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Spicy Mac ‘n Cheese with Andouille Sausage p. 51


Northeastern Wisconsin Northern Hospitality Thrives in the Frozen Tundra



| the business of food


Our Chefs’ takes on



ISSUE 01: 2016

©2016 Reinhart Foodservice L.L.C

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Getting Cold Weather Haters To Dine Out During Winter p. 24

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Dear Readers: Welcome to 2016! This is our fourth official year of Restaurant Inc and our publication continues to grow and expands in ways we could not have imagined. This magazine has a very clear mission: provide our readers with editorial, recipes and photography to help your business be more successful. The restaurant business is hard work and we admire each and every one of our customers for your contributions to this unique industry. Your passion and commitment to your patrons is incredible. That’s why we feel it’s our job to provide you with information in a clear, concise and visually friendly way. You don’t always have the time to sit back and spend hours searching for the latest menu trends, and so in 2016 we are redoubling our promise to give you tips and trends in an easily digestible format. We will continue to provide you with content on our website, www., and we are exploring different ways to highlight our customers via video and social media. In fact, last year our very own Chef Jeff Merry visited some of the top restaurants across Boston—all on video. It was an awesome way for us to celebrate our operators and take our In Our Communities section to a whole different level. We also visited the Green Bay area of Wisconsin and Reinhart’s Chef Paul Young interviewed a few very unique establishments on camera. We will continue to spotlight top restaurants this year and capture them on film. This spring we are highlighting the Best of Reinhart Country. We’ve invited customers to submit their top bar and grill recipes and you will not be disappointed by what they’ve shared. 2016 will be an exciting time for our industry and our company. We’ll continue to pack this magazine with top trends, culinary inspiration and best practices designed to propel you toward mastery of your craft. We’ll provide you with every tool we have to help you create your own success story. At Reinhart, we only succeed when you do. So look for more information on how you can manage food costs, run your operations and market your business now and in every issue of Restaurant Inc. Thank you!

Sophia Kramarz Managing Editor


©2016 Reinhart Foodservice, L.L.C. All rights reserved. The trademarks depicted herein are trademarks (registered or otherwise) of their respective owners.

LOBSTER BLT WARM WATER AND CANADIAN LOBSTER TAILS Hidden BayŽ Warm Water and Canadian Lobster Tails are ideal for special occasions, and beyond. Our high quality tails are chef's choice when creating tasteworthy menu items that deliver – from comfort food to fine dining ... for any season, any reason.

Sweet Lobster Tail Applewood Smoked Bacon Fresh Slicer Tomato Homemade Guacamole Fresh Butter Lettuce

Visit to learn the many ways you can include Hidden Bay lobster tails on your menu.

Visit restaurant-inc/recipes/lobster-blt for the full recipe, videos & more!

Contact your Reinhart sales representative for ordering information. RI_BODY_Winter_2016.indd 3

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Fresh produce is the cornerstone of any good menu. Markon First Crop, Ready-Set-Serve, and Markon Essentials fruit and vegetable products give you the versatility to create colorful, flavor-packed recipes. Hearty lamb chops complement the earthy notes in Brussels sprouts and cauliflower and the nuttiness of polenta, while the bright flavors of cranberry bring balance to this colorful dish. Be inspired at

Join Markon’s online community today and enrich your knowledge and connections. Browse: Learn: mobile app Connect: social media



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TABLE OF CONTENTS 08 Quick Bites 10 In Our Communities Northeastern Wisconsin 14 A Look into the Cheese Market for 2016 19 Brats & Beer Teutonic Soul Food 23 Taking Root in Wisconsin Ethnic History of the Badger State 24 Combating Cabin Fever EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Eric Cronert MANAGING EDITOR Sophia Kramarz ART DIRECTION & LEAD DESIGNER Jenn Bushman DESIGNERS Drew Frigo, Lauren Jonson PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Coha FOOD STYLIST Susan Hevey ADVERTISING SALES & INFO Andrea Wilson CONTRIBUTING EDITORS/WRITERS Ari Bendersky, Min Casey, Mary Daggett, Scott Hume, Mindy Kolof, Liz Mardiks, Audarshia Townsend

26 Rules of Order 31 Healthy Food? It's All in the Messaging 34 To Snap or not to Snap – That is the question 37 The Kids Are Alright 43 Lighten up: 6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Menu 46 Our Chefs' takes on Comfort Food Classics 56 In The Comfort Zone Different Strokes for Different Folks 58 Southern with a Side of Comfort

Cover Image | Dan Coha Reinhart® Foodservice, L.L.C. welcomes letters and comments. Mail should be directed to: Reinhart Foodservice, L.L.C., Attn: Marketing, 6250 N. River Road, Suite 9000, Rosemont, IL 60018 or

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62 Comfort Food Elevated

©2016 Reinhart Foodservice, L.L.C. All rights reserved. The trademarks depicted herein are trademarks W(registered I N T E R 2 or 0 1otherwise) 6 R F S D of E Ltheir I V E respective R S . C O Mowners. 5

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TOC co n t in u e d 64 A World of Comfort These Foods Fuel Your Soul 68 Time to Get Crafty Pair craft beer w/comfort food 71 The Pride of Generations in Wisconsin 74 Burger Outlook Regaining Control in 2016 76 When It Comes To Charcuterie Does Your Meat Make The Cut? 78 Industry Pros' Prognostications For 2016 94 The Rise of Ramen

Bever a g e A r t icle s

95 Grainy Goodness

82 Beverage Trends 2016

100 'Tis the Season to be Hiring

88 Treating Mocktails As Premium Menu Items

102 Point. Click. Shift.

90 Forecast: A Warm Front is Trending in Beverages

104 Creating a Successful Catering Operation 108 What Will Your Menu Look Like In 2016? 112 Calendar of Events 113 Advertiser Index 114 | 115 Operator Index 116 Commodities Tracking


Š2016 Reinhart Foodservice, L.L.C. All rights reserved. The trademarks depicted herein are trademarks (registered or otherwise) of their respective owners.

Since we launched Restaurant Inc three years ago, we’ve visited some of the most vibrant culinary scenes across Reinhart Nation. Now, we’re on a mission to find the BEST! We hosted our first-ever restaurant recipe contest in the Bar & Grill segment, searching for the best burger, appetizer, side, dessert and cocktail recipes. We’ve narrowed it down to 25 delicious finalists - which will all be highlighted in the spring edition of Restaurant Inc – and soon we will determine the 5 grand prize winners will be featured with full articles! If you’d like to contribute or be considered for content in the spring issue or subsequent issues, email Team Reinhart at

T H E C AT E G O R I E S BURGERS An essential item on any menu, we were clamoring for the best burger ever. Bring on the patty, bring on the toppings and bring out the condiments - and most importantly, creativity!



We were looking for our favorite starters. From wings to mozzarella sticks to potato skins, share your top app with Reinhart!

We were looking for a cocktail that you have deemed to be the cream of the crop. Whether it included alcohol or entices the designated driver is up to you, but this beverage must be out-of-this-world good!



Every main meal needs a complementary side to satisfy a diner's needs. Whether you opt for a healthy salad or splurge on some lobster mashed potatoes.

Every good meal comes with dessert, and we want sweet concoctions. The opportunities are endless!

Each of the five grand prize winners will receive a $2,000 purchase credit from Reinhart as well as coverage in the Spring edition of the Reinhart Restaurant Inc magazine. Find out more at NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Best of Reinhart: Bar & Grill Contest is open to restaurants or food trucks located in the 50 U.S. or D.C nominated by an employee of Reinhart Foodservice LLC; an authorized employee of a restaurant located in the 50 U.S. or D.C.; or an employee of a manufacturer, supplier, or broker of Reinhart Foodservice LLC goods. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Contest, visit Entries must be received between 10/26/15 at 12:00:01 AM CT and 11/23/15 at 11:59:59 PM CT. Void where prohibited by law. Sponsor: Reinhart Foodservice LLC 6250 N River Road, Suite 9000, Rosemont, IL 60018.


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QB Quick Bites for Your Brain

Before we dive into all the goods of this issue, here’s a look at what’s going on in foodie culture as we speak!

Five Different Dishes,

One Unique Ingredient Juventino Brooklyn, NY Cafe Carambola Coeur d'Alene, Idaho



Roasted chicken with sous vide breast, sweet potato gratin, pickled carrots and white truffle honey.

Butter beans, sweet peppers, corn & cherry tomatoes tossed with kañiwa, lacinato kale, fresh herbs and citrus.


$5.99/ $10.99

For Your Instagram Feed



spoonforkbacon Interested in recommending a book, app or Twitter account? Email us with your suggestion.

KAÑIWA Move over quinoa! Kañiwa, also a relative of the aforementioned grain, is being hailed as a new South American super food. The grain has a dark red/brown color and much smaller than quinoa. We scoured menus across the country to find out how chefs are utilizing this tiny grain.

Bow & Truss Los Angeles

KAÑIWA & COCONUT RICOTTA PANCAKES The Bernards Inn Bernardsville, NJ

With seasonal fruit chutney, toasted coconut flakes.


SEA SCALLOPS W/ TOASTED KAÑIWA Served with chanterelles, white eggplant, crispy yucca, smoked tomato & jalapeño marmalade.

$36.00 Lineage Brookline, MA

BLACK BASS CEVICHE With fried kañiwa, citrus, aji amarillo.


For Your Nightstand


N R E T S A E H T NO R N I S N O WI S C by Mary Dagge

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the to see more on ! Wisco area



NORTHERN HOSPITALITY THRIVES IN THE FROZEN TUNDRA Winter in Wisconsin is breathtakingly beautiful -- and formidable. Shawano is the Reinhart Division that serves Northeastern Wisconsin, including Green Bay and the Door County Peninsula – an area often referred to as “the Frozen Tundra.” This time of year, baby, it’s cold outside! Let’s just say that Santa Claus has nothing on the intrepid Reinhart sales consultants and truck drivers who deliver the goodies to this area’s foodservice operators — through sleet, snowstorms and arctic temperatures.

THE BIG CHILL AND THE BIG Door County DEAL WITH DAIRYING Since prehistoric times, this northern paradise just west of Lake Michigan has provided its inhabitants with a wealth of natural resources – even through the bone-chilling winter. Northeastern Wisconsin has vast sources of fresh water from lakes, rivers and streams; clean, crisp air; an abundance of fish, fowl and game; rich, fertile land sculpted by glaciers; forests thick with conifer and deciduous trees that in autumn showcase an awesome panoply of reds, oranges and yellows. After the leaves fall, they wave their bare-naked limbs until spring. The first industry in this neighborhood was the fur trade, begun in the early 17th century. You already heard about the trees, so it’s no surprise that lumbering became an economic powerhouse, followed by agriculture, meat packing, papermaking and other industries. Wheat was a huge economic boom until the land no longer cooperated. Many farmers discovered that dairy cows thrived in the cool climate and loved to nosh on the clover and grasses of the bucolic pasturelands. And soon the infrastructure of the incomparable Wisconsin dairy industry emerged. The abundance of a quality milk supply attracted Old World cheesemakers here, and they brought their time-honored secrets with them. Today, the state produces over 600 varieties, types and styles – from day-old cheese curds to 15-year aged cheddar. Many of the world’s most renowned artisanal cheeses are produced here.

Big Game Hunting There are two types of big game hunting going on in the area. One involves stealth through the woods, clad in orange. The other involves green and gold clothing. It’s the quest for tickets to the next Green Bay Packers game. While the city of Green Bay has been on the map for centuries, a group of young, tough visionaries really lifted the city to national prominence by bringing pro football here. Led by Curly Lambeau, and later the legendary Vince Lombardi, the team was so successful that the city became known as “Title Town.” As the Packers popularity grew, so did opportunities for the area’s foodservice and hospitality operators -- as thousands of hungry and thirsty fans came to town, not only during football season, but all year long, to worship at the shrine that is Lambeau Field.

There’s another powerhouse draw in this neighborhood – the 75-mile long peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan -- Door County. Often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” this tourist mecca boasts quaint villages with names such as Egg Harbor and Fish Creek (named by Forbes as one of the “Prettiest Towns in America.”), Cafés, supper clubs, ice cream parlors, art and craft galleries and clothing boutiques are nestled in towns where sailboats anchor in the bays. Cape Cod cottages and log cabins are covered with snow in winter and red geraniums in summer. White clapboard country inns beckon from wide front porches outfitted with rocking chairs. The peninsula has 11 original lighthouses, plus miles of pristine beaches, and five wooded state parks -- a dream-come-true for campers, cross country skiers, hikers and picnickers.

What's the Difference Between a Fish Fry & a Fish Boil? Fish Fry: The fish fry, ubiquitous across Wisconsin, likely originated with the many Catholics in the state, who observed the Lenten custom of forgoing meat consumption on Friday. Church groups sponsored fish fries on Friday nights as fundraisers, and it wasn’t long before enterprising restaurateurs adopted the idea. There has always been a plentiful supply of fresh fish from the lakes here. Lake perch, walleye and blue gill are sometimes joined by ocean cousins such as cod and haddock in this beer-battered, deep-fried bill-of-fare, which traditionally also includes choice of potato, coleslaw and bread. Fish Boil: The fish boil was devised by Scandinavian immigrants as a way to easily feed crowds of hungry lumberjacks and fishermen. Whitefish, a freshwater species that flourishes in all five of the Great Lakes, is the delicately flavored anchor of the fish boil, which is a major culinary attraction in Door County. The cooking of the fish is an outdoor spectator sport, as diners gather around in anticipation. Salted water is brought to a boil in a giant kettle over an open fire. Whitefish and red potatoes are added, and when the kettle boils over, the meal is ready. Coleslaw and bread usually accompany the fish and potatoes, and Door County Cherry Pie is often the payoff at the end.  



COMMUNITIES Getting a Slice of the Pie ... Pizza Pie That Is

GALLAGHER'S PIZZA There's Chicago-style pizza. And then there's pizza inspired by Chicago, perfected in Florida and eventually settled down in Green Bay. And that's Gallagher's. What started as a family-owned restaurant in 1996 continues today, just by another family. Or really, two families. The Gallaghers first opened the restaurant, but a few years later, they were ready to move on. Thankfully, John Hubbard and Kevin Osadjan, who together had more than 20 years of experience in the pizza business, stepped in and took over in 2001.

by Ari Bendersky photo: &

Since then, the pair took their pizza-making and restaurant knowledge, which started in Chicago when Osadjan and his wife worked at Nancy's Pizza, and poured it into Gallagher's. Prior to Gallagher's, they had Crusty Louie's Stuffed Pizza in Sarasota, Fla., which Osadjan opened and his brother and Hubbard eventually joined and took over. Since 2001, the pair have opened two additional locations in the Green Bay area. "The quality of our food is unmatched," Osadjan said. "We cost more than the run-of-the-mill pizza places, but once people come in and try our pizza, they tend to stay." The reasons for Gallagher's success are numerous. It's family-friendly. They connect with the community by sponsoring sports leagues. And they have good food with ingredients mostly sourced locally. They get sausages from Iowa, chicken and cheese from Wisconsin, most vegetables from Green Bay and their Italian beef from Chicago because, "they have the best Italian beef around." Osadjan learned how to make pizzas while working at Nancy's and he has tweaked the sauce to make it his own. "This is my own interpretation of Chicago sauce," he said. "It has a little more of a spicy bite to it. It has a little heat." When asked about what goes into it, he wasn't shy with his answer, "That's top secret." What isn't secret is how well they take care of their customers. Each restaurant has a party room, all of which are booked most weekends, a full bar and a game room. "We have rooms with video games in all of our facilities," Osadjan said. "This way mom and dad can come in with the kids, give them $5 and then relax with a cocktail before everyone eats and goes home." Osadjan said he and Hubbard both have kids and know how hard it can be as a parent to relax. "Sometimes I'll give the kids more tokens to keep playing so the parents can relax." The service doesn't end there. They have a $7.99 lunch buffet Monday through Saturday to target the work crowd that may not have a lot of time, but wants something better than fast food. "People know they can buzz in and out within and get quality food, not drive-through junk," Osadjan said. The buffet features pizzas, two pastas, bread sticks, onion rings, chicken wings, Italian beef sandwiches, salad bar, soups and cookies for dessert. "These are all things we have on our menu and it's not cheapened down," Osadjan said. "It's foolish to dumb down the buffet because if that's the only thing someone comes in to eat for the first time, they're going to have a bad experience. Once we get them in, it's our responsibility to keep that customer." Gallagher's offers the buffet Monday nights for an extra $1 "because people stay longer than they do at lunch," and a $9.99 seafood-focused buffet Friday nights, which started one year for Lent and stuck after people loved it. The restaurant runs other promotions and does targeted ads toward people in the area, but it doesn't do happy hour or other drink specials. "You're either a family place or more of an adult crowd," he added. "We want mom and dad bringing their kids in." Osadjan and Hubbard take care of their staff, many of which have been with them for years, with profit sharing and health insurance benefits for full-time employees. And they treat them like family. It goes along with their tagline: Italian Food. Irish Spirit. This keeps things tied in to the Gallagher clan's original idea of a family-focused restaurant for everyone. "In my eyes, an Irish spirit is very outgoing and family friendly," Osadjan said. "It's about the spirit and not the food. I played rugby with a bunch of guys from Ireland and they're the nicest group of people you've ever met." n


Showcasing Latin Libations and Much More

MARGARITA'S by Audarshia Townsend photo: margaritas-greenbay. com

You cannot mention Green Bay without saying "the Packers" in the same sentence. It’s the first image that comes to mind, then “Cheeseheads” tied with something beer related. That’s just the nature of the region, but thanks to one local restaurant, residents appreciate a good frosty one beyond the usual ales, lagers and stouts.

The locally owned and operated Margarita’s, as its name implies, showcases the tequila-based cocktail in all its chilled glory. You’ll find, in fact, 50 different varieties on the menu of the drink with Mexican origins. It may be ordered in classic style (with top-shelf tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice) or in fun flavors like apple swirl, cherry, orange Dreamsicle and pomegranate. Of course it’s served on the rocks or frozen. There’s grand, authentic Mexican fare to pair with Margarita’s Latin libations. Consisting of popular dishes like chile relano (stuffed poblano pepper with two cheeses, battered and fried, and topped with house red sauce), Margarita’s chimichanga (pork and ground beef with signature Margarita’s dip) and pork tamales, the menu is diverse yet familiar enough to attract a loyal following, says operating manager David Xander. “We have a lot of regulars,” says Xander, adding that much of the core audience comes from the surrounding Green Bay market of the Fox Cities and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “A lot of people we see four or five times a week. They are coming because they know what they’re going to get: an excellent meal and service.” Xander maintains that part of Margarita’s appeal is that it didn’t just spring up overnight. It’s been a core part of Green Bay’s restaurant community for more than 10 years and many of its employees have worked there for many years. “We’ve got employees that have been here going on 12 years,” he exclaims. “We have two cooks that have been here since the beginning. Two others (from the front of the house) have been here for almost as long. We don’t have a lot of turnover. Our employees know what our standards are (and adhere to them).” Xander credits the restaurant’s smooth operation to aggressive, ongoing training programs to keep staffers at the top of their game. “Our (initial) training program for front of house is extensive,” he reveals. “Servers will work six or seven training services before they (work with customers). They have to be the very best before they ever hit the floor.” And though the menu doesn’t change much, he adds, servers are well-informed on seasonal dishes, margaritas and craft beers. They must be confident when they’re discussing items with guests, particularly when they’re trying to upsell them. Xander’s been with Margarita’s for four years, and during his tenure he’s stressed to the staff the company’s number one philosophy: taking care of the customer. “We don’t say no. If the customer wants something that is off the menu we take care of that. We pride ourselves in taking care of the guest. Those expendable dollars that people have, we don’t take for granted. When people are looking for somewhere to go, we want them to think about Margarita’s.” n





A Look into the Cheese Market for 2016 Chris LaJoie | Analyst, Consumer Insights | Schreiber Foods

We had a chance to catch up with Chris LaJoie, Consumer Insights Analyst, for Schreiber Foods and he gave us a quick glimpse into what we he sees ahead for the cheese market. Specifically, Chris tackled the topics of innovations and trends.



Specific to cheese, a lot of work is being done on flavors, and identifying the flavor profiles that are going to outlast any fadlike limitations and have an impact on the industry for many years to come.

One of the most prevalent movements throughout the consumer goods industry is the notion of a “story.” Where the products consumers are buying are from, how they are made, who is making them, etc. This is no different for the cheese industry. Cheese descriptors continue to growth in length, with historical descriptors such as “aged” for example, now becoming “5-year, cave-aged.” The story at foodservice is more dependent on the adjacent components of a menu item; however, when composed in harmony, with a message consumers relate to, success can be rife.

A bigger focus within innovation however is application of the products. According to Datassential’s MenuTrends database in 2015, cheese is the most common ingredient on menu items – it’s ubiquitous! Don’t get me wrong, that’s a fantastic position to be in, but it also brings a number of challenges. One of which is the continuous education of both operators and consumers on the crave-able and satiating elements of cheese. Applying the appropriate cheese type on a dish oftentimes leads to higher satisfaction levels among consumers. Additionally, many of the trending, up-and-coming ethnic cuisines in America find traditional cheese applications as an afterthought. As these cuisinetypes become more mainstream, it’ll be important for us to find acceptable “mash-ups” of multiple cuisines that include cheese.

Also, the consumer definition of protein is evolving and we’re seeing a sharp uptick in new products with protein callouts on pack at retail – the Greek yogurt effect. Additionally, among restaurant goers, protein is now the most sought after nutrition, health and wellness attribute. Yet, we are still waiting to see a huge increase in the word protein on menus or in a context used to sell a menu item. This appears to be a large opportunity for the foodservice community, leveraging multiple high-protein items, cheese included, in one build. Finally, we have also completed quite a bit of research to understand what drives consumers decisions at foodservice. Is convenience the biggest driver of where consumers go to eat? What we found was that consumers routinely will go out of their way to patronize a restaurant that has food they “crave.” This led us down a path to better understand what foods consumers often crave away-from-home. To no surprise, many of the classic comfort foods topped the list, including: pizza, burgers, Italian foods. It is not a coincidence that each of these foods are frequently cheese-centric and our research shows that typically, the more cheese the better on many menu items. n


Shining Along Green Bay's Fox River

HAGEMEISTER PARK by Ari Bendersky photo: &

If you build it, they will come. Well, it wasn't until the Green Bay city council and developers came together to construct a quarter-mile boardwalk along the Fox River that Dan Timmers and Jess Miller decided to build Hagemeister Park. And people have come ever since. This 9,000-square-foot restaurant was inspired by the original Hagemeister Park, an expansive park owned by the Hagemeister Brewing Co. where the Green Bay Packers first played and where locals would visit in the early part of the 20th century.

