How Restaurants Can Fight Seasonal Allergies

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    With flowers blooming and trees sprouting leaves, it’s clear spring has arrived. But with spring time comes seasonal allergies, and experts are predicting 2018’s spring to be especially brutal for allergy sufferers. Consequently, restaurants should do everything in their power to combat allergy season and keep their comfortable. There are several steps restaurants can take, and they’re all thoroughly explored in this post.




    salmon with broccoli


    One way to offer customers a better experience during allergy season is to provide a menu that features special dishes that help ward off allergies. The following is a list of foods that are known to reduce allergies:

    -Fish: Since omega-3 fatty acids excel in the battle against allergies, fish like salmon, trout, tuna, and more are perfect meals for when the flowers are blooming.

    -Walnuts: Like fish, this hearty nut is also chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids. Surprisingly, one handful of walnuts is equivalent to roughly 3-3.5 oz. of salmon in regards to fatty acid content.

    -Apples/Onions/Berries/Cauliflower: Each of these items is rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that’s supposed to help minimize the inflammation that accompanies allergic reactions.

    -Garlic: Thanks in part to its high vitamin C content, garlic has been proven effective for suppressing the release of histamines associated with allergic reactions.  Raw, freshly pressed garlic yields better results than garlic extract when it comes to fighting allergies.

    -Broccoli: Combing the aforementioned quercetin and vitamin C, this leafy green vegetable is good for you as advertised.  




    steaming tea


    -Smoothies: Packing significant nutritional value, a smoothie can combines fruits, vegetables and nuts into one single drink. Since there are nearly limitless smoothie combinations, do some experimenting with items that are known to ward off allergies. Just stick a few ingredients in your blender and see how they taste in smoothie form. Nutrient-dense juices make great foundations for smoothies, but water works just as well.

    -Tea: While any nonalcoholic beverage will help thin out the mucus in your nasal passages, a cup of hot tea has the added benefit of steam. Perfect for alleviating sinus issues, steam in any form is an allergy sufferer’s best friend.


    Minimize Allergens


    restaurant windows


    Trees, plants, and grass are the enemy. They are the culprits that cause sneezing, runny noses, inflamed sinuses, and just an overall discomfort for people who are prone to allergies. As a result, you’ll want to consider keeping your restaurant’s windows closed during allergy season. At the very least, ask patrons if they’re suffering from allergies and if they mind that windows are left open. Customers will be extremely appreciative of your consideration. 

    Some restaurants feature indoor flowers and plants that provide stylish decor. Although these indoor plants will likely have significantly fewer allergens than outdoor varieties, they can still cause discomfort. The weeping fig and flowering maple especially can be unkind to allergy sufferers, and nearly all plants are susceptible to the unwanted growth of mold. The best way to combat mold growth on plants is by ensuring plants kept in wicker baskets are properly tended.


    The most important thing to remember when dealing with customers is their comfort is top priority. By showing patrons you really care about how they’re feeling, you'll help ensure they'll return to your restaurant in the future.

    Gelato vs. Ice Cream vs. Frozen Yogurt vs. Soft Serve

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    Since we’re now a month into spring, it won’t be long before seasonal ice cream shops open for the warmer, summer months. But ice cream parlors today aren’t what they used to be. Some specialize in products like gelato or frozen yogurts, while others strive to go above and beyond by offering a full gauntlet that also includes soft serve and hard ice cream. This post will explore each of these four frozen treats and explain the differences between them.


    Hard Ice Cream


    hard ice cream


    Thick and full of fat, hard ice cream is usually made from a combination of milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. The classic summer-time treat comes in a wide range of flavors, satisfying every type of sweet tooth. Baskin Robbins was once famous for offering 31 unique flavors, but advancements in ice cream technology have allowed modern ice cream shops to far surpass that number.

    Hard ice cream can be easily and safely stored in ice cream dipping cabinets and commercial chest freezers. Cabinets and freezers vary significantly in size, enabling foodservice owners to find the perfect unit for their unique establishment. For best results, it’s recommended that traditional ice cream is served at a temperature between 0°F and 6°F.




    gelato flavors


    This Italian treat is made mostly of milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. This quality means gelato weighs more than ice cream, so servings of the Italian treat are usually smaller than that of ice cream. To achieve perfect gelato consistency, you’ll want to serve cups at 10°F. If gelato is served at a colder temperature than that, there’s a chance it will be too frozen and won’t have that unique soft consistency that sweet tooths crave.

