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    6 of the Oldest Restaurants in America

    6 of the Oldest Restaurants in America

     

    Dining out at local eating establishments is a time-honored tradition that nearly everyone can appreciate. The food, the ambiance, and the people are just a few reasons why going to a restaurant is so special. And while America has been around for nearly 250 years, some of its restaurants date back even further than that. The following list includes 6 of the oldest restaurants in the United States. Take a trip back in time by visiting any one of them.

     

    Griswold Inn – Essex, CT

     

    6 of the oldest restaurants in america - the griswold inn

     

    This classy establishment has run continuously since its inception all the way back in 1776. Providing shelter and sustenance to shipyard workers who built vessels during the Revolutionary War, the Griswold Inn successfully stood the test of time. The tavern was captured by British troops during the war of 1812 and briefly turned into a base of operations. Playing host to a long list of historical figures like Mark Twain, Katherine Hepburn, Albert Einstein, and even George Washington, the Griswold Inn gives patrons the chance to dine with the ghosts of legends.

    For visitors who want the deluxe experience, the Griswold Inn has 33 rooms for overnight stays. Antiques populate rooms, and there are no televisions. Instead, classical music sets an elegant ambiance that transports to diners to a different time and place. To this day, many of the restaurants original decorations are still place. Despite this throwback atmosphere, the Griswold Inn thankfully features modern bathrooms.

     

    White Horse Tavern – Newport, RI

     

    white horse tavern

     

    Founded in 1673, the White Horse Tavern is the oldest and certainly one of the most unique restaurants in America. In nearly 350 years since it was founded, this Rhode Island bar has sheltered pirates and also briefly became a boardinghouse. The restaurant fell into disarray before being restored in the 1950s. Delicious drinks like the Darn and Stormy, a classic cocktail that combines rum and ginger beer, keep local patrons coming back for more—even after all these years.

     

    Fraunces Tavern – New York, NY

     

    fraunces tavern

     

    Located in NYC’s Financial District, the building that eventually became Fraunces Tavern was built in 1686. Initially home to NYC mayor Stephanus Van Cortlandt, the building was eventually sold to Samuel Frances—who renovated the building and transformed it into a successful tavern in 1762.

    The Sons of Liberty—a secret society formed by John Hancock and Samuel Adams to protect the rights of America’s colonists—regularly met at Fraunces Tavern prior to the American Revolution. The tavern was also the site of a dinner held in 1783 for George Washington and his troops.  The gathering was in celebration of Washington pushing the British army out of New York.

    Today, the Fraunces Tavern has expanded to occupy an entire block and include five separate buildings. The traditional restaurant includes 8 separate dining spaces, and a museum commemorating the tavern’s history features 9 distinct galleries.  

     

    Union Oyster House – Boston, MA

     

    union oyster house

     

    This Union Oyster House building was erected in the early 1700s and originally served as a formal dress store. Expansion in 1771 welcomed the “The Massachusetts Spy” newspaper to the building’s second floor, but it wasn’t until 1826 when the Atwood & Bacon Oyster house was born. That same year, the restaurant changed its name to the Union Oyster House and hasn’t looked back since. Today, the restaurant is a National Historic Landmark and holds the title of longest continuously operated restaurant in America.

    With an elegant, New England-themed interior, the Union Oyster House features paintings, framed newspapers, an even beautiful dioramas. Its menu consists of traditional New England seafood like oysters, clams, and lobsters. A favorite establishment of famous diners like the Kennedy family and Daniel Webster, who was well-known for devouring several plates of oysters at a time, the classic restaurant is also rumored to be where the toothpick was popularized.

     

    Antoine’s Restaurant – New Orleans, LA

     

    6 of the oldest restaurants in America - Antoine's restaurant

     

    The oldest family-run restaurant in the United States, Antoine’s Restaurant boasts sophisticated décor and has been serving delicious Louisiana Creole cuisine since 1840. It’s located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter and is known for being the birthplace of oysters Rockefeller.

    Steeped in rich history, Antoine’s Restaurant features private rooms named after Carnival krewes like Rex, Proteus, and the 12th Night Revelers. During Carnival season, these krewes are the organizations that put on Bourbon Street’s famous Mardi Gras parade.

    Perhaps the most interesting part of Antoine’s Restaurant is the Mystery Room, which earned its name during the prohibition era. While alcohol was outlawed, patrons would go through a door in the ladies room that led to a secret room, which served coffee spiked with booze. When drinkers returned to their tables and were asked where they’d gotten the coffee, they’d simply respond, “It’s a mystery to me.” There are several other rooms throughout the restaurant, each of which has its own interesting story.

     

    Tadich Grill – San Francisco, CA

     

    tadich grill

     

    When thousands of ambitious prospectors headed west in search of gold in 1849, they needed something to help keep them going. Capitalizing on the opportunity, a small coffee stand opened to give prospectors much-needed energy boosts. The coffee stand was bought out by John Tadich in 1887 and quickly became a full-fledge restaurant. That restaurant was named the Tadich Grill and lays claim to being the first in the U.S. to cook seafood on a mesquite charcoal grill.

    Today, the Tadich Grill still specializes in serving fresh seafood. Refusing to take reservations, the restaurant is usually packed with diners during lunch and dinner. So if you plan to go, it’s best to arrive on the early side.

