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T. Cooks Restaurant Reopens in Phoenix After Renovation

T. Cooks Restaurant Reopens in Phoenix After Renovation

Royal Palms Resort and Spa recently re-opened their highly acclaimed T. After a three-month renovation, the restaurant now has a new look and a new chef. Highlighting Executive Chef Paul McCabe’s creative interpretation of New American cooking and reflecting the Mediterranean-inspired design and architecture of the resort; the restaurant is introducing a new culinary experience for guests.

The refreshed T. Cook’s design, led by Haley Balzano, founder and architect of Phoenix-based creative design team Bar Napkin Productions, emphasizes a more vibrant color scheme, authentic design elements, an interactive kitchen, a remodeled private dining room and a glass- enclosed wine and tequila tasting room. New boldly-colored chairs surround rustic wooden tables adding depth and diversity to the new dining room, while iron chandeliers create a sense of intimacy and stimulate an experience of romance. Al fresco dining can also be discovered at T. Cook’s with intimate patios and nooks, including a new private dining element found within the property’s historic Orange Grove.

The new menu, created by Executive Chef Paul McCabe, honors classical techniques while utilizing locally-grown and sustainably raised foods. Chef McCabe has established relationships with a wide range of local purveyors, farmers and artisans, including McClendon’s Select, Singh Farms, Noble Bread and Hayden Flour Mills.

“The menu is designed to be more social and approachable, while incorporating cooking techniques that reflect the evolving culinary scene in Phoenix and beyond,” McCabe told us. “Our dishes are inspired by seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, with some of the freshest growing right in our backyard.”

Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, highlights of the dinner menu include sea bass crudo, Spanish octopus, sweet corn agnolotti, Colorado lamb and dry aged beef ribeye.

Adjacent to the restaurant is the new Mix Up Bar, offering live entertainment, inventive small plates and unique cocktails. The interior design is appointed with dark woods and gold and yellow accents. A new semi-private nook named “The Study” provides a more intimate seating area while the outdoor Mansion Courtyard offers additional al fresco seating.

Located at the foot of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Royal Palms Resort and Spa combines the sophistication of a Mediterranean villa with the intimacy and privacy of a secluded retreat. The resort houses 119 custom-appointed guest rooms, intimate clusters of casitas and villas; regal Spanish Colonial architecture; over 20,000 square feet of estate-like meeting space; Tuscan-style gardens; exquisite artifacts, meandering walkways, and stone fireplaces throughout. Designed around the original historic private mansion, in addition to T. Cook’s, The Royal Palms is home to the Forbes Four Star Alvadora Spa, a Mother-of-Pearl-tiled swimming pool with private cabanas, and croquet lawn.


Thai Rock Softly Reopens Today in the Rockaways, Nearly One Year Post-Sandy

Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy ripped through its dining room, Thai Rock restaurant will softly reopen its dining room tonight in Rockaway Beach, a Long Island peninsula located in Queens, New York. Owner Robert Kaskel explains that he's "putting a line in the sand" by reopening the indoor space even though it won't yet have a fully functioning kitchen or a full menu. Though he worries that diners have grown impatient with only a handful of menu items, Kaskel says that at this point he has no choice but to reopen. "Most important for us is to keep the cash flowing because right now I've been out of business for effectively three weeks," he says. "I can't keep going like this."

Thai Rock had partially reopened over the course of the Summer, serving a limited menu and drinks on its back deck. But Kaskel had to close the restaurant once again in early September when the weather turned cooler and only a couple of tables a night were willing to brave the outdoor seating. After a few weeks of opening sporadically on warm days, Kaskel is ready to invite diners back into the main dining room.

For now, the offerings remain limited to Thai Rock's Thai Grill menu, which includes pork skewers, curry-marinated chicken, pork chops, and lemongrass skirt steak. To make up for the lacking menu, there's been a (perhaps temporary) addition of a hamburger "with a Thai slant" to the line-up. Kaskel explains that the menu will ramp back up to to its full capacity over the next couple of weeks. The restaurant's walk-in will be hooked up on Monday, and the hood for the range should arrive today. After that, the cooks need at least two weeks of prep time for their house-made sauces before the full menu can return. On the plus side, Kaskel noted in Thai Rock's email newsletter that they've installed 24 draft beer lines, "the most of any place in the Rockaways."

To celebrate the return of both indoor and outdoor dining at Thai Rock, the restaurant is hosting a performance by singer-songwriters Walker Hornung and Joe Cang tomorrow evening. Expect the full menu — with new dishes as well — to return in late October. "I'm getting closer to that finish line," Kaskel says. "Even just two weeks ago, I was having a panic that I'm so close and I'm going to fall before I get to the end. It looks like I'm finding the way through it."