The new restaurant sits along the CityDeck with a 4,000-square-foot outdoor patio. It serves as an upscale yet, approachable, destination for the thousands of people who work downtown as well as Green Bay visitors. "Our vision was to re-create the entertainment destination with a different theme," co-owner Timmers said. "We have a nostalgic look from the days gone by. There's a lounge right on Washington Street with glass frontage. There's a 50-foot wood bar that has the old iron and wood vintage look with a distressed bar top. The whole west wall is all glass; it's a nice viewing area even in winter." Timmers and Miller have been in the restaurant business for 20 years, but approached this new venture cautiously. It wasn't until they were sure there was enough development and knew that people would come that they pulled the trigger. The restaurant seats 300 people, not including the 150 on the patio or the 1,200-squarefoot party rooms that accommodate groups visiting the nearby convention center and hotels. In winter, the city builds an ice rink along CityDeck and Hagemeister Park serves as a warming area serving hot chocolate and coffee and, of course, cocktails and food. Timmers describes the menu as homemade fare that's approachably upscale, but not fine dining. They source local ingredients when possible, like beef and five-day-a-week bread delivery as well as some in-house baking to get their mix of ciabatta, pretzel, wheat and brioche buns for their selection of fresh ground, USDA chuck burgers, brats and sandwiches. That includes their popular Reuben, Cajun mahi mahi and Portobello Florentine. These are served alongside prime-aged, bone-in tenderloin, wiener schnitzel and their Rajun Cajun Alfredo with chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp atop linguine in a spicy cream sauce. Where Hagemeister further differentiates itself is that about 80 percent of the menu can be prepared gluten free, something the restaurant takes very seriously. "People have entrusted it with us and we get a lot of repeat diners because of it," Timmers said. "We knew it would be a challenge. We do it right so people don't get sick. People are so happy we do it for them." Chef Kurt Fahler experiments to keep things exciting on the menu and creates seven seasonally themed menus throughout the year, including Oktoberfest, harvest and holiday. And they offer a "2-3-4" happy hour: $2 beers, $3 call cocktails and $4 higher-quality cocktails with some "chef's choice" appetizers. "We're not fond of 2-for-1; it reduces quality and I don't like the look of having two drinks put out," Timmers said. "We reduce our prices. It's a better deal. People are drinking less, looking for high quality and we want to provide that." If someone may have had a little too much to drink, the restaurant provides a free shuttle to take people to area hotels and nearby neighborhoods. This care translates to the restaurant's staff, which Timmers said is the backbone of the business. "You're only as good as the people you hire," he said. "I need good people around me. We have benefits for our staff like attractive wages, health benefits and vacation time. To get quality people, you have to have it." In the end, it all comes down to good service and good food. Without both, Timmers said you will not have a successful business. n




COMMUNITIES Multi-Faceted Facility Offers Dining, Lodging & More For Green Bay’s Community

ROCK GARDEN SUPPER CLUB Rock Garden Supper Club established itself as a stalwart in the community in the mid-1970s. Opened by husband-and-wife team Bruce and Dorothy Wolf in Green Bay, Wis., the sprawling banquet hall was a popular destination for weddings, business meetings and noteworthy celebrations. So much, in fact, that the Wolfs decided to build an adjacent lodging facility.

by Audarshia Townsend photo: rock-garden

By the 1980s, Comfort Suites Green Bay was born and it had a definitive, built-in audience. From business travelers to visitors coming into town for weddings, the facility’s guests finally had an on-premises place to crash before and after their functions. In addition to 115 guest rooms, the property features the contemporary American-focused 1951 West, water park attraction Splash!, and the renovated Rock Garden meeting and wedding reception facility. The best part is that the Wolfs continue to run a tight, family-owned operation, offering personal accents every chance they get. “We’re fortunate to be in the community for so long that people know about our regular deals, so that sets us apart from our competition,” says Aaron Wolf, son of Bruce and Dorothy Wolf and general manager of Comfort Suites Green Bay. “Not only is the restaurant awesome for hotel guests, but it really reaches out to the local demographic as well. “Sometimes the restaurant is an afterthought with hotel properties, which typically don’t make a connection with local residents. We had the advantage of operating as a (local) restaurant first, so the community felt as though they knew us.” Longtime weekly specials at 1951 West also help drive in local traffic, says Wolf. Tuesdays feature an all-you-can-eat pasta bar in which the chef whips up dishes made to order; prime rib is the special on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and a buffet brunch with carving and omelet stations, chocolate fountain and dessert table are showcased on Sundays. A popular annual promotion is a “secret Santa” coupon that is given out to every guest during the holiday season. Guests then bring in the coupon through February to find out if they’ve won an overnight stay at the hotel or complimentary dinner, dessert or drinks. Wolf says that 1951 West attracts a variety of diners, from family-friendly groups to business types out for a casual lunch. He adds that they effortlessly accommodate everyone’s needs. “We want everybody to feel like this is a great place for them,” he says. n


It’s All in the Family

GOLDEN BASKET RESTAURANT by Mary Daggett photo: goldenbasketgreenbay. com

Nick and Soula Bourantanis immigrated from Greece to the United States in the 1970s; and in 1984, the couple debuted their Golden Basket Restaurant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Theirs is a story repeated countless times in this land of opportunity. Through passion, dedication and an excellent work ethic, they raised three children while making a tremendous success of their foodservice enterprise.

As a small boy, their son Gus came to work with his parents, and they would give him small jobs in the kitchen to keep him amused. As he watched his parents operate, Gus inherited their passion and business savvy. When it came time to choose his own career, he refined his culinary skills at Fox Valley Technical College, then joined the family business. Today, Nick Bourantanis is semi-retired, but still comes in to make his famous homemade soups. Soula Bourantanis, who was in Greece caring for her mother at the time of our interview, still works alongside her son and his wife Anna, a native of Belarus. “It is a joy to work with my husband and his parents,” said Anna Bourantanis. “Our loyal customers are like members of our extended family. Some of them actually dine here two and three times a day.” As we all know, a full parking lot is the first indication of a good restaurant. New employees to the staff of about 30 are given a comprehensive training program to ensure an efficient, smooth running operation. “Our family sets a good example,” Anna said. “One of us is always on site. Gus works very long hours, but it’s a labor of love for him.”

THE GOLDEN MIDAS TOUCH Most of the recipes used at Golden Basket originated with Nick, who, like the mythical Greek King Midas, has that golden touch. “He performs magic in the kitchen,” said Anna. “Somebody else can use the same recipe and the same ingredients, but their outcome is never quite as good as my father-in-law’s -although my husband is a chip off the old block in terms of great cooking ability.”  The key phrase when describing the cooking philosophy here is “Made from scratch.” Everything is made fresh each day. Any leftovers are donated to feed the hungry in Green Bay. Gus Bourantanis believes in giving back to his community and in supporting sustainability, obtaining as many products as he can from local producers. The Golden Basket menu pays homage to the culinary heritage of our nation, with the inclusion of many international dishes that have become mainstream. Greek dishes, including gyros and Greek salad, share menu space with Mexican quesadillas and fajitas, Oriental stir-fry and Italian pastas. One of the best sellers is good, old American barbeque ribs.. Another is broasted chicken. Breakfast is served all day, and some of the hearty items are as appropriate to supper as they are first thing in the morning. For example, Soula’s Skillet contains ham, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, two eggs, shredded cheese and American fries. Open seven days a week, year-round, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., this beloved family restaurant is busiest on Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays, when traditional dinners are served. Every day, all items on the menu are available for carryout. n

[EDITORS NOTE: Gus and Anna Bourantanis were recently blessed with their first child, a son named Nicholas. Perhaps he too will follow in the footsteps of Grandpa Nick and Grandma Soula.]





The House that Pancakes and Meatballs Built

AL JOHNSON'S RESTAURANT & BUTIK The sign above the front door of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisc., reads “Valkommen,” and the smiling hosts and servers clad in Scandinavian dress make all who enter feel welcome indeed. The charming log building with handcarved posts that houses this world-famous eatery was actually built in Norway, taken apart and reconstructed in Wisconsin. Guests needn’t be of Scandinavian descent to appreciate the Old World atmosphere and authentic Nordic cuisine.

by Mary Daggett photo:

Since 1949, Al Johnson’s has stood the test of time. It represents the heart and soul of a small town that swells with tourists from all over the world from May through October, then settles down to a less hectic existence the rest of the year. Al Johnson started his business as the chief cook and bottle washer, and teller of tales. He married his Swedish sweetheart Ingert in 1960, and the two of them created a Scandinavian utopia in Door County. It was Ingert who spearheaded the interior design, and it was she who realized that a gift shop selling Scandinavian products would provide the perfect place for folks to browse while waiting for their table. The Butik markets Swedish pancake mix and syrup, jarred organic wild lingonberries, clogs, linens, housewares and toy goats. Why goats, you ask? Please refer to sidebar. “Our best menu sellers are Swedish Pancakes and Swedish Meatballs,” said Lars Johnson, son of the founders, who (with brother Rolf and sister Annika) proudly carries on the family foodservice legacy. “The meatball recipe was my grandmother’s. We serve about 225,000 meatballs a year.” Breakfast is a big deal here, and Swedish Pancakes are the stars of the show. They are light, thin and rectangular, served with syrup, creamy Wisconsin butter and organic Swedish lingonberries, which have a flavor similar to cranberries and currants. Breakfast service begins at 6 a.m. and is offered all day, with lunch and dinner available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The menu is peppered with traditional Scandinavian favorites – Limpa bread; Pickled Herring; Pytt I Panna, which is Swedish roast beef hash, served with a fried egg and homemade pickled beets; and the Swedish Meatball Sandwich, served with pickled red cabbage. Hot open-faced sandwiches satisfy hungry travelers, and come with mashed potatoes and gravy. Walleye, Perch and Whitefish pay homage to the abundance of fish pulled from nearby Lake Michigan. Regional dishes, such as a variation of the French-Canadian Poutine, and people pleasers including the “Big Al” Double Cheeseburger and Atlantic Cod Fish and Chips share billing with the Scandinavian dishes. For dessert, comfort foods such as Rice Pudding with Strawberry Sauce and Warm Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding will satisfy those hankering for something sweet. n

It's Rainin g Goats Many a vacationing motorist has done a double-take when passing by Al Johnson’s, because there are goats grazing on the sod-covered roof. “Many years ago, Wink Larson, a good friend of my father’s, gifted him with a goat named Oscar, who wound up on the roof of our building,” Lars Johnson explains. What began as a prank has become a branding tool for the establishment. During tourist season, a small herd of goats comes to work in their “goatmobile” (a red pickup truck), climbs a stairway to the roof and performs their duties as goodwill ambassadors. They work from 9 to 5, spending their leisure time and the winter months in a peaceful red barn on the outskirts of Sister Bay, where they listen to NPR amid 40 acres of pastureland. Like the Kardashians, these social-climbing celebrities have their own media sitcom. Visit, and click on the “goat cam” to watch their live high jinks during tourist season. Each May, the goats are feted with the “Roofing of the Goats” parade to celebrate the re-emergence of these bearded Sister Bay socialites. 18 RFSDELIVERS.COM ISSUE 1, 2016




Brats & Beer Teutonic Soul Food by Mary Daggett Early immigrants from Europe brought a wealth of culinary skill and brewing expertise to America. These tried and true processes were passed down from one generation to the next and carried across the ocean in the hearts, minds and souls of hopeful immigrants. In Wisconsin, the influx of German folks had a tremendous effect on the food and drink favored here – especially brats and beer. That famed German engineering is celebrated each year as this dynamic duo is enjoyed at festivals, sports stadiums, pubs and special events across the state. While the first Oktoberfest was, and still is, celebrated in Munich, Germany, drawing millions of visitors each year, the festival has made itself quite at home in cities across Wisconsin – especially Milwaukee and La Crosse. The sizzle of bratwurst, the clanking of beer mugs and the feel-good Polka beat provide a heady mix for all.

Where Did Brats Come From? No one knows the exact time or place in Germany where brats were born, but they have been satisfying hunger pangs for at least 600 years. They are a member of the “wurst” family and have lots of cousins, including knackwurst, liverwurst, Frankfurter Rindswurst and Thuringer Rostbratwurst. The word “brat” is German for “scraps of meat,” and “wurst” means sausage. There are at least 40 varieties of bratwurst in Germany, some with Protected Geographical Status under European Union law. Sheboygan County is Wisconsin’s bratwurst capital. It’s no wonder, since forty seven percent of the county claims German heritage. Johnsonville began making brats here in 1945, and today it is the number one brand of sausage in the U.S.

The Ori gin of the Beer Species Beer is an ancient beverage, already being brewed in small batches in Egypt and Mesopotamia in the fifth millennium B.C. Using hops in beer was perfected in Bohemia by the 13th century. The preserving properties hops provided allowed its export beyond Germany.

In the 19th century, Milwaukee became a brewing mecca because of German immigrants named Valentin Blatz, Joseph Schlitz and Frederick Miller, who all fathered vast beer enterprises. Jacob Leinenkugel did likewise in Chippewa Falls, Wis. More recently, smaller regional craft brewers have garnered a national following. Some of these are New Glarus Brewing Company, Capital Brewery (Middleton) and Ale Asylum (Madison).

Brats, Beer and Baseball At Miller Park, the baseball stadium that the Milwaukee Brewers call home, the seventh inning stretch includes singing both “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Roll Out the Barrel,” an homage to the city’s incomparable brewing heritage. Also at Miller Park, more brats are sold than hot dogs. Brats, beer and baseball seem to go hand in glove. Here, as elsewhere in Wisconsin, the German traditions are still going strong. n

Johnsonville began making brats in 1945, and today it is the number one brand of sausage in the U.S. WINTER 2016 RFSDELIVERS.COM 19



COMMUNITIES Life’s Better at the Beach – Year-Round

BEACH HARBOR RESORT The proprietors of Beach Harbor Resort and Waterfront Mary’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Nasewaupee near Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., definitely do not roll up the sidewalks when the weather turns frigid. On the contrary. Jon and Patti Hansen provide all of the elements necessary for a fun party atmosphere with a Caribbean beach vibe year-round. In winter, customers arrive in parkas and Uggs rather than shorts and flip-flops, but they’re looking for the same things as the summer visitors – the opportunity to pursue their favorite sports and leisure activities, a great meal, comfortable accommodations – and, they just wanna have fun. A large fire pit on the beach stands in for the hot summer sun.

by Mary Daggett photo: &

While the jet skis, sail boats and volleyball courts hibernate, snowmobilers, ice fishermen and cross country skiers converge here. Beach Harbor Resort is adjacent to Potawatomi State Park, a veritable wonderland for winter fun seekers. The resort property includes 500 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, which assumes a fantastic crystalline frozen beauty until the spring thaw. Jeff Collpits, a native of Maine, is the manager here. “We heat things up in winter with live bands every Friday and Saturday night. I tailor the music to the crowd. If a tour group of Baby Boomers is expected, we might feature an Elvis impersonator, an acoustic guitarist or a band that plays oldies. For younger audiences, we bring in heavy metal rock bands – some local groups and some from as far away as California. Tuesday is ‘open mike’ night, which is always a blast.” Waterfront Mary’s Bar and Grill menu runs the gamut from Seafood Chowder (Collpits’ Mother’s recipe from Maine) to Rib Eye Steaks to the perfect-forsharing Munchie Basket (jalapeno poppers, onion rings, deep-fried ravioli, Mozzarella sticks, French fries, cheese curds and chicken tenders with marinara for dipping). Nightly specials offer variety and keep regulars coming back again and again. Monday stars sushi and eggrolls; Tuesday, build-yourown tacos; Wednesday, 18 flavors of wings at just 25 cents each; Thursday, half-price apps and 25-cent beer-battered shrimp; Friday, traditional fish fry night (cod, haddock, perch or walleye); Saturday, super gyros; and Sunday, big breakfast and Bloody Marys. “Our Bloody Marys are amazing,” Collpits said. “We use Cucumber Vodka, Emeril’s spices, pickle juice, olives, pickled mushrooms, a dill pickle spear, lemon and lime wedges and a slim beef stick.” From May to the end of October, the resort hosts a traditional fish boil on Saturday nights. This involves boiling local Whitefish, potatoes and onions in a giant cauldron over an open outdoor flame. After October, the weather prohibits this popular draw. Fish lovers can still get their fix all year with the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday Cod Dinner. “This is the type of fish dinner we enjoyed on the east coast,” Collpits said. “We serve boneless Cod loins, baby red potatoes, carrots and onions with rye bread and cherry pie a la mode.” Waterfront Mary’s dining room seats 50 and the bar 25 more. The enclosed outdoor patio has another 75 seats and is totally heated, so customers can watch the moon shimmering on the icy water and other northern lights of nature to their hearts’ content while tapping their toasty toes to the music. The resort has 33 sleeping rooms, plus several cottages to accommodate families and groups of friends. The property sits on 1.2 acres of prime beachfront. During summer tourist season, kayaks and paddle boats are free for guests, and sailboats, speed and fishing boats can be rented on site. All manner of events have been held at Beach Harbor Resort – weddings, corporate functions, family reunions and private parties for all kinds of fun special occasions. “Fun is one of our specialties,” Collpits said. n


All in the Family

THE RITE PLACE by Ari Bendersky photo:

The Rite Place has been keeping it real for more than 38 years in the heart of Green Bay’s comfort food belt. It was established and operated by the Van Rite family since they bought an existing neighborhood bar when Julie Van Rite was only nineteen years old. A few years later, they added a kitchen to the small establishment and immediately gained a local following.

Then a supper club space to seat 200 was added to The Rite Place’s evolving popularity as a home away from home for hungry families. Over the years, the Rite Place has endured a major flood and a complete remodel but still brings diners in with home cooking and a family-first experience. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, The Rite Place is THE place for families and neighbors to comfortably gather around beloved homemade food. It’s also a true family affair with all their children, nieces, sisters and in-laws involved. “It feels like home for many of our customers,” explains Julie Van Rite, Jerry’s wife. “We always have at least one family member on duty at all times to welcome our customers and we never let anyone sit alone, unless they want to, of course.” The Rite Place staff of servers are trained to interact with customers and personalize the experience, according to Van Rite. “If anyone comes in alone, our servers are encouraged to engage them in conversation and introduce them to another group of diners and help them feel at home.” Besides serving up an attentive and comfortable family atmosphere, The Rite Place is the place for daily specials, which always includes three homemade soups, Chili and Chicken Booyah. The Rite Place keeps it fresh with daily specials like Mexican Night and Baked Chicken, while maintaining a reliable rotation of favorites such as hand-pressed burgers on Mondays for $1.25 and the always-popular Friday Fish Fry. “When we started we didn’t have a lot of experience,” Van Rite explains. “Fortunately we have been with Reinhart just about since the beginning and they are also like family; they have pitched in and helped us so much. Anything we need for our recipes, they find it.” Entrenched in their community and known for their accommodating spirit, The Rite Place is also a destination for family celebrations and milestones. Wedding rehearsal dinners, showers, anniversaries, corporate events are always on the menu in the banquet space which can accommodate up to 300 people, or be divided for more intimate parties. The Rite Place proudly advertises menu flexibility for events to allow for country style, individual menu ordering or any other combination. “When a large party shows up at the last minute, it’s all hands on deck, and that includes me too,” Van Rite says. “I love what I do and we will always make it work.” n




COMMUNITIES The Place Where Tourists and Sports Enthusiasts Congregate

GREYSTONE CASTLE With a name like Greystone Castle, one might expect to see Owners Greg and Sue Ebel make their grand entrance as Lord and Lady Greystone. If so, they would be the hardest working royals in Sturgeon Bay. Along with their sons, they operate this casual restaurant and bar, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. The walls inside proudly display trophies of bucks, bears, boars and fish, just as one would find in the hall of a medieval manor. And, most who enter this Wisconsin castle spend a lot of time hunting and fishing – just as the royals did back in Olde England.

by Mary Daggett photo:

The building housing Greystone Castle was constructed in 1898 as a sturdy stagecoach inn. The grey stones resemble those used to build castles in medieval times, and it has certainly stood the test of time. Ebel bought the former corner bar and bait shop in 1978. A skilled carpenter, he has done extensive remodeling over the years. “My husband can fix anything, which is an important talent when you own a building as old as ours,” Sue Ebel said. “He also possesses a great ‘gift of gab,’ essential in a place where fish stories abound. He is on a first-name basis with all of our regular customers.” The couple married in 1983. Both had previously worked at supper clubs, where they learned the industry. “My family is from Illinois, and we’d spend summers up here,” said Sue. “Sturgeon Bay is a wonderful place to live.” The biggest menu draw at Greystone Castle is prime rib. “We are the selfproclaimed ‘home of the greatest prime rib sandwich.’ I find it ironic that nearly every fisherman who walks through the door wants the prime rib sandwich,” Sue said. The sandwich bulges with a 14-ounce slab of beef served on Texas toast. Friday and Saturday nights offer three specials: King Cut Prime Rib Dinner, an 18-ounce Porterhouse or the Steak and Stuffed Shrimp Dinner, all accompanied by salad, choice of potato and a basket of rolls. Friday nights keep the staff in constant motion, as it is also “fish fry” night, when locals and tourists feast on pan-fried Lake Perch and Blue Gill. Greystone Castle is a dining destination, but also a sports bar. Deep fried cheese curds, boiled peel-and-eat shrimp and potato skins with bacon, cheese and sour cream are washed down with “the coldest beer in Door County.” Hunters, fishermen and Packer fans flock here to discuss the number of points on the antlers of the buck that got away, where the Sturgeons are biting, and how long it will take Aaron Rodgers to break Brett Favre’s records. “Reportedly, Jordy Nelson (Packer wide receiver) loves our prime rib sandwich,” Sue Ebel said. Four giant TVs, dartboards and a jukebox provide entertainment between the bouts of bragging and bull-slinging. The Ebels understand the importance of contributing to the community. They take pride in sponsoring dart leagues, stock car racing, bowling leagues, softball and volleyball teams. The Door County snowmobile trail passes nearby, and often much of the winter clientele resembles helmeted astronauts stamping their moon boots as they enter the safe space of this warm haven. Greg Ebel serves as vice-president of the Door County Tavern League, and Sue is proud of her work as coordinator of the League’s “Safe Ride Home” program. As three of their five sons take over the family business, the couple feels secure in the fact that they’ve instilled in them their winning business philosophy: “Work with dedication and determination, serve great food and provide an inviting atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.” n





Taking Root in Wisconsin The Ethnic History of the Badger State by Mary Daggett


very state in the U.S. has a unique ethnic history. In this article, we’re examining Wisconsin, where Reinhart Foodservice was born. Archaeology and anthropology tell us that the first inhabitants of Wisconsin were Asian people who traveled across the Bering Strait, down through Canada to North America. Their descendants eventually became known as the Lakota (Sioux), Potawatomi, HoChunk (Winnebago) and many other Native American tribes. The Oneida Nation was resettled here from New York, as were the last of the Mohicans, now known as the Stockbridge. Many cities in the state carry Native American names: Milwaukee, Chippewa Falls, Shawano, Oconomowoc, Oshkosh and more. Recorded history tells us that the first Europeans to enter the state were the French, in the first quarter of the 17th century, drawn by the lucrative fur trade. Many places carry a French moniker, including De Pere, Prairie du Chien, La Crosse and Lac du Flambeau. The British controlled the area until the War of 1812, when the Americans took over. The 19th century brought thousands of European immigrants in several different waves to Wisconsin—lured by tales of affordable

land, jobs and religious and political freedom. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, between 1836 and 1850, Wisconsin’s population increased from 11,000 to over 305,000. Some people came from the Eastern United States, but many more came directly from Europe, searching for a better life than what existed in their homelands. Germany, Ireland, Poland and Norway populated the state with a huge influx of immigrants in the mid to late 1800s. Wisconsin yields a bountiful cornucopia of wonderful products — those both indigenous to the state and those introduced by immigrants. These include cheese and other dairy products, beer, sausage, lake fish, cranberries, wild rice, soybeans, ginseng, cherries, maple syrup and much more. During the growing season, producers showcase all manner of fresh, sustainable products at farmers markets throughout the state, including the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison – the largest produceronly farmers market in the nation. Recent immigrants, such as the Hmongs from Southeast Asia, contribute greatly to the state’s fresh farm produce repertoire. n










Combating Cabin Fever Getting Cold Weather Haters To Dine Out During Winter by Audarshia Townsend


In some regions of the country, there are two seasons in the restaurant biz: busy season and “dead” season. And while the dead season may be only two months out of the year during winter—January and February, excluding Valentine’s Day weekend—those months can be crucial to the restaurant’s bottom line if precautions aren’t considered. Not every destination, after all, gets to boast star power in the manner of Alinea, Lolita’s Bistro or Momofuku, with reservations booked up to three months in advance. While eager diners might be willing to trot out in five to six layers to get a taste of a James Beard winner or Michelin-starred darling, they will wait until the weather is warmer to check out the average spot. That may just be the cold truth, especially in the northern parts of Reinhart country, including Wisconsin and Minnesota. But all is not lost when restaurateurs go out of their way with effective marketing tactics and creative ways to combat the winter blues. We’ve uncovered a number of` methods that not only drives traffic to the establishment, but also keeps staffers happy during the chilliest days of the year.