     

     

    5 of the Best Food Destinations in the World

    5 of the Best Food Destinations in the World

     

    While the United States has no shortage of outstanding food cities, there are 194 other countries in the world that feature their own delicious meals. International food cities offer diners unique experiences that are truly one of a kind, and the following list contains 5 of the best food destinations in the world.

     

    Florence, Italy

     

    florence italy

     

    A number of Italian cities could have made this list. But for brevity’s sake, we’re listing only Florence. The capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence benefits from its proximity to wine country and local farms. Easy access to maremma cows and olive farms enables restaurants to serve some of the freshest cheeses, T-bone steaks, and olive oil in all of Italy. Although most bread in Florence is still made without salt, a lingering effect of Florentines refusing to pay a salt tax in the 12th century, the city’s delicious schiacciata is an exception to the rule and warrants at least a taste.

    And of course—no visit to Italy is complete without some pizza and gelato. Florence has no shortage of either. For more adventurous diners, a lampredotto is worth a taste. Often served in a sandwich, the meal features the fourth stomach of a cow and is a common street dish in Florence.

     

    Lyon, France

     

    lyon france dining

     

    Beating out cities like Paris and Bordeaux for French supremacy, Lyon is the ultimate location for a classic French meal. Featuring world-famous 91-year old French chef Paul Bocuse and his renowned restaurant Bocuse d’Or, the city is home to several Michelin-Star restaurants. In addition to its myriad of gourmet restaurants that serve traditional haute cuisine and are flush with artwork, decorations, and chandeliers, Lyon also has a wide range of smaller, more affordable bouchons that serve traditional foods like sausage, duck pate, and roast pork. The city’s easy access to vineyards ensures its dining establishments are always well-stocked with an impressive selection of varying wines.

     

    San Sebastian, Spain

     

    san sebastian dining

     

    Also known as Donastia, San Sebastian is located on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and is almost right on the French border. The city is a popular tourist destination and is well-known for its Basque cuisine. With the second most Michelin stars per square feet in the world, San Sebastian features a large assortment of elegant restaurants as well as more casual pintxos bars.

    Perhaps the crown jewel of the San Sebastian dining experience is the Murgaritz restaurant. One of the top dining establishments in the world according to Restaurant Magazine, Murgaritz chef Andoni Aduriz uses fresh herbs and produce that are grown in a garden behind the restaurant. For a spectacular San Sebastian culinary experience that doesn’t take place in a restaurant, check out the local La Brecha market. Offering a wide variety of fresh fish, the market is perfect for seafood lovers.

     

    Tokyo, Japan

     

    tokyo japan dining

     

    With more than 220 Michelin-starred restaurants, Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city in the world. Perhaps even more impressive, the city has more Michelin stars than Paris and New York combined! Whether you’re looking for a high-end dining experience that includes some of the best sushi in the world or you prefer a simple yet delicious soba dish from a noodle shop, this Japanese metropolis has you covered. The city’s chefs strive to approach traditional Japanese with a modern mindset, and the results speak for themselves.

    Tokyo is also home to the famous Tsukiji fish market—where over 5 million pounds of fish are sold almost every day. Much of this fish is used to make sushi in the city’s best restaurants. In addition to outstanding seafood, Tokyo is also known for using only the freshest, seasonal vegetables. This is a direct result of farmland being located in nearby Western Tokyo. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be conveniently sent throughout the city, ensuring diners receive restaurant meals that are second to none.

     

    Bangkok, Thailand

     

    bangkok thailand food

     

    Famously affordable, Bangkok offers street meals for as little as $1 USD. Flavor-filled Thai food ranges from sweet to spicy to salty to sour. And the remarkable thing is—you can experience that whole scope of flavors in just one meal!

    Thai food is inspired by a blend of Chinese, Malysian, Indonesian, and Myanmarese cuisine. Popular dishes include pad thai, som tum, cashew chicken, and beef massaman. The delicious scents of sautéed chilies and galangal overtake entire streets at a time in Bangkok, imploring citizens to stop and eat even when they’re not hungry.

     

     

    Indulging in the delicious food of foreign countries is a great reason to travel internationally. So make sure your passport is up to date and book your flight today! 

    Planning a Thanksgiving Feast

    Planning a Thanksgiving Feast

     

    planning a thanksgiving feast

     

    As the calendar flips to November, everyone’s attention turns to Thanksgiving. A holiday that features perhaps the most festive meal of the year for Americans, Thanksgiving is best-known for its large dinners and extensive family gatherings. Although November 23 is still a few weeks away, it’s never too early to start planning your feast. Whether you’re a restaurant, caterer, or just an ambitious cook preparing dinner in his own home kitchen, this post will help you plan your Thanksgiving Day feast.

     

    Side Dishes

     

    thanksgiving side dishes

     

    While the Thanksgiving turkey is the day’s main attraction, it’s the side dishes that enable chefs to really flex their culinary muscles. When deciding on what side dishes to offer, make a conceited effort to vary ingredients. Some dishes should be sweet, others spicy, and others sour. Variety is key to providing guest with a balanced and fulfilling Thanksgiving meal.

    It’s also important not to serve too many variations of one food. For example, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a potato-based side dish. But at the same time, nobody wants to chow down on sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and fingerling potatoes. So rather than overwhelm diners with starch, offer another dish that’ll broaden the scope of your food items.

    Food at a Thanksgiving table should look as good as it tastes. Decorate your table with aesthetically pleasing dishes like deep-red cranberry sauce, golden cornbread, and leafy-green broccoli. All the colors will work together to make your Thanksgiving a beautiful kaleidoscope of mouth-watering food.