Share All sharing options for: For Pop-Up Owners, a Crossroads as Restaurants Return

Former Gramercy Tavern pastry cook Lauren Tran never expected her assortments of ube and coconut mousse chiffon cakes, longan macarons, and bánh bò nướng — a pandan-flavored tapioca and rice flour pastry — to appeal beyond her social circle. But when the recent pastry school graduate’s bánh boxes, a mix of Vietnamese desserts and French pastries, started selling out in minutes each week on Instagram, it turned her previous life plan on its head. “I was able to lean into who I am as a Vietnamese-American woman,” she says. Now, Tran is looking to translate that success into a business, Bánh by Lauren, that honors Vietnamese desserts with the respect and regard she sees given European and Japanese baked goods.

Amid the endless stream of destruction that the pandemic blasted at the restaurant industry, pop-ups started by laid-off workers quietly shone as a tiny bright light in the grim darkness. Stuck at home, with little hope for full employment, the people who once cooked or served everywhere from fast-casual chains to Michelin-starred dining rooms turned to the best resource they had to stay busy and make some money: their own knowledge, heritage, and creativity. The rise of pop-ups — representing a low barrier to entry for culinary businesses — has pushed forward laws regarding home-based food businesses, including one recently passed in Boston allowing for the selling of low-risk foods made at home, and one in Washington that will allow people to sell meals from their home.

But a year into the pandemic, with vaccines available or soon to be available to all adults and many states lifting restrictions on business, successful pop-up proprietors have reached a crucial moment in a situation that from day one was conceptualized as temporary. Some are considering whether they want to put down roots as a permanent full-time business, leave what they built and go back to working for others, or try to balance in the middle by finding a steady job while running the pop-up as a side hustle.

“I didn’t have an idea of a shop. I just knew that I wanted one,” Tran says of her pre-pandemic dreams of someday opening a French-style patisserie. “Now I know it has to be this.” The runaway success of Bánh by Lauren attracted the type of attention — in terms of opportunities and investment — she thought would take years, leaving her suddenly facing pivotal decisions about her plans as both a pastry cook and entrepreneur. But just as the pop-up model brought her overwhelmingly fast success, working for herself gave her the time and income to consider each decision carefully.

When Lupe Flores first messaged her friends to see if they were interested in buying a few of the crunchy tacos she always made for parties, the bartender and drummer just wanted to stay busy while bars and clubs were closed. More than a year later, from a permanent location inside Seattle’s Tractor Tavern, Flores’s Situ Tacos sells the kind of tacos stuffed with hushwe, Lebanese brown butter beef, that Flores grew up eating at the table of her Lebanese-by-way-of-Mexico grandmother Situ tacos is named for her.

Flores’s pop-ups earned a following big enough that not quite a year after she first sold her tacos, the Tractor Tavern, looking to bring people to its bar and outdoor area while live music and concerts are prohibited, invited her to put down roots. “I’d been dragging my feet, because starting your own business is terrifying,” she admits. But the way her business operates symbiotically with the bar has been encouraging. The support she’s seen — from chefs, business owners, other pop-up operators — during the pandemic gave her faith in human beings, she says, and “the chutzpah it takes to open a bricks-and-mortar business in this unsure world.”

While Flores thrives as she returns to the face-to-face interaction she loved as a bartender, Dave Hadley, who was laid off from his job as a culinary director for a hospitality group, welcomed the opportunity to try something less consumer-facing. But when an old boss offered him a kitchen job making pizza for $13 an hour, Hadley asked himself, “What the hell am I doing?”

Instead, he was drawn to the entrepreneurship of a pop-up. Like any good Jersey boy, he turned to Taylor ham for help, folding it into a pork roll, egg, and cheese version of the Indian snacks he’d grown up eating. Samosa Shop features the flavors of his Caribbean heritage and works with other companies, like a pizza restaurant and kimchi brand, to create combinations that reflect other people’s backgrounds as well. The nontraditional samosas are now available at pop-ups all over the Denver area, with events announced on Instagram.

Having seen success so far, Hadley wants to bring the idea to a wider audience. He dreams of turning Samosa Shop into a frozen-food brand, something that would compete with Hot Pockets for space in grocery-store freezers around the country. But he remains unsure about immediate next steps. “I paid so much freaking money to go to CIA and get the best education, and then work with some of the best people in the country,” he says. “But they don’t teach you how to be successful by yourself.” He doesn’t plan to let that stop him, though. “I’m excited to be on that journey of not knowing. And I think we need to be okay with that.”

But not everyone has that luxury or is in the right place in their life to do so. Depending on location, details, and local cottage food laws, some pop-ups operated in a legal gray area that comes with its own risks. Some need a regular paycheck or more certain schedule, and the constant pivots turning the industry in circles, combined with individual situations — financial, personal, or professional — sent many pop-up entrepreneurs straight back to the stability of a regular job when the opportunity arose. Some didn’t find the same rousing success as Tran or Flores. For others, it simply wasn’t the right long-term fit.