The first instinct will be to close at least a couple of weeks during the cold snap. While some experts might not think this is a good idea, others feel like this would be the ideal time to re-invent a flailing and/or dated concept. “My absolute favorite time to flip a concept is to close the first week in January and re-open in March,” advises Tim Borden, a managing partner of the Chicago-based A-List Marketing Solutions, who has consulted for more than 1,000 bars and restaurants in 25 major metropolitan areas since 2000. “The slow winter is also a great time to experiment, try new menus, promotions, themes, décor, entertainment and music. You have less to lose when it's not peak season, and everyone has more time to be creative and evaluate the new things you try.” He also feels that giving an ample amount of time off for staffers can help boost their spirits, which in turn may translate into better service. “Staff morale can get ugly working when the place is dead, creating bad customer experiences,” Borden says. “Give everyone a real vacation—even the owners.”

There are many restaurants, of course, that remain busy throughout the year on weekends, but are completely dead during the week in the winter. Borden recommends closing shop on some days to cut costs. “Just imagine the savings in staffing (and utilities),” he says. “Closing one or two days a week can save an amazing amount of payroll.” For those staying open, Borden suggests optimizing restaurants for cold weather appeal and comfort. For restaurants without fireplaces he recommends warm lighting, cozy décor, comfort fare and festive seasonal drinks. Here are a few of his additional tips operators may consider to drive traffic—without putting a strain on the budget:

Offer free coat check and valet parking.

Eliminate drafts by fixing gaskets around doors and windows; offer perfectly functioning heating system.

Clear sidewalks of snow and ice.

Offer full sports coverage with good television layout and screen quality—unless it's inappropriate for current concept. n










Rules of

Order As social settings and gathering points for people, restaurants occasionally see things go awry. Whether it’s a spat between guests, overimbibing or too much noise, managers need to know how to deftly diffuse and deflect the situation so an upbeat ambience is restored. By Min Casey


Thank you for ruining our dinner with your screaming kid. Those are fightin’ words, the content of a note dropped on the table of a fellow diner in a Nampa, Idaho Texas Roadhouse restaurant. The little dust-up which took place last fall was prompted by an 11-month old who punctuated his dining experience with a series of periodic yells. His mother chalked them up to his bubbly enthusiasm and general excitement over dining out. Two women at the next table interpreted it differently and let their pique be known with the note. Whether it’s a squalling baby, kids running around the dining room, a too-loud cell-phone conversation or an argument between diners in which everyone becomes privy to the spat, awkward things play out in restaurants. How management handles them is critical, an important component of the customer-service experience. It’s never truer than in the age of social media, when disgruntled guests are quick to vent ire in public forums, telling the world of their slight.

Bad Calls Technology infiltrates nearly all aspects of life, including dining out. It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of restaurant patrons have a phone with them.

Some will leave them on the table, occasionally checking to see if anything important has surfaced; others will use them to take photos of the food so they can immediately alert social media followers that they are about to eat something spectacular. Inevitably, though, a phone rings. “Restaurants are for conversations between people. Talking on the telephone interrupts that social contract. When other guests become captive to it, there’s a problem,” says Robin DiPietro, professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina. There’s a bit of irony in that. Everyone in the restaurant is talking so why are phone conversations so vexing? “It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why it bothers people. You only hear one side of the talk. It also says that something or someone else is more important than what is at hand,” she says. “It breaks an unwritten rule.” Some restaurants ban their use outright while other spots assume a more lenient, laissez-faire approach.










“Restaurant managers should be proactive, walk around the dining room to see what’s going on.” – Robin DiPietro

“Ideally, you don’t want to alienate anyone but unfortunately it happens,” says Robin DiPietro, professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina. In the case of the note, which quickly exploded on social media outlets, Texas Roadhouse’s Director of Public Relations Travis Doster responded, “We’re in the hospitality business. We want all of our guests to have a great experience.”

said no, they were good and thanked him. But then they left the note anyway,” Doster says. “The managing partner saw the note as crossing the line. The mother had apologized and was in tears. He didn’t want her to leave the restaurant that way. He’s a father himself so he acted with his best instincts and his heart. We’re a family restaurant and absolutely support him in that.”


DiPietro, who earlier in her career worked for Burger King, says that many problems simmer along in the dining room before reaching the boiling point, allowing lots of opportunity for an attentive manager to intervene and dial back the heat.

DiPietro recently had dinner at a nice restaurant in Hilton Head, S.C. At the next table, two children each were watching different movies on hand-held pads with the volume turned up high enough that conversation at the next table was compromised. DiPietro discretely summoned the manager and asked if she and her dining companion could be moved to another table.

“Restaurant managers should be proactive, walk around the dining room to see what’s going on,” she advises, adding that potential problems then are easy to spot and diffuse before they become hot zones. Then, they should be handled in a way that seamlessly merges diplomacy with decisiveness and an equitable solution.

“Instead, the manager asked the mother to turn down the volume on the movies. She stalked right over to our table and asked if we had made the complaint. It was awkward for everyone and it didn’t need to be. We offered to move and that would have kept everyone happy.”

The Texas Roadhouse story was reported in many outlets across the world, including CNN, The NBC Today Show and USA Today, generating thousands of comments. A seemingly small event—after all, babies cry all the time — turned into a firestorm about elderly diners, parenting skills, babies, families and rudeness in general. Noting that the managing partner was in a no-win situation as an on-the-spot referee, Doster provided further details about how things played out.

She adds that there weren’t that many guests in the dining room at the time. “The manager might well have noted that the table with the kids was generating some noise and seated incoming parties such as ours in a different area. As it is, there is a tendency to seat by station,” she says, noting that there should be flexibility based on circumstances. “An ability to think on your feet, be flexible and act accordingly is important. Staff should be trained in that as well.”

“With social media, a lot of facts get dropped. The managing partner [of the Nampa restaurant] had been alerted that the women had complained. He went to the table, asked if there was anything he could do. They


FIGHT CLUB The very nature of restaurants—their hominess, comfort levels and the simple fact that adult beverages are available—occasionally results in situations going amiss.

“If someone has been drinking too much or they are having an argument, that’s definitely time to call a manager; servers should not have to handle those situations,” Di Pietro advises. “And the manager should visit the table with someone else instead of going alone. Ask politely for them to tone it down or to leave the restaurant,” she says, adding that anyone who has been over-served must not be allowed to drive. “Ensure their safety and the safety of other guests.”

Sticky Situation

Cheat Sheet Do regular tours of the restaurant to show that you are present for everyone and to ensure guests that you are there if they have a complaint or concern about their dining experience.

Put yourself in the shoes of the guests sitting around a noise or distraction; empathize with their situation and then determine how to ease and diffuse the issue before it becomes a nuisance.

Once a complaint or concern has been pointed out or noticed, talk to the guests on both sides—the person talking loudly on the cell phone or the parents with kids running around to see if they would be more comfortable someplace else in the dining room (assuming there is a quiet table to place them)—as well as those groups whose experience is affected. This should help to get them on your side in terms of trying to accommodate everyone’s needs.

At Texas Roadhouse, a simple operating philosophy has been an infallible guide through the dramas that inevitably unfold. “We operate by the golden rule,” says Doster. “Our managing partners are owners, not bouncers. They take seriously the idea that once you’re a “Roadie,” you’re part of the family. We treat with trust, respect, concern and care, and that’s the key—a long-term guest focus and mentality.” n

Robin DiPietro, professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina, suggest pointers for managers who could be faced with guestrelations issues in the dining room. They’re practical, smart and easily implemented.

Frame such moves as being done for their convenience and comfort and not as banishment for bad behavior.

If a party agrees to move to another area, send over a complimentary round of appetizers or desserts if that is appropriate. This demonstrates your appreciation and show that you value them as guests.

Aim to keep the mood light and avoid accusatory words that may escalate emotions or cause angry responses. Avoid creating the impression that you are blaming someone for the situation; the family with energetic children may be alienated for a long time while the person on the cell phone may be closing the deal of a lifetime.

Thank guests who have expressed inconvenience or dissatisfaction and apologize for any issues they’ve experienced.



Guests. Staff. Menu. CONNECTED . Use actionable insights about your guests, servers, and menu to exceed guest expectations. Swipely is a cloud-based platform connecting your restaurant’s POS, reservations, and social networks in a single place. Learn more at or contact your Reinhart Sales Consultant r Menu What Will You 016? Look Like In 2 READ MORE ON PAGE 108










Food? It's All in

the Messaging. You stepped up your menu, now it’s time to get creative in showcasing those healthier items by Ari Bendersky

With all the messages about eating healthy, losing weight and staying (or getting) in shape being thrown at people all the time, it's no surprise savvy diners would want the same when going out to eat. The big secret in dining out, however, is that it's not always as good for you as you might think. Delicious and beautifully presented? Of course. Always healthy? Not so much. More people are starting to ask servers and chefs what exactly goes into a dish, how it's prepared and where ingredients are sourced. So it's more important than ever to show your customers you understand their needs and show them the healthy items on your menu. There was a time you could slap "low cal" or "low carb" next to dish or use a symbol of a green leaf or a heart to showcase vegetarian or heart-healthy items. These days, people want, and need, more.

continued ... WINTER 2016 RFSDELIVERS.COM 31


Healthy Food? It's All in the Messaging.

Downing Barber, owner and CEO Barberitos Southwestern Grille & Cantina

"It's critical to know what's being put in your food behind the scenes," said Downing Barber, owner and CEO of Athens, Ga.-based Barberitos Southwestern Grille & Cantina. "Our food is in front of the customers. Rice is rice. We make our own black beans fresh. We've been practicing this for a long time. People come to eat here because they love the food. We never had to tell them it was natural." The point: You need to show your customers how healthy and fresh your food is. Just putting up a sign that says "All natural!" is merely a sign — and often not a truthful one. Barberitos, which currently has 48 restaurants throughout the Southeast, is like other, healthier, fast-casual places like Freshii or Chipotle that put their fresh ingredients on display. But Barberitos also uses terms like "farmfresh" and "made-in-house daily" to tell customers that what they're eating is not processed, from a can or merely frozen after being made at a central location. Their "Healthy Initiative" menu items show calorie count and fat content and the website offers a list of allergens like soy, eggs and peanuts, and also offers an interactive nutrition


calculator so you can add up the fat, cholesterol, protein, sodium and more in every dish on their menu. Actually having natural ingredients, however, does go a long way regardless if you have big signs saying so. Colorado's Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custards has 38 stores throughout the state (with one in Wyoming). When it opened in 1987, it was more of a typical quick-service burger joint, but 13 years ago the company realized it needed to step up its game to differentiate itself from other fast food spots. "We looked at the landscape of what people wanted and going all natural was a stand out," said Amy Nedwell, Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custards marketing director. "It made us different from our competitors." This means having ingredients like beef from local Meyer Natural Angus, humanely raised Springer Mountain Farms chicken, all-natural bacon from Good Nature and frozen custard made from all-natural milk, cream, eggs and Madagascar vanilla. All this information is listed on point-of-purchase signage, and on the company website and promoted via Facebook

Amy Nedwell, Marketing Director Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custards

with cheeky ads that say things like, "Drug-Free Beef (at least something is drugfree here in Colorado.)" "We like to push the envelope a bit. We promote all-natural qualities like no antibiotics, no added hormones, humanely raised," Nedwell said. "A mom can feel better about coming here and getting hand-breaded chicken that's all natural."

Mason's, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Halibut with shaved zucchini and snap peas

Sure, you can promote all-natural ingredients, but you can still get even more creative. Mason's, a Southern-focused spot with European and Appalachian influences inside Nashville's Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, did just that. The restaurant, which opened in 2013, teamed with local celebrity trainer Erin Oprea, who works with the likes of Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles and Lee Ann Womack, to create healthy menu items for hotel guests as well as local clientele. Mason's servers discuss the options with each table and point out how they can "eat clean," with the idea of food being fresh and flavorful. They also point out two thoughtful options, marked with a dumbbell, on each of the breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner

menus. These are the specific dishes envisioned by Oprea and Mason's kitchen staff. Guests know by this simple symbol that they're getting a healthy, thought-out dish like grilled halibut with shaved zucchini and snap peas; a Persian breakfast frittata with shaved asparagus, chickpea smash and dried cherries; or a Mandarin Smash, a cocktail with Absolut Mandarin vodka, lemon juice, agave nectar, orange bitters and fresh orange. "People are pleasantly surprised. They don't expect restaurants to be mindful of their health," said Nanci Milam, Mason's general manager. "People want a more comprehensive healthy dish. It's not just "low cal" or "low carb." It's looking at the entire dish — sugar, salt, fat — all in balance."

Nanci Milam, General Manager Mason's, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

So no matter how you showcase your healthier items, get more creative with it. If you need to change ingredients, you may spend more, but people will be happier and you'll attract more diners in the long run. "If that's what you believe in," Good Times' Nedwell said, "customers will respond to that." Now that's truth in messaging. n










To Snap or not to Snap – That is the question

If you’re considering delving into the world of Snapchat, here are some facts that might help you get started:

by Liz Mardiks

Who’s not on social media? Whether you’re looking for news, posting photos or hash-tagging, social media plays a role in each of our lives. For many restaurateurs, social media can be a daunting medium, but with the growing number of Millennials in the purchasing power demographic, and Generation Z quickly approaching with even more social media savvy, operators need to stay engaged if they want to stay afloat. By now, if you’re not using Facebook or Instagram to advertise your restaurant, you’re late to the game. What’s new in social media? Snapchat! It’s a photo and video app used primarily by a young demographic. Giants like McDonald’s and Dunkin' Donuts have already mastered the platform, creating their own photo filters that become available only when a user is in a location’s vicinity. These filters act as advertising ploys – Oh!, a user may think, upon viewing the filter, We’re by a Dunkin' Donuts! Let’s grab a coffee! Though the platform itself isn’t all that new, Snapchat has only been playing with businesses for a short time. There isn’t much data available in terms of ROI or the platforms efficacy as it relates to sales, but one thing is fairly certain: if a chain restaurant can master Snapchat, they’ll be better able to appeal to the younger generation.

July 2015 8.796 Photos per Second Dec 2014 30 Million Active Users

May 2013 150 Million Snaps a Day

You have to be friends, first – Note that Snapchat is less public than many social media platforms. To reach your audience, they have to become “friends” with you first. Think carefully about how you plan to market your Snapchat presence before diving in. Start out by promoting the fact that you’re on Snapchat to the followers you already have on other social platforms, your website and your email list. These people are already your fans, so they’ll be easier conversions than non-followers. Customers love coupons – Tell your current Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers that they’ll receive a $5 off coupon for adding you as a friend on Snapchat. Entice them to send their own snaps from your location by offering discounts on their next purchase for doing so. Food is your friend – People love looking at food. Head to Pinterest for ideas on how to take high quality food photography, even from a smart phone, and send your Snapchat friends snaps of your latest and greatest culinary creations. Seeing delicious-looking food will draw customers in to taste the final product. Go behind the scenes – The Story feature on Snapchat allows you to string together multiple photos and videos, and blast out the packaged product to all of your friends. Consumers enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at your business – snap photos of your employees having fun in the kitchen, or a video of your chef putting the finishing touch on a lunchtime dessert. This deeper level of connection with your operation creates customer loyalty, as consumers will feel like they’ve joined your exclusive club! n

Feb 2013 60 Million Snaps a Day

Fall 2011 100,000 Users


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THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT They’re Starting from the Bottom… and the Newest Generation of Culinary School Grads are Just Fine with That By Mindy Kolof

You’d think that growing up with Emeril and Bobby on TV 24/7, an endless stream of resources dedicated to all things culinary, and an ever brighter spotlight on the foodie culture, might lead to a generation of students ready to step into a starring role from the minute they graduate. Don’t be too quick to judge the oft-misunderstood Millennial employee though. Culinary schools are prepping them well, with the right blend of knowledge, skills and humility, and you’ll find the latest wave of student-craftsmen ready to roll up their sleeves and earn their toques the right way. To paraphrase Drake, they’re starting from the bottom, now they’re here… and Restaurant Inc explores how this is playing out from the perspectives of veteran culinary educators, a highprofile restaurant group employer and a resourceful young graduate with a rock-solid work ethic.











chooled for success

From the beginning, even before they’re accepted into culinary college, students are vetted with a discerning eye at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York. Career Services & Administration Director Maureen Drum Fagin says: “We are there from the get-go to make sure students understand the reality of the industry. There’s always a small proportion of students who are envisioning their own TV show, but by the time they are admitted, they’re more aware of what to expect.” The newer students may be a bit more food savvy because it’s all around them, she agrees. “You’d have to be dining out constantly to see all these ingredients and techniques, and behind the scenes in kitchen videos that are now accessible to everyone. But overall I don’t see a real difference in students’ attitudes over the last decade, although they may be somewhat less informed about work life in general, as high schools don’t place a lot of emphasis on this anymore.” The ICE Career Services department makes another muchneeded appearance on the third day of a student’s career, when they review a variety of fundamentals: entry level jobs and what to expect, pay scales, promotion paths, and how long to stay at a particular position before moving on. After 440 hours of classwork, another 210 hours are spent in an externship program. Last year 565 students received this valuable onsite training at a restaurant, hotel, catering kitchen or other culinary enterprise, as well as an invaluable entrée into the network of industry professionals, according to Fagin. “This has always been part of our program, and it’s where all the learning comes together when they can apply it in actual situations and learn what it takes to succeed in this industry,” she says. Real-world working experience is also key to the top-rated School of Culinary Arts program at Kendall College in Chicago. In addition to courses that combine classroom learning with hands-on time in the kitchen, a stint at the Michelin-recognized Dining Room at Kendall College and internships at the city’s renowned community of restaurants is part of the rigorous training provided to those seeking a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in culinary arts. Now vice president of the school, Chef Chris Koetke has been a witness at the frontlines of the culinary literacy explosion since becoming an instructor in 1998, but he too believes there is not a marked difference in students’ expectations over the years.

left: students at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York 38 RFSDELIVERS.COM ISSUE 1, 2016


reat expectations

“They come in with high expectations, yes, but that’s a good thing. There were always students who came to us having extensively read and prepared themselves,” says Koetke. “The difference today is that access to information is so much easier, but having said that, the core of what motivates people, their hopes and dreams, and the amount of discipline needed to turn their passion into reality, has never changed.” Koetke says that when he asks students ‘what’s your big dream, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?’ the answers are surprisingly down to earth. “Our program is intensely challenging and if they come in with unrealistic dreams, those are dealt with pretty quickly! Most don’t expect to be chef at the Four Seasons or have a Food Network contract waiting for them, and if they do, I advise them to rethink it. The likelihood is quite small, and I tell them not to put all their eggs in that basket.” Instead, he recommends holding on to the big dream, but loosely. “You may have a certain game plan, but keep your eyes open because life has a funny way of presenting opportunities that you don’t expect.” He speaks from personal experience: after years of serving as an executive chef, he responded to a phone inquiry from Kendall College that led to his current calling. “I discovered this is what I love to do. There is nothing more satisfying to me than watching students achieve their dreams. None of that would have happened had I not been open to taking that phone call.”

Just where are these freshly minted chefs headed? Virtually anywhere they want, as the scope of possibilities continues to blossom and the labor market tightens. While that makes it a challenge for employers seeking qualified candidates, students can choose everything from traditional entry-level stints in a restaurant kitchen to opening a food truck to catering companies to cruise-line cooks to R&D for a food manufacturer to teaching positions. “Our students are hired easily. We receive constant requests from businesses,” maintains Koetke, pointing to a stunning 96 percent employment rate within six months of graduation for the class of 2014, a trend he expects will hold true for this year’s crop as well. He credits the stellar reputation of Kendall’s thorough training and preparation, and the emphasis on considering the limitless ways to hone their craft. “Our graduates are all over the place, reflecting the vastness of our industry. We draw attention to all opportunities, and one of the biggest is in the senior living market – it’s vibrant, interesting and growing.” At ICE, which proudly lays claim to launching 11,000 careers since its inception in 1975, Fagin advises students to start in restaurants versus corporate dining or prepared foods businesses. “We feel it is the best initial training ground coming out of culinary school, and we recommend it even to those pursuing a career in food media. Once they gain that experience, they can pursue any one of a number of different paths within the industry.”

below: students at Kendall College in Chicago











he Millennial value proposition

So for today’s culinary graduates, the world is indeed their personal oyster. They’re well prepared, well read and well trained, and ready to be wooed by employers who offer the perks that matter most … not money or fame, but intangibles like flexibility, connection with fellow employees and developmental trails. Koetke explains: “Their growth doesn’t stop the day they graduate. Culinary school is just the first step. Employers should make it clear they will invest in their new hires by putting them on a growth track, enabling them to gain meaningful experience.” Adds Fagin: “New graduates want to feel invested in the organization, so employers may want to take the time to explain why they’re doing things a certain way…and give them the opportunity to suggest how things might be done differently.” Principles like these are at the core of the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), with 1,800 employees and growing under its umbrella of some of New York’s most popular restaurants – Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack among them. Rachel Hoffheimer, senior manager of talent acquisition, sees her mission as communicating those values to potential employees. “We have great brand and name recognition,” she says, “but we still need to get the message out there that we’ve built an entire system around developing and supporting our employees, allowing them to be authors of their own destiny.” In return, she looks for a willingness on the part of applicants to learn the business from the ground up. “If they have the humility to be comfortable starting as a back server or runner, that goes a long way. It enables them to learn about the food, interact with the kitchen team, understand how to present food, speak about the menu and enhance the guest experience. Or they may start as a host, be that first line of interaction, and learn how the process flows.” Smartly tapping into the desire of young employees seeking a defined path to growth, USHG will launch the Leader in Training program this spring. “Students just light up when they hear about this concept,” says Hoffheimer. The 12-month program allows new hires to rotate among several restaurants with a front-of-house or back-ofhouse focus, learn about different aspects of the business, including inventory, operations/receiving and forecasting, attend coaching sessions, and participate in wine and beer classes with master sommeliers. “It’s a timeline we use for most new employees, but this program has more support and structure around it, and additional opportunities for development within other USHG businesses.” left: Union Square Hospitality Group Members

Mike Kubiesa


n his mark

If you’re not yet convinced of Millennial grit and determination, meet Mike Kubiesa, a recent graduate of Kendall College set to make his mark in the culinary world. There’s little doubt he will succeed, with an already impressive track record of setting lofty goals and consistently achieving them. Kubiesa grew up with that unmistakable strong connection to the kitchen most practicing chefs have felt from a young age. As a youngster, he cooked extravagant meals with his mother and grandmother, learned to can food and ran his own experiments after watching Emeril Live and Alton Brown’s Good Eats on television. By high school, he was head chef at the school restaurant. Although he took a more traditional college path, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications, within a year, the passion for the culinary drew him to enroll in Kendall’s accelerated associate’s degree program. His goal: to be at the top of the class. Mission accomplished, and then some, as he also earned a spot on the college team for an Italian cooking competition. After graduating last spring, he set his sights on a position with Flik Hospitality Group to achieve another goal – working with a major NFL team. He spent months researching the possibilities, and trying to find the right opening. It will come as no surprise to those who know him that Kubiesa is now working at his dream job, feeding the Chicago Bears and their coaches at the Halas Hall headquarters. As the nighttime supervisor

and coach’s cook, Kubiesa logs at least 50 hours a week preparing dinners, working with night prep cooks, cleaning the kitchen, and making sure everything’s in place for the next day. Hard work, but nothing he didn’t expect after taking on 12- to 14- hour shifts during an earlier internship at a fine dining restaurant. “I was at the bottom,” he acknowledges, “and that gave me the motivation to give my all every day.” He soaked up the experience, pickling and preserving foods, helping out on the hot appetizer line, making pre-dinner bites and the family dinner and gratefully accepting the chef’s critiques. It’s why his advice to aspiring chefs is grounded and practical. In his eyes, it’s not about riches, fame and your own Food Network show. “If you think like that, you’re not going to succeed. Right now it’s about learning and working hard. Arrive early, stay late, be on top of your game, and give it 100 percent effort,” says Kubiesa. That’s the kind of commitment valued by any employer, but particularly those in the culinary world. Rick Bayless, author, and Executive Chef and Co-Owner of the James Beard award-winning Frontera Grill, says: “You only master a craft by doing, so coming out of culinary school and expecting that you are a master craftsman is never going to happen. I always tell students, put your head down and master your craft because it’s only in the practice that you will become that master that probably in your head you are dreaming of being one day. It takes a really, really long time.” Executive Chef Mindy Segal, owner of a thriving Midwest café, (http:// agrees: “Ask a bartender what’s the perfect Manhattan? It’s when you make it 500,000 times.” n










amazing flavor from START TO FINISH Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup

Made with Campbell’s® Signature Low Sodium Vegetarian Vegetable Culinary Foundations

With new Campbell’s® Signature Culinary Foundations, it’s easy to make your menu even more amazing. This low-sodium, premium frozen concentrate is made with simple ingredients and is the perfect start for everything from soups to sauces to flavorful entrées. Find ideas and more at

What will you make of it?


