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Archive for January, 2017

International Production & Processing Expo

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

January 31-February 2, 2017, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta. For more information, visit IPP Expo


Team Hidi Five

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

January 29 at The Stave Room at American Spirit Works, Atlanta. For more information, visit Team Hidi.


Creative Coffee Drinks are Hitting Georgia’s Menus

Friday, January 27th, 2017

By Lara Creasy

I love coffee, and innovation in coffee is something I am always on the lookout for. Lately I’ve been really excited about the new push in coffee drink creativity making an appearance both inside and outside of the coffee shop world.

Both baristas and restaurant bartenders are starting to embrace coffee as not just a stand-alone drink, but as an ingredient to build upon. Thanks to innovative bottled products hitting the market, coffee can be found in both refreshing, alcohol-free pick-me-ups and as a note of complexity in creative craft cocktails.

Creative Coffee Drinks are Hitting Georgia’s Menus.

Photo courtesy of Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Growing Interest

Major innovation in coffee has come in three “waves.”

The First Wave focused mainly on getting coffee to the masses. Innovation came last century in the form of packaging, convenience and marketing. Coffee brands became household names. Everyone knew the “best part of waking up!” Vacuum-packing for freshness was introduced, instant coffee came on the scene and Mr. Coffee found its way into almost every home.

The Second Wave focused on making coffee more of an experience. People started to care about where their coffee came from, and spending several dollars a day on a trip to a café started to seem totally reasonable. Americans learned terms such cappuccino, French press and dark roast. Coffee shops became part of the social experience in America, and Starbucks grew from one store in 1971 to 3,000 by the year 2000.

We are at a point now in coffee culture where we’ve seen a Third Wave. For the last decade, coffee enthusiasts have grown ever more curious about the distinct characteristics of their coffee. The interest in fair trade and direct trade has pushed the industry to offer specific coffees in season, often from individual farms with very distinct terriors, almost like wine.

Many coffee shops associated with this third wave are smaller, locally owned shops, but larger companies, such as Intelligentsia (Chicago), Counter Culture (North Carolina) and Stumptown (Portland, Ore.), are taking coffee to the next level in a big way.


Restaurants Catch the Buzz

While many are touting the coming of a Fourth Wave or a New Wave in coffee culture, featuring barista competitions, climate change activism and the rampant acquisition of Third Wave coffee roasters by larger Second Wave companies, it remains to be seen where coffee will go next.

“What’s happening now is that a lot of the experience that’s been happening in a café context with Third Wave coffee has started to broaden out into restaurants,” says Jared Ray, senior sales manager for Stumptown Coffee Roasters in the Southeast. As a result, bars and restaurants that previously may not have considered creative coffee as a menu item are putting coffee drinks front and center.

One of the first bars in Atlanta to embrace coffee drink innovation was Ration & Dram. Owner Andy Minchow says that Chandler Rentz of Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters comes into his bar frequently, and a few years ago Chandler told him about a place in San Francisco that was kegging cold brew coffee and putting it on tap using nitrogen, like you would a keg of Irish stout.

“I wanted to do something innovative and new, and go the opposite route that most people go when doing coffee cocktails,” Minchow says. So he made his own cold brew and hooked it up to a jockey box that he used for events and outdoor parties. “I didn’t want to use one of my beer taps, because once coffee is in a beer tap, you have to replace the lines. It’s always coffee after that.”

Andy played around with the strength of his cold brew, deciding that stronger was better for the type of nitrogen cascade he was looking for. (Think about the beautiful ripples running through a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, and you’ll have the proper visual.) He settled on a mix that is “pretty stiff,” he says. The 6-ounce portion he serves right out of the tap is “like having 3 or 4 cups of coffee.”

The most popular cocktail he’s come up with to date is the mezcal-based Speedy Gonzalez, which he only sells at brunch. “It’s not something we do at night. You wouldn’t be able to sleep on nitrogen coffee!”

Speaking from personal experience, Andy is right. In my experimentation with cold brew cocktails, I have had both the most productive day of my week and the most sleepless night of my month!

Caffeine is definitely something to consider when working with coffee drinks and something to remind your guests of. However, says Stumptown’s Ray, “some people get really excited about it because it’s a natural stimulant in a cocktail, rather than something like Red Bull.”