“Running a pop-up taught me a lot about my own capacity for work and how I like to treat myself when I’m the person in charge,” says Hanna Gregor. The former line cook called her time running a fermented-foods pop-up a great use of eight months, but adds, “it just got to be physically exhausting.” She tried working with a partner and shifting to a subscription model to lighten the workload on the selling side, but shopping for the pop-up by bike got increasingly hard as orders grew. The impending Chicago winter made it less likely they would be able to draw customers to outdoor events or even just make extra trips on public transportation to pick up orders as COVID-19 cases surged. In late November, the bakery where Gregor had been volunteering to bake loaves for donation offered her a part-time job, and she works there now. The fermented-food concept took a back seat, at least temporarily.

“There are a lot of connections that you gain from being the face of something, as opposed to being the third line cook in back,” Gregor says. She hopes to take advantage of the flexibility of pop-ups — as the weather warms up, she’s had people contact her about selling at farmers markets and events. But at her own early stage in the industry, she didn’t feel ready to commit to starting a business. Though she likes how pop-ups sidestep some of the more savage parts of the traditional brigade system, she feels she gets more from mentorship and colleagues. “I’m still in that phase in my life where I’m like, ‘I want to learn more,’” she says. “I would love to observe folks who have done this for a decade longer than I have.” She hesitates, raising one of the issues that gives her pause about returning to cooking: “Ideally in a place where people are treated like people and make a living wage.”


New owners, same recipes: LaVilla Family Dining & Pizzeria set to reopen its doors

GENESEE COUNTY, MI - An old family recipe has been passed down from one generation to the next to keep bringing smiles memories to a community that has longed for its return.

After a two-year hiatus, LaVilla Family Dining & Pizzeria, 8372 N. Saginaw Road, in Genesee Township near Mt. Morris is set to open up its doors once more to the community beginning Tuesday, April 6.

“I really am proud and looking forward to just bringing back a staple in Mt. Morris and giving Mt. Morris more options of places to eat,” said Jen Bryan, one of the restaurant’s new owners. “Ironically, we’ve been told that the actual opening day that we’re opening on, is exactly two years from the day that it closed. We did not plan it that way.”

Bryan, along with her boyfriend Tom Choate who owns SmokeyButts Catering, has spent the last year renovating, reestablishing, and learning old family recipes for the restaurant’s grand opening.

Although Bryan and Choate have been passed along ownership of the restaurant, the couple have insisted in keeping the traditional dining experience the same as it has been for four decades.

“We are reopening with the same name and we have the support of the original owners, and they’ve given us the recipes,” Bryan said. “It’s all the same authentic food and then we’ve added quite a few things to the menu, some sandwiches and salads, more options for lunch.”

Opened in 1974 by then owners Tino Icaboni and Dave D’Arcangelis, LaVilla closed its doors two years ago after serving residents up dishes and being a staple in the community for 45 years.

Icaboni originally came to the United States from Italy in his 20′s - he’s 72 now. His mother owned a bakery in Italy while he was still a child.

When he immigrated to the U.S., Icaboni brought along some family secrets that helped establish his unique style on food.

“He has a very distinct connection with his home country and so he brought all those recipes with him when he came over,” Bryan said. “The pizza here at this restaurant was always one of my favorites pizzas, as a kid, same for my boyfriend. The dough is just different. It has a different texture and flavor and it’s just really, really good.”

The couple grew up in Mt. Morris and always ate at the restaurant with their families.

They hold fond memories of visiting LaVilla in their childhoods, like Choate, when he played football for the Panthers, coming in every night before a game or dining at the restaurant when the football team would host award ceremonies.

“It has a lot of family memories for us,” said Bryan, as she thought back on her memories of coming to the eatery.

After 20 years of Bryan working in management at FedEx and Choate running his own catering business, the couple’s dream of always wanting to open their own restaurant was finally coming true.

The couple said they’re both “super proud” and “excited” to be the new owners of the town staple and to have been given the opportunity to carry on Icaboni’s legacy, but they’re also feeling “a lot of pressure to make sure that we provide the same products to the customers” and that their recipes “not only tastes the same on opening day, but tastes the same every day even when Tino doesn’t come in every day anymore.”

Since the couple announced the restaurant’s comeback, the couple have received outstanding and positive feedback.

“We have almost 1,800 followers on Facebook now and it’s growing everyday,” Bryan said. “A lot of our posts are trending, reaching anywhere from 23 to 25,000 people.”

She kept the restaurant’s old phone number and has since received non-stop calls from people wanting to place an order, thinking that the restaurant is already open.

The community has taken notice in the couple’s efforts in the restoration process. Bryan has had friends stopped by to help them with the renovation and cleaning of the establishment.