     

    New Spins on Old Classics

     

    curry carrots

     

    Thanksgiving honors tradition that dates back hundreds of years. But that doesn’t mean our forefathers would be averse to a bit of experimentation in the kitchen. For stuffing, try a cheesy spinach dish or maybe even a quinoa-based option. You can give your carrots an extra kick with by infusing them with honey, curry, and olive oil then roasting to perfection. No matter what classic dish you want to give a modern makeover, there’ll be plenty of unique recipe available for free online. Simply Google what you’re looking for and browse the results until you find the perfect recipe.

     

    The Turkey

     

    thanksgiving turkey

     

    Undoubtedly the crown jewel of any Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey is one thing chefs can’t mess up come supper time. It’s okay to take a few chances with side dishes and give diners something they might not have had before. But being bold with the turkey is a good way to make some new enemies. It’s one thing if you’re a seasoned chef who has made plenty of turduckens and deep fried turkeys in his day. But for novices and those who aren’t so experienced, it’s best to do things by the book and make a basic turkey that everyone will enjoy.           

     

    Dessert

     

    thanksgiving dessert

     

    By the end of an enormous Thanksgiving dinner, there’s a good chance that no one will have any desire to eat dessert. But as always, diners will conjure the appetite to scarf down at least a few sugary treats. Pies are always popular choices on Thanksgiving. Apples and pumpkins are both in season come late November, and baking pies in the crisp, autumn weather just seems right. Sweet potato pie and pecan pie are also great choices, especially for a sweet tooth.

    Keep in mind what dishes you served earlier when deciding what sort of pie(s) you want to feature for dessert. If you served apples in some capacity as an appetizer or in stuffing, it’s to best to make a different type of pie. The same ideas applies if you made a pumpkin pot pie or served pecans as appetizers. And of course—a little whipped cream or old fashioned vanilla ice cream will help your pie taste delicious as possible.

    Some coffee—decaf and caffeinated—should also be in order. This is especially important for diners who have long rides home. They’ll understandably be feeling a bit sluggish by this point in the evening, and a hot cup of Joe is the perfect remedy.

     

    Special Considerations

     

    thanksgiving veggie burger

     

    While turkey is certainly festive and delicious, not every attendee will be so anxious to indulge in the traditional Thanksgiving entrée. That’s why it’s important to have an alternative plan that’ll keep vegans and vegetarians both satisfied and well-fed. One option is to offer protein-dense tofu in lieu of turkey. Another idea is to offer veggie burgers. Even though there’s already likely plenty of side dishes to eat, catering to the specific needs of all diners is a nice gesture that will let your guests know you care. 

    7 of the Scariest Restaurants in the World

    7 of the Scariest Restaurants in the World

     

    In honor of Halloween, we’re going to share some of the scariest restaurants from around the globe. While not every restaurant on this list celebrates October 31st, they all firmly believe in the power of fear. Try them if you dare…

     

    Fortezza Medicea – Volterra, Italy

     

    fortezza medicea

     

    Think you can enjoy a meal served exclusively by convicted criminals? Frotezza Medicea gives you that chance. Located in Volterra, Italy, this off-beat restaurant is situated inside a high-security prison. Current prisoners make up the entire staff—a result of the Italian government’s efforts to help inmates transition back into the work force. Anyone who wishes to dine at Fortezza Medicea must first get screened by Rome’s Ministry of Justice. And if you’re worried about a server using silverware to make a break for it, don’t be. All silverware is made of plastic to ensure diner safety.

     

    Disaster Café – Lloret de Mar, Spain

     

    disaster cafe

     

    In most areas, earthquakes are natural events that are feared and hopefully avoided. This prevailing attitude is not present at the Disaster Café in Spain. While the ground floor is an alien-themed restaurant for children, the basement level is for adults and has a cave-like atmosphere. Servers wear construction helmets, and dishes are heavier than usual.  While it might seem odd, there’s a good reason for this. The Disaster Café allows diners to experience what it’s like to withstand a 7.8 earthquake. Lights flicker, diners scream, and drinks spill all over clothing.  As long as you know what you’re getting into it, the Disaster Café is a one of a kind experience.

     

    Dinner in the Sky – 45 Different Countries

     

    dinner in the sky

     

    Scared of heights?  Then this restaurant certainly isn’t for you.  What started in 2006 as an outrageous experiment in Belgium has grown into a phenomenon that’s crossed into 45 different countries. Suspended dozens of feet in the air, diners leisurely eat their meals while trying to remain calm.  Easier said than done. If anyone in your party needs to use a restroom, the chamber must descend to ground level—either an inconvenience or an easy excuse out.

     

    Nyotaimori – Tokyo, Japan

     

    nyotaimori - tokyo, japan

     

    Believed to have originated when samurais roamed Japan, Nyotaimori is the practice of serving sushi on a naked body. This Tokyo-based restaurant offers a dark twist on the much-maligned practice. Serving a body made of dough that’s wheeled out atop an operating table, the restaurant gives patrons the opportunity to imagine life as a cannibal. Diners slice into the dough bodies and feast on edible organs. It’s a dining experience that might not be for everyone, but it certainly won’t soon be forgotten.