©2015 CSC Brands LP











It’s time to shake off the winter doldrums and spring ahead with a freshly re-engineered menu. For this spring clean-up, neatness doesn’t count, but sales, cost and profitability do. We turned to menu engineering expert Greg Rapp, who’s been finding the hidden profits on restaurant menus for the last three decades. He offers these tips to help you emerge from your highest-cost season, winter, with a new look that will delight your customers and fatten your bottom line. WINTER 2016 RFSDELIVERS.COM 43











3 1 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Identify your best-selling items and place them on the menu for greatest visibility. Make it easy for customers to find these profit makers by boxing the item, writing a longer description, including a picture and placing it as the first item on the list or using a small signature symbol to draw attention to it.

2 CATEGORIZE. Further reinforce the value of your items by adding the category name. For example, in the salad section, refer to your dish as a Buffalo Chicken Salad and not just Buffalo Chicken.

BRUSH UP ON ROMANCE LANGUAGE. Adding better descriptions takes the value of your food up and the cost down in the customer's mind. Make sure your steaks and other high profit items have great descriptions that will distinguish them from your competition across the street. Adding a backstory not only informs and educates your guests, it elevates your dish from commodity to special. For example: “This is the Cobb Salad recipe that was served at our Chef Andre's wedding reception,” or “This recipe was developed by our Chef's great grandmother in Tekamah, Nebraska.”

4 SPREAD SOME SPRINGTIME ON THE MENU. Highlight a few seasonal items to give your menu a fresh feel… Copper River salmon and mint juleps for Kentucky Derby parties, and plenty of produce and fruits like sweet peas, asparagus, radishes, artichokes and strawberries.






expensive cuts of meat or lesser known ingredients – their problem may just be a poor PR team, but you can use their under-the-radar status to your advantage. Challenge your team to try and make these items work well in your recipes. If making crab cakes, consider backfin crab meat as an alternative to the more costly expensive lump crab meat – using the expensive kind to mash up for crab cakes is a waste of money.

Eliminate leader dots and dollar signs, which direct attention to the price. Listing prices almost forces your guests to consider and order by price. To combat this, write your newly romanced menu description, followed by a period, add two spaces and then insert the price in the same font.


MENU RE-ENGINEERING: A QUICK GUIDE TO STARS, PUZZLES & PLOW HORSES Finding the most profitable and popular items on your menu is at the heart of menu re-engineering. Once you’ve uncovered the core items, add a springtime touch to them to extend their value on your seasonal menu.

Greg Rapp breaks down this essential process as follows: FIND YOUR STARS, your best items, high in profit and high in popularity. They are not typically price sensitive; you can increase the price without experiencing a decline in sales. Identify your Super Stars and Rising Stars, and extend these items into a category on your menu to add attention to them.

PINPOINT YOUR PUZZLES, items that are high in profit but low in popularity. The puzzle is how do we make these items better sellers…rename them, give them a new presentation, or lower the price? Although Rapp is generally not in favor of decreasing prices, this is one instance in which it’s proven effective in boosting sales.

UNCOVER YOUR PLOW HORSES, items that are lower in profit but very popular. These items are attracting customers to your restaurant, so “be careful not to mess with these too much or your thrifty guests will go find this item where they can get it cheaper,” warns Rapp. Examples of plow horses are Lunch Specials - pepperoni pizza and choice of draft beer at one low price.

FINALLY, CALL OFF THE DOGS, items that are low in both profit and sales. Clean up the menu by eliminating these items, or if you want to keep them, increase the price lest they continue to steal sales from your Stars and Puzzles. n





Our Chefs' takes on


CLASSICS Bacon Wrapped Venison Meatloaf with Rosemary Roasted Purple Potatoes p. 54


Green Beans Almondine p. 55

Keeping You Full & Warm This Winter As the temperatures dip below freezing and our heaters start to work double duty, what could be better than digging into a comforting bowl of white chicken chili? Comfort food means different things depending on your childhood, your location and your palate. But one thing is for certain. Hearty staples warm our hearts and often nourish our bodies when we need it most. For this Food Fight, we encouraged our chefs to dig into what comfort food really

means to them - but with a twist, of course. Cruise through the next few pages and you'll find your stomach rumbling in no time. Our chefs reinvented some of the most traditional comfort ingredients, including mom's classic meatloaf, a lightened version of mac 'n cheese and a decadent duck chili. We guarantee you won't be disappointed by the creativity they all demonstrated in these latest culinary creations.

Photography by Dan Coha Photography Food Styling by Susan Hevey


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DELICIOUS & NUTRITIOUS Duck meat contains generous amounts of protein, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, iron, zinc, vitamin B-6, and thiamine, according to

Duck Chili w/Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce CHEF JEFF MERRY | Reinhart® Boston Division

INGREDIENTS 􀀀 2 lb Ground duck 􀀀 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil 􀀀 4 strips Apple wood bacon 􀀀 1/2 tsp Ground cumin 􀀀 1/2 C Onion, diced 􀀀 4 cloves Garlic, chopped 􀀀 1 7 oz can Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 􀀀 2 C Roasted corn & black bean mix 􀀀 28 oz Fire roasted tomatoes 􀀀 6 oz Tomato paste 􀀀 3 tsp Chili powder 􀀀 1 tsp Cayenne pepper 􀀀 12 oz Dark beer TT

Queso Fresco

Portion Cost: $2.95 Suggested Menu Price: $7.95 Profit: $5.00


PREPARATION [servings: 1] In a stock pot, heat vegetable oil. Add bacon, ground duck, onions and garlic. Cook about 10-­15 minutes until meat is browned and onions are tender. Place chipotle pepper in adobo sauce in food processor and blend until smooth. Add to meat. Add remaining ingredients, except the corn and black bean mix, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper, and bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the corn and black bean and add remaining seasonings to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with Queso Fresco crumbles.

Meatloaf Wellington INGREDIENTS 8 oz

Ground beef chuck

8 oz

Ground pork

8 oz

Ground veal

􀀀 2 C

Fresh bread crumbs

􀀀 1 C

Celery, chopped

􀀀 3/4 C

Onion, diced

􀀀 2 cloves Garlic, chopped 􀀀 1 egg 􀀀 1/2 C

Parsley, chopped

􀀀 2 tsp

Sea salt

􀀀 1/4 tsp

Cracked black pepper

􀀀 1/2 C

BBQ sauce

PASTRY: 􀀀 1 puff Pastry sheet, 10x15 􀀀 1 Egg 􀀀 2 tsp


PREPARATION [servings: 1] In a large bowl, beat egg, BBQ sauce, sea salt and pepper. Crumble the ground meat over mixture and mix well. Add onion, celery, garlic, parsley and bread crumbs; mix gently. Shape into loaf. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry sheet. Invert meat loaf and place in center of pastry; fold short sides of pastry over loaf. Fold long sides over loaf and pastry; seal seams. Place, seam side down, on a rack in a 15"x10"x1" baking pan. Beat remaining egg; brush over pastry. Bake at 350°F for 60-­70 minutes or until no pink remains and a thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Beef & Maytag Blue Cheese Savory Hand Pie INGREDIENTS 1/2 lb

Angus ground chuck blend

􀀀 1 tsp Garlic (minced) 􀀀 1 Onion for each (small, diced) 􀀀 1 Tbsp

Steak sauce

􀀀 1 tsp

Dijon mustard

􀀀 3 oz

Maytag blue cheese (crumbled)

􀀀 TT


􀀀 TT


􀀀 2 5" diameter Pie crust 􀀀 1 Egg for each (lightly beaten)

PREPARATION [servings: 1] FILLING: Preheat a skillet over medium to high heat. Sauté beef, garlic and onion. Stir until browned. Add steak sauce and mustard, stir. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from stove and allow to cool. Once completely cooled, mix in blue cheese. ASSEMBLY: Place 2 pie crust disks on a floured surface. Spoon equal parts of filling on to crust. Brush edges with egg. Fold over to make a half moon shape. Pinch edges using a fork. Cut 2 vents. Place on a parchment paper lined sheet tray. Brush tops with remaining egg. Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Portion Cost: $3.30 Suggested Menu Price: $9.95 Profit: $6.65

Portion Cost: $2.95 Suggested Menu Price: $9.95 Profit: $7.00 All pricing/costing for the Food Fight Recipes is approximate. Local pricing & products may vary by division.





ALABAMA WHITE SAUCE White BBQ Sauce originally hails from northern Alabama and, according to, is best suited for chicken or coleslaw – NOT beef!

Fried Chicken W/White BBQ Sauce & Pesto Potatoes CHEF PAUL YOUNG | Reinhart® Milwaukee Division

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS 􀀀 10 oz Chicken 8-­piece cut 􀀀 16 oz 1% buttermilk 􀀀 10 oz All-purpose flour 1 tsp Baking powder 􀀀 1 1/2 tsp Garlic powder 􀀀 1/2 tsp Ground cayenne pepper 􀀀 1 oz Kosher salt, divided

PREPARATION [servings: 1] Soak the chicken for at least 1 hour in the buttermilk with 1/2 Tbsp of kosher salt. In a separate bowl, add together the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, baking powder and remaining salt and mix well with a dry whisk. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off the excess, then dredge into the flour (you may repeat the process for a thicker crust).


Deep fry at 350 degrees for about 10 -­‐14 minutes or until an internal temperature of 365 degrees is reached. Serve the chicken over the pesto potatoes, and finish the dish with a ladle of the white BBQ sauce. PESTO ROASTED POTATOES 4 oz Red potato, diced 1/4 oz Green medium bell pepper 1 tsp Kosher salt 1 Tbsp Pesto basil sauce 1/2 tsp Black pepper 1 tsp Olive oil PREPARATION Boil the potatoes until al dente, then drain. On a sheet tray, drizzle the potatoes with the oil, salt and pepper and place into 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Toss in the pesto and serve.

􀀀 WHITE BBQ SAUCE 16 oz Mayonnaise extra heavy 2 tsp Horseradish 2 tsp Kosher salt 1 tsp Black pepper 1 Tbsp White wine champagne vinegar 2 tsp Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp Garlic fresh, minced PREPARATION Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Portion Cost: $3.48 Suggested Menu Price: $13.25 Profit: $9.77

Pretzel Crusted Fish Fry w/ Beer Mustard Sauce

Spicy Mac 'n Cheese w/ Andouille Sausage



7 oz

Mahi mahi filet, skin on, boneless wild

1 each

Classic twist tiny pretzels

1 oz

Panko bread crumb Japanese coarse

4 oz

All-­purpose flour

2 each

Eggs, large

2 Tbsp

Kosher salt, divided

􀀀 5 oz

French fry lattice savory frozen

􀀀 2 tsp

Onion powder


Mayonnaise extra heavy

5 Tbsp

Mustard brown deli bold 'n spicy

1 Tbsp

Salt kosher

1 tsp

Caraway seed whole

3 Tbsp

Dark beer

[In a bowl, add together the mayonnaise, mustard, caraway seeds and 3 Tbs. of dark beer such as Guinness Stout. Refrigerate before serving.]

PREPARATION [servings: 1] In a food processor, place the pretzels and panko bread crumbs. Blend until well combined. Add 1/2 Tbs. of kosher salt and blend again. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and whisk with 3 Tbs. water. In a separate bowl, add the flour and 1/2 Tbs. of the kosher salt and the onion powder. Mix well with a dry whisk. Cut the fish into 3 equal strips and coat each strip with the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour, and dredge into the eggwash. Finally, coat the fish with the pretzel mixture and deep fry until golden brown and cooked through (approximately 6 minutes). Deep fry the lattice chips and set on the plate. Top with the pretzel crusted mahi mahi. Serve with a side of the beer mustard sauce.

Portion Cost: $5.85 Suggested Menu Price: $15.95 Profit: $10.10

7 oz 1/8 oz 4 oz Optional

Pasta cavatappi, cooked al dente Onion green scallion, sliced thin Sausage Andouille, sliced Breadcrumbs

CHIPOTLE AIOLI: 2 oz 16 oz 1 tsp 3/4 tsp

Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce Mayonnaise extra heavy Kosher salt Lemon juice

[Put all ingredients into a food processor then blend. Refrigerate for up to a week.]

PEPPER CHEESE SAUCE: 8 oz 8 oz 48 oz 1/4 oz 1 oz 1 oz 16 oz 2 Tbsp 1 1/2 oz. 1/2 tsp 2 tsp

All-­purpose flour Unsalted butter Whole milk Garlic fresh, minced Yellow onion Jalapeño pepper Mild shredded cheese cheddar Kosher salt Medium red pepper bell, diced Ground cayenne red pepper Gourmet chicken paste base

[Grill whole jalapeños until blistered and fragrant. Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Dice in a heavy bottomed sauce pan slowly. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the diced onion, diced red pepper and jalapeño. Cook for about 2 minutes or until they start to caramelize. Add the flour and stir until well incorporated. Cook on medium low heat for another 2 minutes or until a blond roux is formed. Add 2 C. milk and whisk until a thick paste has been formed. Add the rest of the milk, garlic, salt, chicken base and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Slowly add in the cheese. Stir until well incorporated and a sauce has formed.]

PREPARATION [servings: 1] Toss the cooked pasta with the spicy cheese sauce. Grill the Andouille sausage and top the mac n' cheese with it. Drizzle the chipotle aioli over the top and garnish with sliced green onions. Optional: Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 10 mins. Serve.

Portion Cost: $5.48 Suggested Menu Price: $15.95 Profit: $10.47 All pricing/costing for the Food Fight Recipes is approximate. Local pricing & products may vary by division.





Down South Eggs Benedict CHEF DEMETRIO MARQUEZ | Reinhart® New Orleans Division

PREPARATION [servings: 1]

INGREDIENTS 1 each 2 each 2 each TT TT 3 oz. 3 oz.

Southern style buttermilk biscuit dough Home-­style chicken tenderloin fritters (ready-­to-­cook frozen) Eggs Vegetable oil Salt and pepper Old fashioned-­Texas gravy biscuit mix Country style sausage pork patty Chopped chives to garnish

Portion Cost: $3.08 Suggested Menu Price: $9.99 Profit: $6.91

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the biscuits until golden brown, then set aside after done. Country Sausage Gravy: Cook sausage until done. After cooled, crumble the sausage patties then set aside. Make the country gravy as directed according to gravy biscuit mix. Add crumbled sausage to country gravy. Country Fried Fritter: In a fryer at 350°F, cook fritters until done, then set aside. Fried eggs: In a mid-­‐high temperature heated skillet, add a little vegetable oil, then add eggs and fry to desired temperature. Add salt and pepper. On a plate, split the biscuit into two halves, then topped with country fried fritter, fried eggs. Finish with cream country gravy. Garnish with chopped chives.

BIG BUCKS FOR BREAKFAST Breakfasts are the least expensive meals for operators to purchase, with eggs being one of the top 10 profitgenerating menu items, according to


Smoky Bacon Beef Loaf/ Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Corn Waffle Huevos Ranchero INGREDIENTS 2 oz

INGREDIENTS 􀀀 1 lb Ground beef 􀀀 1 1/4 lb Applewood smoked bacon (grind all but 5 slices) 􀀀 1 Tbsp EVOO 􀀀 6 oz Yellow onion, chopped

􀀀 2 oz

Refried pinto beans with lard Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

􀀀 2 each Eggs, fried 􀀀 3 oz

Fire-roasted salsa

􀀀 2 oz

Avocado, chopped or diced

􀀀 4 oz 1/4-inch diced celery


􀀀 1 oz Jalapeno pepper, chopped

􀀀 1 1/4 C

Enriched flour

􀀀 2 tsp Ground cumin

􀀀 1/4 C

Yellow corn meal

􀀀 2 tsp Coarse kosher salt

􀀀 1 tsp

Pure cane granulated sugar

􀀀 2 Eggs

􀀀 1 1/2 tsp

Baking powder

􀀀 4 oz 2% milk

􀀀 1/2 tsp

Baking soda

􀀀 1 ¼ C


􀀀 1/3 C

European-style butter blend, melted

􀀀 4 oz Ketchup 􀀀 8 oz Bread crumbs TT

Tomatoes, diced


Shredded potato hash browns (frozen)

􀀀 4 oz European style butter blend (melted) 􀀀 11 oz Condensed cream of chicken soup 􀀀 1 pt

Sour cream

􀀀 4 oz Yellow onion (chopped) 􀀀 1 lb Mild shredded cheddar cheese 􀀀 1 tsp Table salt 􀀀 1/2 tsp Black pepper [Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then spray an 11x14 casserole dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together. Spread evenly in casserole dish then bake for 45 minutes, until top is golden brown.]

PREPARATION [servings: 5] Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium skillet, over medium heat, heat the oil with the onion, celery, garlic and jalapeño. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and cumin. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then blend in the milk, ketchup and bread crumbs. Add the meat and cooked vegetables. Stir or work with your hands to combine. Pat into a 9-­‐by-­‐5-­inch loaf pan. Cut the bacon strips in half and lay over the loaf, tucking in the ends.

􀀀 2 Each Eggs 􀀀 1/4 tsp

Iodized table salt

[Whisk flour, yellow corn meal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl until evenly combined. Whisk buttermilk and melted butter in separate bowl. Add eggs. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined and batter is slightly lumpy. Pre-­heat waffle iron, according to manufacturer’s instructions.Pour batter into waffle iron and cook until done, then set corn waffle aside.]

PREPARATION [servings: 1] In a med-­heat skillet, heat refried beans, then set aside. In a separate skillet, fry eggs to your desired doneness. In a separate skillet, heat the fire-roasted salsa and set aside. In a plate, place waffle and then spread refried beans generously on top of waffle. Top with fried eggs, shredded cheese and finished with fire-roasted salsa. Garnish with avocados and cilantro.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until an instant-­read thermometer inserted in the meat loaf registers 150 degrees. Remove from oven and pour off the fat. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with tomatoes and celery leaf.

Portion Cost: $1.38 Suggested Menu Price: $5.99 Profit: $4.61

Portion Cost: $2.05 Suggested Menu Price: $9.99 Profit: $7.95 All pricing/costing for the Food Fight Recipes is approximate. Local pricing & products may vary by division.





Bacon Wrapped Venison Meatloaf

1 oz

Soy sauce

1 lb

Sliced bacon

BLUEBERRY DEMI-­GLACE [4 servings] 4 oz


4 oz


Chef Lee Sepaniac

4 oz.

Dried Blueberries

Culinary Specialist, Gourmet Food Group


Purple Potatoes

4 oz


2 Tbsp Rosemary, Fresh Chopped

Plate Cost: $13.45 Suggested Menu Price: $24.95 Profit: $11.50


Ground venison





2 tsp

Fennel pollen

2 Tbsp Cracked pepper 1 oz

Worcesterchire sauce


Salt & Pepper

PREPARATION [servings: 4] Combine the breadcrumbs with the milk and let them soak for 2 minutes. Then add the spices, soy sauce, worcesterchire Sauce, then mix thoroughly in with the ground venison. In a bread loaf pan, lay out the bacon horizontally across the pan, shingled and overlapping by 1/4-inch. Form the ground meat mixture into roughly the same shape and place in the pan on top of the layered bacon sheet. Firmly push the meat into the bread pan and then fold the remaining bacon over the loaf and cover with foil. Cook at 425°F for 45 minutes and then allow to cool for 20 minutes.

BAKING VS. GRILLING Game meat is extremely lean, and can be tricky to cook on a grill. Popping this ground venison in the oven helps ensure a consistent, quality flavor every time!


All pricing/costing for the Food Fight Recipes is approximate. Local pricing & products may vary by division.

Green Beans Almondine

Thai Fried Calamari w/ Sweet Chile sauce INGREDIENTS


􀀀 6 oz buttermilk

3 oz

Green beans, blanched

􀀀 8 oz calamari

1 Tbsp

Almonds, sliced

􀀀 1/2 C masa

1 Tbsp


5 -­‐6 drops Lemon juice TT

Salt & pepper

􀀀 1/2 C cornmeal 􀀀 4 oz sweet chili sauce 􀀀 1 oz almonds, fried, crushed

PREPARATION [servings: 1]

􀀀 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Blanch green beans for 3 - 4 minutes. Toss with butter, lemon juice and top with sliced almonds.

PREPARATION [servings: 1] Soak the cut calamari rings and tentacles in the buttermilk for at least 1 hour in refrigerator.

THE NAME GAME Add creativity to this simple dish by referring to this vegetable by one of its other names: string beans or snap beans.

Mix together the masa and cornmeal, then dredge the drained calamari in this coating. Fry the breaded calamari at 375 degrees for 5 -­‐6 minutes, until just cooked, then drain all excess oil. Heat the sweet chili sauce until just simmering in a sauté pan and then toss the fried calamari with the sauce. Plate and finish with the crushed, fried almonds and fresh chopped cilantro.