However, other times, the couple has been approached by people they hadn’t even met before to offer their services and volunteer in renovating the place because of how excited they are the restaurant is opening again.

“We had a lady who owns a cleaning company, she came in and donated hours just to help us when we were doing the deep cleaning in the kitchen,” Bryan said. “I never met her before, I didn’t know her, she just reached out to me on Facebook and said she was excited and wanted to help.”

Other times, people have actually come in, sat down at a table wanting to order, even though there was construction equipment still laying around the dining room floor as well as tables.

“We’re both blown away by the amount of response,” Bryan said. “It’s been amazing, it’s been overwhelming really.”

The couple plan on partnering up with local organizations and Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools - one of them which has already booked the restaurant for their first meeting.

Bryan has also partnered up with The Brough Bakery in Clio to become the supplier of their garlic bread and bruschetta. Icaboni’s garlic bread has a special memory in Bryan’s childhood, as she would munch on it every time she visited with her family.

For opening day, Bryan and Choate expect to the restaurant to be at the capacity allowed in accordance with the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The days leading up to Tuesday’s opening have been used to prepare the restaurant for its official first day.

Icaboni has been present at his old restaurant on several occasions and has been very hands-on in the kitchen teaching Choate and the other cooks how to prep and make everything - even the secret sauces and the dough.

The former owner has also taken the time to show Bryan and Choate some of the restaurant supply stores that he used to go to and pick up products.

“He’s (Icaboni) going to be here opening day, him and Dave. They’re both going to be here, supporting us in the kitchen on that first day,” Bryan said. “We did do a friends and family event last week, a practice run, and that went really, really well, and it gave us a lot more confidence than we had prior to that, that we would be able to pull this off.”

Some of the top menu items include lasagna and pizza, as well as the antipasto salad made with pickles.

Aside from their pizzas and lasagnas, Bryan wants to eventually add breakfast to the menu as she believes that “there aren’t a lot of options for people.”

“One of the things that we are going to do down the road too, is as soon as we get up and running and we feel comfortable that we’ve nailed it, then we’re going to add breakfast to our daily routines,” she said.

The couple also plan on having feature items and trying some other things out to see what people think and to get feedback from the community.

The Genesee and Flint Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the restaurant at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Fox 103.9 FM will also be in attendance doing a live feed from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and offering some specials to go along with the opening.

“We missed the restaurant too,” Bryan said. “To be able to not only get our dream of having a restaurant, but also to have the restaurant that we both grew up coming to and that Mt. Morris has missed them, we’re really excited for.”


A New Attitude for a Culinary Institution

Mr. Bourdain, a 1978 graduate, spoke fondly of his Escoffier kitchen days.

“I was tremendously affected by the experience, and I was — and remain — very sentimental about those recipes and dishes,” he said. Still, the school “should have said goodbye to the Escoffier room a long time ago,” he said.

And yet, he added, “I hate to think of a world where there isn’t Escoffier cuisine served without irony.”

What to Cook This Weekend

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the weekend. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • Gabrielle Hamilton’s ranchero sauce is great for huevos rancheros, or poach shrimp or cubed swordfish in it.
    • If you’re planning to grill, consider grilled chicken skewers with tarragon and yogurt. Also this grilled eggplant salad.
    • Or how about a simple hot-dog party, with toppings and condiments galore?
    • These are good days to make a simple strawberry tart, the blueberry cobbler from Chez Panisse, or apricot bread pudding.
    • If you have some morels, try this shockingly good pan-roasted chicken in cream sauce from the chef Angie Mar.

    Mark V. Erickson, the institute’s provost, said the new kitchen would not have the rigid hierarchy and separation of the classic stations of the original Escoffier, where specialized brigade stations, like saucier and legumier, were adorned with printed signs in 1974. At Bocuse, sauces, sautéing and vegetable preparation will be done at several stations, and there will be much more collaboration among the cooks. The size of the teaching kitchen will be doubled.

    More fundamentally, in the original Escoffier, classic menu items dictated the ingredients chefs bought in the Bocuse, Mr. Erickson said, chefs will shop for the most seasonal and pristine ingredients, and then write a menu to showcase them.

    The new restaurant will be named for Mr. Bocuse, Mr. Erickson said, because “Escoffier was the codifier and organizer, but Bocuse was the innovator who championed seasonal cuisine and pioneered the notion of the celebrated chef and owner.”

    In addition, a brigade station will be created for sous vide, a technique that enhances tenderness and flavor by cooking at steady low temperatures in sealed vacuum bags.

    “The sweetbreads would really benefit from sous vide: the juiciness,” said Olivia Poulos, a 20-year-old bachelor’s degree candidate who was working in the Escoffier kitchen recently, perfecting warm and fried appetizers.

    The changes in the dining room will be just as thorough.

