Restaurant – BB Veggie Wed, 22 Jun 2022 09:21:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Restaurant – BB Veggie 32 32 Restaurant owner slams Ince’s investigation into management team’s ‘abhorrent behaviour’ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 09:09:12 +0000

The restaurant owner who exposed the behavior of senior Ince Group executives towards one of his employees last month has criticized the company’s handling of the ensuing investigation.

Lee Skeet, owner of The Cora restaurant in Cardiff, has spoken of what it sees as a “token effort” by the company.

Skeet emailed the company in May claiming that a 22-year-old household employee had been “treated with contempt, disrespect and unwanted touching by members of [the] group” at a dinner on May 4.

He added that the group, which was made up of six people including Ince board members, was: “loud, obnoxious, rude and disrespectful” during the evening.

Skeet said the party included John Biles, head of finance and administration at Ince, Adrian Biles, the firm’s chief executive, and Donald Brown, CEO of Arden Partners, the corporate adviser recently acquired by Inc. The company declined to comment on those present.

Skeet said he received a response to his email 12 days after that night from someone who introduced himself via email as “the independent investigator hired by the Ince Group to investigate allegations of inappropriate behavior”, but did not provide a name.

After Skeet asks who he was talking to, the person identified herself as Carol Ashton, non-executive director of the Ince Group board.

Skeet said that made him question the independence of the company’s investigation and that the company’s internal investigation seemed like a “token effort” to him.

He said: “It felt like a really unprofessional email. My wife is a lawyer and she was shocked that they thought this was acceptable.

A person close to Ince said Ashton’s investigation was being overseen externally by law firm CM Murray.

They also claimed that Ashton sent a second email on May 17 offering an in-person meeting with Skeet and his employee, but did not receive a response from Skeet until June 13.

The person added that Ince’s internal investigation into the investigation concluded at the end of May.

Skeet said he was not told when the investigation was complete or given details of any action taken.

He said he would have liked to see a public apology to the house employee, but no apology has been issued by Ince so far.

Instead, Skeet said “many other law firms” have been in touch with him “to apologize on behalf of the profession.”

Skeet added that the band’s £1,000 bill had been given to his employee.

Ince Group is one of the largest listed law firms in the UK with a turnover of around £100m. Year-to-date, the firm’s share price has halved and stood at 17p as of 5.30pm on Tuesday. Since the group listed in 2020, its share price has fallen from a high of 83p to 16p.

Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar Mon, 20 Jun 2022 14:07:00 +0000

Why small businesses matter

Buy small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter shines a light on local business owners who volunteer their time, talent, goods and services for the benefit of our community. The local shop movement is spreading virally as local businesses that are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You are IT Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar!

Four questions for Lou Selmani, co-founder of Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Why did you start your business?

Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar is a family business operated by brothers Rocco and Lou Selmani. We grew up with a love for food. We love being in the restaurant business and using our culinary skills to provide a great dining experience for our customers. We opened in Bethel, CT in 2011; but the history of our food service and restaurants goes back a long way. Prior to Bethel, we owned Portofino in Wolcott, CT for many years.

We have always loved the Bethel area, so when we closed Wolcott we decided to open Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar in Bethel. We chose Dolan Plaza because the space was already set up for a restaurant and there is great parking. We love the Bethel vibe and the people are so supportive, even with the challenges we’ve all faced over the past two years.

What is your best-selling product/service?

Our best-selling dishes are pasta, seafood and steak. Some of our customer favorites are tagliatelle bolognese, seared wild salmon and grilled marinated Angus skirt steak, to name a few.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

We support many local businesses and are also supported by many. See a sample below. We are very grateful for all the support we have received from our community and will continue to support them as well.

– Ace Hardware, Bethel CT
– Varano Bakery, Bethel, Connecticut
– Bethel food market in Caraluzzi
– Greenwood Features Movie Theater (We have a video commercial of Portofino playing on screen before the movie starts)

Have you “reinvented” your small business?

Like many local businesses, we have “re-imagined” our catering and service strategies to deal with the last two years of the pandemic and we continue to offer them today. We stayed open for business as much as we could. We’ve partnered with Grub Hub, Vroom, and Door Dash for delivery. We offered pre-packaged beer, wine and cocktails to go with food orders when the state of CT permitted. We have built a covered and heated outdoor terrace to accommodate the safety of our customers.

