Suitcase Clones & Bold Ideas

Suitcase Clones & Bold Ideas

The pairing that started Laurel Ridge Winery involved “suitcase clones” and a daring decision. “Suitcase Clones”—vine clippings famously smuggled from France to Oregon in the 1970s by Charles Coury to reinvigorate the flagging, cool-climate vineyards of Oregon— were half the inspiration for David Teppola to dare to dream of making wine. The other half involved swimming against the tide of winemaking wisdom of the time, and buying a tract of nutrient-poor land to grow his grapes. His daughter Kira Teppola,…

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Riding the waves of coastal dining

Riding the waves of coastal dining

For those who’ve dreamed of opening their own restaurant on a bluff on the Pacific coast, Jon and MaryLynne Hamlin of Oregon have already planted their flag. High above the crashing sea, with a view that stretches up and down the craggy shoreline, the Tidal Raves restaurant has commanded the spot as a popular dining establishment for 29 years. “It was our goal to do our own thing in hospitality at some point,” says Jon Hamlin. After I graduated The…

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From dishwasher to owner of 3 BYOB restaurants

From dishwasher to owner of 3 BYOB restaurants

Richard McLain, the chef/owner of a successful multi-unit independent group of restaurants in Connecticut called Nataz, started in the hospitality business as a dishwasher at age 14. But at 17, the entrepreneurial young man was unexpectedly let go after his employer discovered he’d fathered a little baby girl whom he named Natasha; Nataz for short.  “I didn’t know what to do at that point,”McLain says. “I had learned restaurants the right way, working side-by-side with Italian immigrants who had high…

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A clear culinary vision from Ottawa penthouse

A clear culinary vision from Ottawa penthouse

On St. Laurent Boulevard in Ottawa, Canada, in the penthouse of a luxury condominium building, a breath of fresh air blows through a new restaurant. Le St. Laurent restaurant, with its panoramic views of Ottawa and beyond, was opened in July under the leadership of Executive Chef and GM Ryan Edwards. The concept, says Edwards, is a marriage of high-end, post-modern décor, sophistication, sweeping views, and a menu rooted in both local produce and the groundbreaking cuisine he learned in the…

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No kids, no TV; a niche that works in Boise

No kids, no TV; a niche that works in Boise

Rebecca Blackwell left Boise, Idaho as a young woman to discover the world. She traveled; she studied interior design; and she married a charming Brit. Midway through her journey, a medical diagnosis put a pause on her plans, and Blackwell and her husband Stuart Ford, returned to her hometown to reinvent themselves as proprietors of a neighborhood wine and beer establishment called The Local. They opened the quiet, sophisticated wine, beer and nosh bar four years ago with Blackwell’s sister Katie after…

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A Porsche & home-cooking started his journey with food

A Porsche & home-cooking started his journey with food

What powered Chef Craig Strong onto the international hospitality stage were twin goals: A desire to own a convertible 914 Porsche, and a passion to be the best chef he could be. Those aspirations, emerging when he was just 15, propelled him toward the hospitality industry, and inspired him to work very hard to seize every opportunity. Doors opened for Strong. Some of the best kitchens in Paris and Spain eventually welcomed the hard-working young man.  And under the tutelage…

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Charleston partners open 3rd restaurant on same block

Charleston partners open 3rd restaurant on same block

When the owners of two popular restaurants in Charleston, S.C. decided to open a third, they asked themselves one question: “Who doesn’t love Italian food?” And with that, the creators of Melfi’s restaurant, dove in. Spending two years researching the cuisine and wines of Italy, and perfecting their trademark Romanesque pizza, (along with full pasta menu and traditional fare), the new eatery fired up its two beautiful wood-fired ovens last month. “It’s going great!” says General Manager Adam Gainer. “We…

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East meets West in modernized Indian cuisine

East meets West in modernized Indian cuisine

The menu at Indian restaurant IndeBlue goes far beyond chicken korma and basmati rice. Chef/owner Rakesh Ramola, originally of Bombay City, India, opened IndeBlue of Philadelphia with the dream of introducing a larger audience to Indian food. And of modernizing the pallet while rooting his dishes in tradition. The results, says the 25-year hospitality business veteran, have made IndeBlue a “hopping Washington Square restaurant” that serves a broad audience and an even broader cuisine. “A lot of Indian restaurants in…

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Seems like old times at MM Shapley’s

Seems like old times at MM Shapley’s

For Mark and Mary Shapley of Mississippi, it feels like old times since the couple decided to roll up their sleeves and reopen their wildly popular steakhouse this past summer. The doors to MM Shapley’s Restaurant (formerly Shapley’s Restaurant) in Ridgeland were thrown open in July following extensive renovations and a 20-year hiatus from the hospitality business. “In 1988, we sold the business (but retained ownership of the 8,000 square foot building it was in) so we could raise our…

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Fine sparkling wine, a chateau—dreams fulfilled

Fine sparkling wine, a chateau—dreams fulfilled

Sitting atop a knoll in Napa Valley lays a grand chateau that embodies a French winemaker’s dream; to find a slice of California soil and bring forth something amazing. On the cool-climate tract of land, perfect for cultivating sumptuous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, the Taittinger family of Reims, France grew their crop. And slowly, under the watchful eye of founding winemaker Eileen Crane, the sparkling wines eventually took their rightful place in the competitive world of fine wine, attracting…

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