    “The C.I.A. has long needed a sexy contemporary brasserie, and that’s what this is,” said Mr. Tihany, who has been the school’s design and architecture consultant for the last year.

    The gilded Escoffier mirrors, ersatz French chandeliers, diamond-patterned carpeting and armless high-backed chairs will be banished. The new space, which will increase the dining room capacity to 100 seats from 85, will feature avant-garde lighting fixtures of polished steel, uncarpeted smoked-oak floors and custom bentwood armchairs.

    It is still a matter of debate, but there may be stainless flatware instead of silver, and stemless glassware. The oak tables will be tablecloth-free at lunch.

    Bocuse will de-emphasize tableside service (deboning fish and carving meat, for example), though students will still push around a cheese cart.

    “We will try to define what it means to be a contemporary French restaurant,” Dr. Ryan said.

    The menu will be worked out during the next seven months, but there is no plan to circle back to the 1974 carte du jour with its five-course $14.50 prix fixe dinner, which included classics like escargots, soupe à l’oignon and soufflés.

    Dr. Ryan said that in the end, the new restaurant would be about instruction.

    “Students will go out from Bocuse to change the industry,” he said. “The next Grant Achatz is here.”


    'The Best Thing I Ever Ate'

    When: 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, on Cooking Channel. Check local listings and cookingchanneltv.com.

    Tratto: Town & Country, 4743 N. 20th St., Phoenix. 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 602-296-7761, trattophx.com.

    MORE DINING:

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    Restaurant Revisited: Bronk's Bar and Grill

    Facing the imminent closure of their 11-year-old restaurant, Bronk's Bar and Grill, husband and wife owners, Erik and Tracy Brunkow, turned to Robert Irvine for help in saving their business. This Lake City, Minn., eatery had been serving dishes made mostly from frozen food in an out-of-date, unadorned space, but thanks to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team, it reopened with a fresh menu and vibrant decor to match. We checked in with Erik a few months after the transformation to see how Bronk's is doing now.

    Immediately after the renovation, sales at Bronk's grew significantly, doubling during weekdays and tripling on weekends. Erik says that customers have come from near and far to see and taste the changes, and everyone is wowed by the updated decor. "They say it's brighter, fresher and more open," he explains. "People are noticing our tin ceiling all of a sudden, which was there originally."

    Bronk's is still serving the updated menu exclusively, and Erik notes that they're using only fresh, never-frozen ingredients. He adds that the specialty sauces that Robert created have been extremely well-received by diners. "People want us to bottle them and sell them at the store."

    Since Erik has taken on full responsibility of Bronk's, he says that he's able to make decisions more quickly and easily. "I feel I have a better grasp of the whole running of the restaurant. Issues get taken care of a lot faster because I’m there all the time and I don’t have to ask Tracy for her opinion." He admits that his and Tracy's relationship is still a "work in progress," but explains that he and his family have been sure to spend quality time together on Sundays. Tracy is still working at Bronk's but only one day a week.

    Reflecting on his Restaurant: Impossible experience, Erik tells us that he's especially impressed with the impact the renovation has had on the community. "Many businesses in town say that we have inspired them to take a look at their own businesses and take time out to make new changes."


    Stowe's Seafood in West Haven reopens after face-lift and customers 'couldn't wait' to return

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    West Haven, Connecticut - Sunday, May 02, 2021: Chris O’Brien of Stowe's Seafood of West Haven. It has at has been renovated and now has reopened and O’Brien waits to take orders.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 02, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Owners Karen and Wayne Capone of Stowe's Seafood of West Haven have renovated and renovated their seafood emporium, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    Stowe's Seafood of West Haven has been renovated and now has reopened, shown on May 2, 2021.

    Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media Show More Show Less

    WEST HAVEN &mdash Stowe&rsquos Seafood has reopened after a four-month makeover and Alli Adrian was craving it so much that she stopped in at 11:30 a.m. Saturday to have a cup of their famous New England clam chowder, then returned an hour later for lunch with her parents.

    &ldquoIt looks modern, but it still has that look that makes it unique,&rdquo Adrian said.

    That &ldquolook&rdquo she refers to is casual, weather-worn nautical, buoys, anchors, pirate memorabilia and fishing nets abound, surrounded by flower beds and 10 outdoor tables with a view of the shore across Beach Street.

    It&rsquos the look owner Wayne and Karen Capone, married for 45 years, were going for when they decided to remodel after the need arose for a new fryer hood, combined with the pandemic&rsquos effects on the way they did business.

    Wayne Capone, who carries on his grandparents&rsquo legacy with a seafood eatery, said after 40 years in business there was opportunity for change, so he and his wife seized the moment.