Portion Cost: $3.84 Suggested Menu Price: $9.95 Profit: $6.11





In The

Comfort Zone Different Strokes for Different Folks by Mary Daggett Comfort food means different things to different people. What may promote a sense of well-being in New England may not be what gives Southern comfort. Our parents’ favorite dishes just might be major turnoffs for us. Baby Boomers were generally nourished with meat and potatoes and familiar grains. They fondly remember their mother’s meatloaf or the hot cream of wheat she made on cold mornings. Gen Xers snubbed hot cereal, and tucked a granola bar into their backpack instead. Each subsequent generation defines its


own comfort food zone. Gen X and Millennials (Gen Y) have traveled more extensively and been exposed to more variety than their parents and grandparents. They have developed a taste for alternative proteins, appreciate ancient grains and seek out organic vegetables grown in the neighborhood. In general, they are more sophisticated, health-conscious, adventurous, and take a more liberal approach to trying new foods. A proliferation of vegetarian restaurants across the country are helping to redefine the comfort zone. Food trucks

entice young professionals out of their lairs with Falafel – the wildly popular Middle Eastern chickpea fritters. Quinoa, barley, amaranth, millet, faro and spelt may sound like foreign words to some, but these ancient grains, many of which are gluten-free, are as comforting to some Americans today as cream of wheat was in the past. Move over, meat and potatoes. Make room for a new comfort zone offensive charge from restaurants creating memories with fresh and dried veggies, beans, nuts and grains and more.

Move over Meat & Potatoes ...

1. Adair Kitchen



Houston — The Super Foods Bowl: brown rice is joined by kale, avocado, almonds, tomato, red onion and cucumber, tossed with a sweet ginger miso dressing.

2. Amsterdam Falafelshop Washington, D.C., Boston, Annapolis and Arlington, Virginia — Falafel balls are freshly fried for each order. Available with pita bread for sandwiches or in falafel bowls. 22 different sauces and toppings provide variety and incent return visits.

3. The Chicago Diner (Meat-free since ’83), two Chicago locations (Logan Square and Halsted) — Truffle Mushroom Lentil Loaf: soul-warming casserole of mushrooms and lentils topped with white truffle mushroom sauce. Served with sautéed vegetables and roasted potatoes.



4. Dirt Candy New York City (making culinary stars of individual vegetables) — The Radish: black radish spaghetti, radish ravioli, radish greens pesto and horseradish.


5. Moosewood Restaurant Ithaca, New York — West African Groundnut Stew: a stick-to-yourribs concoction of sweet potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, tomatoes and onions laced with peanut butter. n






Foods of the American South often have gentle cadences of comfort in their DNA, a delicious truth that has revved up restaurants that tap its many influences.

Southern cuisine is served with hospitality and an accent. Carolyn O’Neil describes foods of the American South as so distinct, separate and delicious they might well be of another country. Or make that … countries. “There’s not just one cuisine in the south. There’s Florida cuisine, Texas, New Orleans, the Carolinas, Virginia,” says the Atlanta-based cookbook author and dietitian. “They’re all different from each other. Yet they also ring true.” Varied, ever-changing and entirely familiar, the cuisines are built and sustained on the very notion of comfort. “Southern food just makes me happy,” says O’Neil, an Atlanta-based author, dietitian and food consultant. “And that’s kind of what comfort food is, after all.” O’Neil, a southerner by birth, is an ardent champion of the foods, many of which she chronicles in her newest book “The Slim Down South Cookbook” (Oxmoor House). “At restaurants here in Atlanta there is a resurgence of interest, a celebration of southern ingredients,” she says. “Chefs maintain the historic integrity yet latitude in how they’re presented is encouraged and embraced. That keeps the cuisine fresh and moving forward.”

In the Comfort Zone Kevin Gillespie, chef/owner of Gunshow restaurant in Atlanta and Revival in nearby Decatur, concurs that “southern food” is a broad term under which many regional variations flourish and thrive. “It’s extremely personalized and means something different to everyone. I’m from Georgia where you have the coastal south, which is more affluent. You also have rural Appalachia, which is agrarian. It emphasizes freshness, seasonality and respect for the totality of ingredients. It’s about using what you have and not being frivolous. In Atlanta, you have a confluence of the two.” At his restaurants, that has come to mean a refined and evolved style coexisting with strong culinary references to his southern heritage. “It’s the mentality with which you approach food that makes it authentic,” he says. “There’s a pride that goes into cooking and sharing. You toe that line and bring comfort to the lives of people you share the food with. We’re all in busy, bustling lives; food that seems simple, that your grandmother could have had a hand in it—that’s why southern food often strikes diners as comfort food.” Vegetables are underpinnings of many things southern. From meat and three restaurants to the mess of greens that accompanies so many meals, they, more so than the protein, are the foundation. At Revival, Gillespie says that the peas are cooked as expected, with fatback and not much more. “But we put a personal signature on them. My grandma would pick wild herbs and add mint, wild onions and so on. Our chef there is Swedish; he added dill to the mix. That all adds newness, something not expected. It’s our fingerprint, a new iteration of something familiar,” he explains. “When my grandma tasted them, she said, ‘yes, I’ll accept this.’ And 25-year old diners say, ‘the dill is good in this.’ So it works all around. It doesn’t take the peas beyond recognition. It’s a subtlety.”





Southern Exposure Southern food is not the sole province of its home states; it travels well and has settled in nicely to many points north, including New York. “There are so many Southern restaurants in Brooklyn now, some people call it New York South,” says Jeffrey McInnis, executive chef/partner of Root & Bone in New York City. Born in Florida’s panhandle region and spending summers on a family farm in Alabama, McInnis came honestly to his Southern culinary flair. “My grandma Bryce got me excited about food and the land,” McInnis recalls. Subsequent work experience in Charleston and Virginia tightened his skills and the grip that the cuisine held on him. “When it was time to open my own restaurant, Southern just felt right,” he says. To build the menu, McInnis relied on the past, populating it with foods he grew up eating and took for granted. “They were so abundant and common. We lived in a coastal area so there was lots of seafood. And we had what my grandma called yardbirds—chickens, quail, ducks—she didn’t differentiate, and corn, lots of corn.” These categories are abundantly represented on Root & Bone’s menu. McInnis took the added step of sourcing ingredients close to home, even finding a small producer of grits in upstate New York. “They have an old, water-powered grist mill. The grits are as good as anything I could source in the south.” Take McInnis’ meatloaf for example, a dish with echoes of the version on which so many Americans grew up eating that has been transformed into something decidedly upscale. Beef short ribs are slowly braised, the succulent meat then shredded and packed into a loaf pan. It is weighted down for at least a day. For service, it is sliced and seared in a red-hot pan. It ends up with a crispy char on the outside and a creamy soft interior. Heirloom tomatoes are melted down to a jammy consistency; it stands in for the requisite ketchup, adding acidic tang to cut the meat’s richness. Mashed root vegetables—often a combo of potatoes and celery root, deliver a creamy counterpoint. ”You know what meat loaf is and have an idea of what you will get if you order it in a diner. Ours is based on that but it is a different interpretation and presentation,’ says McInnis. “That’s our thing. It’s recognizable and yet it’s not entirely.” McInnis, who was opening chef for Miami’s Yardbird, notes that fried chicken has become something of a comfort-food signature at Root & Bone. Not unlike his grandmother’s, the birds are brined, coated and then pressure fried. To add a spark of new, paper-thin sliced lemons are oven-dried and then pulverized into lemon dust that’s sprinkled on the chicken for service. As do so many of his menu items, it blends roots, tradition, inspiration and technique. Says McInnis, “I cook what I ate and saw so much of it. It’s a magical spell that was put on me or it’s my grandma Bryce cooking through me. It’s exactly where I want it to be.”


Southern Comfort with a Twist

WITH ME ... Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so, too, is comfort food, a term that is entirely subjective and specific to each and every person. By many accounts, it first appeared in print in 1966 in a Palm Beach Post story. "Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’—food associated with the security of childhood, like mother’s poached egg or famous chicken soup." As others have weighed in on the topic, the definition of comfort food has shifted, typically taking on the twin notions of indulgence and high amounts of carbohydrates, neither aspect of which was conveyed in the Post’s usage. Some note that soft foods—things such as mashed potatoes, meat loaf, macaroni and cheese, pudding and ice cream— instantly convey a sense of comfort. Indeed, they’re staples of childhood, foods that barely even ask that they be chewed. Even the original idea that such foods were only turned to in times of stress has evolved. Comfort is called for whenever diners so desire it. Who, after all, doesn’t like to be wrapped in the warm cloak that such foods deliver? Says Carolyn O’Neil, “Understand comfort is the psychological part of food, the human part, and that’s what makes it so interesting.”

In restaurant settings, comfort foods—even the most familiar among them—often come to the table with the refinement of high-end ingredients and the finesse of professional techniques. Says Kenneth, “They’re still recognizable and familiar but they also come with a different approach.”

Skrimp and Grits at Root & Bone, New York City: Virginia country ham, Brooklyn lager jus, gulf skrimps (shrimp in a local dialect), red onions and Trumansburg, N.Y. stone-ground grits Pickled Shrimp at The Southern, Chicago: served with celery root puree, braised celery, fennel, radish and bell-pepper oil

Purple Hull Pea Catfish Cakes at Ajax Diner, Oxford, Miss.: served with jalapeno tartar sauce

Charred Okra at Yardbird in Miami: Served with cotija cheese, brown butter and lemon juice Buttermilk Fried Oysters at Cru Café, Charleston, S.C.: with BBQ beans, truffled baby arugula and smoked-tomato caramel Coffee-Pickled Hull Peas and Carrots at Barley Swine in Austin, Tex.: flavored with goat cheese and ancho chiles

Sorghum and CiderBrined Pork Tenderloin at Angeline in New Orleans: with fermented cabbage with bacon, spiced apple butter, roasted turnips and Coosa Valley grits

Chipotle Cornmeal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes at Hobnob Neighborhood Tavern, Atlanta: served with tomato horseradish relish, goat cheese and balsamic reduction

North Carolina Country Ham Wontons at Tupelo Honey Café in Asheville, N.C.: served with honeyed shaved Brussels sprouts salad

Breakfast Macaroni and Cheese at Jezebel’s in Denver: with house-made bacon, over-easy egg, grit crouton and creamy cheese sauce Grilled House-made Bologna and Cheese Sandwich at Maxie’s in Milwaukee, Wis.: with white Cheddar, grit bread and bourbon glaze n






Take your menu up a notch with gourmet imported and specialty products through Reinhart Direct. Reinhart Direct gives you access to thousands of items not stocked in your local warehouses. These hard-to-find items from across the globe can be delivered straight to you doorstep. It's easy and gives you the opportunity to elevate your existing menu. Need inspiration? Take a look and see what Chefs Paul Young and Lee Sepaniac came up with using our gourmet products ...

Juicy "Goosey" Boar Burger This was a great collaboration with Gourmet Foodservice Group! Chef Lee and I discussed making an over-the-top burger that truly embodies the word “gourmet.” Being a big burger fan myself, and being from the Midwest, I decided to do a take on the Minnesota classic - The Juicy Lucy! Talking to Chef Lee we started playing with some ideas on how to make it bigger, juicier, and richer than any other burger. The idea began with two ground boar burgers stuffed with already-made foie gras (this is where the “goosey” came in) and we ran with it! The truffled wontons not only added crunch, but an unctuous flavor that complimented the already perfect burger! Truly a masterpiece that in turn ended up winning the Culinary Fight Club’s – Bougie Burger Challenge!


Wild Boar Ground (#KF512)

7 oz

Foie Gras Slice, Refrigerated (#KB158)

1/8 oz


1/8 oz

Jumbo Red Onion

1/2 oz

Roma Tomato

1/2 oz

Dill Pickle, Kosher Spear

1/8 oz

Wonton Skin, 4X4 Square Frozen, julienned

1/8 oz

Truffle Oil, White Dry (#KB740)

1 ea

Brioche Bun 4.5"

3 tsp

Salt, Coarse Kosher

1/2 oz

Black Pepper


[servings: 1]

Grill the jalapeño until golden brown. Dice the jalapeño and mix with the tomato, pickle and red onion. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Set the mixture in the refrigerator.

Patty the wild boar into 2 3-1/2 oz. patties. place the foie gras slice on top of one patty and place the other patty directly on top. Crimp the edges to make a tight seal around the fois gras. Season the burger with salt and pepper and grill to medium. In the meantime deep fry the julienned wontons until golden brown and drain. Toss the wontons in the truffle oil. Top the grilled boar burger with the jalapeño salsa, then top with a nest of the truffled wontons.

Portion Cost: $13.37 Suggested Menu Price: $38.00 Profit: $24.63


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12/18/15 8:24 PM

Truffled Pheasant Pot Pie Chicken Pot Pie is almost the epitome of a classic comfort food, so much so that you would be hard pressed to not find a pre-fabricated frozen example in any grocery chain in the country. By using just a few key ingredients to heighten the flavor profile of this classic, it could belong on any fine dining or upscale casual restaurant or bar & grill on a feature or holiday menu. Chef Paul and Chef Lee thought it would be really interesting to update this classic preparation. Starting with the main ingredient, the pheasant meat in place of chicken was a natural fit because it has a similar flavor profile, bridging the gap between being comfort food and something unique, while still being accessible and palatable to the general public. The choice to utilize some different ingredients in the filling was the next step, while still featuring some of the classic flavor profiles like peas and carrots. The sunchokes will add a new dimension of crunchy texture while the fava beans accent the already velvety texture everyone expect from this dish. Just to push it over the top, we went with the addition of truffle flavor, not only by including truffle oil when roasting the pheasant but also as a finishing oil to heighten the aroma. The peelings included into the "filling" lay the groundwork for this woodsy flavor and help accentuate and tie in the slightly more earthy flavor of using the pheasant in place of the chicken. Plating this in a deconstructed manner also give an innovative twist to the presentation of this classic favorite.



1 ea

Dough Puff Pastry 5X5

1 ea

Egg, Large

2 oz

Sunchoke (#KH246)


Pheasant Thigh, Boneless (#KC008)

1 oz

Fava Beans Dried, soaked in water overnight (#KA212)

Pre heat the oven to 375째F. Lay the pheasant thigh meat out on a sheet and drizzle with oil and 1 tsp. of kosher salt. Roast in the oven for apporximately 15-20 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165째F has been reached.

1 Tbsp All Purpose Flour 1 Tbsp Butter, Solid Unsalted 4 oz

Creamer, Half And Half

1-1/2 tsp Chicken Paste 1/8 oz

Yellow Onion, Jumbo

1 tsp

Garlic, Whole Peeled

1/8 oz

Green Peas

1 ea Carrots, Baby Mixed: Peeled 1" Top Red, White, Yellow. Peeled and diced (#KG768) 2 tsp

Coarse Salt

1 Tbsp Olive Oil 1/8 oz

White Truffle Oil (#KB740)

2 tsp

Black Summer Truffle Peeling (#KP116)

Portion Cost: $12.42 Suggested Menu Price: $33.95 Profit: $21.53

[servings: 1]

In the meantime whip the egg in a small bowl with 2 Tbsp. of water to make an egg wash. Place the square of puff pastry on a non-stick baking sheet and brush the top with the egg wash. Cook in the oven for apporximately 20 minutes until it has puffed up and is golden brown. In a sauce pot, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the peeled and diced sunchokes, the carrot, onion, fava beans and garlic. Add the remaining salt and stir to cook and caramelize the vegetables (appox. 5 minutes). Add in the flour and stir cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Add the half and half, truffle peelings and chicken paste. Bring the mixture to a slight boil and add in the peas, and pheasant thigh meat. Remove from heat and stir occasionally. Place the mixture in a large ramekin or bowl. Top with the puff pastry. Brush the top of the puff pastry with truffle oil and garnish with a few black truffle peelings!





A World of Comfort

These Foods Fuel Your Soul By Mindy Kolof

Set your way-back machine to childhood and brush off your passport. We’re on the trail of comfort foods that are busting borders and crossing territorial lines … and may be America’s next phenomenal find. A steaming bowl of noodles. A stick of chilled fresh mango. A piece of deep fried bread dotted with salt. A crepe bursting with sweet Nutella. Seeking solace in the warm embrace of a favorite food is a time-honored tradition, and a cherished part of every country, culture and ethnicity. While there is no one dish that stokes the universal appetite, most comfort foods stem from the same soul-nourishing place – the family table. Like vintage photos and golden oldie soundtracks, food can take us back home, to a time and place of pure, simple happiness. Whether that’s wrapped in a bowl of creamy mac and cheese or pastitsio matters not at all, it’s the ineffable flavor of nostalgia that elevates every bite.



“Comfort foods around the world are typically family meals that are shared and remembered fondly, or foods that family members prepared when we were ill,” says Sue Reddel, certified culinary travel pro and co-founder and editor of “Eating the foods again brings memories of comfort and love.”

Comfort & Joy CHINA Freshly made noodles or dumplings

Bobbie Hasselbring, editor-in-chief of the award-winning website, views comfort foods through a similar lens. “They often have an affectionate childhood link. For instance, one my favorites is warm soup, because it reminds me of my mom bringing me soup when I didn’t feel well.” Other elements that link comfort foods are textural – silk, creamy, crispy, brothy – and often, warmth.


Let Restaurant Inc be your travel guide as we discover:

Maultaschen, a meat-filled dumpling

Foie gras. “While many turn up their noses at this French equivalent of a creamy meat pudding, those of us who love it swoon for well-made foie gras,” says Hasselbring.

GERMANY GREECE Pastitsio, a baked pasta dish with layers of seasoned ground beef and a creamy béchamel sauce

ITALY Crescentine (puffed fried bread), polenta (cornmeal porridge), pasta

JAPAN Homemade ramen noodles

MEXICO Flan, a vanilla egg custard topped with caramel sauce; tortilla soup with Oaxaca cheese, cream, avocado and chiles (source: Datessentials)

NETHERLANDS Stroopwaffles, caramel-filled waffle cookies Pizza


THE MOST SURPRISING COMFORT FOODS PIZZA “We’ve had it everywhere — coal-fired pizza in Italy to Cuban restaurants to pizza al fresco along the Seine River in Paris,” says Reddel. “I’m a big pizza fan,” reveals Erik Wolf, executive director of the World Food Travel Association, “and wherever you go, they take on different shapes, from extremely flat in the Middle East to sparingly filled Italian ones to French pizzas with butter in the crust.” CRACKLINS “Those bits of pork belly fried and refried to a golden crispiness,” enthuses Hasselbring. “They’re crispy and crunchy and once you start eating them, you can’t stop. Also, boudin (pronounced boo-dan), a sausage made with pork meat, pork liver, onions, white rice and spices.”

RUSSIA Honey cake, blini (thin crepes with savory or sweet fillings)

SCANDINAVIA Sillgratin, a herring and potato casserole

SPAIN Potato omelet

THAILAND Tom Kah Kai (chicken coconut soup)

TROPICAL COUNTRIES Fruit on a stick, served like a popsicle or ice cream bar

UK Clotted cream, savory meat pies, full English breakfasts (with bacon, sausage, eggs, toast) and dinners





THE COMFORT FOODS THAT CROSS CULTURES POCKETS WITH FILLINGS “Latin empanadas, Polish pierogies, Chinese dumplings, calzones, sweet or savory crepes, every country has a version,” says Wolf. NOODLES Whether it’s a bowl of noodles in Asia, a pasta dinner in Italy or a cheesy spaetzle in Germany, all evoke memories of family, warmth and love, says Reddel. Wolf agrees heartily, adding jajangmyeon from Korea to the list, a bowl of noodles with soy or black bean paste that “looks and tastes amazing.”


ICE CREAM “It has a sweet childhood memory and the creamy texture associated with comfort,” says Hasselbring.

Pistachio ice cream


THE GLOBAL COMFORT FOOD MOST LIKELY TO FIND AMERICAN FANS PINTXOS From San Sebastian, Spain, these finger foods offer really tiny bites and beautiful presentations, shares Wolf. POUTINE


RI_BODY_Winter_2016.indd 66


“That messy, tasty calorie bomb from Canada that consists of French fries, fresh cheese curds, and brown gravy,” says Hasselbring. “I’ve already seen poutine being served in some U.S. bars, breweries, and restaurants. And why not? It’s got just what Americans love—big portions, crispy fried food, and a creamy texture (the curds and gravy).” n

12/18/15 8:24 PM

Stateside Comforts

Of course, America’s no slouch when it comes to comfort by the forkful. “There’s an implied unhealthiness in comfort food, and we do unhealthy food really well here, from mashed potatoes to fried chicken to mac and cheese,” says Wolf.

Hasselbring ticks off some of the highlights from each state: “sugar pie in Indiana, maple syrup, candy and ice in the Northeast, BBQ and Tex-Mex in Texas, anything with green chiles in New Mexico, lobster chowder and lobster rolls in Maine, smoked salmon chowder in the Northwest … the list goes on and on.” Some places to sample the comforts of the world here at home:

Piccolo Sogno,

Chicago, Il, where Chef Tony Priolo prepares his Sicilian grandmother’s classic recipes to create new comfort food memories, according to Reddel.

Emeril’s New Orleans restaurant, bringing authentic Cajun and Creole

tastes to the American menu.

B&O Kitchen in Sulfur, LA, “for some of the best cracklins and boudin I’ve ever eaten,” says Hasselbring.

Toro Bravo in Portland, OR, incorporating seasonal variations, local farmers’ produce, modern techniques and unexpected flavors into Spanish-inspired small plates.

The Normandy, an authentic French restaurant in the heart of Lincoln, NE

and the Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna for perfect re-creations of regional Greek dishes.

Morimoto Waikiki,

Hawaii, owned by famed chef Morimoto, for uber-authentic Japanese dishes; the Slurping Turtle in Chicago and Ann Arbor, Michigan, for chef Takashi Yagihashi’s favorite comfort dishes, including noodle and dumpling bars.

Memphis BBQ in Horn Lake, MS and in NC and GA, run by pitmaster Melissa Cookston.

67 Biltmore

, Asheville, NC, features an evolving assortment of global warmth, including Thai and Indian curries, Irish lamb stews and Moroccan-style braised chicken. “Comfort food exists in every culture in the world and there’s a never ending supply of inspiration and new dishes,” says owner Adam Thome.


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How to perfectly pair craft beer with comfort food by Ari Bendersky


uring winter, you'll want to start moving away from lighter offerings like wheat beer and layer in heavier beers with higher alcohol content like porters, brown ales, Belgian dubbels and stouts. These can stand up to the heartiness of your dishes and also help warm up your diners. Here, we asked some experts around the country to pair various comfort foods with craft beers and explain why. "Beer is such a varied item and people aren't necessarily following the rules," said Julian Kurland, beer director at the Cannibal in New York and L.A. "We're taking things and making them our own. Wines go with certain types of food, but you can play around with beer." While there may be many more varietals of wine than beer (we're talking thousands vs. dozens), the styles of beer you can brew are actually growing. That's due, much in part, to brewers taking traditional styles of beer like IPA, porter and American red ale, and brewing them with ingredients like chocolate, spices, botanicals and seasonal produce. While the base idea for the beer style remains the same, it's the addition of these robust ingredients that adds more depth and character to the beer, making way for more interesting pairings with a wide variety of food. This lends so many new opportunities for you to step up your beer program to then match them with the comfort food you're serving. Breweries around the country like Chicago's Moody Tongue Brewing Co., St. Louis' 4 Hands Brewing Co., and Boulder, Colo.'s Avery Brewing take food pairing into consideration when concocting their beers, which incorporate flavorful ingredients during brewing. But you don't even have to get that specific as you can pair a variety of comfort food with something as simple as pale ale, pilsner — even a memory.

sommelier) and district manager with Windy City Distributing in Chicago. "It reminds you of your mom's mac and cheese or your dad's burgers. You try to match the nostalgia with the flavor in beers. Like a classic bangers and mash, you can match that rustic English style with a craft ESB or lager." But you also don't have to do such a literal matchup. You can dig in to the dish more, find the ingredients and pull out those flavors, even the fat content, and get crafty. "The big thing to think about when pairing beer and food [in general] is whether you want to compare or contrast the flavors," Kurland said. "Comfort food is straightforward so you want something to complement it and have similar styles and flavors. When you look at these pairings, you want to highlight flavors that play well with the beer you're drinking."

brewery for each course. This also gives you an opportunity to introduce diners to new beer styles. "A pairing is a great opportunity to show a guest the strength of a particular style they may have thought they did not care for," said Dave Delaplaine, beer manager at Roofers Union in Washington, D.C. "For example, maybe you are pairing something spicy and a pilsner or kĂślsch is a perfect option even though the guest normally likes a darker or heartier beer."