    Featuring between 3%-8% milkfat as opposed to traditional ice cream that has 14%-18% milkfat, gelato also has less air than ice a cream. As a result, the Italian treat has distinct richness and requires less flavoring and added sugar to achieve its desired taste. The dessert comes in dozens of flavors and looks perfect on display, helping to prompt countless impulse purchases. Gelato is often served by the scoop, and customers frequently combine two or more different flavors to make their own personalized creation.

    While a gelato dipping cabinet might look similar to an ice cream dipping, it’s not. Gelato dipping cabinets are specifically designed to hold gelato. Investing in the wrong type of cabinet can result in you serving a product that’s not up to par. Always be sure to research cabinets beforehand so you know exactly what you’re getting..


    Soft Serve Ice Cream


    soft serve ice cream


    Perhaps the standard for cooling off in the summer heat, soft serve ice cream is just as delicious whether in a cup, cone, or between two ends of a cookie sandwich. Usually offered as chocoloate or vanilla, soft serve also comes in more exotic flavors and is best enjoyed at a temperature between 10°F-20°F. Most soft serve machines enable users to choose between two individual flavors or go with a twist option. With less milk fat than traditional ice cream, soft serve features more air than its counterpart and has a texture that’s predictably soft, creamy, and delicate.


    Frozen Yogurt


    frozen yogurt with toppings


    Also known as Fro-Yo, frozen yogurt is exactly what it sounds like. Yogurt is mixed with milk, cream, sweetener, and sometimes even live cultures that can aid in digestion then served at a temperature between 17°F-19°F via a soft serve machine. Fro-yo mixes vary in regards to whether they utilize pure fruit sugar or cane sugar, and consequently the ideal serving temperature of frozen yogurt differs on a case-by-case basis. Always be sure to read the label on your frozen yogurt mix before serving.

    Since frozen yogurt does not contain cream, the frozen dessert has significantly less fat content than traditional ice cream. However, toppings are extremely popular among customers when it comes to frozen yogurt. By adding sauces, fruits, and other toppings atop cups of fro-yo, the delicious treats can quickly approach the fat level of a regular cup of ice cream.

    Craft Beer and Food Pairings

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    Over the past 10 years, craft beer has benefitted from a meteoric rise in popularity throughout the United States. Microbrews and micropubs have often leveraged the success of their beer by teaming up with esteemed chefs who add delicious food to the restaurant’s menu. But with so many different beers, there’s a bit of an art to matching the taste of each beverage with the perfect dinner dish. This post will aim to help educate servers and owners about what styles of craft beer to pair with certain foods. 


    India Pale Ale (IPA)


    india pale ale (ipa)


    The crown jewel of the craft beer movement, IPAs are everywhere these days. The beer is known for its bitter flavoring that’s been sweetened via citrus and herbal additions. For thirsty customers who prefer a more bitter-tasting beverage, a double IPA will be more likely to satisfy them. Made with more hops, double IPAs have higher alcohol content than traditional IPAs.

    The bitterness of heavier IPAs is great for offsetting spicy foods like Thai, Indian, and Mexican. Anything that’s liable to make an eater sweat is a perfect match for double IPAs. Lighter IPAs that also offer some sweetness do best when paired with more mild dishes like barbecued meats. Steak, chicken, are burgers are all great choices.




    wheat beer craft


    The lightest beer on this list, wheat beer generally has less carbonation and a lower alcohol content than other craft options. Since wheat provides minimal flavoring to the beer, breweries often add in fruity flavors when brewing.

    Glasses of the light-tasting beer are ideal for pairing with appetizers and snacks like salads, cheeses, and sushi. The combination ensures diners won’t get weighed down by a meal that’s too heavy. Wheat beer is also known to match well with a variety of sweet dessert offerings.




    stout beer craft


    Deep black or brown coloring leaves no mystery as to whether a stout is a light or dark beer. Blending dark malts with hops, stouts are most popular during cold months. The beer has a smooth texture and often tastes similar to coffee, chocolate, or a combination of the two. As a result, stouts are excellent dessert options and are commonly enjoyed alongside cakes or brownies.




    porter craft beer


    Another dark beer, porters have a very similar taste profile to that of stouts. Sharing a strong roasted flavor bursting with hints of chocolate, caramel, and coffee, porters differ than stouts in that they generally have a smoother finish.