We started offering special cheese pizza and take-out family meals. We have also added “Slice” to our delivery service options. Finally, we decided to embark on the offer of the entire restaurant / bar for weddings and events of 75 to 100 people. We have had wonderful events here since then.

We still offer the above dining and service options and have recently made arrangements with Door Dash to deliver bottles of wine with food orders. Portofino cross-promotes on social media and with other local businesses. We recently had a video ad produced and viewed by moviegoers at the new Greenwood Features Cinema. We will continue to “reinvent” our business to ensure that we can provide our customers with the best dining experience possible.

Lou would like to propose the Bethel Food Market of Caraluzzi to be presented next!

Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 13 Greenwood Avenue (Dolan Plaza) in Bethel. Visit Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar online here, and be sure to check out their Facebook and Instagram pages too!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

A Persian restaurant in Omaha had a plant display stolen Sat, 18 Jun 2022 22:26:00 +0000

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Typically, when you walk into Ahmad’s Persian Kitchen, just off Dodge Street, you’ll notice a large display of hibiscus plants.

That changed on Wednesday evening when the flowers and pots were allegedly stolen.

Ahmad’s owner spoke with 3 News Now about how it felt to see such a beautiful display taken away.

“It’s a disappointment,” said Ahmad Nazar. “Why do people do this? »

Nazar said he paid around $800 to create this floral window display to make the storefront of his well-known restaurant more attractive.

He also explained that the incident was not captured by any security cameras, as it happened in an area out of sight of the building’s security cameras.

This is a significant cost for a restaurant that, like many others, is struggling with supply chain issues, staff shortages and the pandemic.

“I don’t want to punish anyone,” Nazar said.

He says he doesn’t want to raise his prices to meet these demands because he thinks it would hurt the number of customers who come to his restaurant.

The restaurateur also explained that he was not seeing the same number of customers and wondered why. Could it be the weather, the cost of gas or simply not having the funds to go out to eat? The answer is unclear.

Nazar’s attitude to the situation is not one of defeat, however.

“It’s a disappointment but life goes on,” he said.

Nazar plans to ensure that future flower pots are firmly anchored in place. He has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of giving up even in the face of the various setbacks presented to him.

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Why a Chicago restaurant is removing its most popular dish from the menu Thu, 16 Jun 2022 13:55:00 +0000

We often assume we understand restaurant economics because we know what a chicken breast costs at the supermarket. “I could make this dish at home for $5,” the refrain goes. Could we? Here, Eater takes a look at all the costs of a popular restaurant dish to see what’s in it and the benefits that come with it.

Restaurant owners typically spend a lot of time figuring out how to make ends meet: how much to charge for a dish, how to choose ingredients, how to pay staff. For years, that’s what owners Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark have done to offer the Bacon, Potato, and Scallion Stuffed Bing Loaf at their Parachute restaurant in Chicago. Fried and baked, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, bing bread was popular – and brought in just 63 cents per loaf sold, a profit of 4.2% (all the way down from the net 10% of the restaurant). It was also incredibly complicated to make (the restaurant published the 21-page method in a unique recipe book co-authored by Kevin Pang). But, as they reopen Parachute after a renovation and two years of take-out service, Kim and Clark are removing their signature dish from the menu, not just because of the low margin — they also want to do good for their employees.

Owners believe the time is right for a major overhaul of staffing practices. They are getting rid of the sub-minimum wage, the (legal) economic framework that sustains tipping and cements fundamental problems in the hospitality industry like the front-to-back-of-the-house wage disparity and systemic biases against servers by customers. “We inherited a broken model,” Kim says. “But we have to pay attention to the new view of how work works. Until the consumer can understand the true cost of food and service, there is this disconnect between what people are willing to pay for food and what we have to charge in order to have decent wages and the benefits that create a sustainable environment for people.

