Keith Loria | Food Newsfeed
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Keith Loria

Culinary Road Trips

There are plenty of ways for a restaurant or pub to expand its brand, but two innovative thinkers have come up with a way to connect with people around the country. Both Boston-based Himmel Hospitality Group and Deschutes Brewery, based in Bend, Oregon, are taking their brands on the road.

Lessons at Lunch

Millennials consider themselves a generation of foodies, which is why new entrepreneurs seem to be coming on line each month in the hospitality industry, offering fresh ideas and enthusiasm to take advantage of the cultural movement.

Selected by the Sea

It was during a trip to Spain that a lightbulb went off in the head of fishing enthusiast Sean Barrett. There should be a restaurant-supported fishery, he thought, that allows local fishermen to sell directly to local chefs.

Farmers Harvest to Chefs’ Orders

Instead of subscribing to the notion that the closest proximity dictates the highest supply quality, Spoonbar, a restaurant in Healdsburg, California, found a way to tap into a wider range of microclimates that span a 140-mile area from Southern Mendocino County, through all of Sonoma and into Marin County.

Experience Matters

When Pete Pjetrovic was presented with the opportunity to join businessman and restaurateur Rocco Trotta in opening an elegant, classic American steakhouse at 72 Madison Avenue in New York City, he jumped at the chance.

Ordering Made Simple

While pursuing an MBA at Georgetown University, Konstantin Zvereff and Jag Bansal were given an assignment that focused on a growing restaurant chain, and they immediately saw that something seemed out of whack in the industry: The front-of-house staff had access to all kinds of helpful technology—from reservations to table management to orders—but the back of house was still using Excel spreadsheets and voicemails to manage orders and deliveries from suppliers.

Beer For the A­­­ges

It’s long been a practice to age wine and spirits for better flavor, but a recent trend has found many in the beer world experimenting with aging methods, coupled with an increased desire from consumers for barrel-aged brews.

Doubling Up

One of the hippest trends in bar menus as of late has been the appearance of chef-inspired drinks—usually a craft beer—exclusive to a particular restaurant through a partnership with a beverage producer.

Customized Ordering

Nowadays, it’s not that unusual to see an iPad serving as a menu or ordering device, but back in 2011, when Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy, co-founders of Stacked: Food Well Built, added iPads to their three Southern California restaurants, the idea was quite novel.

OTG Servers Work Smart with Apple

Like tech junkies the world over, at least one restaurant group was thrilled when Apple released its new smartwatch in April. The Apple Watch features many of the same apps and functions of a smartphone—only with the added convenience of always being at hand.

IndiCard in Action

They may earn tips, but servers, bartenders, and valets can easily be overlooked in a customer’s dine-out experience. As a way to give back to hardworking people in the service industry, a company called IndiCard has created an exclusive service-industry membership program, which provides service-industry professionals special offers at bars, restaurants, and other establishments.

Top 100 Independents: West by Northwest

LangbaanPortland, OregonThai comfort food crafted with no open-flame cooking; only ovens and induction burners.Opened ∕ March 2014Annual Sales ∕ $1–$3 millionAverage Check ∕ $65 (without alcohol)Chef/Owner∕ Akkapong Earl NinsomThe Squeaky BeanDenverA pop culture–driven atmosphere grounded by a garden-inspired menu (produce is grown in the neighborhood) and creative cocktails defines The Squeaky Bean, where weekend bingo is a popular draw.

Top 100 Independents: The Mid-Atlantic

GraffiatoRichmond, VirginiaChef de Cuisine Matthew Robinett delivers Italian-inspired small plates with a Southern flair, in this upscale take on casual, hip dining, housed in a historic building with massive windows lining the dining room—a legacy item from the early 20th- century furniture showroom that was the original tenant.