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Archive for May, 2013

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

May 30 – June 2, 2013. For more information, visit Atlanta Food & Wine Festival


Cypress Street Pint and Plate’s Beer Geek Carnival

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

May 28, 2013, Atlanta. For more information, visit Cypress Street Pint and Plate


Atlanta Jazz Festival

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

May 25-27, 2013, Piedmont Park. For more information, visit Atlanta Jazz Festival


Octane Coffee Goes Local with Brewers and Dairies

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

While the local small batch liquors and mixed drinks with interesting ingredients are just starting to gain steam here in Georgia, the state already has a robust craft beer and wine scene.

Diane Riffel, co-owner of Octane Coffee, a boutique coffee shop with three locations in Atlanta, says she does a brisk business in beers from Georgia breweries like Terrapin, SweetWater, Jailhouse, Monday Night and Red Brick.

“We almost always have a local beer on tap at one of our stores,” Riffel says. “A lot of it is being able to support our local breweries. We’ve got great beers in our region, and we’re really proud of that.”

Octane has even collaborated with some of these local brewers to create coffee-inspired beers.

Athens-based Terrapin Beer Co. created a chocolate stout using Octane’s coffee beans, and 5 Seasons Brewing worked with Octane to create an espresso stout to serve in their Atlanta restaurants.

“It’s been a lot of fun to work with some of the local breweries,” she says.

In addition to serving Georgia beers, Octane uses a variety of local ingredients in its other foods and beverages. All of the milk for Octane’s espresso-based drinks comes from a dairy called Sparkman’s Cream Valley in Moultrie, Ga.

“A big part of it was finding a great milk that worked with our drinks. It was just perfect htat there was one right here in Georgia,” she says. “Whenever we have questions about it or there’s different nuances about the milk that change from season to season, we can just call up our rep and talk to someone directly on the farm.”

She says the milk is an important part of their recipes, so they don’t like to use just any milk you could pick up at a supermarket.

“For us, because of the way we prepare our drinks and steam our milk, fat content is very important,” says Riffel, who adds that another reason she supports small, local companies is philosophical. “We’re a small business, too. It’s important to give as much support as we can to local producers around us. We like to tout that there’s a lot of great stuff going on in our city and our region.”

Octane has stores in Atlanta’s hip Grant Park and Westside neighborhoods, as well as a “pocketbar” in the Bank of America Plaza downtown. In February, its first store in Birmingham, Ala. opened. Octane chose the city for its newest location because of its relationship with coffee roasting company Primavera Coffee, which currently roasts all of Octane’s coffee beans. Over the summer, Octane merged with Primavera Coffee.

The new partnership means big things for Octane, including the new Birmingham location and plans for a roasting operation at the Grant Park store.

Riffel said she is looking forward to being able to roast coffee inside Octane’s stores. She says it will be a great opportunity to educate people on how their coffee goes from “bean to cup.”

Just as with their food, people are interested in where their coffee comes from.

“It will give them a little more insight into what’s involved,” Riffel says, “to be able to make that connection with the customer is an important part of the experience.”




Atlanta Restaurants Q1 Sales Beat the National Trend

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Sales volume grew modestly at Atlanta’s independent restaurants in Quarter 1 2013, according to Robert Wagner, president of NetFinancials. Sales at Atlanta restaurants increased in that quarter 2.4% over sales for Q1 2012. This increase contrasts with Q1 2012 when Atlanta restaurants experienced a quarterly comparable sales increase of 6.8% over Q1, 2011.

Positive sales gains were reported by 61% of the 88 area restaurants surveyed. That leaves 39% with negative Q1 sales trends. Of the restaurants surveyed, 10% reported double-digit sales gains in Q1 2013.

“Q1 was a challenging quarter for Atlanta restaurants. Viewed in isolation, Q1 Atlanta restaurant sales growth was anemic and worrisome,” said Wagner. “But viewed in the broader national trend, Atlanta sales growth takes on a different appearance. Nationally the Q1 restaurant sales trend was negative 1.3% according to Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales and traffic-tracking company. Atlanta restaurant sales growth in Q1 while modest is at least positive. This shows that Atlanta restaurants can and, in the first quarter, did buck the national downward trend. It is significant that a majority, a full 61% surveyed, experienced positive sales growth in Q1 2013.”Restaurant operators attributed the tepid Q1 results to bad weather and sagging consumer confidence. For many operators, the quarter was salvaged by strong March 2013 sales.