A great way to introduce different beer pairings to your food is through beer dinners. For example, you could team up with one specific brewery and showcase their beers or have your bar manager or beverage director work with the dinner's menu and pair up a beer from a different

"Comfort food [has] a sense of nostalgia," said Patrick Gould, a certified cicerone (a.k.a. beer


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Food and wine have naturally been paired together for centuries. It's usually a match made in heaven, taking certain flavors of the food and complementing them with various aspects of wine. But why stop at wine when you have more liquid options at your disposal, like beer?

Chili PAIR WITH: American pale ale or IPA

Shrimp &Grits / Biscuits & Gravy

WHY: "Typically you want to match spicy with hoppy to accentuate


the spicy character in the food. The beers feature aromatic and bold American hop varietals."

WHY: "A little dry with some lemon and funk that works well with

– Patrick Gould, Windy City Distributing

Short Ribs PAIR WITH: American brown ale WHY: "This beer has big notes of chocolate and coffee, and has a larger backbone to stand up to the meatiness and fatty profile of the short rib." – Kevin Lemp, owner, 4 Hands Brewing Company

Mac & Cheese


the shellfish. It brings out the salinity in shrimp, but also cuts through the pepper and dryness of gravy. The yeast lends itself well to biscuits." – Julian Kurland

Fried Chicken w/ Mashed Potatoes PAIR WITH: IPA WHY: "If there's a spice on the chicken, a hoppy beer pairs nicely with the spice to intensify the dryness and bitterness of the hops." – Kevin Lemp

PAIR WITH: Brown ale or IPA

Spaghetti Bolognese

WHY: "You could do a brown ale to complement the nuttiness of

PAIR WITH: Gueuze (a blended sour)

cheddar, but IPA will cut through the fat [of the cheese]. You get a lot of cream from the noodles and cheese and the IPA will wipe your tongue for the next bite."

WHY: "By blending younger and older lambics, the gueuze takes on

– Julian Kurland, The Cannibal

Meatloaf PAIR WITH:

Sour red

WHY: "Tart and bright, this may be the difference between seconds and thirds. You can even skip the ketchup; a sour red will give you all the balance you need." – Dave Delaplaine, Roofers Union

Burger/Fries PAIR WITH:

a ton of complexity while retaining a high acidity. A rich dish like spaghetti Bolognese begs for this touch. It has enough body to hold up to, but not overwhelm and a sour bite to cut through the rich fatty oils found in any good Bolognese." – Dave Delaplaine

Chicken Pot Pie PAIR WITH:

a hoppy IPA

WHY: "All rich gravy swimming in there — crust, butter, cream and rich chicken and veggies. I want something to cut through that like a West Coast IPA with citrus notes that play well with butter and cream." – Julian Kurland

IPA or hop-forward American pilsner


"This is a distinctly American dish and the quality of meat should shine. You don't need a beer to hit you over the head." – Patrick Gould





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Guests want more than something to eat— they want an elevated dining experience. When you offer pairing recommendations with unique flavor combinations, like reuben sliders with craft beer battered onion rings and an amber farmhouse ale, guests get exactly what they want. Craft better experiences at

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Ask native Wisconsinites what it

is about their state that makes them proud, and many will likely respond, “The Green Bay Packers.” Others, especially those with discerning culinary tastes, will mention the fine cheeses produced here. The state is known both as “Packerland”

and “Dairyland.” The two entities have something else in common besides the state they share – World Championships. The Packers have won more professional football world championships than any other team, and Wisconsin cheesemakers have won more awards than all other states











combined at cheese championship competitions. Wisconsin’s cheesemakers have been refining their craft for more than 150 years. It truly is mind-blowing just how much big, bold flavor these artisans can coax from one basic ingredient – milk.





Some cheese stands alone in its

ability to evoke a memorable sensory experience. The complexity of flavors, the superb mouthfeel, the high satiety rating (just a little bit of cheese provides great satisfaction) all make it one of the most revered discoveries in the food world. Chefs use the wealth of varieties as dynamic flavor ingredients, as the piece de résistance atop everything from pizza and pasta to burgers, and as a stand-alone cheese course. Cheese

plays nice in the kitchen. It makes friends with nearly everything else in the food chain. It complements other foods, is a fabulous trend carrier and like a fine actor, makes everything around it perform better. Wisconsin’s Master Cheesemakers are in a class all their own. They must have 10 years’ experience before applying for the program, which involves a rigorous three-year course. Sid Cook,

of Carr Valley Cheese is the most decorated Master Cheesemaker in the world. Farmstead cheesemakers are another feather in Wisconsin’s cap. They produce cheese from a single herd of cows, often in creameries located on the same farm that produces the milk. One example is Uplands Cheese, manufacturer of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, the most awarded cheese in American history. n










se e e h c DES G REA


a n c m e o c r i s s Cla a e r loaf of b d e n i w a jug of se

C h ee

Certain classic foods are evocative of romance and worthy of indulgence – chocolate, oysters, caviar, foie gras, crusty

artisanal bread. Perhaps the most romantic gastronomic tryst is the perfect pairing of fine cheeses with wines – a true classic match. Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is the promotional arm of the renowned Wisconsin dairy industry and its 600 varieties, types and styles of simply amazing cheeses. The board has beneficently shared its vast research into pairing the world’s favorite cheeses with wines. Beer is also referenced for the legions of beer lovers out there. Consider using this valuable information to impress your sophisticated customers: Important Tip: When serving a cheese course, instruct diners to sample the mildest cheeses first, ending with the most robust. Beaujolais


Cabernet Sauvignon Porter

Merlot Chianti



Malbec Syrah/Shiraz Pinot Noir




Red Zinfandel Sparkling Wines & Champagne

Brown Ale


Gruner Veltliner Chardonnay


Pinot Gris

Pale Ale Lager

Riesling Sauvignon Blanc



Weiss Fruit beers

Madeira Port


burger outlook




Regaining Control in 2016 by Scott Hume

t’s likely 2015 will be remembered as the Year of Customization. “Have it your way” has been the rallying cry not just for Burger King but for almost all burger concepts. The build-your-own (BYO) trend has been a strong marketing focal point in some ways, but is it diminishing what has been a key element of the burger boom: personality? At its best, customization gives consumers what they say they want. But specialty burger builds set burger concepts apart; the spread of BYO offers threatens commoditization. Worse, if I can make a burger just how I like it at lots of different burger bars, why would I choose your BYO counter over another? Price is always the answer to that question, and that’s never good. Several concepts, such as Fuddruckers and Roy Rogers, always have had extensive toppings bars. Diners have the opportunity to dress their burgers as they wish without requiring prep staff to do so. Customization is a key part of their brand personalities. But for many other operators, it has been an add-on – a concept adjustment. What we’ve seen over the past few years is a tendency

Among veggie burgers, black

3x more

beans are popular than soybeans


for restaurants to cede at least some menu development power to customers. Perhaps operators wore out trying to create new, bigger and better burger specials every week or month. One compromise has been “crowdsourced” burger specials. Customers were invited to submit—in the restaurant or through social media—ideas for the next monthly special. The customer-built burger goes on the menu for a month or so, but the flagship burgers remain. Milwaukee Burger Company in Eau Claire, Wis., was an early adopter of this tactic. A recent winner was Chris Zimmerman’s “Picnic Burger,” comprised of a one-thirdpound beef patty topped with American cheese, sliced brats, creamy potato salad and potato chips. For five years, LUXE Burger Bar in Providence, R.I., has run a more formal Build Your Own Burger competition. Last year’s winner was Richard Cordeiro's "The Portuguee." The build: beef, fried egg, chorizo links, sliced fried potatoes, creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions and roasted peppers on a sesame bun. The winner was announced on a local TV show. Suffering a drip, drip, drip leak of sales and customers, McDonald’s in 2015 embraced customization with a high-

223,875 menu items are burgers

energy, high-budget hug. For its testing of the Create Your Taste (CYT) platform, the chain (and its franchisees) invested in high-tech kiosks where diners can choose just what they want on a burger. The old stand-bys— Big Macs, Quarter Pounders with Cheese, etc.—are still available to order from the counter, but the push is to move customers to kiosks. Average checks are higher there and order mix-ups are reduced. A less ambitious version of CYT called “TasteCrafted” was briefly tested in the Northwest beginning in April 2015. It allowed fewer options and was simple enough to be used at the drive-thru. Still another version, called “Chef Crafted Flavors,” went on the menu boards at McDonald’s in San Diego in September 2015. This platform creates three separate “packages” of toppings—for example, maple-seasoned bacon, savory grilled onions, slightly sweet honey Dijon sauce, creamy white Cheddar and leaf lettuce—that the customer applies to one of three proteins (beef patty, Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, Artisan Grilled Chicken). A danger I see in all this is McDonald’s losing a single brand identity, becoming one thing (Big Macs, Quarter Pounders) to some consumers and something else (home of my CYT or “Chef Crafted” burger).

In 2011, I spoke with Arlene Johnston, concept development director for the then-young Burger 21 chain. I asked why it didn’t offer a build-your-own option. “The most important reason was to keep it simple for customers and not to overload the menu with too many options,” she said. “We wanted to create specific recipes that play off what people like most. So we have the Burger 101, with lettuce and tomato, and the Cheesy Burger and Bacon Cheesy. Those are our top three sellers. And with our ‘chef-inspired’ concept, we didn’t want to do customization that changed the flavor profiles we developed.” Burger 21 still doesn’t have a BYO option; it’s sticking to its concept. Keep in mind The NPD Group’s finding that the vast majority (nearly 70%) of consumers don’t try new things on the menu. They order their favorites. Build-Your-Own can be a favorite, I suppose, but if so, won’t diners price-shop it? The customization trend won’t fade quickly, but I think 2016 will see interest in ingredient quality eclipsing it. Top-notch beef, cheese and fresh toppings is the way most people want to have it. n

8% of burgers

Average price of a burger is

are offered au cheval aka “with egg”








When it comes to charcuterie, do you know your terrines from your pates? Your salumi from your sopressata? Your prosciutto from your pancetta? Charcuterie, meat that has been cured, cooked or smoked, has been around for centuries and restaurants of late have really stepped up their offerings. Have you?

To have a quality charcuterie program, you can't just throw some meat on a plate and put it on your menu. It takes thought and preparation. Curing meat properly can take weeks or months and you have to follow exacting methods to ensure you don't make people ill as meat can develop toxins like botulism spores if not handled properly. "The reason we don't cure in-house is we're not super experienced in curing, yet," said chef Francis Derby of New York's Cannibal, which recently opened an outpost in Los Angeles. "I'd avoid curing if you don't know what you're doing or haven't taken the right classes. You can get people really sick or kill someone. It's why we source from people who've done it for years." Cannibal offers both cured and fresh meats and a mix between traditional and fun new items like a matcha green tea and liver mousse with pickled cherries and a take on cochinita pibil with pig head tossed with achiote paste and sour orange. But the restaurant also has plenty of pâté, salumi and sausages, which change with the seasons. Chicago's Tête Charcuterie also has a variety of charcuterie items, which they prepare in-house. Because of that, they use high-quality ingredients, which is key to offering their customers the best possible meats. "Use good product," said Tête co-owner Kurt Guzowski. "Don't use commodity meat. If you're going to spend time and the money on meat that you're taking months to have it hang, you don't want it to be ruined." Tête's offerings usually include four terrines, various cured sausages like spicy coppa, lomo or a special cured wagyu tenderloin. They get creative

by including items like merguez lamb sausage made with berbere spices; cured truffle sausage; lamb tongue terrine; and cured andouille sausage. "We use different ingredients to get that seasonality." A good charcuterie board will have more than just meat on the plate and that includes accompaniments like bread, cheese, whole grain mustard and pickles. But you can also get creative and think outside of the box. "You can do the pickles and the mustards, but my brain doesn't work that way," Derby said. "I approach each pâté or sausage as its own set with its own flavor combination." For example, they recently made a corn bread and root beer-flavored sausage with a spice blend including sassafras, star anise and sarsaparilla and served it with smoked cauliflower puree and caramelized cauliflower because, "Cauliflower and corn bread are good friends and corn bread goes well with root beer," Derby said. Speaking of pairings: What should you serve with your charcuterie? "Charcuterie goes with everything," Guzowski said. But more specifically, Tête often uses wine in their charcuterie, so wine is a natural pairing. But you can also pair beer as hops play nicely with the saltiness of salumi. No matter what you offer on your charcuterie board, just be sure to have a mix of fresh and cured meats, various accompaniments and a good selection of beer and wine. And remember to enjoy putting it together. "It makes things more special when you have fun with it," Guzowski said. Cheers to that! n





PROGNOSTICATIONS FOR 2016 With a little help from our industry friends across the nation, we’ve compiled a dossier of predictions for those foods, cuisine styles, technology and processes that could have great impact in 2016 and beyond. Here’s what we found:

PAULA FIGONI College of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University


BRIAN CONNORS School of Hospitality, Johnson & Wales University

Millennials will move beyond sweet wines and begin to develop a palate for dry wines. The craft beer and hipster cocktail culture has helped to expand their palates to appreciate a wider range of flavor profiles. Both groups are on the hunt for quality and value. Quality is an attribute of education. Both groups are reading more, attending wine seminars and participating in local wine events. Gen X and Millennials will begin to “trade up” on the restaurant wine list, and to pay a little more to find that ‘hidden gem.’”


Professor Figoni turned our request into a class project. She polled her students in Principles of Product Development class. These future industry shapers came up with the following consensus: Vegetarianism is gaining momentum and expanding into the mainstream. Millennials (the largest demographic in the nation) are thinking in terms of the environment and sustainability, which dovetails with more emphasis on vegetables in the diet. Michelle Obama’s well-publicized messages to the American public on fighting obesity, her White House garden and her emphasis on the importance of vegetables in a balanced diet, have hit their mark. Kale has served as the poster child for this movement. Additionally, changes to the guidelines/laws concerning school foodservice put a greater emphasis on vegetables, and this will influence the eating patterns of younger Americans for years to come. The interest in global cuisines is a factor here too, since many diets are plant-based.

BRANDEN LEWIS CEC, Johnson & Wales University

“Sustainability and local sourcing will continue to expand, with more and more chefs following sustainable practices. Chefs will use more organic products and purchase locally from farmers they know by face certification. More and more chefs will become ‘ultra-local,’ meaning they will grow their own produce at the restaurant, in an on-site green house or in a rooftop garden. “There is a growing trend toward more healthful kids’ meals, more wholesome take-out and delivery options, and heathier menu options in general. Alternative grains, rare and flavorful microgreens, pickled items, unique heirloom foods, by-catch fish, sustainable alternative fish options and farmed oysters will all grow even stronger in 2016.”

EAMON ROCKEY General Manager

(Esquire named Betony “Restaurant of the Year” in 2013; Executive Chef Bryce Shuman named “Best New Chef” in 2015 by Food & Wine.)

“I predict a continuing emergence of the cuisines of South America, started by Brazilian and Argentinian concepts in larger North American cities. Peruvian will be next to explode. “There is definitely growing emphasis on housemade artisanal breads, served with flavored butters and yogurt butter. We take great pride in our homemade breads here at Betony. “I see a trend toward restaurants brewing and fermenting their own products to enhance their bar program. We make our own Kombucha (black tea based fermented, sweetened beverage; lightly effervescent) and Tepache (lightly fermented cider made from pineapples, water and sugar). “In terms of technology, operations with sophisticated bar programs and/or multiple locations will turn to software apps such as BinWise. I am also hearing a lot about Tock. It is similar to Open Table, but integrates a pre-payment option that would eliminate no-shows.”





NEAL FRASER Owner, Redbird, modern American restaurant

“A lot of us are going back to the basics, focusing on the big three: great food, great service and great ambience. I believe that today’s diners want a fancy restaurant without the white tablecloth. A bit more rusticity, but still very sophisticated. I am also seeing more and more spit roasting of meats.”

RYAN NOLAN Mahoney’s

DOUG PSALTIS Chef/Co-Owner, RPM Steakhouse

“Most of our customers come here for a great steak. More and more diners going forward will insist on the finest quality when they splurge on steak. I envision more operations adding their own capability for house-baked breads. We offer a small round pan of excellent homemade Parker House rolls for $6. Again, if people are going to splurge on bread, they will insist upon a fine product.”


“To remain successful over the long term, I predict that chefs are going to have to rely more and more on dishes that appeal to their demographics rather than trying to keep up with whatever is hot on the Coasts. What works in large cosmopolitan areas does not translate well in every region of the country. “Going back to the basics and doing them well is important to me. I graduated from the CIA, and opened a fine dining restaurant here called Water City Grill. After a few years, I realized that most diners in Oshkosh aren’t looking for the white tablecloth experience. Mahoney’s has a more casual ambience. I am drawn to whatever reminds me of hearth and home, and I think my customers are as well.”


PAUL YOUNG Reinhart Midwest Division Chef


“Organic, local, certified and sustainable are all factors that will continue to flourish in 2016. Customers are interested in the ‘Better for me’ approach. People are more health conscious and aware of where their food is coming from than ever before. This really puts the spotlight on the more ‘boutique’ restaurants that specialize in these areas. “More and more artisanal homemade breads will surface, made with unique flavors. I foresee smaller, more focused menus that incorporate fresh, interesting items to differentiate from the competition. “Cocktails are taking off like never before. Big waves are being made with innovative ingredients and garnishes, such as toasted orange rind, ice spheres and molecular foam. People are once again ready to invest money in the experience of eating and drinking at the hottest place in town.”

PORTER-ENGWALL Director of National Product Communications

“Customers will pay even more attention to the source of their food. Sixty two percent are more likely to purchase foods described on the menu as ‘local.’ The definition of local will continue to expand to include everything from produce to cheese from Wisconsin as opposed to imported. Locally sourced ingredients are mentioned on menus at 39 percent of casual restaurants, and 53 percent of customers report eating local food more than once a week. “The breakfast segment is the fastest growing meal at foodservice. Morning restaurant visits are up five percent, and seven out of ten customers prefer restaurants that serve breakfast all day. Millennials are a key demographic here. Nearly one third believe that any time is a good time for a breakfast sandwich. Servings of breakfast sandwiches are up four percent. We’re seeing those sandwiches complemented by a trend toward more flavorful specialty cheeses. The fastest growing cheeses on breakfast menus are Romano, Pepper Jack, Fontina, Mascarpone and Provolone. “Ethnic dishes, especially those with spice and heat, are adding fresh, natural cheeses as a balance. These include Queso Fresco, Ricotta Salata, Queso Blanco and Chihuahua. The fastest growing cheeses across all menus, with a growth of 20 percent over the past year, include Enchilada, Emmentaler, Queso Fresco and Panela.” n





Beverage Trends for

for 2016

HERE TO STAY OR PASSING FADS? by Audarshia Townsend




irst it was clothing. Next up cuisine. And now cocktails. Each year, a barrage of experts scramble to declare the hottest mixology trends, persuading you to sometimes abandon what’s been working well behind your bar.

She’s spent 25 years in the bar and restaurant industry, and now travels the country helping establishments take their businesses to the next level. House says one trend that she’s seen appear everywhere is the return of blue-hued drinks.

And while a little change never hurts, it’s rarely a good idea to jump aboard a trend wholeheartedly. But what you should do—according to a number of experts with whom we spoke—is have fun and encourage your bar staff to experiment. That’ll not only get their creative juices flowing, but should also keep guests excited to see what you do next. But be yourself and don’t jump on a mixology trend just to be hip.

Think about the gin-focused Aviation or rum-enhanced Blue Hawaii. They’re kitschy, yet eye-catching and one of the places capitalizing on them in the country is the Southernthemed Porchlight, owned by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer in New York. The contemporary Gun Metal Blue, created by Porchlight head bartender Nick Bennett, incorporates mezcal, peach brandy, cinnamon syrup and blue Curaçao.

“People are not taking their drinks as seriously and going back to what they were drinking in the 1980s—but more refined,” says Lynn House, the national brand educator for Heaven Hill Brands.

For its similarly themed cocktails, Heaven Hill Brands replaces blue Curaçao with Hpnotiq. “We’re experiencing tremendous growth with Hpnotiq this year as a result of the popularity of blue drinks,” says House. “It’s been a good year and some markets even have doubledigit growth.”

continued ...






She also credits the surge of these lighthearted, easy-to-make cocktails to the popularity of tiki-inspired elixirs. Places like Chicago’s Three Dots and a Dash and Lost Lake have aggressively led the charge in putting rum-tinged tipples like the Blue Hawaiian, Painkiller and Rum Runner in front of new audiences. “Bartenders are having fun and going way out with crazy garnishes as a result of the tiki boom,” agrees Daniel "Gravy" Thomas, the national brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry spiced rum. While the tiki trend is at an all-time high and many times over the top, he continues, he believes it’s sustainable because the bartenders are tapping into it with their hearts. “The presentations are great and are great memories for most of them,” he says. “And (for the bartender and guests) the cocktail name sometimes can bring you back to a time that was great in your life. Like when you were out there traveling the world.” Unlike the average spirits brand ambassador, however, Thomas hails from a background filled with promoting live-


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to show bartenders how flexible it is in classic drinks. “I show them the endless possibilities of our rum for cocktails,” he explains. “Rum is being utilized now as the base spirit for classic cocktails whether it’s an Old Fashioned, Sidecar or Manhattan. Those are trends that are going to continue to grow, especially as I see more and more mom and popproduced rums come out of Brooklyn, South Carolina, North Carolina and New Orleans.” music concerts, poetry slams, and reggae and dance hall parties. With his ear to the ground, he believes he’s developed an instinct for what consumers want when they go out to drink. One thing they want in their cocktail is familiarity, but they’re willing to change it up, he says. With rum enjoying massive popularity right now, his job is

What’s been hot in Europe for ages is finally catching on with imbibers in the United States, according to Adam Seger, an internationally known bartender who regularly consults for global properties. He’s pushed the Italian herbal liqueur amari for several years, introducing newcomers during tasting dinners and parties.

“Because it’s been huge (in Europe) for years and years, I don’t see it as anything that’s going away anytime soon,” says Seger. According to Dave Karraker, who serves as vice president of engagement and advocacy for Campari America, the trend started on the coasts and can most likely be attributed to a few things: the rise of mixology, return of classic cocktails and increased consumption of coffee in places like Seattle and Portland. “The flavor of bitter has finally started being accepted in America, alongside perennial favorites of sweet, salty and savory,” he observes. “Everyone is enjoying bitter food and drink all across the country—coffee, Brussel sprouts, kale, radicchio and IPA beer—and as both mixology and bitter spread to the middle of the United States, Italian amari are a substantial benefactor.” n


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Modern Comfort Food: Think Produce! MARKON FIRST CROP


Creamy cheeses (think Brie and Camembert), game hens, kale, pistachios, rosemary, sweet potatoes, and yogurt.

Blue cheese and Buffalo sauce, caramelized shallots, Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, sautéed mushrooms, sweet and sour sauce, vinegar, and za’atar.

Pickle and serve as bar snacks or use as garnishes; roast with garlic oil until tender, then drizzle with curried yogurt sauce; grate and fry into latkes, and bake into cakes and muffins.