Jared says that the 1½ to 2 ounces of regular cold brew that would be used in the average cocktail has such a small amount of caffeine in it that it’s not a problem for most people, especially when mixed with alcohol.


All About That Bass

Working with coffee provides an extremely complex flavor profile for mixologists to work with, allowing the drinks themselves to be relatively simple. “When people taste really high-quality ingredients, it doesn’t have to be complicated,” Ray says. “People get excited about the deep, rich or chocolately bass notes that coffee adds to the drink you are making.”

Minchow at Ration & Dram says he likes to focus on the inherently bitter flavor profile of the dark roast coffee he brews, opting to use it in cocktails like he would use Campari or an amaro.

“I’ve always wondered why people only use things like Bailey’s in coffee cocktails,” he says. “We know cream and sugar work well with coffee, but I wanted to do something new.”

Though he’s had a drink on the menu in the past that featured the creamy liqueur Amarula, his current offering, Speedy Gonzalez, uses mezcal and Fernet Vallet to stand up to his stout cold brew. “People really gravitate to that drink,” he says.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Stumptown offers a range of light and refreshing non-alcoholic coffee drinks at its cafés, including the Endless Summer, with soda and a fresh mint syrup, and the Duane Sorenson, which features a lemon oleo saccerum to play off of coffee’s fruity notes. When it comes to coffee, the possibilities are truly endless.


Freshness and Ease

While Minchow makes his own cold brew, many bars may not be willing to invest the time or effort required.

How is it done? The basic process involves steeping 5 pounds of ground coffee in 5 gallons of cold water for 12 to 18 hours, then straining it through a paper filter. Of course, to get the best quality cold brew, you need to make sure the grind is right, which requires a conical burr grinder, and a proper fine strain, which can best be achieved with a commercial filter.

“Bigger batches taste better,” Ray says. Stumptown has a smaller batch recipe designed for home use, but the 5-gallon version is the standard.

Which begs the question, what if a bar or restaurant wants to offer cold brew, but doesn’t have the time or space to make it? Or what if they don’t think they can sell those 80 portions of coffee in the day or two after brewing?

“We are one of the first, if not THE first, to put cold brew into bottles and really go for it,” Ray says. “Taking that quality that is in Third Wave and putting it into a bottle or a tank makes it accessible in a whole lot of other environments.”

Stumptown currently offers a whole line of bottled cold brew drinks, as well as a cold brew concentrate designed to be diluted at a 1:1 ratio, for bar and restaurant use. Stumptown’s bottled products are available statewide through Savannah Distributors.

“The reason we started doing this to begin with,” he says, “was that we were tired of making cold brew in our own cafes. We started producing it commissary-style for our own cafes, and then the light bulb went off.”

Bottled cold brew products solve several problems for bar managers, including ensuring consistency between batches and between shifts, cutting down on the time investment and ensuring product freshness. Stumptown’s bottled products even come with expiration dates.

I looked to Stumptown’s cold brew concentrate when investigating coffee options for Superica, Ford Fry’s Tex-Mex restaurants. Coffee is rarely the first thing on people’s minds after they have tacos, but we still wanted to offer something quality for our brunch guests with minimal waste. Using a quality cold brew concentrate allowed us to offer fun coffee drinks, like the “Black & White,” a mixture of cold brew and horchata, as well as cocktails like “El Chapo.” (See sidebar for recipe.)

The bottled products open the door for innovation in many forms. “I get excited about it going into a cocktail or being used in culinary pursuits,” Ray says.“It’s something I’ve been trying to get going here in the South. People here can look to other markets and see the future a little bit,” he adds, citing cities like New York, Seattle and New Orleans, which have been easing coffee cocktails onto their menus for several years now.

With the availability of convenient, quality coffee products in Georgia, we should be seeing way more creative coffee drinks on menus here in the future.


Regynald Washington: Hojeij Branded Foods Wins 2016 GRACE Distinguished Service Award

Friday, January 27th, 2017
Regynald Washington

Regynald Washington

“The restaurant industry is most rewarding when you are delivering hospitality,” says Regynald G. Washington, CEO of Hojeij Branded Foods, the largest restaurant provider of food and beverage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He considers the keys to success to be “wowing the guest and developing, inspiring, motivating and educating your employees and management leaders to become professionals in this industry.”