The 88 independently-operated, non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total Q1 2013 survey sales volume was $50,806,603. The sample included restaurants in Atlanta’s fast-casual, casual and fine-dining segments opened at least 15 months.


John Metz, Jr. Joins His Father as IFMA Award Recipient

Monday, May 20th, 2013

John C. Metz, Jr., CEO, executive chef and co-founder of Sterling Spoon Culinary Management, has been honored as the 2013 Gold Plate Award recipient by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), which recognizes excellence in eight segments of foodservice operations. Metz is the creator of several Atlanta-area and Florida brands and concepts, including Market Street Café, Aqua blue and Marlow’s Tavern.

Metz, Jr. is now the second member of his family to win an IFMA Plate Award. His father, Metz Culinary Management Founder and Executive Chairman John C. Metz, was named an IFMA Silver Plate Award recipient in 1979.

IFMA Gold and Silver Plates have been awarded to such legendary operators as Dave Thomas of Wendy’s (’79), Ralph Brennan (’97), Steve Ells of Chipotle (’03) and most recently to Mary Molt of Kansas State University (’12).

A  jury including national trade press editors, foodservice experts, past award winners and the chairperson of the International Gold & Silver Plate Society, weigh the merits of hundreds of candidates nominated by IFMA Members.


Blais, Rosen and Concentrics Join Forces on San Diego Restaurant

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Concentrics Restaurants and Richard Blais recently announced their newest concept in conjunction with Michael Rosen of Juniper Hospitality. Located in San Diego, this joint venture will be on the outskirts of Little Italy in an early century warehouse space. Design, menu development and more are underway with hard details to follow.

The concept is being designed by The Johnson Studio, an  international restaurant architecture firm known for its unique designs of Atlanta’s TWO urban licks, The Royce in Pasadena, Chicago’s TRU restaurant, New York’s Del Frisco’s Grille, Costa Rica’s Hotel Grano de Oro, Fearing’s in Dallas, Tahoe’s Manzanita, and more.

Blais will divide his time between his home base in Atlanta and the new project in San Diego. The west coast restaurant is expected to open in late 2013.


ACF Atlanta Chefs Association Announces Support for Atlanta Foodservice Expo

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Clarion Events North America has announced announced that the American Culinary Federation Atlanta Chefs Association (ACF-ACA) will be organizing, planning and executing the show floor competitions and culinary demonstrations for the 2013 Atlanta Foodservice Expo. The ACF-ACA’s expertise is expected to bring in additional industry support and sponsors, as well as enhance the Expo’s value for attendees.

The 2013 Atlanta Foodservice Expo will be held October 20-22, 2013 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. For additional information, visit Atlanta Foodservice Expo


Atlanta and New York Chefs Participate in Pastured Poultry Week

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, this year’s Pastured Poultry Week , June 10 – 16, is expanding to include over 25 chefs from New York along with more than 50 Georgia-based chefs. Organized by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), a global organization working to end factory farming, and Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP), the event aims to help promote and celebrate humane and sustainable pasture-raised poultry.

During the week, more than 75 restaurants in Georgia and New York are serving pastured poultry on their menus to highlight the multiple benefits of pastured poultry, such as the high welfare of the chickens and the positive impact on both human health and the environment, as well as its superior taste. Participating New York restaurants include Home Restaurant, Cookshop and Ted & Honey, and Atlanta-area restaurants include Lure, Miller Union and No. 246.

Event supporters and organizers include Atlanta chef Shaun Doty of Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy and New York chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten of ABC Kitchen, John DeLucie of The Lion, and Andrew Tarlow of Marlow & Sons.

More information about Pastured Poultry Week and its participants will be available the week of May 20 from Georgians for Pastured Poultry.

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) was founded over 40 years ago by a British farmer who became horrified by the development of modern, intensive factory farming. Today, CIWF campaigns peacefully to end all cruel factory farming practices globally. CIWF believes that the biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet deserves a focused, specialized approach – therefore, the organization only works on farm animal welfare.

Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP) is a Georgia-based alliance made up of a multi-stakeholder group including Chef Shaun Doty of Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-biddy, Compassion in World Farming, Sierra Club, Georgia Organics, GreenLaw, Darby Farms, Grassroots Farms, Heritage Farm, White Oak Pastures and others. GPP’s goal is to make Georgia the leader in the production and consumption of pastured poultry.


International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

May 19-20, 2013, Chicago, IL. For more information, visit International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event

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