Bake whole grapes and rosemary into focaccia bread for a sweet-yet-savory starter; serve a sophisticated, open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich with house-made grape jam and crusty baguettes; stir into creamy broccolionion and pasta salads; sauté with chopped kale, and roast with whole sweet potatoes.

Roast whole heads slathered in a spicy yogurt marinade, purée as a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, batter and fry as a meat substitute in Asian recipes, and toss with pesto and pasta.

Their elevated beta-carotene levels are converted into vitamin A by the liver, then transformed in the eye’s retina to rhodopsin to help night vision. Also said to fight cancer, stroke, and heart disease, as well as slow aging protect teeth and gums.

In addition to high levels of vitamin B6, thiamin, potassium, and vitamin C, grapes’ resveratrol content is often thought to fight against brain and heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin cancer, and inflammation.

Although green vegetables may contain more chlorophyll, cauliflower is also an excellent source of vitamins A and K, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, niacin, magnesium, and biotin.

Give balance to fried chicken by serving with lightly pickled shaved carrots and cucumbers. Add coconut to the fried chicken batter and soak the vegetables in a rice wine vinegar-sesame oil brine.

Toss red seedless grapes with olive oil, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Roast until tender and serve with toasted bread and rich cheese such as Brie, chevre, or house-made Ricotta.

Slice whole cauliflower heads into thick slabs, or “steaks.” Sauté until tender inside and browned outside. Serve with sautéed mushrooms, fried shallot rings, and chopped radicchio.

The urban legend that if you eat a lot of carrots you will see better in the dark started in World War II. British gunners were shooting down German planes at night and to disguise their use of radar technologies, the RAF created a story about their pilots' high level of carrot consumption.

There are over 8,000 grape varieties around the world. Most of North America’s grapes are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, but the oldest grapevine in America is a 400-year-old Scuppernong vine in North Carolina.

Individual cauliflowers can grow as large as 30 inches both in height and width?



Cinnamon, garbanzo beans, honey, lamb, oranges, and parsley.








Like all things culinary these days, comfort food is evolving to meet the ever-changing wants and needs of the modern diner. With such a strong focus on health and plant-based/clean eating, it makes sense that the comfort category would get a makeover to appeal to the growing number of Millennials driving these trends. Even if the dish retains its essence (let’s face it, mac and cheese is never going to be health food), a growing number of chefs are creating balance by adding more nutritious produce and interesting flavors from citrus zests, worldly spices, and fresh herbs.





Balsamic syrup, cranberries, cream, garam masala, hazelnuts, onions, polenta, salty bacon, sharp cheeses, and soy sauce.

Brown sugar, butter, curry pastes, fresh sage and thyme, ham, pecans, pomegranate, potatoes, turkey, and vanilla bean.

Quarter and drop into broth-based soups, roast with roast with whole chickens and turkeys, mix into mayonnaise-based salads, roast the leaves for garnishes or add to salads, and add to stir-fries and fried rice dishes.

Braise alongside meat roasts, purée and add to mashed potatoes, drop into seasonal soups and pasta dishes, use to give mac-and-cheese an upgrade, and simmer in curries and stews.

As one of the world’s most favorite cruciferous vegetables, these tiny cabbages have a high glucosinolate content, said to be cancer-protecting substances. They are also thought to help lower cholesterol and aid against thyroid problems.

In fat and high in fiber, most winter squashes boast elevated levels of carotenoids, which may help fight heart disease, macular degeneration, and several cancers. Their high antioxidant content may also help with inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Sauté Brussels sprouts with red onions until both are starting to caramelize. Add curry paste and fresh cranberries and cook until the berries soften. Serve with roasted turkey or pot roast

Opt for the gluten-free substitute of Butternut squash in place of floury gnocchi. Boil peeled and cubed squash until tender, then sauté in brown butter with garlic and sage. Deglaze with sherry vinegar and garnish with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and shaved Pecorino cheese.

The heaviest sprout was grown in 1992 in the United Kingdom and weighed 8.3kg (18lb/3oz).

The majority of winter variety squashes originated in South America, where they were an important part of the pre-Columbian diet for as many as 5,000-10,000 years. Many people throughout the world believe eating pumpkin-like squashes boosts health in during the cold months.


TandooriSpiced Brussels Sprouts w/ Cranberries

For this recipe and more go to or scan the QR code below.





Treating Mocktails As Premium Menu Items How You Can Upsell Them To Those Who Aren’t Drinking Alcohol By Audarshia Townsend


ne of my favorite parts about my trip to Paris last

summer: No matter how fancy or downscaled the restaurant or bar, each offered a bountiful list of non-alcoholic selections.


And not just the typical soda, juice, tea or coffee options; these menus were well thought

She continues, stressing the importance of creating cocktails that easily transform into non-alcoholic beverages. “When you do a non-alcoholic version (of a cocktail), you actually get to charge per drink instead of the customer getting endless refills on (soft drinks).

Of course such attention to detail doesn’t come cheap. These non-boozy options were about the same price of the cocktails. That’s a guaranteed boost to the bottom line of the bar’s receipts. Yet in the States, mocktails appear to be an afterthought at the majority of operations.

“That drives your bottom line as well, so you are covering the costs of your ingredients, and you’re also creating a unique experience for that person coming in. They’re like ‘I can come here and celebrate with my friends and family and have fun things in front of me just like they have fun things in front of them.’”

out with unique, seasonal ingredients, mouth-watering descriptions and beautiful garnishes, making the nondrinker look like the life of the party.

But at the posh New York hotel NoMad, non-alcoholic beverages are called “soft cocktails,” anointed with cool names like “The Cease & Desist” and “La Piña,” and incorporate premium ingredients like orange blossom water, fennel and jalapeño-infused agave. It’s a trend that Lynn House, the national brand educator for Heaven Hill Brands, would like to see more often during her travels across the country. “Even if you’re someone who imbibes (alcohol), when you go out you might not want to drink every time, all the time,” says the 25-year, bar-and-restaurant industry veteran. “We’ve grown up past cranberry and club soda or just plain soda. People are more experimental with flavors and they want fun things.” Last fall House taught a course called “Beyond The Recipe: How to Develop and Create a Creative and Profitable Beverage Program” at Portland Cocktail Week. The industry-only festival is an intensive, interactive weeklong event and attracts up to 800 attendees each year. House’s session is one that she believes was desperately needed. “One of the things I discussed is that it’s not just having your favorite cocktails on the menu,” she explains, “but using other trends and other spirits and wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages to drive your bottom line.” She adds that one of the biggest issues is that many bartenders simply do not go out of their way to educate themselves beyond the alcohol side of the business. “They don’t study teas or coffees or other beverages,” she says. “One of the things I’ve always done is look at beverage trends in other countries. In Mexico, for example, there are sangritas. In Brazil, there is a batida.”

It’s also important to treat non-drinking guests like everyone else, says Anthony Schmidt, the beverage director for the San Diego-based CH Projects (Noble Experiment, Craft & Commerce, El Dorado Cocktail Lounge, Polite Provisions, Rare Form/Fairweather). He’s a 10-year veteran in the industry and aims for a humble approach to the bartending trade. One of his highly developed skills is reading people and making them feel comfortable. “I usually treat (non-drinkers) like any other guest, asking about interests or flavors they generally appreciate,” says Schmidt. “I try not to make them feel unique or stand out from the crowd. I also try to make the drinks appear like the others in their group, further adding to the feeling of sharing in the community of the night. If the guests feel comfortable, they’ll likely order more. And there’s our opportunity for upselling.” When Lynn House was regularly behind the bar at Chicago restaurants Blackbird and Graham Elliot, she created mocktails to accompany each dish for tasting menus. “Customers didn’t mind paying a premium because they knew I was going to do something fun,” she recalls. “They’d experience the same ingredients except without the alcohol. I think it’s a smart thing to do, yet a lot of places don’t consider it, and they’re missing out on an entire consumer base. What they’ve got to remember is that they’re in a business where they should be trying to capture every consumer they can." n

“I usually treat (non-drinkers) like any other guest, asking about interests or flavors they generally appreciate, I try not to make them feel unique or stand out from the crowd.” – Anthony Schmidt, Beverage Director, CH Projects





Forecast: A Warm Front is Trending in Beverages By Mindy Kolof


The best part about a chilly winter eve is warming up.

add a twist to your cider with ginger and citrus

Share the warmth with your customers and offer a piping hot toast to seasonal flavors. Whether it’s spirited, sweet, spicy or all three, the popularity of winter beverages will warm up sales. On the drink menu this season: coffees and hot teas will continue to keep a firm grip on daytime mugs, along with new concoctions of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages featuring modern twists on traditional seasonal flavors.

“Especially in the colder months, people are looking for warm comfort items and if an operator can offer something a little out of the norm, even better,” explains Elizabeth Freier of Technomic, a food industry research company. “People choose what they know and love, that being typically coffee beverages. Thus, offering seasonal riffs on classic coffee beverages might be a way to go.” In independent restaurants or smaller chains where there might be more opportunity for innovation, operators may want to trial some of the more up-andcoming winter flavors like spiced rum, advises Freier. Featuring more inventive presentations of beverages also highlights their appeal. ”Mason jars have been especially popular, so perhaps featuring a beverage in those could reinforce that authentic, rustic appeal … and push the bounds even further by featuring cinnamon sticks or real mint.” Technomic’s research reveals this season’s emerging flavor trends for hot beverage menus: clementine, spiced rums and maple are in the mix now along with mainstay seasonal flavors such as gingerbread, mint, nutmeg, hazelnut and cinnamon. With an overall

trend toward natural sweeteners on menus, operators can blend agave, honey or maple to sweeten drinks and soothe chilled customers. For example, national chain, True Kitchen features The Natural, with fresh lemon, ginger, local honey, cayenne and Echinacea in hot water. Bay Valley Foods is seeing a lot of ‘vintage reinvented’ right now, according to Perteet Spencer, Director of Category Marketing for the company. “Traditional flavors like apple and ginger are being combined or paired to deliver a fresh twist, such as mulled ciders with ginger and citrus, or hot chocolates with spiced chilies.”

continued ... WINTER 2016 RFSDELIVERS.COM 91

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A wintry mix of alcoholic beverages will also bring a blast of warmth through your bar service this season. According to Freier, notable menu entries include: Salted Caramel Apple Cider Martini (available hot or cold), with apple cider, caramel vodka and spiced rum, garnished with a maple and cinnamon-sugar rim (Claddagh Irish Pubs). Bourbon Furnace: hot apple cider, fresh lemon juice, honey and Kentucky Straight bourbon whiskey (McMenamins, Portland).

Hot Scotch: butterscotch Schnapps and hot cocoa, topped with housemade whipped cream and a caramel drizzle (Claddagh Irish Pubs).

Forecast: A Warm Frontis Trending in Beverages Expanding the warm beverage menu provides operators with an opportunity to present pairings for comfort dishes this winter: “We have found inventive flavor pairings like the Hot Scotch at Claddagh Irish Pubs as well as comfort dishes like hot cocoa with cookies, doughnuts or beignets. Or hot sake can pair well with sushi dishes, fruit salads and salty dishes like olives and caviar,” says Freier. “Heat is big now,” adds Spencer. “People are looking to awaken their restless palates with smoky, hot flavor. We are seeing many sweeter profiles paired with jalepenos, cayenne and chili peppers.” Operators might leverage the sweet and spicy trend with Mexican Hot Chocolate and Mexican Chocolate Latte drinks, which add a smooth, cinnamon flavoring to the mix. Add a warm Churro to your menu and you have the perfect dessert pairing, says Freier. n

Fastest Growing Flavors: Among non-alcoholic beverages, MenuMonitor data suggests a few more up-trending flavors to consider:

VANILLA 40.7% CHAI 56% COCONUT 57.1% MINT 57.6% POMEGRANATE 71.4% BERRY 77.8% TOFFEE 80% HAZELNUT 83.7% LEMON 87.5% ALMOND 90%

Base: Q4 2013 to Q4 2014 - 3,247 Menu Items Source: MenuMonitor, Technomic 92 RFSDELIVERS.COM ISSUE 1, 2016



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RvAMENmen Ty Fujimura’s fondest childhood memories happened in Waipahu, Hawaii, when his paternal grandmother took him and his brother, Troy, to a place called Shiro. Shiro, recalls Fujimura, was a magical place for kids and it specialized in more than 70 different saimin—the Hawaiian version of ramen.

Ty and Troy would slurp the contents from their massive bowls within minutes while their grandmother would take her time. She’d carefully place one noodle at a time on the spoon with just the right amount of broth, vegetables and meat,

ensuring that all of the saimin’s ingredients were there. Then she’d slowly slurp. This would go on for about an hour, and when the impatient Ty and Troy protested, she’d turned to them and say: “One day you will learn to enjoy it.” After that experience, the boys never rushed through their noodles again. As they were working on building Arami, their first Japanesefocused restaurant in Chicago, their mission was to build the perfect menu that paid homage to their heritage. One thing was certain: They knew they were going to feature ramen on it.


“We talked about food we really enjoyed and food that we ate growing up,” Fujimura said. “We wanted to express that part of our heritage in a way people could understand and approach it.” When they opened Arami in 2010, sushi was the number one seller, but as the ramen trend caught on a few years later, that side of the menu started to get some serious play. The restaurant features four ramen dishes on the menu at all times; three contemporary, chef-driven versions and a traditional ramen of pork belly, braised beef, broth and poached egg. While Fujimura’s thrilled to see his favorite childhood dish enjoy popularity, he wants restaurants to show customers how to also appreciate it. On many

occasions when he’s visited other spots, he’s noticed that diners finish all of the noodles and leave bowls full of broth. “They’re missing the best part!” he exclaims. “In that broth is the chef’s heart. That’s what takes the most time to put together. There’s an art to making the noodles as well, but the broth is really the expression of the chef.” He recommends for chefs to stress the important components of ramen to the servers, who will in turn be able to confidently inform the diners. “We’re not asking them to be overbearing, but whether it’s the beverage or the food, people will then take something with them when they leave the restaurant aside from a great experience with the food,” he says. “We want them to go to other places and remember what they’ve learned from our establishments. “The servers are the liaison of the chef, so it’s important that they convey his or her message accurately. When servers do their job correctly and diners fully embrace the ramen experience everywhere they go, it makes the trend even stronger.” n





Grainy goodness By Min Casey

Responding to consumer interest and fanning their own creative interests, more chefs and operators add whole grains to their menus. The results are varied, delicious and healthful.

Gourmet burger with wholegrain patty and bun.





outed by health-food enthusiasts as vitamin-packed superfoods and deemed essential by nutritionists, whole grains suffer a bit under the weight of those high-minded dietary ideals. But one meal with Chef Jason Bond quickly shakes off any sense that whole grains are boring, bland and heavy staples of dull dining. At Bondir, his fine-dining restaurant with locations in Concord and Cambridge, Mass., tiny little freckled bits of amaranth, toasted and then popped, are sprinkled on a salad of beets, roasted squash, shishito leaves and rye berries. Teff polenta is topped with celeriac “risotto,” quail egg and mustard snow. Warthog wheat, a hard, red winter wheat, is smoked and ground in-house to use for bread. On Monday Burger Nights, there is always the option for guests to swap out meat for a whole-grain patty. “We use tons of whole grains here. If I had to guess, I’d say we have at least 24 kinds in the kitchen that we use on a daily basis,” Bond says.

Bond is hardly alone as he applies his culinary hand to whole grains. Kelly Toups, project manager for the whole grains council of Oldways, says consumer interest is growing: a 2015 survey of 1,500 adults conducted by the Boston-based food and nutrition organization supports the claim; nearly one-third of those polled said that they choose whole grain products whenever they are available. At the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative held last year, Toups says that fully 100% of chefs who attended agree that whole grains are here to stay. She also notes that much of the chefs’ interest is in whole grains that are served intact rather than those that are ground and used as flour. A 2015 Food & Health Survey by the International Food Information Council founds that fully 70% of consumers are trying to incorporate more whole grains into their diets. And finally, the National Restaurant Association’s Food Trends Survey for 2015, with data collected from 1,300 professional chefs, placed natural and minimally processed

A to T grain guide

Use this guide to get to know our grainy friends a little better with ideas on how to use them in the kitchen. Amaranth


A small, peppery, protein-packed (13% to 14%) gluten-free, South American grain. Can be used in cereal, granola, bread, pancakes and pilaf.

Okay, it’s really not a grain—it’s a kin to rhubarb but it cooks and acts like grain. It long has been used in pancakes, Japanese soba noodles, kasha and some crepes.

The Ballantyne Hotel, Charlotte, N.C. lunch entrée: Vegetable quesadilla with roasted vegetables, local Jack cheese, tomato jam and salad of amaranth and quinoa.

Barley Almost all barley sold is pearled barley, with the outer bran removed so technically it isn’t a whole grain although it is fiber-rich and healthful. Hulled barley has more bran intact but is slow to cook. Given patience, the result is an agreeably chewy and flavorful grain that can be used in soups, stews, salads and pilafs. Birch & Barley, Pullman, Wash. Beef and barley soup


Fontaine Caffee and Creperie, Alexandria, Virginia: Zenist buckwheat-flour crepes filled with lentils, spinach and tomatoes in coriander, coconut and curry sauce.

Farro Also called emmer wheat, this is one of the oldest varieties of grain, one of the first to be domesticated. It is common in Ethiopia and increasingly seen in Italian regional cuisine where it is valued for making pasta and in soups. The Obstinate Daughter, Sullivan’s Island, S.C.: Farro Piccolo: Whole-grain farro with Brussels sprouts, peanuts, balsamic and truffle.

foods fifth on the hot list. Further down but still notable: non-wheat pasta, healthful meals, ancient gains, quinoa and ethnic flours were named as trends to watch. On his menus that flaunt sophisticated, refined ingredients such as fresh striped bass, duck breast, wild porcini and matsutake mushrooms, Bondir’s Bond sees no reason that humble, hearty whole grains can’t fit right into that realm. “Our cuisine is ingredient based. Fine dining means celebrating really good ingredients and in that regard, all foods are equal if they have integrity,” he says, adding that grains play important parts in many compositions. “To make a balanced dish, we look for flavor, texture and color, and whole grains can add those elements, bringing a sense of completion to our dishes,” he says. Grains play a larger role for Bond, supporting his ethos as a chef.

Freekeh Hard wheat that’s harvested before it is fully mature and then roasted, a process than lends a earthy, smoky flavor. Most typical in Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. Mediterranean Exploration Company, Portland, Ore.: Warm freekeh salad with chanterelle mushrooms, roasted squash and pistachio oil


“I want to do more than just feed people. With grains, we support small growers who are doing great things and also introduce our guests to interesting foods, things that are healthy and good.” Whole grains have already made inroads into chain restaurants. Toups is quick to recite names of large restaurant companies that menu them. “Dunkin' Donuts has whole-grains bagels. Pei Wei and Genghis Grill offer brown rice as an alternate to white. So does P.F. Chang’s; there, brown rice sales are pretty close to catching up with white rice. Chipotle has whole-wheat burritos and Subway often has whole-wheat bread as an option. Health and wellness is more mainstream and chains realize that,” she says. “Consumer interest is definitely out there. It’s not a hard sell at all.”

Spelt A variety of wheat that was largely left behind as farming mechanized. In its whole berry form it is somewhat milder in taste with natural sweetness. It can be ground and used in flour blends, cooked as a cereal or used in salads. In Italy, it is known as farro grande—big farro. Mana Restaurant, New York City: Spelt pancakes


A small, bead-like grain with a nutty taste and crunchy texture; quite edible and used in many world cuisines including India, China and South America, it also is a key ingredient in bird seed. It can be used in bread, pancakes, porridge, stew and rice dishes.

Roughly the size of a poppy seed, this ancient Ethiopian grain, a type of cereal grass, is the smallest whole grain. Small can be mighty though and the nutty, mild-tasting grain is rich in calcium and protein. It can be cooked as a soft cereal and stirred into batters for baked goods.

A&J Restaurant Rockville, Maryland: Millet and corn congee.

Bondir, Concord, Mass.: Celeriac “risotto” with summer vegetable mignardises, teff polenta and mustard snow

Quinoa The Peruvian native is a proteinpowered success story, the small grains showing up on an increasing number of menus. There are several varieties and all pretty much cook the same. It is used in salads, cereal blends, pilafs, stuffing and side dishes. Lyfe Kitchen, multiple locations: Quinoa crunch wrap or bowl with quinoa tabbouleh, crunchy vegetables, avocado, edamame, hummus and hot sauce.

Triticale A relative newcomer, it is hybrid of durum wheat and rye. Hyped as a miracle crop when it first hit the scene, almost all world production is in Europe. It’s a natural for breads and other baked goods. Lifeworks Restaurant Group, multiple locations: Triticale with peanuts and Asian seasonings.




By Mindy Kolof

THE GOOD NEWS: hourly employees THE BAD NEWS: it’s harder to find

are more highly motivated and committed than ever.

and keep them in a job market more competitive than it’s been in years.

or the latest insights, we asked Snagajob, a company solely committed to providing recruitment and hiring solutions to the hourly industry. As they say, they’re pretty good at it, having become America’s top hourly job spot since their founding in 2000, with more than 60 million registered job seekers, and thousands of customers around the country using their technology-enabled hiring solutions, including Chipotle and Dunkin’ Donuts. Kim Costa, a Snagajob job coach, takes a keen look at the company’s eighth annual Holiday Hiring Survey to offer advice to operators looking to take on additional staff for the hectic holiday season and keep them well-after the last shred of New Year’s confetti has been swept clean.

Restaurant INC:

Are wages and hours for seasonal/hourly workers going up as a result of the tight labor market?

Snagajob: With average wages for restaurant workers at

$9.33/hour, down nearly 5 percent from 2014, our survey revealed that while employers are in need of workers, they are not yet ready to raise wages to attract them. There appears to be a slight downtick in available hours for seasonal workers, down from 25 hours per week in 2014, to 23 hours per week in 2015.


What are the most important selling points to stress when hiring … doesn’t pay trump all?

S: Actually, no. Millennials tell us the company culture is more important, and the more serious applicants are looking for an environment that will allow them to advance and grow.

RI: When is the best time to start looking for seasonal help?


If you haven’t started looking, do it now. The competition is high - over 80 percent of employers surveyed plan to hire additional workers for the holiday season. The earlier you begin, the more options you’ll have.


Is it best to look at seasonal hires as temporary employees only?

S: Seasonal hiring may mean that you’re taking on

temporary employees, but their impact on your brand can be long-lasting. Think of it as a dry run, and if they do well, let them know several weeks before the job formally ends that you’re interested in hiring them. Most of the employers we work with say they plan to keep 68 percent of their seasonal employees on staff after the holidays.


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• The majority have high school diplomas or GEDs; 23% have earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree • 55% looking for part-time work, 45% for full time • 43% live with parents or family (76% of the 18-24 year olds); 35% rent; 21% own their own place (41% of over 35 year olds) • 71% drive their own car to and from the job • 36% look at the hourly job as a way to pay bills while you pursue other interests (52% of 16-24 year olds); 28% see it as the start of a career path within that employer’s organization (36% of 25-34 year olds); 27% see it as a position they’ll have for a long time (35% of over 35 year olds) • 61% are optimistic about their career path options, 20% indifferent, 19% negative

RI: What are the best ways to recruit seasonal help? S: The majority of employers post to online jobs boards

and company career websites, or spread the word through local community members. Keep in mind that your customers can be one of your best sources for employees – more than 80 percent of hourly workers apply to places they’re already customers of, so treat every job applicant as a customer. Essentially that’s what they are.

RI: How can we make the application process easier and more user-friendly?