     

    Vampie Café – Tokyo, Japan

     

    vampire cafe

     

    There must be something in the water in Tokyo. Taking the recent vampire phenomenon (Twilight, True Blood, etc.) to the next level, the Vampire Café creates a spooky ambiance like few other restaurants can.  The dimly lit establishment is decorated with coffins, cobwebs, skulls, jack-o-lanterns, candles, and a blood-red color scheme. Servers dress up as Dracula, further immersing diners in the world of vampires. The Vampire Café is only open for dinner—fitting since vampires are nocturnal creatures.

     

    Zombie Buger – Des Moines, IA

     

    zombie burger - iowa

     

    Flaunting “post-apocalyptic chic,” Zombie Burger features a wide range of spooky decorations. Zombie posters dawn the walls, while zombie statues greet patrons at the restaurant’s entrance. But the scary atmosphere never deters diners from indulging in delicious gourmet burgers and shakes. While the original location is in Des Moines, Iowa, several of these restaurants dedicated to the undead are scattered throughout the state.

     

    New Lucky Restaurant – Ahmedabad, India

     

    new lucky restaurant - india

     

    Perhaps not ideal for diners who believe in ghosts, the New Lucky Restaurant was built atop an Indian burial ground. If that’s not concerning enough, owner Krishnan Kutti decided to actually keep the graves and burial plots how he found them. Insisting that eating next to the dead is lucky, Kutti placed steel bars around graves and kept them on display. The people buried beneath the restaurant are believed to have passed away during the 17th century. Their graves are cleaned each morning and decorated with flowers in their honor.

     

    Celebrating Halloween at Your Bar or Restaurant

    Celebrating Halloween at Your Bar or Restaurant

     celebrating Halloween at your bar or restaurant

     

    With Halloween less than two weeks away, it’s time for bars and restaurants to start planning their holiday celebrations. Whether you want to go all out for October 31st or you’re not a big fan of the holiday, making even a small effort to acknowledge the day can help satisfy your customers. The following list includes just a few ways that your foodservice can incorporate Halloween festivities.

     

    Dressing Up

     

    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - dressing up

     

    Wearing costumes isn’t just for kids on Halloween. By encouraging your staff and customers to dress up for the day, you’ll help ensure everyone is in the Halloween spirit. Just make sure each costume is appropriate and won’t offend anyone in the restaurant. Your servers’ costumes should all be comfortable and not restrict their movement in any way. After all—providing excellent service should always be a top priority.

    To reward customers who wear costumes, you might want to offer meal or drink discounts. Another idea is hold a best costume contest. Allow customers to enter a contest judged by your staff and reward the winner with a gift card or credit toward a future meal.

     

    Decorations

     

    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - decorations

     

    Another option is to outfit your bar or restaurant with classic Halloween decorations. Items like jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, ghosts, candles, tombstones, mummies, and fake spider webs can help add to the ambiance. By dimming your lights a little more than usual, you’ll give the environment a spooky atmosphere.  Decorating with black and orange balloons is another inexpensive way to enhance Halloween spirit in your bar or restaurant.

     

    Music

     

    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - music

     

    Changing your regular music playlist to something that features more Halloween-themed tunes can help set the tone for your celebration. Classic songs like “Monster Mash,” “I Want Candy,” and “Witchy Woman” are just a few of the many options. Theme music to scary movies like “Halloween” can also excel at setting an appropriate tone.

     

    Menu Items

     

    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - halloween menu

     

    Get creative by renaming your drinks and meals so that they honor the holiday. Instead of spaghetti with marinara sauce, change the dish’s name blood-covered worms. Rather than a whiskey sour, offer drinkers a witchy sour. The possibilities for changing names are nearly endless. Consult your staff and see what ideas they might have.

     

    Candy

     

    halloween candy

     

    What’s Halloween without candy? Even if you already offer post-meal mints, providing diners with free candy is an inexpensive gesture that will put you in good favor with your customers. Since a significant percentage of the population is allergic to nuts, keep that in mind when deciding what candy to offer.

     

    Marketing

     

    halloween marketing

     

    To get a good turnout, you’ll need to make it known that your bar or restaurant will be celebrating Halloween. Post fliers in and around your restaurant and also utilize the many avenues of social media to help spread the word. Servers, bartenders, and hostesses should inform patrons who are leaving about the Halloween festivities planned for the near future.

     

    Holidays like Halloween give restaurant and bar owners opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competition. By going above and beyond what your patrons expect, you’ll make a great impression and encourage them to come back in the future.

     

     

     

     

    National Food Safety Education Month

    National Food Safety Education Month

     

    Since September is National Food Safety Education Month, now is the perfect time to ensure all your foodservice safety essentials are up to date. Whether you operate a café, food truck, restaurant, or concession stand, these items will help you satisfy local health codes while also keeping your staff and diners safe.

     

    Hand Soap Dispensers

     

    hand soap dispenser

     

    Keeping your staffs’ hands clean is crucial to preventing the spread of germs. Hand soap dispensers—especially hands free units—make it easy for workers to quickly and thoroughly wash their hands. By always keeping their hands clean, staff members will get sick less often and consequently keep your foodservice operating at optimal efficiency.

    For more useful information related to the hand washing, check out this comprehensive article from Universal Class. It covers everything from when to wash your hands to proper hand washing technique.

     

    Disposable Gloves

     

    disposable gloves

     

    Made with either poly or latex, disposable gloves provide an extra layer of protection for chefs who frequently handle raw meat, poultry, and fish. These gloves are easy to dispose of after use and can also be used for cleaning.  Ensuring your hands don’t dry out from frequent washing, the gloves lock in moisture while helping your staff maintain peak productivity.

