “We’re in a unique position in that we’re in a…

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Farm to Hell’s Kitchen

Farm to Hell’s Kitchen

Foraging for the perfect heirloom melon when you’re sitting in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood may once have seemed farfetched. But then an idea emerged like a new leaf in springtime.  And that blossomed into a farm-to-table concept, located in an old book-printer space, and serving ingredients cultivated by New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania farmers so tightly knit to the restaurant it was like having a farm behind the kitchen. “Because we have, and our forager has, a great…

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Fresh, bright, positivity

Fresh, bright, positivity

West coast businessman and restauranteur Willie Rhine isn’t a gambler, and not likely to throw the dice on a frivolous concept. So when the hospitality industry was contracting nationwide during the pandemic lockdowns, Willie and his business partner Chad Gardner of Gardner Hospitality Group were thoughtfully opening a new concept in the affluent community of Rancho Mirage, Calif.; often called the “Camp David of the West.” In a community that has hosted past presidents, from Eisenhower to Obama, as well…

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Walla Walla’s wingman strikes

Walla Walla’s wingman strikes

In military aviation, the term “wingman” refers to a strategic flying partner situated just off the wing of another aviator. The idea is to protect and defend the flying group of two or more jets. The idea so resonated with restauranteur Brendon Mendoza of Walla Walla, WA that he named his eight-year-old family dining concept Wingman Birdz + Brewz. “A wingman will take one for the team, and always has your back,” Mendoza says. “I’ve drilled this concept into my…

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Magical mystery tour

Magical mystery tour

On California’s Monterey Peninsula, wildflowers growing along the coast have found their way inside. Just past the bright pink door that opens onto natural hardwood the sounds of the 1960’s float and painted flowers bedeck the walls. It’s a sensory bomb experience at Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant. Chef/owner Anthony Gerbino, a self-taught cook and artisan of beautifully plated vegetarian and vegan cuisine, is a chef of few words. But his patrons aren’t.  And in social media review sites, they speak of…

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A warm community ‘hug’ for Italian concept

A warm community ‘hug’ for Italian concept

When oceanographer Christina Carollo decided to take the plunge into the hospitality business, even her business school education did not prepare her for the choppy waters that lay ahead.  The year 2020 was, to put it mildly, not kind. Government-imposed lockdowns shuttered her Italian concept Ambrogia Caffé & Enoteca, and most tragically, her chef was killed in an automobile accident. “After my chef passed away, there was a point where I considered giving the keys back to my landlord,” Carollo…

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Big Texas concept thrives in Frisco

Big Texas concept thrives in Frisco

The Stonebriar Country Club of Frisco, Texas is its own private world. And bills itself on being a “home away from home” for its members. On this expansive property there are two 18-hole golf courses, eight tennis courts, a Class III swimming pool with two diving boards and staffed with lifeguards. And a food and beverage experience for all moods and times of day. Built in 1988, the club was a cornerstone of the massive development of the high-end residential…

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The Yellow Carrot & a mission of joy

The Yellow Carrot & a mission of joy

“It’s a crazy story!” she begins. “I’d had a few restaurants, one I’d named Café Sari, and everyone thought it was an Indian restaurant, which it wasn’t.  “At another point I was a caterer who flew around the country on assignments because my work was in such high demand. I was a very successful pastry chef with 25 cupcake flavors, 15 cookie flavors and 10 varieties of cakes. “And one day I decided I wanted to open a concept that…

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Bridge over troubled waters

Bridge over troubled waters

A solid, lattice-truss bridge in the iconic Eli Whitney style, which once served only as a beautiful, covered walkway for restaurant patrons, was transformed during government lockdown measures into a means of survival for a 75-year-old destination restaurant. Festooned in twinkling white lights that shown like fireflies at night, the covered bridge at Bull Run Restaurant had a wait-list every night of the week as soon as outdoor dining was approved, says owner Alison Tocci. “When the pandemic hit, we…

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