    As a result of a porter’s rich flavors, the beer is a great match for desserts as well as smoked or barbecued dishes. Meals like burgers and chicken become even heartier when they’re washed down with a heavy pint of porter.




    lager craft beer


    It’s essential to understand there are both light and dark lagers. Although light lagers are extremely popular within the United States and celebrated for their refreshingly crisp taste, they don’t have the same powerful flavor punch that other craft beers possess. While this light tasting beer is versatile enough to be enjoyed with nearly any meal, it especially excels at putting out a spice-induced mouth fire caused by spicy dishes. 

    On the other hand, dark lagers are more popular in Europe and feature a nuttier flavor that often has a bit of caramel syrup taste. These heavy beers are usually paired with hearty dishes like sausage, bratwurst, pizza, and stew.


    Amber Ale


    amber ale red ale craft beer


    Also known as red ale, amber ale commonly feature caramel and crystal malts while boasting a dry, smooth finish. Commonly utilizing citrus and other fruity hops, the beer is versatile enough to go well with a wide range of dishes.

    Since amber ales have such a smooth finish, they excel at cleansing a diner’s palate. This means they do well when paired with heavily seasoned dishes that pack a flavorful punch. Barbecued chicken, grilled fish, and other smoky or flavorful meats are ideal matches.


    Craft beer offerings vary significantly, and the aforementioned styles only scratch the surface of what breweries are churning out. Since the craft beer bubble still hasn’t popped, restaurant owners might want to consider offering some local options if they haven’t already done so. Beers don’t have to be on tap, and customers will likely appreciate a cold bottle just the same. Just make sure you keep your glasses and bottles cold with bottle coolers and glass chillers. For other essential bar items, check out the rest of our bar refrigeration equipment and bartending supplies.

    Arming servers with knowledge of which beers pair with which dishes puts you even another step ahead of the game, as it ensures each customer receives personal attention related to their own food and drink preferences. After they experience the synergism effect of a thirst-quenching craft beer combined with a mouth-watering meal, they’ll be even more likely to revisit your restaurant.

    April Fools Pranks for Restaurants

    april fools day


    April Fools’ Day offers jokers and pranksters of all ages the chance to let loose and get a couple good laughs. While formal restaurants probably shouldn’t dabble in April Fools’ Day festivities, laid-back foodservices can certainly get in on the fun. Ideally if you’re playing a prank on a patron, you’ll want him to be regular who you know will take it well. If you joke around with a new customer, there’s a chance he might not be appreciate it and consequently never come back. So be sure that a customer will be okay with a prank, as offending anyone is the last thing you want to do on April Fools’ Day. With that said, here are a couple of April Fools’ Day prank ideas for your restaurant or foodservice.


    Birthday Cake


    happy birthday cake restaurant


    One of the safest and most fun ways to celebrate April Fools’ Day at your restaurant is to have staff deliver a cake to a table while singing Happy Birthday. If you can, make sure beforehand that nobody at the table is actually celebrating a birthday. At the end of the song, the staff yells out, “April Fools” and good times ensue. The cake stays with the table, and everyone’s happy.


    Fake Menus


    fake restaurant menu


    Another option is to offer fake menus that contain ridiculous meals that would never be offered at your restaurant. Stuff like cereal in chocolate milk, toasted waffles with Jell-O, and maybe some Pop-Tart a la mode. Let your imagination run wild. After the patron’s confusion simmers for a minute, a server should stop by the table, drop an “April Fools” and deliver the proper menus.




    the lonely island


    Altering your restaurants music playlist to feature joke songs is another route to take. You can’t go wrong with classic parody songs by an artist like Weird Al Yankovic. Andy Samberg’s comedic trio the Lonely Island also has some great options that will leave your customers in stitches. You might need to seek out censored versions of those songs, as some might contain profanity. It’s always a good idea to listen to songs beforehand and making sure there aren’t lyrics that you don’t want to broadcast.


    Complete Restaurant Transformation


    mariachi band restaurant


    For restaurants that want to go all out for April Fools’ Day, there’s always the option of a complete transformation. If you operate a Greek restaurant, consider offering Mexican food for the day instead. Servers can dress up in traditional Mexican clothing, and a classic Mariachi band can serenade your diners. Before doing this, you’ll want to make sure your chefs are capable of cooking Mexican food and they have the ingredients required to do so.

    If you don’t want to stray too far from your restaurant’s typical offerings, try to stay within the same culinary region of the world. So if you operate a Chinese restaurant, maybe offer Thai food or Japanese dishes. If you’re an Italian restaurant, switching to Greek for a day is a fine choice.