     

    Meat Thermometers

     

    meat thermometers

     

    For foodservices, undercooking meat is an unforgivable offense. Not only does undercooked meat taste bad, but more importantly it can carry food-borne illnesses like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. If a diner comes down with one of these illnesses after eating at your restaurant, it most definitely will not be good for business. Keeping your kitchen well-stocked with meat probe thermometers is a great way to prevent such a catastrophe. Cooks use these thermometers to make sure each piece of meat has attained an appropriate internal temperature before being served.

     

    Color Coded Cutting Board

     

    color coded cutting board

     

    Color-coded cutting boards let chefs designate different boards for different food items. For example—one cutting board will be for meat, another for seafood, another for poultry, another for cheese, etc. This helps minimize the risk for cross-contamination and prevent the spread of food-borne illness.

     

    Hair Net

     

    hair net

     

    Especially useful for chefs with long hair, hair nets help ensure food remains pristine and free of unwanted add-ins. Hair nets are available in a couple different styles and several different sizes. Whether you prefer a hair net or cap, there’s an option that satisfies your need.

     

    Grease Proof Floor Mats

     

    grease proof floor mat

     

    It’s one thing for commercial kitchens to be an unsightly mess, but it’s something completely different for their floors to be covered with spilt water or oil. Slippery floors are a significant safety risk that can easily lead to employee injury. Whether this is an ongoing problem at your foodservice or just an issue you want to prevent, grease proof floor mats are perfect for giving staff safe footing in your kitchen. 

     

    First Aid

     

    first aid kit

     

    If you operate a foodservice, you need to be prepared for anything. By equipping your operation with the proper first aid equipment, you’ll have peace of mind and always be able to help those in need. Eye wash stations and first aid supplies like bandages are invaluable to owners that place high priority on the safety of their staff and diners.

     

    Product Labels

     

    food date labels

     

    Cooking with spoiled ingredients can result in food that is bad tasting and has the potential to get diners sick. That’s why using product labels is essential for every commercial kitchen. By clearly labeling when each product will spoil, your kitchen staff will be able to use only the freshest ingredients when preparing meals.

     

    Knife Sanitizing System

     

    knife sanitizing system

     

    Frequently used kitchen knives have a tendency to gather large amounts of unwanted residue. Some of this residue can carry food-borne illnesses and consequently presents a threat to the health of workers and diners. A knife sanitizing system can help mitigate that threat.  Available in several sizes, these units hold and sanitize anywhere from three to a dozen knives.

     

    Oven Cleaner

     

    oven cleaner

     

    While oven cleaner is important for keeping commercial ovens functioning at peak efficiency, it also helps prevent dangerous kitchen fires. If an excess of grease accumulates within an oven, the potential for a grease fire increases. These grease fires can damage ovens and—if not caught in time—sometimes even entire kitchens. But by consistently using oven cleaner to keep ovens free of grease, you’ll reduce the chance of an unwanted fire.  

     

    Chef Coats

     

    chef coat

     

    Classic chef coats do more than just differentiate chefs from servers. Featuring extra thick cotton, these coats give chefs an added layer of protection against scorching hot water, grease, and oil. Since they are more difficult for sharp knives to penetrate, chef coats can be the difference between a small scratch and a deep cut. These coats are also less likely to catch fire compared to regular clothing.

    Best 2017 Oktoberfests in North America

    Best 2017 Oktoberfests in North America

     

    Oktoberfest began over 200 years ago in Munich, Germany when local residents celebrated a royal wedding. Today, Munich’s Oktoberfest attracts about 6 million people to the city for the multi-week festival. Featuring food, beer, music, rides, and games, Oktoberfest has become a worldwide celebration. While nothing can compare to the 18 days of Oktoberfest in Munich, cities around the world have put their own spin on the German “Volkfest.” The time for celebration is upon us, and this list details some of the best Oktoberfests in North America.

     

    Oktoberfest by the Bay | San Francisco, CA | September 22-24

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest by the bay

     

    Located on the coast of the San Francisco Bay, Oktoberfest by the Bay features live music by The Chico Bavarian Band and the Internationals. Traditional Bavarian dancing takes place every few hours, helping attendees get lost in the true spirit of Oktoberfest. Since demand for the festival is so high, Saturday has two sessions: one from 11am-5pm and another from 6pm-midnight. So whether you’re a day person or a night owl, Oktober Fest by the Bay has an option for you. Food and drink fferings include pretzels, dinner plates, beer, and wine. Many festival-goers wear Trachten to help foster an authentic Bavarian atmosphere.

     

    Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest | Ontario, Canada | October 6-14

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - kitchener waterloo oktoberfest

     

    The Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest is the largest Oktoberfest in North America. Drawing about 700,000 visitors over the span of 9 days, the festival is best known for its beer-based celebrations and major parade. The parade is held on Canadian Thanksgiving and attracts upwards of 150,000 people. Both the cities of Kitchener and Warerloo have histories rich with German roots, making the spot an ideal location for the festival.

    Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest also offers live music, dancing, a 5K race, barrel race, pancake breakfast, and traditional Bavarian food. A Miss Oktoberfest is chosen by a panel of local applicants, while University Night provides all-night transportation to local students who want to join the celebration. The festival’s official mascot—Onkel Hans—has a mustache and sports traditional lederhosen.