    &ldquoI was getting burnt out because the place was burnt out,&rdquo Capone, 65, said, explaining it was hard to maintain. &ldquoIt needed a face-lift, so that energized me. It&rsquos easier (now) for us to take care of.&rdquo

    Stowe&rsquos is open seven days a week, year-round, except for major holidays.

    With a building of 800 square feet &mdash the footprint remains the same &mdash Capone said he has always called the place &ldquoa food truck without wheels.&rdquo

    When people refer to Stowe&rsquos as a great &ldquorestaurant,&rdquo he corrects them: &ldquoI have a seafood shack.&rdquo

    The &ldquoshack&rdquo has a &ldquostrong following,&rdquo as he described it, and the crowds came back in droves the first weekend when the reopening was announced on Facebook. During the closure, social media was buzzing with inquiries about when Stowe&rsquos would open and, at first, panic at the idea it had closed for good.

    &ldquoPeople are coming back I knew they would. We put out good food and that&rsquos all you have to do,&rdquo he said.

    The eatery serves popular seafood &mdash fish and chips, lobster, shrimp, clams &mdash and also sells fresh raw seafood and recipes such as seafood-stuffed portobello mushrooms to be cooked at home.

    In these pandemic times, orders are taken at a walk-up window under a metal canopy covering a new wooden deck where there once was gravel.

    &ldquoI think it&rsquos beautiful,&rdquo customer Paul Ferro said as he returned to Stowe&rsquos for clam strips and a hot dog platter. &ldquoThis is nicer - it&rsquos amazing how much food they can put out.&rdquo

    Shirley McIver was there early to get a few combos including oysters, shrimp and scrod.

    &ldquoI couldn&rsquot wait for it to open back up,&rdquo she said.

    It&rsquos very much a hands-on family business and Wayne Capone said he and Karen work well together. The Capones have three children &mdash two daughters and a son &mdash all of whom have worked there at some point and two who still do. Son-in-law Travis is part of the crew and makes a popular &ldquoTexas Travis&rdquo gumbo. Capone said they have a small crew of five who have been with him for years and those who aren&rsquot related by blood are like his adopted kids.

    Inside, the tiny, immaculate kitchen is a little larger after the remodel, because the inside dining tables have been removed.

    All the cooking equipment is new and there are two new display cases for fresh fish - rather than one. The inside walls have been covered in gray, wooden barn siding for a clean, rustic look.

    Outside, the canvas awning over the seating area has been replaced with a metal top so heaters can run in the colder months.

    There are 10 outdoor tables with beach umbrellas to the side of the property - the same as before - and all were full on a recent afternoon.

    Strong wooden flower boxes sprinkled inside with colorful flowers tended by Karen Capone and nautical trinkets protect the patio from vehicles. They&rsquove always had flowers, but they used to be in old whiskey barrels.

    Wayne Capone grew up in the business, as his maternal grandparents, George and Mamie Stowe, opened a fish market business in 1937 or so on Bayview Place. In 1950 they started serving cooked fish and eventually that restaurant, Stowe&rsquos Pilot House, became a huge success, handling banquets for as many as 300 people overlooking Long Island Sound.

    &ldquoPeople went to Stowe&rsquos for seafood and Jimmie&rsquos for hot dogs,&rdquo he said, referring to his grandparents&rsquo place.

    Previous to the successful business, the Stowes owned a fish store on Campbell Avenue in the 1920s, but they lost it when the Great Depression took hold.

    Capone remembers helping his grandparents as a young teen and hating cutting fish more than anything. Maturity set in, he said, and he&rsquos been cutting fish about every day for the last 40 years.

    His grandfather died in 1969 when Capone was 15 and the family sold it in 1971.

    Eventually, when it was to become another restaurant, Capone retrieved mementos from his grandparents&rsquo time, including the original Stowe&rsquos sign.

    Around 1980, after traveling extensively together through Europe, Wayne and Karen set out to find a place for a fish business of their own and, &ldquoWe found this corner,&rdquo he said, referring to their landmark spot.

    For the first 10 years they were a fresh fish market only, but then grocery stores opened fresh fish counters, so they needed an additional revenue stream.

    &ldquoThen we started to fry, little by little,&rdquo Capone said, noting it was the step his grandparents took years ago.

    People have encouraged the Capones to take over the much bigger Chick&rsquos Drive-in space down the street, but Capone said then he would need 30 employees.

    Capone said his crew did most of the remodeling work themselves, except for specialty areas such as electricity.

    As for the thousands of nautical trinkets and memorabilia he and Karen have collected through the years &mdash it&rsquos like a museum &mdash they packed them away at the beginning of the remodel and had fun reminiscing when unpacking them to clean and put out again, he said.

    &ldquoIt took 40 years to get all this junk,&rdquo he quipped - and it came to them in different ways, including on beach walks, at tag sales, during travels, from his children and many customers.