    The main thing to remember for April Fools’ Day at your restaurant is everything should be in good fun. What’s most important is that customers appreciate your joke and enjoy themselves. So above all, play to your customers’ tastes and never make them the punchline of a joke.

    7 of the Best Bar Games

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    bars with games


    Operating a bar or pub entails more than just providing patrons with drinks. Part of your responsibility as owner is to make sure your customers enjoy themselves. Whether you do this by offering live music, featuring sports on TV, or outfitting your establishment with games, the important part is ensuring your patrons have options. This post covers some of the best bar games that your customers would love the chance to play.




    bar darts


    Throwing darts is perhaps the quintessential bar game. Requiring only a dart board and the darts themselves, the game is inexpensive, takes up minimal space, and—as long as you position the board off to the side of the bar—is relatively safe. Since dart boards come in many styles, you can get one that perfectly suits your establishment. This gives sports bars the opportunity to show pride in their local college or sports team.




    bar billiards


    A more substantial investment compared to a dart board, a billiards table is on the pricey side and requires far more room. Not only do you have to account for the space taken up by the table, but you also need to consider the extra room players need to comfortably make shots. Luckily, pool tables come in a wide range of sizes. Since you’re running a bar and not a professional pool hall, you can get away with a table that’s smaller than regulation size. Keep in mind that you’ll need to populate your bar with plenty of pool cues and also keep chalk on hand.

    One of the best parts about billiards tables is they can be customized. So whether you want to put an emblem of your bar or a local sports team symbol in the middle of the table, the choice is yours. This will undoubtedly cost you a little extra, but it’s a nice touch that will remind your patrons where they are. It also makes a great picture, so it could lead to more exposure via social media. Other game options that are similar billiards include ping pong and air hockey.




    bar trivia


    Who says drinking beer can’t be educational? Trivia is a great way to test the knowledge of your patrons while encouraging a little friendly competition. If you want to up the stakes a bit, offer a special prize to the winning team. Whether that’s free drinks, food, or even a party at your bar, a reward will help draw in more contestants and get people excited about your trivia night.

    Hiring a DJ to run the event might seem like an unnecessary expense, but doing so can make a significant difference in how enjoyable the night is. A good DJ brings energy to the game and will get even the most trivia-averse patrons excited to play.




    bar cornhole


    Especially perfect for bars that have large outdoor areas, cornhole is a classic summer time game that can be easily played with a drink in hand. It requires a couple of raised platforms with holes in them, half a dozen bean bags, and some spare space. The raised platforms are relatively easy to build and can be customized with paint jobs and logos. Giving bar owners the opportunity to hold tournaments and attract new crowds, cornhole can be played in singles or doubles.  




    bar shuffleboard


    If you have space along an extended wall that’s not being used for anything, a shuffleboard might be a perfect fit for your bar or pub. Ideally that wall won’t be next to any windows, as a change in temperature or sun exposure can dry out a shuffleboard and make its surface play inconsistently. This means the board might play one way during the day but a completely different way at night. And for serious shuffleboard players, that can be very frustrating.

    Shuffleboards also require a bit more maintenance than other games on this list. To get that slippery smooth surface that the game demands, you’ll need to keep the board clean and apply certain substances. The precise substances depend on what your board is made of, so make sure to research before making a potential misstep.


    Arcade Games


    bar arcade games


    Although arcade games are traditionally enjoyed by a younger clientele, they certainly have their place in bars and pubs. Games like Golden Tee have been staples for years, while other classics like Pacman, Donkey Kong, and pin ball machines can help transport patrons back to a simpler time. Even though many of these games are available through smart phones these days, there’s still nothing like the real thing.


    Board Games


    bar board games


    A classic throwback, board games at bars has been becoming increasingly popular over the last few years. Especially great if you have a lounge area with large tables, board games are fun, social, and inexpensive. Even if you want to pick up a bunch of used sets, the cost is minimal, and your customers will thank you for it.


    What games are best for your patrons will likely depend on the patrons themselves. Consider your crowd and make a decision based on what you think they’ll get excited about. If you have more of a sports bar, you’ll want to stick with physical activities like billiards and darts. More cerebral environments will do better with board games or trivia. No matter what you choose, you’ll know you’re doing all you can to make your bar or pub a success.