S: Hourly workers are looking for jobs on the go, they’re

not looking to fill out a long application listing their strengths and weaknesses, and more than half look for and apply for jobs on their phone. Make yours as simple as possible and you’ll stand out. Over 80 percent of

employers surveyed feel that job seekers frequently fail to complete an application because of the talent assessment software used. That’s why we recommend testing out your application and making sure it’s optimized for mobile use. At Snagajob, we use short, image-based assessments and current mobile technology to make it seamless for both employee and employer. Employers of hourly workers are spending over 30 percent of their day on hiring-related activities – by leveraging technology, we believe an hourly job should take minutes, not days or weeks to fill.

RI: How do we retain the best hires? S: Keep the environment fun, continually show

appreciation for a job well done and highlight opportunities for growth within your organization. If your seasonal employees are returning to school, make it clear that you’d like to bring them back in the summertime. n




Shift. Scheduling staff shifts just got a whole lot easier Ari Bendersky

“I love spending hours each week making the schedule,” said no manager ever. Guess what? Those days are over. Welcome to the age of online scheduling. 102 RFSDELIVERS.COM ISSUE 1, 2016

Shift scheduling has long been a chore that managers have struggled with for years. Unless you have a small staff that has fairly-set schedules, the process can take hours and, even then, you’ll spend more time fielding requests for a day off or that someone wants to switch a shift with a co-worker. Now numerous mobile apps and cloud-based options exist to remove that burden. “It saves time for managers. It’s easy for staff to swap or release a shift with approval. And it keeps things organized,” said Sagi Rachman, founder of Better Chains, a cloud-based integrated restaurant management system that offers online scheduling. “It’s a huge communication tool. The staff doesn’t have to call or email anymore.”

Ryan Suddendorf, a partner in Evergreens Salad, agrees on the timesaving possibilities of online scheduling. Evergreens uses Homebase to manage the scheduling at their two Seattle healthy quick-service spots. “It reduces the amount of time managers spend on scheduling,” Suddendorf said. “Once a schedule is built for a location, it reduces the scheduling time. They can easily modify the schedule by moving in and out times. In terms of keeping staff productive by keeping a forecast section, we can predict sales based on historical data. We can move people around to hit our target sales cost each day or week.”

“The only reason to

implement any technology

Better Chains is just one of a number of digital systems like People Matter, TeamWorx, 7Shifts, HotSchedules and Shift Planning that give restaurants the tools to streamline their scheduling. Depending on what platform you go with, it could come with different modules for human resources, training, payroll, forecasting, data mining and more. But whatever it is you need — or don’t even know you need — you should go with something and move away from archaic pen-andpaper scheduling.

or device is to save you

time. You’re creating a lot of efficiency so managers can be out with customers and staff, and not sitting at a computer.”

And your staff will love you for it. Why? Because as soon as a new schedule gets posted or someone wants to swap a shift, your staff will see it in near real time. Some apps allow for push notifications. Others you need to launch the app, but you’ll have everything right at your fingertips, which is something that anyone with a smartphone loves.

“People are always getting shifts covered or trading shifts,” said – AJ Sacher, owner of Barney’s Beanery AJ Sacher, owner of Barney’s Beanery, a chain of sports bars in Southern California, which uses Better Chains. “When “It’s part of restaurant daily life now,” said Stephen the schedule is posted on the app, the staff can go in and Snyder, operations manager for Phoenix-based Native trade shifts. They can do a lot of that on their own. If they Grill & Wings, which uses TeamWorx. “You have to use want to trade a shift, they link together in the app, submit software like this or else you’re way behind. The software the request and the managers can see the request and is so cheap. It’s a no-brainer.” approve or deny it. The old way, people would have to call the store, get the phone list, start calling everyone. In addition to saving time and creating a more efficient This is a natural progression, given technology with process, online or cloud-based software will save you mobile applications. It seems so obvious now. money. Not only do many of the platforms cost on average $50 (or less) a month per store, you’ll save by reducing labor and food costs. Managers can go from spending hours a week on scheduling to a couple of hours, but it’s more than that. “Teamworx put a huge focus on scheduling based on a restaurant’s demands,” Snyder said. “It looks at it on a daily basis and their forecasting tool is superior. That tells us that for a specific hour we’ll need three servers, two cooks or whatever. It can break the schedule down to 15-minute increments.”

Overall, online scheduling software is more efficient and will save you time and money ... and a lot of staffing headaches. “The only reason to implement any technology or device is to save you time,” Sacher said. “You’re creating a lot of efficiency so managers can be out with customers and staff, and not sitting at a computer.” And isn’t that why you’re in the restaurant business — to not sit at a desk all day?





Operation 104 RFSDELIVERS.COM ISSUE 1, 2016

This Side Business Can Help Your Bottom Line ‌ If Executed Correctly by Audarshia Townsend

Creating a successful catering operation Operating as only a full-service restaurant can take a toll on an establishment’s bottom line— especially during challenging economic times— so it’s no surprise that a number of restaurateurs have considered launching catering businesses on the side. In 2013, Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill debuted a catering business, allowing groups of 20 to 200 to customize meals at home, school or the office as they do when they’re at the front counter. And Scranton’s in Mississippi has always devoted 35 percent of its operation to catering. Owner Richard Chenoweth maintains that this dedicated side business has kept his operation profitable even when the dining side was down during recessions.

“That way your infrastructure (equipment, space, etc.) could already be there when you are ready to start up operations. If a restaurant is ‘backing in’ to catering operations, meaning it was not part of the original business plan, an established restaurant would have the best chance at being successful. They would already have an established clientele, people already familiar with the product, they could approach.” De Marte regularly collaborates with restaurant clients who are looking to incorporate catering into their operations. Many are looking to establish in-house catering, banquet and private dining. He says that most are hesitant to delve into off-site catering because that requires a lot of organization, space and logistics. It’s also quite expensive to pull off.

$8.67 billion generated by the catering industry in 2014

According to statistics portal, restaurant food and drink sales in the United States exceeded $683 billion in 2014, with $8.67 billion generated by the catering industry. A large percent of that number came from independent catering companies and restaurant private dining caterers. But is it really that easy to launch a catering operation if you’ve already got a menu, staff and facility in place? “Any type of restaurant can successfully run a catering operation as long as they have the space to execute it,” says James de Marte, owner/operator of Chicago-based JDM Culinary Consulting. He continues, however, to clarify that the catering aspect of a foodservice operation should be part of the initial business plan.



Creating a successful catering operation “If you are going to do it, do it right,” he advises. “If your catering operation was popped up as an afterthought, you will work 10 times as hard, you will spend your time putting out fires, you will disappoint your clients, you will fail. You will be eating the rubbery chicken breast your client refused to pay for.” For those willing to take the plunge into the catering side of business, De Marte says if executed correctly the end result should be profitable within a few years. “Catering can finance a whole foodservice operation and allow a chef and restaurant to offer items without too much concern over food costs,” he maintains. “Realistically speaking, in three years you should be established and maybe making some money—paying your bills, at least.” De Marte also regularly works with his wife, Rachel, on special events projects and weddings that take place in some of Chicago’s most popular restaurants and special events venues. Her company, Rachel De Marte Events, focuses on front-of-house operations with menu planning and sales strategy. According to Mrs. De Marte, each event is different and should be treated as such to make each client feel special.

“There is an art to it,” she explains. “You have to tailor to the type of event: Corporate, non-profit/ gala and weddings are very different; rarely would you suggest the same menus for each. There is also the major difference between onpremise and off-premise catering. Are you only catering in-house as you have an event space onsite? Or will you plan to go all over town?” Mrs. De Marte also recommends hiring additional staff for the dedicated catering division, and stresses the importance of bringing aboard people who have catering experience. “The art of servicing a party of any size requires a different skill set, different knowledge, than in restaurant world,” she explains. “Food is served differently. Bars are set up differently. Product is ordered and stored differently. Off-premise events mean that all has to be brought in, set up and torn down that same day. It’s the largest form of organized chaos there is.” The easiest part, she adds, is when the restaurant incorporates an existing menu into a catering menu. She suggests taking the current menu and melding it into event-friendly food. For example, she says, shrink an entrée size crab cake and tweak the presentation to be “one pretty bite.” “You are already ordering the product for these, just changing the way you execute it,” she says.

tip: shrink an entree size menu item into one pretty bite


Here are some additional tips to follow for those considering jumpstarting a catering business on the side: Growing a catering business requires the same consistent marketing as running a restaurant. Draw attention to your service in menus and brochures and on table tents. Create a page for it on your website. Raise awareness through social media, mobile devices and e-mail marketing campaigns.

Software programs such as Caterease are available to assist you with planning, sales, booking and marketing. Many programs can generate letters, quotes and invoices as well.

With the proper equipment and staff, you can offer whatever you want. Sanitation is always at the front of mind while catering. If you have the means to transport your ingredients safely, without compromising quality and you have a motivated staff ready to build a pop-up kitchen at will, you can offer up anything.

Staff should be well-versed in what they are serving and able to answer questions about allergies and dietary restrictions from guests. They should also know how food items must look on each tray, platter or plate, times 100, 500 or 1,000. n



What Will Your Menu Look Like In 2016?

LET THE DATA TELL YOU Shifting menu trends in the industry mean that you must continually evaluate and update your menu. How do you update your menu and remain profitable if you don't know which items are most profitable and in demand and which ones you should cut? We’re forecasting what restaurant menu trends are for 2016, and we’re providing the tools you need to evaluate your menu on a daily basis.


Here are 3 trends you need to dish out in 2016 to ensure your menu delivers.




From farmers markets to artisanal cheeses, it seems we can’t get away from the fact that customers are demanding locally sourced food. In the last 10 years, farmers markets have grown 350% and the trend has gone viral. What’s more shocking: Over 50% of consumers prefer local over organic, according to Mintel. Whether it’s hyper-local ingredients such as herbs and garden-grown vegetables or sustainable seafood and locally sourced meats, the lust for local foods is widespread.

It should come as no surprise that if consumers are demanding locally sourced foods they’re also more health conscious than ever before. They want their food to taste good and be good for them. One word for your menu and the healthy food trend: fresh. What does it imply? Real food.

Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. But for the savvy restaurateur, it’s also the most important meal for your bottom line. The National Restaurant Association says 72% of US adults wish that restaurants served breakfast all day long. Breakfastarians - those who crave breakfast morning, noon and night - have been on the rise in the last year, and the trend will only continue. In fact, the restaurant industry is booming, and it has breakfastarians to thank - it’s growing traffic by nearly 60% nationwide.


add this to your menu In 2016 Restaurateurs are fielding more questions than ever before about where their food comes from. Locally grown foods aren’t just for farmers markets anymore. In 2016, guests will find them on your menu.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED: ´´ Locally Sourced Meats/Seafood - Knowing where food came from and how it was treated is important. Locally sourced meats and seafood allow your guests to feel better about what they put in their bodies and about your restaurant. ´´ Locally Grown Produce - As an ingredient or a main vegetarian dish, produce that was grown free of pesticides and steroids is what your guests are looking for. Bonus points if the produce is “hyper-local,” as in you grew it in your restaurant.

Diners are focusing on foods that help them maintain energy, feel fuller longer and stay healthy. Menu developers are responding by adding fruits, vegetables and grains to the menu.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED ON YOUR MENU: ´´ Healthy Kids Menus - Mom and dad are focusing on healthier options, which means chicken fingers and fries aren’t the only option on the table anymore. When developing your kid’s menu, ask yourself: would mom or dad eat this, too?


The all-day breakfast trend is a great opportunity for your restaurant to get creative. You can also use little tidbits from other trends to really shine. Here’s what you need on your menu: ´´ All Day Breakfast – Enough said. ´´ Ethnic Breakfast Dishes - How about Mexican breakfast burritos? ´´ Healthful Breakfast Options - Wholewheat wraps, flaxseed smoothies, egg white omelets

´´ Protein - You likely already have meat on your menu, so now it’s just a matter of how you present it. In the last five years, menu mentions of protein have risen 67%. Adding “protein” to your menu is an easy way to capitalize on the positive connotation. ´´ Vegetables - We’re not just talking about carrots and peas here, hybrid vegetables are gaining traction. Think root vegetables such as beets, cauliflower, cabbage and of course, kale. Use them as a side dish or get creative and make a beet pizza. ´´ Natural Ingredients - Gluten-free, artisanal and even vegan options are in the mainstream now. Your restaurant will benefit by serving up dishes that are created using natural, minimally processed, ingredients.




Analyzing Your Menu In Real Time To understand how effective a menu item is, we've created a formula (based on our experiences working with 3,000+ local merchants) for evaluating restaurant menu items and their benefit to your business, in terms of creating loyal repeat customers.




How many orders does each menu item sell? Obviously, selling more of each item is always preferable.

How long have you had the item on your menu consistently? The longer a menu item exists, the more likely it is to be a product of loyal customers and that could mean you’re looking at a signature dish.

All things being equal, you’d prefer to sell your higher priced items. You can use margin (price cost) to focus on your most profitable items.

BENEFITS OF THE MENU SCORE The result of this formula will give each menu item an index score, most between 30 and 200. There tends to be a lot of variability in menu items. But that's okay! No insight is wasted when it comes to building customer loyalty. ´´ A score of 100 is your average menu item ´´ A menu item that scores 123 will be 23% more valuable to your business than an average menu item ´´ A menu item that scores an 87 will be 13% less valuable to you than an average menu item


KEEP IN MIND: Add-ons like appetizers, sides and desserts should be measured separately from entrées or main dishes. Beverages should be measured separately from food.

What Can You Do With This Information? Knowing is only half the battle, right? Now that you have an in-depth understanding of how your menu items perform, you can start making better business decisions that lead to more profitable menus.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL ... These insights give you what you need to know to do 3 things today: 1. Train Your Staff: Improve staff performance when you train your staff on which items have the highest index scores and are best for the restaurant (and them!) Increased sales and increased repeat business means increased tips, right?! 2. Provide Profitable Recommendations: If you offer two fish choices, a striped bass that scores a 130 and a salmon that scores a 92, you can have your servers steer guests towards the bass. 3. Determine Pricing: When considering a pricing change, instead of just raising all of your prices by a dollar or 5%, consider raising them on your highest performing items slightly - guests will barely notice and still continue to order them.

HOW CAN SWIPELY HELP ME USE MY MENU TO GROW SALES? Not everyone wants to do math - we get that. The good news is that we have an automated solution to your manual fears.




Using the Swipely platform, you can learn which items bring guests back when you can see where your revenue comes from and what your loyal regulars are ordering.

Are you losing money on certain dishes? Find out where the holes are in your bucket when you see average ticket amounts from your entire day's sales.

All it takes is a small change to yield big results. Whether it's pairing two menu items or changing the price on an item, we can reveal which decisions are more profitable to your restaurant menu. n



Future Events for Foodies Chocolate Fest Portland, OR 01/22/16-01/24/16

Midwest Foodservice Expo Milwaukee, WI 03/07/16-03/09/16

North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show

Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show

Boston Wine Expo

Research Chefs Association Annual Conference and Culinology Expo

Columbus, OH 01/24/16-01/25/16

Boston, MA 02/13/16-02/14/16

Las Vegas, NV 03/07/16-3/09/16

Denver, CO 03/08/16-03/11/16

Food Processing Expo

National Barbecue Association Conference

Sacramento, CA 02/17/16-02/18/16

Jacksonville, FL 03/09/16-03/12/16

Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival

New England Food Show

National Fiery Foods & BBQ Expo

Women’s Foodservice Forum Annual Leadership Development Conference

Miami, FL 02/24/16-02/28/16

Albuquerque, NM 03/04/16-03/06/16

International Restaurant & Foodservice Show NYC, NY 03/06/16-03/08/16

1 1 2 R F S D E L I V E R S . C O M I S S U E 4 w, 2 0 1 5

Boston, MA 03/13/16-03/15/16

Dallas, TX 03/13/16-03/16/16


TRACS® Direct

Sugar Foods Corp [pg. 36] [pg. 93]

Beaver Street®

Campbell's® Foodservice

Avocados from Mexico [pg. IFC, 01] [pg. 03]

Markon® [pg. 04 & pg. 86-87]

Best of Reinhart Contest [pg. 07]

Swipely [pg. 30] [pg. 42]

Saucemakers® Bay Valley® [pg. 98-99]

Reinhart® Direct Gourmet Food Group

John Morrell

[pg. 62-63] [pg. 113]


Reinhart's New Website [pg. 70] [pg. IBC]


Best of Reinhart Contest [pg. 85]

I N D E X [pg. BC]

Advertising Information: For rates and media kit, contact Andrea Wilson When contacting our advertisers, please mention you saw their ads here. ©2015 Reinhart Foodservice, L.L.C. All rights reserved. The trademarks depicted herein are trademarks (registered or otherwise) of their respective owners.


RI_BODY_Winter_2016.indd 113

12/18/15 8:25 PM



4 Hands Brewing Company

Beach Harbor Resort

Cru Café

St. Louis, MO [pg. 68]

Sturgeon Bay, WI [pg. 20]

Charleston, SC [pg. 61]

67 Biltmore

The Bernards Inn

Dirt Candy

Asheville, NC [pg. 67]

Bernardsville, NJ [pg. 9]

New York, NY [pg. 57]

A&J Restaurant

Birch & Barley

Emeril’s New Orleans

Rockville, MD [pg. 97]

Washington, DC [pg. 96]

New Orleans, LA [pg. 67]

Adair Kitchen


Evergreens Salad

Houston, TX [pg. 57]

Chicago, IL 60661 [pg. 89]

Seattle, WA [pg. 103]

Al Johnson's


Fontaine Caffe and Creperie

Sister Bay, WI [pg. 18]

Multiple Locations [pg. 96]

Alexandria, VA [pg. 96]


Bow & Truss

Frontera Grill

New Orleans, LA [pg. 61]

Los Angeles, CA [pg. 9]

Chicago, IL [pg. 41]

Ajax Diner

Burger 21


Oxford, MS [pg. 61]

Multiple Locations [pg. 75]

Multiple Wisconsin Locations [pg. 12]

Amsterdam Falafelshop

B&O Kitchen

Golden Basket

Multiple Locations [pg. 57]

Sulphur, LA [pg. 67]

Green Bay, WI [pg. 17]


Cafe Carambola

Graham Elliot

Chicago, IL [pg. 94]

Coeur d'Alene, ID [pg. 8]

Chicago, IL [pg. 89]

The Ballantyne Hotel


Greystone Castle

Charlotte, NC [pg. 96]

Multiple NYC Locations [pg. 68, 77]

Sturgeon Bay, WI [pg. 22]

Barberitos SW Grille & Cantina

The Chicago Diner


Multiple Locations [pg. 32]

Multiple Chicago Locations [pg. 57]

Atlanta, GA [pg. 59]

Barley Swine

Claddagh Irish Pubs

Hagemeister Park

Austin, TX [pg. 61]

Multiple Locations [pg. 92]

Green Bay, WI [pg. 15]

Barney's Beanery

Colorado's Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custards

Hobnob Neighborhood Tavern

Multiple Locations [pg. 103]


Multiple Locations [pg. 32]

Atlanta, GA [pg. 61]


Memphis BBQ

Rock Garden Supper Club

Denver, CO [pg. 61]

Multiple Locations [pg. 67]

Green Bay, WI [pg. 16]


Milwaukee Burger Company

Roofers Union

Brooklyn, NY [pg. 8]

Franklin, WI [pg. 74]

Washington, DC [pg. 69]

Lifeworks Restaurant Group

Moosewood Restaurant

Root & Bone

Mountain View, CA [pg. 97]

Ithaca, NY [pg. 57]

New York, NY [pg. 60]


Morimoto Waikiki


Brookline, MA [pg. 9]

Honolulu, HI [pg. 67]

Pascagoula, MS [pg. 105]

Lost Lake

Native Grill & Wings

The Southern

Chicago, IL [pg. 84]

Multiple Locations [pg. 103]

Chicago, IL [pg. 61]

LUXE Burger Bar


Tête Charcuterie

Providence, RI [pg. 74]

New York, NY [pg. 89]

Chicago, IL [pg. 77]

Lyfe Kitchen

The Normandy

Texas Roadhouse

Multiple Locations [pg. 97]

Lincoln, Nebraska [pg. 67]

Nampa, ID [pg. 27]

Mana Restaurant

The Obstinate Daughter

Three Dots and a Dash

Chicago, IL [pg. 97]

Sullivan's Island, SC [pg. 97]

Chicago, IL [pg. 84]


Parthenon Greek Grill & Taverna

Toro Bravo

Green Bay, WI [pg. 13]

Lincoln, NE [pg. 67]

Portland, OR [pg. 67]


Piccolo Sogno

Tupelo Honey Café

Nashville, TN [pg. 33]

Chicago, IL [pg. 67]

Multiple Locations [pg. 61]




Milwaukee, WI [pg. 61]

New York, NY [pg. 83]

Miami Beach, Florida [pg. 60]



Multiple Locations [pg. 92]

Decataur, GA [pg. 59]

Mediterranean Exploration Co

The Rite Place

Portland, OR [pg. 97]

Green Bay, WI [pg. 21]







Keep your ear to the ground with commodity pricing, as it dictates food costs. Below are select prices to help readers keep track. Prices as of December 8, 2015.*


units price contract




Mar 16

CBOT Wheat



Mar 16




Mar 16

CBOT Rough Rice



Jan 16

CBOT Soybean



Jan 16

CBOT Soybean Meal



Jan 16

CBOT Soybean Oil



Jan 16


units price contract

ICE Cocoa



Mar 16

ICE Coffee "C"



Mar 16

ICE Sugar #11



Mar 16

ICE Orange Juice Conc



Jan 16

ICE Cotton #2



Mar 16


units price contract

CME Live Cattle



Feb 16

CME Feeder Cattle



Jan 16

CME Lean Hogs



Feb 16


Is there a commodity you’d like to see on the chart? Email with your suggestion.


TRACS Direct To Go ®

TRY OUR FREE INDUSTRY-LEADING BUSINESS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR YOUR iPhone, iPad, and Android™ Devices! Harness these powerful tools with our app TRACS Direct To Go!

the all new

RFSDELIVERS .com Loaded with fresh trends & ideas to inspire your operation.

Now Available for Android Devices

Create Orders

Create orders anywhere at anytime. View purchase history, manufacture information, and more.

Manage Inventory

Take inventory by scanning the UPC using the scanner or camera on your mobile device. Inventory can be maintained for both Reinhart and other vendors. iPad

Multiple Locations

Have more than one location? Manage multiple locations from one account.

WEBSITE FEATURES • Details on your local Reinhart division, including events, contacts & more! • Delectable recipes & photography that you can use for inspiration. • Feature stories on how to manage food costs, market your business & iPhone manage operations. ®

Visit or contact your local Reinhart Sales Consultant for more information. TRACS Direct To Go syncs up with your existing TRACS Direct account. Must be a Reinhart Customer to utilize TRACS Direct and TRACS Direct To Go. Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.











Spicy Mac ‘n Cheese with Andouille Sausage p. 51


Northeastern Wisconsin Northern Hospitality Thrives in the Frozen Tundra p. 10 R E S TA U R A N T I N C


| the business of food


Our Chefs’ takes on



ISSUE 01: 2016

k eepin g yo u full & w ar m this winter p. 46

COMBATING CABIN FEVER ©2016 Reinhart Foodservice L.L.C

Getting Cold Weather Haters To Dine Out During Winter p. 24

Profile for Reinhart_Publications

Restaurant Inc. Winter 2016  

Volume 4, Issue 1

Restaurant Inc. Winter 2016  

Volume 4, Issue 1