     

    Oktoberfest Denver | Denver, CO | September 22-23 & September 29-30

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest denver

     

    The 48th annual Oktoberfest Denver is scheduled to take place over two consecutive weekends in late September. With delicious food offerings that include bratwurst, turkey legs, pizza, warm pretzels, sauerkraut, and more, the festival has something for everyone.  And of course, there’s plenty of beer to go around. Live music plays throughout a day, and a schedule of performers is available on Oktoberfest Denver’s website.

    For festival-goers who crave a superior experience, Oktoberfest Denver offers VIP tickets. These packages include all you can eat and drink along with a free stein, T-shirt, and hat. In total, close to 350,000 people will make it out to the festival over its two weekends.

     

    Wurstfest | New Braunfels, Texas | November 3-12

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - wurstfest

     

    Located just outside San Antonio, the Wurstfest festival began in 1961 and attracts tens of thousands of people each year. A multitude of live musicians perform throughout the 10-day festival, and the beers available include German, Texan, and domestic varieties. Food trucks and a craft beer garden help ensure everyone has plenty of delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages. In addition to dancing, there are also games and carnival rides that provide fun for the whole family. If you’re feeling ambitious try the Bavarian Masskrustemmen challenge—which requires contestants to hold a liter of beer while maintaining an outstretched arm for as long as possible.

     

    Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest | Reading, PA | September 27 – October 1

     

    best 2017 okbtoberfests in north america - Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest

     

    The most popular Oktoberfest in the northeast, this festival boasts a comprehensive menu of Bavarian favorites. With a roast pork platter, bratwurst platter, goulash mit noodles, schnitzel dinner, and more, the Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest provides attendees with an authentic food experience. Family entertainment includes magic, juggling, balloon animals, and ventriloquism, while musical entertainment features both accordion artists and full bands.

     

    Oktoberfest Zinzinnati | Cincinnati, OH | September 15-17

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest zinzinnati

     

    No list would be complete without mentioning Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, which is the largest Oktoberfest in the United States. Friday brings The Running of the Wieners, a must-see event that features 100 dachshunds racing against each other for wiener dog supremacy. Also on Friday are fun games like the beer stein race and the beer barrel roll. Opening Ceremonies on Saturday are followed by the keg tapping, and Sunday concludes with the World Brat Eating Championship and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance. In 1994, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati set the world record for largest chicken dance with an unbelievable 48,000 people—a record that still stands today.

    Over 500,000 people routinely attend Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Unfortunately, this year’s event already took place from September 15 – September 17. On the bright side, there’s always next year.

    Best Fall Dishes for 2017

    Best Fall Dishes for 2017

     

    As the outside temperature cools down and the leaves start to change colors, it’s evident that fall has arrived in spirit. Summer fixtures like berries and melons are on their way out, while autumn food will continue to become more popular. The following list includes some of the best fall dishes that restaurants should be featuring on their menus.

     

    Apples

     

    best fall fishes for 2017 - apples

     

    Thanks to apple festivals and apple picking, these delicious fruits are possibly the food that’s most associated with the fall season. Coming in many iterations, apples boast the versatility to be used in a wide range of culinary creations. Classics like freshly squeezed apple juice can be easily made with an electric juicing machine, while perfectly baked apple pie only requires some bakeware and a commercial oven. Hot apple cider boasts a distinct autumn taste and is even more delicious when served from a dispenser like this one. A large stock pot is ideal for making chunky applesauce, while a blender is perfect for smooth applesauce. Other essential apple-based items include sweet apple fritters and caramel apples. And of course—you can’t go wrong with a good-ole fashioned, regular apple.

     

    Pumpkins

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - pumpkin

     

    The only food that can contend with apples as far as fall food popularity, the pumpkin also has a multitude of festivals that celebrate its existence. The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is likely the most well-known, but the giant pumpkin festivals and weigh offs are also great events that should be experienced by everyone at least once. While eating raw pumpkin is not such a common occurrence, nearly everyone enjoys other pumpkin-based dishes. Baked delicacies like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins are always a treat. If you’re looking to add a kick of flavoring, pumpkin spice might just be perfect for you. Pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin cheesecake make for perfect dessert dishes, while roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients and ideal for snacking on. For those who prefer pumpkin-based liquids, a pumpkin-spiced latte can help start the day, and a pumpkin beer can help you wind down from it.

     

    Squash

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - butternut squash

     

    While pumpkin is technically part of the squash family, there is pretty clear difference between the two as far as diners are concerned. And although different types of squash are harvested throughout the year, the arrival of fall means some of the more popular types of squash have matured and are ready to be plucked from the ground. A great substitute for carb-dense pasta, spaghetti squash can be served in lasagna or in a tasty sauce. Butternut squash has a delicious sweet taste and is an excellent source of both Vitamin E and Vitamin A. With properties that lend themselves well to making soup, butternut squash can also be roasted and goes well with garlic flavoring.

     

    Turkey

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - turkey

     

    This classic Thanksgiving Day entrée has been a fall season staple for thousands of years.  Capable of being cooked in a variety of ways, turkey can be deep fried, roasted, slow cooked, or steamed. For flavoring, the delicious bird can be wrapped with bacon or stuffed with fresh herbs. Chefs who really want to go all should try making a turducken. Popularized by football legend John Madden, the turducken consists of a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck that’s inside a deboned turkey.  It’s an ambitious endeavor, but by all accounts is completely worth the effort.