    Dog Friendly Restaurants – The Pros and Cons

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    dog friendly restaurant


    Diners have differing opinions when it comes to dog friendly restaurants. Some love the idea and jump at the opportunity to eat out with their four-legged friends. But others staunchly believe that dogs and dining out should never be mixed. If you’re considering opening a dog friendly foodservice, this post breaks the pros and cons of such an establishment.




    dog friendly restaurant - outside


    Fun Atmosphere

    Wherever a dog goes, he brings a unique joyful energy. Consequently, a restaurant full of dogs offers a special dining environment that patrons won’t find elsewhere. It can even attract patrons who don’t have dogs but want to eat a meal in a different atmosphere than usual. For maximum fun, decorate your walls with dog-themed posters like the classic Dogs Playing Poker.  



    According to the ASPCA, a little less than half of the households the United States have dogs. These dog lovers make up a tight knit group that enjoys spending time together. A dog friendly restaurant taps into this sense of community, giving dog lovers the perfect place to catch a meal and make new friends.



    Research shows that Millennials are opting more and more for owning dogs rather than having children. So if your restaurant is located in an area—particularly an urban one—that’s heavily populated by adults between the ages of 20-40, you just might be in the perfect spot to capitalize on the trend. Many Millennials treat their dogs as if they’re children, and bringing them out to eat would be expected.




    dog friendly restaurant - dogs on table



    While studies differ on the precise number of people who suffer from dog allergies, the important thing to remember is that many people do. And those with dog allergies will likely never step foot in a dog friendly restaurant. It doesn’t matter how good the food or service is, the prospect of sneezing all night is far more frightening than a great meal is enjoyable.


    Not a Dog Person

    If losing all the customers with dog allergies wasn’t bad enough, also consider that some diners fear dogs or just plain don’t like them. This further reduces the potential number of customers a dog friendly restaurant will attract, making the idea a somewhat a risky proposition.



    Dogs don’t hold themselves to the same hygiene standards that cats do. This means they can track dirt into your restaurant or even leave other types of special surprises on the floor. As a result, your restaurant will need to have plenty of supplies on hand as well as staff workers who are willing to get down and dirty.


    Dog Manners

    Although many dog owners will assure you that their pooch is a perfect guest, that’s not always the case. There’s a chance a dog might bark or even climb up onto tables for food. Nobody wants to think about what might happen if a patron is bitten by a dog, but it’s certainly possible. To make matters worse, your restaurant would be held liable in such an unfortunate circumstance.


    The Final Verdict


    Restaurant owners need to take all these variables into account before deciding if a dog-friendly establishment is what they really want. They’ll also want to check local ordinances to ensure that dog friendly restaurants are legally permitted. There’s no doubt that these types of restaurants require a lot of work and are not the safest investments, but for dog lovers they just might be worth it.


    dog friendly bar

    Is the Vitamix Quiet One Blender Right for Your Foodservice?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    vitamix quiet one cafe


    Whether your foodservice offers smoothies, cocktails, milkshakes, or ice coffees, a commercial blender lets you make those beverages more efficiently. But with so many different blenders on the market, it can be difficult to decide which unit is right for you. This blog entry will highlight some of the strengths and weaknesses of the best-selling Vitamix Quiet One blender. By the end of it, you’ll be able to decide if the commercial unit is a good fit for your particular foodservice.




    Quiet Operation

    An amazing four times quieter (18 decibels below) than the most similar competing blender, the Vitamix 36019 Quiet One is ideal for smaller operations like cafes, concession stands, smoothie bars, and fitness centers. Especially great for foodservices that keep their blender in close proximity to customers, this Vitamix generates minimal noise and fosters a more pleasant environment for patrons as well as staff. People straining to speak over the thunderous sound of an active blender will be an issue of the past. The Quiet One accomplishes this thanks in part to its state-of-the-art vibration dampening technology.  The unit also features a plastic enclosure that fits over its container and further reduces unwanted noise.



    Perfect for foodservices that strive to reproduce their beverages the same way every time, the Vitamix Quiet One boasts highly customizable programming. With 6 program buttons and 34 optimized programs, the heavy-duty blender ensures customers always receive a beverage that satisfies their expectations. You can even create custom blending settings for a wide range of different drinks. So whether you need to blend milkshakes, smoothies, or coffee-based drinks, this Vitamix unit makes it easy for even the newest staff members in your kitchen.



    The commercial blender conveniently fits atop counters and features a large 48 oz. container that’s easy to disassemble and consequently simple to clean. Detailed measurement markings enable users to prepare beverages according to precise recipes, while a dripless spout promotes smooth pouring and reduces the chance of kitchen spills. With a 3 hp motor, the unit effortlessly blends even the most stubborn ingredients. Should anything happen to your Vitamix Quiet One blender, rest assured knowing that the unit comes with a three-year warranty on motor, base, and parts, as well as a one-year warranty on labor.



