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Ellen Koteff

Phoenix’s Ocotillo is a Perfect Fit for Every Occasion

Ocotillo began as a dirt lot right in the center of Phoenix’s vibrant, diverse city. The restaurant, named for a plant indigenous to the Sonoran Desert, took nearly three years to construct, understandable considering its massive, compound-like setting divided into several unique spaces, including an independent coffee bar and a beer garden.

Parks & Rec Diner Forges its Own Identity

Named for the actual department in the Motor City’s government that called this space its home for 40 years—and not the former hit TV show—Parks & Rec Diner is introducing Detroit to the boundless possibilities of a chef-driven breakfast.

Food and Furnishings

Brick & Mortar Kitchen offers guests what few other restaurants can—the option to buy the tables, chairs, bar stools, or patio furniture while feasting on Momma’s Meatloaf.Located in Richmond, Texas, adjacent to the newest and third unit of Gallery Furniture, the restaurant features refined “Texas-Southern” cuisine, an adventurous wine list, and private dining for up to 200 people.

Setting the Town A-Twitter

There may be a 140-character limit to a tweet, but when it comes to the ground-floor restaurant located inside San Francisco’s Twitter building, the experience is anything but restrained. Dirty Water—a 6,250-square-foot venue with an additional 1,700 square feet outside—goes big and bold on a multitude of levels.

A Proper Introduction

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises founder Rich Melman refers to himself as “part artist.” In that case, it would be difficult to find a more appropriate culinary canvas than the powerhouse company’s rotating-chef concept Intro, which debuted in February 2015 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area.

Romancing the Home

Joe and Katy Kindred’s culinary journey is one that undoubtedly could inspire a new generation of recruits for the restaurant industry. It’s a tale that has it all—romance, travel, acclaim, the creation of a thriving and enviable restaurant business eponymously named Kindred, and ultimately, the American Dream in a small Southern town.

Return to his Roots

In 2011, a journey to the Middle East helped Chef Alon Shaya rediscover his deep-seated culinary roots. The 37-year-old Shaya, who was already a celebrated chef partner of two Italian restaurants—Domenica and Pizza Domenica—in New Orleans’ thriving landscape, began to think about the cuisine of his childhood.

Garden State Grandeur

By any measure, the debut of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen was a major restaurant opening in Morristown, New Jersey—perhaps the biggest the New York–metro commuter town had ever witnessed.

Positive Momentum

Café Momentum is, financially speaking, operating at a deficit of about $40,000 to $50,000 each month. But there’s a lot more to the not-for-profit restaurant that began as a series of Sunday pop-up dinners around the Dallas community and soon was being sold out in 15 minutes at $100 a seat.

Rising to Expectations

Making history came with a welcomed price for Ava. In the six years since The Tampa Bay Times began using stars to rate restaurants, no establishment had garnered enough praise to warrant a four-star review.

Old-School Soul

Adiner with a retro vibe, set to a backdrop of 1960s and ’70s soul and blues, Dove’s Luncheonette serves Southern-inspired Mexican cuisine that’s earning kudos from repeat guests and first-timers alike.

Enrique Olvera’s Culinary Evolution

Located in New York City’s trendy Flatiron District, Cosme is earning raves for celebrated chef Enrique Olvera’s creative dishes rooted in Mexican flavors that also showcase local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley.

Enchanted Dining

Sensing a void in the Santa Fe market, partners Joel Coleman and Josh Johns launched the aptly named Fire & Hops, a gastropub that serves fine-dining fare and interesting brews at prices reasonable enough to draw patrons back time and again.

Take Two on a Timely Concept

A year before Urban Farmer Cleveland was set to open, a restaurant team from Portland, Oregon, traveled east to meet Cleveland’s farmers, ranchers, and fishermen.“We went to Cleveland and talked to farmers and ranchers to let them know what our intentions were,” says Matt Christianson, director of culinary operations for Urban Farmer.

East Meets West

Armed with a fervent desire to showcase the authentic Chinese and Taiwanese fare of his childhood, Alvin Lin took a leap of faith and introduced Louisville, Kentucky, to The Joy Luck last year—despite his scarcity of experience running restaurants.