    A few times he received bundles of nautical items from men who said they were getting married and their wives wouldn&rsquot let them keep the stuff. At least if the items were displayed at Stowe&rsquos, they could visit the trinkets, they&rsquove told Capone, he said.

    One man had Capone write his name on the back of his donated nautical pieces in case the marriage didn&rsquot work out and he wanted them back.

    Inside Stowe&rsquos are some special treasures, such as his grandmother&rsquos costume jewelry billowing out of a small treasure chest in keeping with the pirate theme his grandfather&rsquos original Stowe&rsquos sign and a set of some 26 pirate heads that his children gave him over several holidays. There is art created by wife Karen from sea glass she collects, and newspaper clippings showing advertisements when lobster was 49 cents per pound and one when could get twin lobsters, a potato, vegetable and salad at his grandfather&rsquos restaurant for $2.99.

    Lots of family pictures hang inside - including of his grandparents and parents &mdash and as a true Westie, Capone has other West Haven memorabilia on display, including a framed collection of postcards depicting Savin Rock Amusement Park.

    Asked when he might retire, Capone said, &ldquoWhen you see the soles of my feet being carried out the front door.&rdquo


    Renovated Literary Haunt White Horse Tavern Reopens From New Owners Tonight

    Longstanding literary haunt White Horse Tavern will reopen in Greenwich Village tonight. The bar has been closed for several weeks for renovation following a change in ownership. On Monday, a “limited menu” will arrive, with a complete menu arriving later in the fall. The bar is now run by restaurateur Eytan Sugarman, who also owns Hunt & Fish Club, Southern Hospitality, and a restaurant accused of being a Prince Street Pizza knockoff called Made In New York. White Horse Tavern opened in 1880 at 567 Hudson St. at 11th Street, and is the second-oldest continuously running bar in the city.

    San Loco will return to the East Village, plus a new dumpling shop

    San Loco is officially moving back to the East Village after a two-year hiatus. The Tex-Mex restaurant was open from 1986 to 2017 and was one of the places that laid the groundwork for the East Village to become the quirky and eclectic dining destination it is today. The owners have signed a lease at 111 Avenue C, between Seventh and Eighth streets. Meanwhile, King Dumplings is now open on the Lower East Side at 74 Hester St., on Allen Street, serving $4 plates of boiled or fried dumplings. Noodle soups and sesame pancake sandwiches are also on the menu, and the new shop is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Iconic Ebony magazine test kitchen is heading to NYC

    Ebony magazine’s iconic Chicago test kitchen is coming to New York City. The kitchen — where staff would test recipes from its “A Date With a Dish” column — will be recreated in the Museum of Food and Drink in Williamsburg. The oval-shaped room with psychedelic swirls on the wall will be part of a new exhibit titled “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” which will travel around the U.S., bringing the kitchen with it. The museum is now raising money for the exhibit and hopes to host in 2020.

    Neighbors are trying to save this longtime Brooklyn ice cream parlor from eviction

    Flatbush ice cream parlor Scoops is facing eviction after more than 30 years in the neighborhood — and locals aren’t happy about it. An online petition hoping to save the shop has garnered over 1,800 supporters, while others are collecting signatures on the ground in front of the shop. Owner Anthony “Scoops” Fongyit says he was unable to negotiate a lease renewal with his landlord, and in November, the lease terms changed to month-to-month. He was recently hit with a 30-day notice to vacate, though the online petition claims he was current on payment. Scoops opened in 1984 at 624 Flatbush Ave., serving Caribbean-inspired ice cream flavors and vegetarian fare.

    A dinner dedicated to all-things CBD at Bubby’s

    A dinner focused on all things cannabidiol (or CBD) will be held at American comfort food restaurant Bubby’s in Tribeca on Wednesday, May 29. Chef-owner Ron Silver, who is also behind edibles brand Azuca, will serve a family-style dinner with hemp-infused cocktails while opening up a conversation about CBD’s health benefits, as well as the recent crackdown on the substance. The dinner will be co-hosted by cannabis culture magazine Mary tickets can be purchased here.


    One Year Later: How COVID-19 Changed Independent Phoenix Restaurants

    March 19 will mark one year since the pandemic forced The Breadfruit and Rum Bar in downtown Phoenix to close. At the same time, the Chicago Hamburger Company, another locally owned independent restaurant saw sales plummet 65%.

    Over the past year, KJZZ has been checking in with both restaurants. In this report, Christina Estes shares how the pandemic has changed the business owners professionally and personally.

    The Breadfruit And Rum Bar

    Six weeks after Arizona's governor declared an emergency, anxiety filled the voice of The Breadfruit co-owner Danielle Leoni: “I don’t think I’m going to make it. I don’t think I can make it.”

    Fifty-two weeks after the emergency declaration, a calmer voice surfaced: “I’m choosing to see this as a rebirth.”