    In addition to blending, the Vitamix Quiet One is also capable of chopping, pureeing, and mixing foods. A great tool for food prep, the commercial unit excels at making delicious sauces, gravies, nut butters, and condiments. This versatility makes the Quiet One more than just a beverage maker. The unit’s a Swiss army knife that gives your kitchen staff the ability to handle a wide variety of different tasks.


    the quiet one blender smoothie




    Although the Vitamix Quiet One offers a multitude of benefits, the blender is not perfect. Its price tag might be a little steep for some foodservices, but that’s just the nature of commercial blenders. These heavy-duty blenders are designed to handle workloads that far surpass those of residential blenders and are priced accordingly.

    Furthermore, while the Quiet One blender is often advertised as a juicer, the unit simply wasn’t designed for traditional juicing. If you want to get something close to pure juice out of your Vitamix blender, you’ll have to put in some extra work. Basically, your ingredeints will need to be sliced extra thin and a strainer will have to be used to filter out any leftover chunks that remain. But if you want real juice, there’s no substitute for a true automatic juicer.


    The Final Decision


    While thousands of foodservice owners are satisfied with the Vitamix Quiet One blender, only you can decide whether the unit is right for your operation. Now that you know everything about the commercial blender, take some time to think about if the blender suits your needs. If you want to explore other blender options, check out our large selection.


    vitamix quiet one blender

    8 Themed Restaurants and Bars You Have to See to Believe

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    It’s common knowledge that opening and maintaining a successful bar or restaurant is no easy task. According to this article, about 60% of new restaurants close down within their first year, and 80% fail to reach a 5-year anniversary. While there’s no single reason for this, a business’ location, staff, and food quality all play important roles. But even bars and restaurants that excel in all three of those areas aren’t destined for long-term success. Another crucial piece to the puzzle is providing diners with unique experiences that they won’t find anywhere else. The following list includes 8 uniquely themed restaurants and bars that truly separate themselves from their competition.   


    Gotham City – Brooklyn, NY


    gotham city lounge


    If this bar’s name doesn’t clue you in to its theme, the mural of Batman and Superman that greets you certainly will. The Bushwick dive bar serves as a haven for comic book aficionados. Posters and action figures grace the walls and ceiling, while a projection TV sometimes plays shows and films. There’s even a standard billiards table for customers who aren’t as enthralled with comic book culture. Come for the unique geeky ambiance and stay for the amazing $3 PBRs with whiskey.


    Lala’s Little Nugget – Austin, TX


    lala's little nugget


    Nobody would ever confuse the blistering weather of central Texas with that of the North Pole. But at Lala’s Little Nuggest, it’s Christmas all year long. Despite its family-friendly theme, the restaurant is a 21 and over bar establishment. A Christmas tree is nestled comfortably in the bar’s corner, while a leg lamp (of Christmas Story fame) fills the room with a red glow that’s more reminiscent of the Red Light district than wholesome Christmas cheer. Stylish mistletoe hangs from the walls, and colorful Christmas lighting helps enhance the holiday spirit. Starting promptly at 11 AM every Saturday and Sunday, Boozy Brunch offers customers Bloody Marys and Mimosas. Featuring fun Christmas-themed cocktails like Reindeer Water and Santa’s Irish Coffee, Lala’s Little Nugget has been a neighborhood staple since 1972 and is a perfect example of a bar theme that works.


    Kuma’s Corner – IL & IN


    kuma's corner


    Originally founded in Chicago with idea of celebrating both meat and heavy metal music, Kuma’s Corner soon expanded to include three more locations in Illinois and one in Indianapolis. Playing heavy metal and supporting local bands of the genre, the restaurant also receives its food and beverages from local purveyors. Kuma’s Corner rotates its craft beer offerings, ensuring that metal heads keep coming back for something new and exciting. If you’re a meat lover, heavy metal fan, or both, Kuma’s Corner is sure to offer you a dining experience you’ll never forget.


    The Alley – Oakland, CA


    the alley


    Designed to resemble a seedy alleyway, this piano bar might not the best choice for diners who crave a relaxing ambiance. Nearly every square inch of the bar’s walls is covered with a flier, business card, or some other piece of paper—all of which are rumored to be sprayed with fire retardant to satisfy local code. To make the design even more immersive, fake roofs and powerlines are also included. While a piano player pounds away on keys, the stage is usually open for a brave diner to step up and sing lead vocals.