    A serving of turkey is incomplete without a healthy helping of gravy. Giving the meat a fuller, more flavorful taste, gravy can be made sweet or spicy. Make sure to check out our large selection of gravy boats for the perfect tool to pour your gravy.

     

    Brussels Sprouts

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - brussel sprouts

     

    This cruciferous vegetable offers a wide range of health benefits and is at its freshest and most delicious during the fall season. This is due to the Brussels sprout’s preference for growing in cool weather where there’s least six hours of daily sunlight. Brussels sprouts are most commonly roasted but maintain more moisture when sautéed. Many people enjoy the fall vegetable with a dipping sauce or a cheese like parmesan. While sriracha and lemon-flavored sauces are popular choices, garlic and bacon flavoring are also prevalent.

     

    Potatoes

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - potatoes

     

    Whether you prefer sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, russet potatoes, or fingerling potatoes, fall is the perfect time to get your fix. With harvest beginning in early September and lasting through late October, potatoes will be plentiful and delicious for the foreseeable future. Roasted potato wedges are ideal for complimenting a variety of different dishes, while mashed potatoes are a bit more labor intensive to make but offer a delicious payoff. There’s no going wrong with the classic baked potato, which is still the standard side dish for mouth-watering steaks.

     

    Beets

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - beets

     

    Offering numerous health benefits, beets are in season from the summer through late fall.  An extremely versatile side dish, the rooted plant is a great additive to salads and can be even made into hummus or mustard. And if you can appreciate beets for their nutritional value but are not a big far of their taste, try making this ginger-beet sorbet. For vegetarian restaurants, a beet burger provides diners with an innovative food option that likely isn’t available at many other places.

     

     

    Make sure to take advantage of the fall harvest by crafting meals around food that’s in season. Before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be yearning for the fall foods that are no longer available. 

    Best Food Cities in the United States

    Best Food Cities in the United States

     

    The United States is a cultural melting pot with no shortage of cities that offer a wide range of diverse food. With many cities ranking among the best in the world when it pertains to food, the culinary culture of the U.S. has something for everyone. The following list contains just a few American cities that are well-known for their delicious food offerings.

     

    New York City, NY

     

    nyc food

     

    While New York is famous for its bagels, hot pretzels and thin-crust pizza, it’s the city’s large collection of high-quality restaurants that makes it deserving of a spot on this list. No matter what your favorite type of food is, New York has almost unlimited restaurants that can satisfy your cravings. In addition to its classic American offerings, New York has a multitude of neighborhoods that specialize in foreign food. Among these are Little Italy, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Guyana, Little India, Little Odessa, Little Australia, and Little Poland.  

    The city that never sleeps is full of quirky 24-hour diners and all types of street venders. No matter what time of day or night it is, you can find a delicious dish. Restaurant chains like Nathan’s Famous, Shake Shack, Benihana, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Sbarro’s, all started in NYC before expanding. Nathan’s Famous is particularly associated with the city and is home to the yearly Hot Dog Eating Contest held on July 4th.

     

    New Orleans, LA

     

    best food cities in the united states - new orleans gumbo restaurant

     

    One of the most culturally-rich cities in America, New Orleans is as much known for its food as its music. Combining elements of creole cuisine, Cajun cuisine, and soul food, New Orleans offers a distinctly unique cuisine. Seafood is a staple of many meals, and New Orleans’ location on the water ensures fishermen always have easy access to a variety of fresh fish and shellfish.

    While classic meals like gumbo, jambalaya, poboys, crawfish etouffee, and shrimp creole have helped cement New Orleans as a food city, novelty dishes like fried alligator and turtle soup are also relatively popular. And since the city is so heavily steeped in jazz culture, many local restaurants provide live musical performances.

     

    Chicago, IL

     

    best food cities in the united states - chicago deep dish pizza sky deck

     

    The capital of the Midwest, Chicago has always been an innovator when it comes to food. Responsible for inventing deep-dish pizzas, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago-style hot dogs, the windy city is also renowned for a wide range of outstanding restaurants. Like New York, Chicago has a myriad of different neighborhoods known for distinct food—Chinese, Italian, South Asian, Mexican, Polish, and Vietnamese restaurants.

    Many Chicago restaurants are also rich with history. The Mill Cocktail Lounge, which is still a popular venue that often features live jazz and poetry performances, was one of Al Capone’s favorite hangouts during the prohibition era. Another well-known Chicago venue is the Billy Goat Tavern, which gained notoriety when its owner and his goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. The owner allegedly put a curse on the Cubs franchise, which was lifted last year when the Chicago won the World Series.

    Steak-lovers in particular flock to Chicago for the plethora of high-profile steakhouses. The city celebrates all things food in July by holding the Taste of Chicago—a five day food festival that attracts millions of attendees and features several live musicians.

     

    San Francisco, CA

     

    best food cities in the united states - san francisco restaurant

     

    One of the big advantages of dining in San Francisco is restaurants receive meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and wines from local farms just outside the city. Consequently, meals are made with only the freshest ingredients. The city’s mouth-watering dungeness crabs are prevalent when in-season from November-July and go great with San Francisco’s classic sourdough bread.

    San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America and considered the origin of western Chinese food. As one would imagine, Chinese food still makes up a large sector of the city’s culinary offerings.

    There are also a variety of food trucks throughout San Francisco, and many carry ethnically diverse gourmet street foods. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is based in San Francisco and is the perfect place to visit for sweet tooths.