Inside the world’s most traveled airport, Hojeji Branded Foods operates 20 restaurants representing 20 different brands. Across the U.S., the Atlanta-based company operates a total of 73 restaurants representing more than 45 popular and widely recognized brands in 13 of the nation’s top 20 airports. The company employs more than 700 food and beverage employees in Atlanta and spends over $13 million each year with local food and beverage suppliers. To build its restaurants in the Atlanta airport, Hojeji’s capital expenditures exceeded $17.5 million, helping fuel the state’s economy.

Washington has been involved with the GRA since its inauguration. He was the elected president of the restaurant segment and went on to represent the state of Georgia as a director on the National Restaurant Association Board; he went on to serve as Chairman of the Board.

Washington is a long-term, forward thinker who cares about the future of the industry. He has served on Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day Hospitality Board for 15 years, promoting and working with education for our industry.

In 2015, he gave a $1-million endowment to the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. The Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality Management program offers graduate student scholarships, allows for enhanced global experiences and provides expanded teaching technologies. “I’m very impressed by the quality of faculty, the structure of the academic programs and the courses and content,” Washington said at the time of the endowment. “But most importantly, I think the students are truly awesome. They’re grounded, respectful, hungry for knowledge and eager to learn about and grow in the industry, all of which are the attributes of successful hospitality professionals.”

A native of Marathon, Fla., Washington began his hospitality career at age 13 busing restaurant tables. After graduating from Florida International University with a degree in hospitality management, he joined The Walt Disney Company in 1997, rising to vice president of worldwide food and beverage operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. In 2010, he joined Hojeij Branded Foods as chief operating officer; he was named its CEO in March 2015. In 2007, he was inducted into the College of Diplomats of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement and enhancement of the restaurant and food service industry. – HP


5 Restaurants in Georgia Recognized For Giving Back to Communities

Friday, January 27th, 2017

The Georgia Restaurant Association announced today its 2017 Restaurant Neighbor award state winners. These individuals and restaurant groups have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to serving their communities through outstanding charitable service and philanthropy and will advance to the national level to compete for the grand prize of $10,000 to support their favorite charity or non-profit.

The Georgia Restaurant Neighbor Award winners are:

Ray Schoenbaum, Ray’s on the River

Ray Schoenbaum, owner of Ray’s Restaurants, LLC is dedicated to helping children and has supported the Fragile Kids Foundation each year since 1988. He hosts events at Ray’s on the River to benefit the foundation, including Tastings Under the Tent and an annual breakfast with Santa. Tastings Under the Tent is a fundraiser that features incredible food by Ray’s Restaurants paired with beverages. Additionally, Ray’s on the River hosts an annual breakfast with Santa to benefit the Fragile Kids Foundation. The breakfast is fully staffed by Ray’s team and they donate over 125 meals for the children.

John C. Metz, Sterling Hospitality

Sterling Hospitality has raised more than $730k for Special Olympics Georgia since the inception of their partnership. Last year’s golf tournament alone raised $95k. Metz and Sterling are also actively involved with the Atlanta Community Food Bank through hosting fundraising events within their restaurants and also participating in community events such as the Hunger Run/Walk. They also participate in an annual dine-out event for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, which aims to end childhood hunger in America.  

Regynald Washington, Hojeij Branded Foods

In 2015, Washington gave a $1 million endowment to the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. The Master’s program is now named The Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality Management Program. His endowment will offer graduate student scholarships, allow for enhanced global experiences, and provide expanding teaching technologies. Since his donation, the Regynald G. Washington Master of global hospitality Program has been ranked #16 out of the 4,000 best masters & MBA programs worldwide by Eduniversal.

Van Jakes, Jake 22 Management

Van Jakes is involved in the Wheels of Dream Youth Foundation, which works with high school juniors and seniors to provide mentoring and educational opportunities. He has also developed a program that allows college students to come in for an eight-week internship opportunity, where they learn about business operations and marketing. Jakes recently started his own consulting business called My 5th Quarter, which offers business and franchise consulting to other former and current professional athletes that want to get into business and have something going after their playing careers end.