    It’s been an exhausting journey: financially, mentally, emotionally and physically. After years of ignoring and pushing through pain, Leoni is now recovering from back surgery and coming to grips with a discouraging reality.

    “From now on, I won’t be able to stand in the kitchen,” she said. “That’s really hard, you know.”

    Leoni will not return as executive chef at The Breadfruit but her Jamaican-inspired recipes will, prepared by chefs she has trained. And there will be other changes. Leoni, who earned a national reputation for supporting local agriculture and serving seafood with minimal environmental and social impacts, came to another realization.

    “I’m a chef that’s known for sustainability, and in the end of it, Christina, I didn’t create a sustainable business model,” she said.

    Co-owner Dwayne Allen echoed her sentiment.

    “It’s time for The Breadfruit to evolve,” he said. “We’re very excited about what the 2.0 post-COVID version of The Breadfruit is, although we don’t have that picture clearly outlined in front of us so that’s work we’re doing right now.

    They’re reimagining how The Breadfruit will reopen in a more efficient and equitable way while maintaining quality. Allen said it’s not simply about cutting some costs — though that needs to happen and will likely include dropping linen service and expensive plate ware.

    “You know we’ll break four or five or half a dozen of them on a Saturday night," he said.

    Rather than keep replacing pricey plates and bowls Allen said they can choose a more sustainable material like bamboo and pool the savings to boost the bottom line for certain employees.

    “We don’t want to reopen with the same pay structure that is laden with inequity," he said. "You know, if you’re a waiter out on the floor you can, you know do very well but if you have the wonderful task of keeping the dishes nice and clean so the chefs can present beautiful dishes on them then not so much."

    Chicago Hamburger Company

    At the Chicago Hamburger Company at 38th street and Indian School Road, Bob Pappanduros recently gave his seven employees raises.

    “I’ve known all along how much I’ve appreciated their hard work, caring and dedication,” he said. “But this past year and its challenges magnified to me how much harder and lonelier it would have been without these wonderful co-workers and friends by my side to weather this storm.”

    Pappanduros called the federal paycheck protection program a saving grace. He received $50,000 early on and another $70,000 last month. The cash covers his regular payroll — even when employees worked fewer hours.

    “Purpose of it wasn’t, you know, saving the business plan, it was paycheck protection, meaning keep people working, so that’s what we did,” he said.

    His fast casual restaurant in east Phoenix has stayed open throughout the pandemic. At its lowest point, business was 35% of normal, now it’s 75%.

    “The one thing that it has drilled into me is the appreciation of the customer base that I have,” Pappanduros said. “You know I couldn’t say enough about them and every time they tell me they’re glad that we’re still here I tell them that you know, very sincerely and honestly, the reason we’re here is because you guys have kept us here, so thank you.”

    The Breadfruit’s Future

    Allen said The Breadfruit and Rum Bar should reopen after this summer. By then it will have been closed 18 months (with the exception of a couple takeout-only events), longer than anyone could have predicted. But necessary, Allen said, for the business to emerge stronger and serve the community better.

    “If the train is on its way down the tracks, you see an issue it’s very difficult for you to tend to that issue, and COVID brought the train into the station so we can lift it up, spin it around, look at it inside out, take this off, put this on, we’ve got time to do all of these things we didn’t have before,” he said.

    Leoni said she needed the year to slow down and prioritize her health, “I’ve got to say despite how hard it’s been I’ve just never felt better.”

    She hopes her culinary future includes mentoring.

    I love to cook and still will in some capacity you know, but I also want to help people understand how they can do what I did but do it better-do it without sacrificing their health or maybe happiness, help chefs that are up and coming understand that they can have a great family life and friendships," she said. "You can have a real life and still be a real chef-it is possible."

    While COVID profoundly changed Leoni, she and Allen say it will not drastically change The Breadfruit’s experience. Seared scallops, fried fish and jerk chicken will fill the air again, rum cocktails will flow, and reggae music will bounce off the bright green and yellow walls.

    Big Marble Organics

    While The Breadfruit has been closed, Allen and Leoni started Big Marble Organics, a carbonated beverage company. They launched a bottled ginger beer in 2020 and a second flavor should be announced soon. The ginger beer is available at about 40 restaurants and shops across Arizona, and Allen said Big Marble Organics is expected to hit the shelves at Sprouts and Whole Foods this spring.

    Carbonated beverages could be just the beginning of their adventure into packaged goods. Allen said the local production facility can accommodate a variety of products.

    “There are a number of items that we’ve identified that came out of The Breadfruit experience that we think will serve folks quite nicely at home-whether we’re talking about in the pantry with seasonings, different sauces-that we’ve perfected over the years,” he said.


    Watch the video: Κατασκευή καταστημάτων, Ανακαίνιση, Διακόσμηση επαγγελματικών χώρων (January 2022).