‘They said to dance, so we danced’

‘They said to dance, so we danced’

Three months after opening their Latin-Mediterranean bistro Piripi, named for the Spanish word for “tipsy,” Victoria and Hugo Meyer were dizzy with mandates and pivots. Servers became delivery drivers; a parking lot became the dining room; and suddenly they were packing up high-end scallop dinners with free champagne in to go containers—something they never wanted to do. “They wanted us to dance, so we danced,” says Victoria Meyer, co-owner of the 4,000 square foot concept in Erie, Colo. Along with…

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Soldiering on at the beaches of Maryland

Soldiering on at the beaches of Maryland

The darkest hours washed over an Ocean City waterfront craft-beer and unique dining concept, as pandemic closures overtook the nation. “Those first couple of weeks were the hardest,” says Zev Sibony, owner, 45th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille. The Taphouse is a high-end craft beer and scratch-made dining concept, the absolute jewel of a five-restaurant chain built near the beaches of Ocean City, Md.  “But once we figured out the best deals to entice people to come and eat with…

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Idaho Falls ‘crazy chef’ sees light at end of tunnel

Idaho Falls ‘crazy chef’ sees light at end of tunnel

When asked how he survived the past year in the restaurant biz, Idaho Falls restauranteur Jay Drahota, owner of 11-year-old concept D’Railed, chuckles and begins: “Gather round, for I have a story to tell.” The self-taught chef/owner of a thriving concept, serving A-5 Japanese Wagyu steak, Hungarian pork Mangalista, and 26-ounce Maine lobster could not have dreamed up bigger battles to wage.  And he does it all from an 1800s Union Pacific railroad building; purchased and converted. Adding to the…

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Seattle food truck creperie reborn in Florida

Seattle food truck creperie reborn in Florida

Debi Hernandez doesn’t sugar coat it. Running her Crisp Creperie concept in the middle of pandemic measures was, in a word, “rough.” But when the Cape Coral, Fla. chef/owner thinks about how bad things might have been, she is thankful every day: thankful that in 2019 and pre-pandemic, she was able to relocate her burgeoning food-truck business from Seattle, to the business-friendly state of Florida. “We were opened (in FL) for a little more than a year when we were…

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El Paso concepts works magic with “to-go” pivot

El Paso concepts works magic with “to-go” pivot

Three different Texas concepts, from high-end to casual, survived lockdown by pulling their oars in unison in the lifeboat of “to-go” dining. All meals, whether they were crafted at the high-end Cafe Central in El Paso or were produced in the kitchens of Famous Dave’s BBQ or the West Texas Chop House, were instantly transitioned. “The first thing we did was to improve our websites at all three of our restaurants to accommodate all-night ordering,” says Maricarmen Ramos, comptroller, Triple…

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From Boston to Florida—into the breach once more!

From Boston to Florida—into the breach once more!

Beloved Boston restaurateur John Moore has taken a page from Tom Brady’s playbook. Pulling up stakes from Boston, Mass., where he enjoyed a long and successful career overseeing a neighborhood eatery in Charlestown, a few blocks from Paul Revere Park, Moore now heads to sunny Florida. And like Brady, who exited the colder climes of Bean Town to quarterback the 2021 Super Bowl winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Moore heads to Florida supported by a team of Boston-area seafood purveyors heading once…

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Café 44: Among the Survivors

Café 44: Among the Survivors

Café 44 of Arlington, VA, a successful breakfast, lunch & brunch hotspot, doubled its business after doing a “massive pivot” in its food service and customer outreach. They completely retrenched in May; re-opening from forced government closure to a social media favorite with an upscale dinner menu. “When we reopened in May we had to pivot strongly,” says owner Jula Jane. “Before the shutdown we were serving breakfast and lunch to a customer base that were tenants in our building….

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A Downeast take on the ‘pandemic pivot’

A Downeast take on the ‘pandemic pivot’

In the restaurant industry of Maine, the conversation these days centers around surviving the winter. Nobody speaks in terms of profits. It’s all about managing the losses following the long months of pandemic-related lockdown. Brian Langley, owner of 35-year-old landmark eatery Union River Lobster Pot of Ellsworth, doesn’t sugar-coat it. “There’s a devastating winter coming for the hospitality industry. Every single restaurant in Maine makes its money in the summer. We rely on the money we make in the summer…

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Historic Wishing Well Restaurant is all in for Turkey Day

Historic Wishing Well Restaurant is all in for Turkey Day

The Wishing Well Restaurant of Saratoga Springs, NY is opening its famous front door, flanked by iconic jockey with lantern, for a traditional Thanksgiving feast! Under ordinary times, the 55-year-old family owned landmark would be in a crowded field. During these extraordinary times, when measures and counter measures have been issued by government in response to the national health emergency, the ability to be able to offer dinner at all on what has traditionally been The Wishing Well’s busiest day,…

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‘One day this will be history’

‘One day this will be history’

Sergio Bellmónt handles the stress, frustration and complexities of owning a restaurant, using a day-to-day approach, even in times of government lockdown. Hard? Very. Is there hope? For Sergio and his wife and partner Claudia, yes, there is always hope. The husband-wife owners of Bellmónt Spanish Restaurant of Coral Gables, Fla. have been surviving on a combination of curbside and takeout business, a government Paycheck Protection loan, and the good graces of all manner of creditors. And especially with the…

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