Willy Bitter, Willy’s Mexicana Grill

Willy’s Mexicana Grill has been an active sponsor of the Boys and Girls Club for several years.  The partnership started with Willy’s supporting their annual ‘Salsa, Salsa’ culinary challenge, where the kids from the club create salsa recipes using ingredients from their gardens. Willy’s celebrated its 21th anniversary last year by raising $21,000 in 21 days to continue supporting the Boys & Girls Club’s Healthy Lifestyles Garden Program. In 2015, they raised $20k in 20 days and in 2017 they plan to raise $22k in 22 days.

From all state winners, three national Restaurant Neighbor Award winners are chosen by a panel of industry professionals and receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. in March 2017 where they are honored at a gala awards dinner during the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affair Conference. Each national winner receives $10,000 to support their charitable giving efforts. Developed 18 years ago, the program is sponsored by American Express.

Georgia had a national winner in 2015 with Unsukay Community of Businesses for their work with the Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit charity based in Atlanta, GA that provides emergency assistance to area restaurant workers facing an unanticipated hardship.

“The restaurant industry goes above and beyond, not just by serving guests as the table, but serving others in the community,” says Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “We’re givers by nature and understand the importance of giving back. These restaurants deserve to be recognized for helping shape and strengthen their communities.


Papi’s Cuban and Caribbean Grill Announces New Location at Emory Point

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Papi’s Cuban & Caribbean Grill announces the opening of its newest location in the historic Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. Opening its doors on Monday, Jan. 30 in the Emory Point mixed-use development, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily and joins six other Papi’s locations throughout the metro Atlanta area.

“We look forward to bringing a true taste of Cuban food and heritage to the Druid Hills neighborhood,” says owner Reynaldo “Rey” Regalado. “People all across Atlanta know and love Papi’s for our delicious Cuban cooking, but the Papi’s experience is not only about food. We treat our guests like family providing genuine Cuban hospitality and serving them with love.”

Regalado, who immigrated from the Santiago de Cuba province almost 30 years ago, uses family recipes to create specialty dishes made with fresh, authentic ingredients, prepared the same way his family has made them for generations. Papi’s chicken is all-natural and hormone free, the beef is certified Angus and the plantains are sourced daily from the Atlanta market.

Favorites like pollo vaca frita (shredded chicken breast grilled with Spanish seasoning and green and red pepper), mofongo con camarones (stir-fried shrimp with red and green peppers) and arroz con pollo (a traditional Cuban dish of marinated chicken and rice) boast unique spices and sauces inspired by Regalado’s “Papi,” Rey Sr., showcasing the flavors of Cuba and the Caribbean.

Papi’s signature menu item, the authentic Cuban sandwich, features roast pork is marinated in Papi’s special seasoning for more than 24 hours and slow-roasted for another four hours, then served alongside juicy ham, melted Swiss cheese, dill pickles and a touch of mustard and mayonnaise.  It’s all stuffed into fresh baked Cuban bread and pressed to perfection.

The restaurant’s beverage menu includes hand-squeezed juices, traditional milkshakes, tropical smoothies and authentic Cuban coffee. Papi’s full bar serves signature mojitos prepared with all fresh juices and authentic Cuban rum then hand muddled with fresh mint, independent craft beers, wine by the glass and more.

The 4300-square foot Emory Point location creates a relaxed and fun atmosphere with Caribbean inspired colors and accents along with Cuban music playing in the background. The interior seats 140 in the dining room and at the bar, and the fully covered, all-seasons patio seats an additional 50 guests.


Savannah-Chatham Day Seafood Day

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

January 26, 2017, Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta. For more information, visit Savannah Area Chamber


26th Anniversary South SAWG Sustainable AG Conference

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

January 25-28, 2017, Lexington, KY. For more information, visit South Sustainable AG Conference


41st Annual Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Supply Show

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

January 24-26, 2017, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Myrtle Beach, SC. For more information, visit HMR Supply Show


Atlanta Cask Ale Festival

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

January 21, 2017, 5 Seasons Brewing, Sandy Springs & Taco Mac, Prado. For more information, visit Atlanta Cask Ale Festival

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