    Noir Lounge – San Francisco, CA


    noir lounge


    For fans of film noir of the 40s and 50s, this themed restaurant will be a treat unlike any other. Showing genre classics like The Maltese Falcon, the Noir Lounge oozes of retro style and makes you feel like you took a trip back in time. A large selection of eclectic beer, wine, and cocktails ensures there’s something for everyone. With the cozy ambiance of a speakeasy, the Noir Lounge features couches and plush chairs scattered throughout its multi-room operation. An old time piano is played most nights for entertainment. The Noir Lounge provides the type of immersive experience every themed bar and restaurant should strive for.


    The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange – Kalamazoo, MI


    the kalamazoo beer exchange


    A type of place you’d expect to find on Wall Street, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange updates the pricing of its beers each minute to match demand. And while the idea of a stock market crash can send shivers down anyone’s spine, a beer market crash is reason for celebration. During a crash, beer prices dip lower than you ever thought possible. Offering 28 draughts as well as bottles and cans, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange puts a unique spin on the standard bar experience. The bar also features a beautiful open kitchen that churns out delicious, made-to-order food.  


    The Mean Eyed Cat – Austin, TX


    the mean eyed cat bar


    The second restaurant from Austin on this list makes it easy to understand why “Keep Austin Weird” is the city’s unofficial slogan. The Mean Eyed Cat is a 21 and over bar/restaurant that pays tribute to legendary country rock star Johnny Cash. Showing of all kinds of unique memorabilia, this restaurant holds a Mean Movie Night every Monday and also sometimes hosts live music performances. With over a dozen craft beers on tap, The Mean Eyed Cat also offers classic Stubb’s BBQ like brisket, beef, turkey, pork, sausage, chicken, and ribs.


    Unicorn – Seattle, WA


    unicorn bar seattle


    With two locations on Capitol Hill, the Unicorn is another 21+ bar that differentiates itself via a unique style. Taking the carnival theme to an extreme, the Unicorn offers a whimsical experience that includes an arcade, claw, and photo booth. Colorful walls boast intricate designs, and funky décor is found throughout the bar. The menu offers everything you’d expect to find at a regular carnival—corn dogs, burgers, and all kinds of fried treats.



    When it comes to giving your restaurant a theme, there’s a thin line between unique and overly quirky. It’s important to know what your community would accept with open arms vs. what it will shun mercilessly. Whatever theme you choose should give your business a unique twist without alienating too many potential customers. But perhaps the most important thing to remember is that your restaurant’s theme should be your lowest priority. Location, food, and staff always comes first in terms of importance. Giving your restaurant a unique theme is just the cherry on top.  

    5 of the Most Interesting Food Museums in the United States

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    If you’re searching for somewhere fun and educational to visit, look no further than a food museum. Often focusing on a single culinary item, these houses of knowledge will fill your brain with fun facts while also stimulating your appetite. After you’ve reached your education quota for the day, indulge in a delicious meal knowing you earned it. The following 5 food and beverage museums are just few of the many in the United States that are worth visiting.


    Southern Food and Beverage Museum – New Orleans, LA


    southern food and beverage museum


    Dedicated to educating visitors about traditional U.S. Southern cuisine, this museum features a wide range of unique exhibits and artifacts. It regularly hosts tastings, lectures, demonstrations, and special exhibits. Perfect for any foodie who fancies southern food, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum houses Toups South—a 2,000-square-foot restaurant that serves southern classics while also acting as a living exhibit.

    The museum has both permanent and rotating exhibits. So even if you’ve visited before, there’s nearly always something new there that you haven’t seen. For younger visitors, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum offers a “Kids in the Kitchen” program. A bi-monthly opportunity for children ages 7-11, “Kids in the Kitchen” provides hands-on cooking training. “Master Classes” are for kids aged 11-13 and provide more detailed culinary training.   


    The Museum of the American Cocktail – New Orleans, LA


    museum of the american cocktail


    For adults who crave a more beverage-based experienced, The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) is located right next door to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. The MOTAC focuses on mixology principles while also stressing responsible drinking. Included in the museum is an exhibited dedicated to New Orleans prohibition between the years of 1919-1933.


    The SPAM Museum – St. Austin, MN


    spam museum


    Ever wonder what goes into the miraculous piece of meat that’s best known as SPAM? If you have, then The SPAM Museum is well worth a visit. Located in St. Austin, Minnesota, the museum celebrates the magical mystery meat that first appeared in 1937 and quickly became a world-wide sensation.