     

    Charleston, SC

     

    best food cities in the united states - charleston sc restaurant husk

     

    While at first glance Charleston might seem out of place on this list, the reality is the city’s culinary scene has been making waves over the past few years. So much so that the city is having difficulty with worsening traffic, skyrocketing rental prices, staffing shortages, and increased tourism. Locals believe all this is a direct result of Charleston showing up on multiple “Best Food Cities in America” lists.

    The city is possibly best known for its shrimp and grits, a dish prepared with a unique approach by every chef. Also popular is the she crab soup, which features a heavy cream and crab meat. Combining shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes, Charleston’s frogmore stew is a classic southern creation that’s beloved by nearly all who try it. Many of Charleston’s restaurants boast a southern charm that you’ll find in only a few other places.

     

    Portland, OR

     

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    Although most people associate beer and coffee with Portland, the northwest enclave also possesses a thriving culinary culture. If the city has a signature dish, it’s locally caught salmon.  But really, Portland is best-known for embracing the evolving diner preferences that are becoming more prevalent. Concepts like organic, vegan, sustainable, and farm-to-table are embraced by a large portion of Portland restaurants.

    Along those same lines, Portland has adapted to busier and more demanding diners by turning to food carts. With unique carts that offer everything a hungry Portlandian could ever want, the city has figured out a way for busy customers to quickly pick up and eat a diverse range of quality food.

     

     

    There’s no need to fret if you don’t see a city close to you on this list. There are excellent food cities throughout the United States, and this list is in no way comprehensive. Furthermore, there are cities around the world that are worth visiting for any true culinary connoisseur. There’s no need to limit your food scope to the U.S. alone when there are thousands of other food centric cities scattered throughout the world.

    Streamline Your Small Space with Vulcan Kitchen Equipment

    Streamline Your Small Space with Vulcan Kitchen Equipment 

     vulcan kitchen

     

    A restaurant kitchen is command central.  Everything a restaurant does -- the food it serves, the morale of its staff, and the smoothness of its overall operations -- depends on what’s happening in the kitchen. It follows that setting up your kitchen in the most effective, efficient way is a critical imperative for any foodservice business.

    While designing a restaurant kitchen can be challenging under any circumstances, these challenges are multiplied for restaurants with small kitchens. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make the most of your commercial kitchen -- even when space is limited.

    Read on for four tips aimed at maximizing your restaurant kitchen space, along with how innovative equipment from Vulcan can help you achieve your goals.

     

    1. Lead with your Layout

    While there’s no precise formula for designing restaurant kitchen, the majority of restaurants use one of three basic commercial kitchen layouts, including the following:

    • Island-style, which puts all major pieces of kitchen equipment in one shared, central space, aka “the island,” and other kitchen sections placed along the perimeter walls;
    • Zone-style, which organizes the kitchen into blocks with principle pieces of equipment placed along the walls in an order that optimizes flow; and
    • Assembly line, which is organized in a linear fashion progressing from food preparation to service areas.

    While many experts agree that the assembly line layout -- which locates non-principle areas, such as cleaning/washing and storage/receiving, behind the assembly line so they’re out of the way -- best suits smaller kitchens, the right design for any foodservice operation relies on a number of factors, including the type of restaurant and number of seats.

     

    2. Design a Mindful Menu

    In its report  Small Wonder: The Case for Smaller Restaurants and How to Maximize Them, the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration instructs, “Design your menu to require only a few, flexible pieces of equipment. A well-crafted menu not only pleases your guests and generates good contribution margins but also makes effective use of the equipment you have. Eliminate any item on the menu that is the only dish that uses a particular piece of equipment.

    Think about equipment that inherently offers flexibility: sauté ranges, griddles, combi ovens or convection ovens.  In other words, the food you serve is a factor of the space you have available to you, and the space that you have available to you is largely reliant on the equipment you use.

     

    3. Choose the Right Equipment

    Which brings us to our next point: Kitchen equipment. All kitchen equipment is not created equal. But just because you have to think small in terms of square footage doesn’t mean you have to think small in terms of the performance of your equipment. This is what makes Vulcan equipment a wise investment for any commercial kitchen.

    Equipment like Vulcan’s modular V Series Range Line and compact-but-mighty MinijetTM Series Mini Combi oven are the embodiment of mindful.

    Meanwhile, equipment which makes use of countertop space, including Vulcan’s Hand Tilting Counter Kettles and CEF Countertop Fryer, free up premium floor space without sacrificing convenience, practicality, or output.

     

    4. Store Smarter

    Smart storage -- and a mindfully organized storage area -- further supports kitchen efficiency. But splitting your storage area into cold, dry and non-food storage sections is just the start of taking your storage setup to the next level. Consider Vulcan’s visionary Refrigerated Chef Base/Stand with Drawers, which performs double duty by serving as both countertop space and cold storage for the ultimate in multitasking functionality. Or, you can even place equipment on top of the bases for an added space-saving option.

    While a small restaurant kitchen has its difficulties, it’s not all downsides. (After all, Cornell University did declare small restaurants to be “small wonders.”) By following the four tips above, you can turn obstacles into opportunities in order to design a commercial kitchen capable of doing much more with much less.

     


    About Vulcan Equipment

    Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including fryers, ranges, ovens, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, kettles, braising pans, heated holding and combi ovens.  Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores.