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Archive for November, 2015

17th Annual Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

2015 Hospitality Hall of Fame

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) gathered with local hospitality leaders Wednesday evening at Georgia Aquarium for the 17th annual Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame. The reception honored individuals who continue to make outstanding contributions to the growth and well-being of Atlanta’s hospitality industry.

2015 Hospitality Hall of Fame inductees:

  • Karen Bremer, Executive Director, Georgia Restaurant Association
  • John Grant Jr., Celebration Bowl
  • Bob Hope, President and Co-Founder, Hope-Beckham

Karen Bremer is the current Executive Director of the Georgia Restaurant Association and serves on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association. Bremer has been in the hospitality industry for over 35 years, rising up from a manager position to serving as president for the Peasant Restaurant Group. She also was owner of Dailey’s and City Grill restaurants in downtown Atlanta where she led many efforts including the start of the Downtown Restaurant Week. More information about Karen Bremer can be found on the links below.

Bremer Elected on NRA’s Board of Directors

Salute to Women-Karen Bremer

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award-Karen Bremer

“Our Hospitality Hall of Fame classes are always extremely impressive, and the members of this 2015 group are no exception,” said William Pate, President and CEO, ACVB. “They have dedicated their careers to making Atlanta a premier tourism destination both nationally and internationally, and we are thrilled to welcome Karen Bremer, John Grant Jr. and Bob Hope into the Hospitality Hall of Fame.”

Established in 1913, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, nonprofit organization created to favorably impact the Atlanta economy through conventions and tourism.




Legendary Events Opens Flourish in Buckhead

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

On November 7th Tony Conway and the Legendary Events team, Creative Director Steve Welsh and President Dave Lishness opened the doors to Flourish, Legendary Events’ newest Buckhead, Atlanta, special event venue.

Conway wanted the inaugural event to be spectacular, the “Party of This Century” was born and orchestrated by Co-chairs Cindy and Bill Fowler. Together with Conway they created a Black and White gala, in the style of the ball thrown by author Truman Capote in 1966 at The New York Plaza Hotel.

GFlourishuests at The Legendary Party were impressed by the new venue and in one evening $1.8 million was raised to benefit The Shepherd Center.

“The First event at Flourish was a satisfying success,” said Tony Conway.

The task of turning an abandoned car dealership into a Special Events venue took just 7 months.  The company worked alongside Construction Depot Contracting and Harrison Design Architects. Landscaping at the venue was completed by Ed Castro and Seven Stone provided the exquisite black and white paving stone in the arrival courtyard.

FlourishKey features that guests will enjoy at Flourish include the chandeliers and sconces by Restoration Hardware and the 12ft high doors leading into the Legendary Ballroom, which were hand-made by Steve Welsh and Legendary Events master carpenter, Don Welsh. In a bold move Conway commissioned Atlanta based abstract artist Khalilah Birdsong to produce three 9 x 12ft. colorful canvases to complete the look of the Pre-Function room. Flourish is available now for client bookings.

Photos by Jamie Reichman


Industry Trends for 2016

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

The team at Melissa Libby & Associates asked some of the South’s leading chefs and mixologists what industry trends are in store for restaurants in 2016.

Tom Gray

 Tom Gray

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails chef Tom Gray in Jacksonville, Florida, says to expect a few new proteins and grains to land on plates as well. “Alternative forms of protein such as chicken livers, pig ears and flank steak, along with alternative grains with an emphasis on whole and ancient varieties, will be popping up on menus,” he predicts.

Atlanta’s Ray’s Restaurants consultant Chad Crete thinks kale will be overlooked in 2016 as restaurants continue healthier eating habits. “Vegetables will become highlights on all menus,” says Crete. “It won’t be just sides and that one lonely vegetarian option; they’re going to be everywhere. Customers will continue to put a big emphasis on knowing where their food comes from as well, seeking local produce, sustainable fish and free-range hormone- and antibiotic-free meats.”

Moxie’s Gray also sees a focus on sourcing in the new year. “More guests are excited to learn where ingredients come from, how they are handled and what the backstory is on dishes,” Gray explains. “More urban farming businesses like GYO Greens will flourish; small companies that are producing great intown products with a very small carbon footprint.”

Doug Turbush

 Doug Turbush

Doug Turbush of Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar and Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar sees a bright future for oyster connoisseurs. “Oysters will explode,” Turbush says. “The renaissance and rituals of oyster eating will thrive with increasing interest in oyster terroir, growing methods and the nuances that produce oyster varieties.”

Turbush predicts the traditional cocktail sauce and horseradish will be forgotten in 2016. “My hope is naked oysters goes along with this trend so the distinct flavors from each region can be appreciated,” he says.

Lance Gummere

Lance Gummere

One trend Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy chef Lance Gummere hopes to see disappear from menus is expensive plates with small portions. “Hopefully we’ll see more customer outrage regarding the absurdity of $35 plates consisting of two small bites of food and a few dots of pureed vegetable garnished with a micro green,” Gummere says. “If you’re like me, you like to share your food when you go out to dinner. But in order to share it, you’re got to be able to identify it on your plate! We need to start feeding folks again.”

Matt Ridgway

 Matt Ridgway

Along those same lines, Ridgway sees Southern cooking continuing to deepen in the new year. “Everyone needed homier items to wrap their arms around over the past few years,” he says. “But now I believe we’ll see a move to dishes that rely on Southern pathways and local farmers to achieve more refined dishes using specific heirloom varieties of produce, beans and grains.”

Bellina Alimentari creative director Alice Fabi sees sustainability as a priority in 2016. “We’re learning more and more about how to use and preserve what our land has to offer in creative ways that follow an ethical, natural and sustainable philosophy,” says Fabi. “There will be a widespread need to go to the essence of food and find prime ingredients.”

Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie

Chef, restaurant owner, and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie of Red Beard Restaurants sees an increase in demand for faster, healthier options in 2016. “It’s going to be a re-do of fast food with a healthy focus,” he explains. “I’m not talking about salad bars but healthful, lighter cuisine at fast food speed.”

That coincides with what Crete of Ray’s Restaurants is seeing. “Fast casual will continue to be a growing segment in our industry,” Crete explains. “Millennials 18-35 will soon become the biggest demographic in our country. They want chef-driven and local ingredients delivered quickly and at a price point that will allow for increased visits.”

In 2016 bartenders are expected to borrow more ingredients from the kitchen, according to Johnny’s Hideaway bartender Shawn McCoy in Atlanta. “More and more, bartenders will be utilizing what’s available in their kitchens – freshly squeezed juices, herbs, spices and ingredients like chipotle and balsamic vinegar – to bring out the flavors of the cocktail.”

McCoy also wants better ice options for mixologists. “Right now there are the standard ice machines and hand-carved ice programs. There needs to be something in the middle for high-volume bars so they can provide quality ice for drinks.”

Derek Dollar

 Derek Dollar

According to Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails and The Big Ketch Roswell chef Derek Dollar, food sensitivities are now part of the future, and we need to plan accordingly. “The gluten-free craze will continue to increase,” he says.

Gillespie would like to see one specific bar trend come back in 2016. “I’d love to see a renaissance of the Tiki craze,” says Gillespie. “We need more bars like Trader Vic’s!”

Chef Matthew Ridgway of Southern Gentleman and the Gypsy Kitchen says, “I’m going to be using more Middle Eastern spices – black garlic, black lime, black cardamom, white cardamom, Aleppo pepper and wolf berries – for spice-forward cooking.”


Sterling Spoon Management’s 17th Annual Golf Classic

Friday, November 13th, 2015

17th Annual Golf ClassicSterling Spoon Culinary Management hosted their 17th Annual Golf Classic in September to raise funds for Special Olympics Georgia. Sterling Spoon also hosted two Marlow’s Tavern grand opening parties in Woodstock and Roswell that benefited the charity. The combined amount raised from all three events this fall was $100,000, putting the partnership’s grand total well over $600,000 since inception.

“A big part of being a neighborhood restaurant company is connecting with the people and causes in our communities,” said John C. Metz, executive chef and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern, Aqua blue and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management. “Seeing how we have made a difference for the Special Olympics athletes here in Georgia has been very rewarding for our team, and we are grateful to our sponsors and guests who continue supporting this great cause year after year with us.”

Steve Martin is the manager of ArtLite, he signed on as a golfer for the inaugural outing and has been a participant since, most recently as the event chair.

“I always thought Special Olympics was a great cause, but I had no idea just how great until I chaired this golf tournament and met some of the athletes from the Georgia chapter,” he says. “It’s so uplifting to watch their faces filled with joy out there on the course. As long as I can hold a club, I plan to be a part of this amazing golf outing.”
Special Olympics Georgia provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 25 Olympic-type sports for 26,702 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. The goal is to help bring people with intellectual disabilities into the larger society under conditions whereby they are accepted, respected, and given the chance to become useful and productive citizens.


Pictured: John Metz, Josh Jansma, Steve Thomas, Steve Martin, Susan Skolnick, Hank Clark


ONE. midtown kitchen Announces Beverage Director

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Melissa DavisONE. midtown kitchen announces their newest addition, Beverage Director Melissa Davis.

Melissa worked at concepts including Cakes & Ale, Woodfire Grill and The General Muir. Davis is a certified sommelier and has been featured in many publications.

She joins a management team at ONE which is comprised of all new talent including Chef Matthew Weinstein, Chef Christopher Maher and General Manager Kara Czaplicki.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the re-launch of ONE. midtown kitchen. My passion for the industry comes from having fun and meeting new people. The goal is to make sure that every dinner out is a special occasion, even if it is just a Tuesday night out,” explains Davis.

For more information, visit ONE. midtown kitchen



Georgia Gives Day: Georgia’s Annual Crowdfunding Philanthropy Day

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

November 12, 2015. For more information on Georgia Gives Day or sponsorship opportunities, contact Justin Banta, Development Director at Georgia Center of Nonprofits, at or (678) 916-3014


Savannah Food and Wine Festival

Monday, November 9th, 2015

November 9-15, 2015, Savannah, Ga. For more information, visit Savannah Food and Wine Festival.


Arby’s Gains Same-Store Sales Growth in Q3

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Arby’sarbys achieved U.S. system same store sales growth of 9.6 percent in the third quarter of 2015.

A majority of the brand’s sales increase was due to traffic growth. This is the brand’s 20th consecutive quarter of same store sales growth and 11th consecutive quarter of QSR industry outperformance.

“I’m particularly pleased that the majority of our sales growth this quarter was driven by an increase in transactions, a key indicator of vibrant and growing brand,” said Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

Arby’s continues to use their “Brand Champs” guest experience training program. The program has trained  over 21,000 company team members and more than 30,000 franchise employees in how to train, trust and empower restaurant-level team members to deliver a delightful guest experience.

In September 2015, Arby’s introduced sliders on their menu and sold over 29 million Sliders in the first month. The sliders are available with chicken, corned beef, ham and roast beef.


15th Annual Afternoon in the Country Hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier International

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

November 8, 2015, Serenbe, Palmetto, Ga. For more information, visit Les Dames d’Escoffier International Atlanta Chapter


Atlanta Foodservice Expo Delivers Continued Satisfaction

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Atlanta Foodservice ExpoAtlanta Foodservice Expo concluded its third edition last month with both exhibitors and attendees satisfied at the development of the event.

Atlanta Foodservice Expo was supported by the Georgia Restaurant Association, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance, and the ACF Atlanta Chefs Association. The event was also backed by industry supporters, these include: Atlanta Community Food Bank; Atlanta Street Food Coalition; Foodservice Daily News; Les Dames d’Escoffier International Atlanta Chapter; Today’s Restaurant News; The Giving Kitchen; and the UGA Small Business Development Center at Kennesaw State University.

Restaurant INFORMER was the official Media Partner.

The American Culinary Federation Atlanta Chefs Association organized the show floor culinary competitions and demonstrations. The competitors featured dozens of competitors competing for cash awards. Twelve demonstrations took place focusing on different culinary techniques that included Gluten Free, Breaking Down a Pig, Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, and Charcuterie. Dueling chefs were featured each day at noon. These sponsors included: Cheney Brothers, Gordon Food Service, and La Chiquita Tortilla.

The latest products, services and technologies from 178 exhibitors were organized in the following product groups: Food; Beverages; Apparel & Uniforms; Furnishings & Décor; Tableware; Equipment; Supplies & Services; and Technology.

The Expo partnered with UGA Small Business Development Center at Kennesaw State University to assist with the content of the education program which consisted of 34 sessions. All seminars were included at no extra cost. The educational sessions focused on the latest industry trends.

There were two keynote speakers, Commissioner Gary W. Black with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Nancy Kruse who is known for her menu analyst in the foodservice industry.

Savannah Distributing Company sponsored daily happy hour receptions on the show floor.

Show Management worked with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to donate any leftover product from the event to the local community. The show accumulated 2,882 pounds of food products left over after the event, which translated into 2,402 meals for families in need.

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