    With a variety of educational and interactive exhibits, The SPAM Museum offers a distinctly unique experience. Its friendly SPAMbassadors help guide you around the facility, while one special wall allows you to answer the question, “How many SPAM cans tall are you?” But perhaps the best part of the SPAM Museum is it’s free!


    Idaho Potato Museum – Blackfood, ID


    idaho potato museum


    It only makes sense that America’s most prominent potato museum would be located in Idaho. Greeting visitors with an enormous potato sculpture, the Idaho Potato Museum immediately sets the tone for a fun day of learning. Information about potato history, nutrition, and both the growing and harvest processes are ubiquitous throughout the museum. The museum’s curriculum covers everything from the first potato planted in Idaho to the largest potato crisp manufactured by the Pringle’s Company in Jackson, Tennessee.

    Located within the museum, the Potato Station Café allows visitors to indulge in a meal once they’ve finished the tour. In addition to offering classic baked potatoes and French fries, the café also carries delicacies like potato cupcakes and potato ice cream. If you’re going to opt for a baked potato, make sure to order at least 2 hours in advance since, as it takes time to cook a perfect potato. Be certain to also stop by the gift shop and browse its collection of potato-related souvenirs.


    National Mustard Museum – Middleton, WI


    national mustard museum


    Mustard aficionados should accept no substitutes. Founder Barry Levenson came up with the idea after his beloved Boston Red Sox blew the 1986 World Series and he was left to ponder the meaning of life. A late-night supermarket run gave him the answer: mustard!

    The National Mustard Museum is home to over 5,992 mustards that have been gathered from all 50 states and over 70 different countries. Included in the museum’s collection are modern jars, antique tins, and vintage advertisements. Admission is free, and the museum always goes all out for National Mustard Day, which is August 4th this year. 

    Healthiest Fish to Eat for Nutritional Benefits

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    It’s common knowledge that seafood not only tastes delicious, but also offers a litany of health benefits. However, the term seafood is wide-encompassing, and different types of fish have unique nutritional profiles. The following information will help you and your servers educate patrons about the benefits and concerns associated with 4 of the healthiest fish to eat.






    High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon makes it easy for your body to satisfy its weekly fatty acid requirements. While consensus is that a healthy adult should get at least 250-500 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day, a mere 3 ounce piece of salmon contains can contain 1.1-1.9 grams of omega 3 fatty acids! By eating just two servings of salmon per week, your body will have more than enough fatty acids—which are good for decreasing inflammation, reducing blood pressure, decreasing risk of cancer, and improving arterial function. Other benefits of salmon include the fish’s B vitamins, potassium, and high protein.

    When talking about salmon, a subtle distinction needs to be made between wild and farmed salmon. Wild salmon offers far greater health benefits than farmed salmon and consequently can be as much as twice as expensive. While farmed salmon provides approximately 1,200 mg of omega fatty acids per 4 oz., farmed salmon boasts upwards of 1,500 mg for the same size serving. If you opt for farmed salmon, make sure it comes from inside the United States or was raised in a controlled environments like a tank system.


    Tuna Fish


    tuna fish


    Affordable and delicious, tuna fish is great for salads and sandwiches. A significant source of both protein and omega-3 fatty acids, tuna is also high in mercury. Consuming too much mercury can lead to irritability, nerve damage, memory loss, and problems balancing. This means diners should opt for tuna just a few times a week rather than daily. Since canned tuna is easy to store and seemingly lasts forever, it’s a great option for foodservices and restaurants.






    Tilapia has a neutral taste that allows chefs to by infuse the fish with unique flavor via spices and seasoning. Offering a myriad of health benefits, a single serving of tilapia fulfills 15% of our daily protein requirement. While the fish is high in protein, it’s also conveniently low in calories. This makes tilapia a great choice for anyone who’s on a diet and trying to lose weight. Tilapia is also great for bone health and is rich in selenium, which can help prevent premature aging of the skin. For safety reasons, it’s recommended that tilapia should only be bought from U.S. fisheries or other countries with strict regulations when it comes to fisheries.


    Rainbow Trout


    rainbow trout


    With 19 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving, rainbow trout provides diners with what they need to maintain strong muscles. The fish is also rich in phosphorous, which assists in digestion and ensures bones and teeth are of adequate strength. Furthermore, rainbow trout has relatively few contaminants compared to other seafood. So long as the trout you’re consuming rainbow trout that’s properly farmed, there is a minimal chance of ingesting mercury and PCBs.