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Nicole Duncan

Top 100 Independents: Millennial Mayhem

Blame it on social media and reality TV, or the nostalgia-obsessed millennials who take the lion’s share of the working population. Visually stunning, over-the-top dishes with a dash of throwback have captured consumer hearts.

Chicago's 16” on Center Serves Up Sound Bites to Remember

For 16” on Center, the best dining experiences are multi-layered. Boasting a number of restaurants and event venues around Chicago, the hospitality group is invested in its community—the very name refers to a construction mark that yields the strongest build.

4 Satisfying Beer and Brunch Pairings

While brunch has never been a teetotaling occasion, new consumer research from Mintel suggests it’s getting even boozier. Some 40 percent of urban millennials want to see more drink specials at brunch; that includes old standbys like Bloody Marys and mimosas, as well as relative newcomer beer. 

IHOP's Innovative To-Go Packaging Kicks Off New Era

For IHOP, its plans and hopes for the future of the brand might be contained in a plain, yet streamlined, little box. As unremarkable as it may sound, the company’s new to-go carrier embodies two of its most robust initiatives: take-out/delivery and combination meals.

Inventory Management Takes a Digital Step Forward

When it comes to P&L statements, inventory can sometimes be the redheaded stepchild, often overlooked in favor of labor costs and restaurant sales. For years, those oversights could be partially chalked up to an archaic system wherein amounts were recorded by pen and paper.

The Cheesecake Factory Prepares to Launch Fast Casual Spinoff

More than a year after the company hinted at a limited-service spinoff, The Cheesecake Factory is making good on its word with plans to open a pilot fast casual later this year.The news came amid the casual-dining chain’s fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday, February 21.

Esther Choi's Culinary Empire Takes Shape

It’s still too early to say for certain, but Esther Choi may just have a budding restaurant group in the making. The latest addition, Ms. Yoo, is not a departure from her first concept so much as a scenic detour.

Chef Kieron Hales Marries Fine Dining with Country Life

Like many chefs, Kieron Hales takes inspiration from the changing seasons. But Hales splits with his peers in other aspects of the dining experience—specifically, the location. Instead of turning out dishes in a trendy, urban restaurant, the chef hosts his operation at a 42-acre farm and special events venue about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.

How Boleo Became Chicago's Rooftop Retreat

BoleoOpened: August 2016Location: ChicagoOwners: Kimpton Hotels & RestaurantsAverage check: $28Description: Peruvian and Argentine influences are tempered by Chicago sensibilities at this rooftop retreat.

High Tech Meets Honky-Tonk at Nashville's Famous Saloon

The business of running a restaurant is tricky enough, but when the establishment in question encompasses three floors and some 23,000 square feet, the challenges start to compound. Located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee’s bustling Lower Broadway neighborhood, the Famous Saloon is a 10-month-old “honky-tonk” featuring a restaurant, multiple bars with lounge spaces, a new rooftop terrace, and a stage for live musical performances.

The Sexy Side of Pasta is Alive and Well at Sophia's

Sophia’sOpened: August 2016Location: Austin, TexasOwners: BDG HospitalityAverage check: $60Description: The supper club makes a comeback at Sophia’s in Austin, where diners are encouraged to linger—or just pop in for a drink.