If Kim and Clark want to pay their employees fairly, it doesn’t make financial sense to keep the bread bing. To understand why, it’s best to look at bread bing in two ways: first, based on pre-pandemic costs that generated a profit of 4.2%. Second, comparing that to the extra amount the restaurant would have to charge to maintain that same slim margin, while taking into account both current food cost inflation and Parachute’s plan to raise minimum wage server wages. from $9 to the minimum wage of $9. $25 which they usually earn with tips.

Pre-pandemic menu price: $15

Labor: $4.65 (31%)
Fixed: $4.05 (27%)
Food: $5.67 (37%)
Total cost: $14.37
Profit: $0.63 (4.2%)

Since Parachute opened in 2014, bing bread had been an instant staple and default starter for sharing tables, but the food cost of $5.67 was still too high for a $15 item. . The dish required so much time and space to prepare: after a month of training on the recipe, a full-time employee had to arrive early each day to produce batches of 24 orders. Even with strong overall sales, fixed costs (27%) and labor costs (31%) within recommended margins, bing’s ingredients made up 37% of his menu price, resulting in a profit. down 4.2% from 63 cents.

For Kim, bing bread was not the heart of her Parachute menu, and she intended to rotate into different Asian bread recipes like roti or milk bread. But it was a fan favorite and eventually became too emotionally important for customers to take it down. (It’s a common pitfall of successful dishes; for example, Scaramouche, a Toronto restaurant, unsuccessfully tried to get rid of a coconut cream pie that’s been on the menu since 1980.)

This reluctant commitment to bread lasted through the early days of the pandemic. For the past two years, bing bread has been available for take-out and delivery, alongside meal kits, on-the-go cocktails, fried chicken, interstate shipping via Goldbelly, spin-off Korean pizza, and of every other kingpin owners could think of. They raised the price of bing to $20, but despite the $5 jump, Kim and Clark did not see their profits increase dramatically. Labor costs also jumped to 53% of sales. The cost of food has also increased. Like many businesses, Parachute was barely breaking even.

Reopening menu price: off the menu

Note: Estimates based on Parachute’s projected goal of achieving sales where labor is equal to 40% and 27% for fixed.

If Parachute charges $22.80 ($19 + 20% service charge)
Labor: $9.12 (40%)
Fixed: $6.15 (27%)
Food: $6.50 (28.5%)
Total cost: $21.77
Profit: $1.03 (4.5%)

If Parachute charges $28 ($23.40 + 20% service charge)
Labor: $11.20 (40%)
Fixed: $7.56 (27%)
Food: $6.50 (23%)
Total cost: $25.26
Profit: 2.74 (9.7%)

Kim and Clark opened a second restaurant, Wherewithall, for service in 2021, allowing them to renovate the century-old building that housed Parachute. While the space was massively laid out in a way that most diners wouldn’t notice (ripping up the floors revealed rotting joists and 25 types of flooring), the restorers decided to make more visible changes. to prizes, increasing everyone’s salaries to reduce the need for tricks. A note on the menu indicates additional service charges, and the point is elaborated upon at checkout: “A transitional service charge of 20% has been added to all checks to move away from below minimum wage and to allow us to pay a higher hourly wage to our entire team as well as health care benefits. We call it transitional because it will take time for the restaurant industry to adjust to the true cost of food and wages.

“Textbooks would say labor is 30% of sales,” Kim says. “But this is based on working at below minimum wage. I think by paying fair labor costs the ratio is more likely our ratio which makes sense as hotel restaurants operate the same as they have labor costs works higher than independent restaurants.

Chicago’s minimum wage is $15, but for tipped workers it’s $9. A living wage in the city (for someone without children) is over $18. Kim and Clark increased house pay from $9/hour plus tips to $25/hour, while increasing staff from $14-$15/hour to $17-$18 plus benefits . (At Wherewithall, this system produced roughly the same amount for both groups when factoring in longer hours and regular overtime for the cooks.)

The changes increase the restaurant’s labor costs by 29%. Neither group made a fortune. But that means raising the standard of living for cooks, while ensuring servers still earn a living on slow nights, instead of relying on tips and the whims of customers. “Some weeks it’s so slow because of COVID,” Kim explains, “we lose money and go negative paying servers $25 an hour. But it’s about building a culture that values and validates people as professionals. And I think we’ve done that. We only lost one server last year. At the same time, a 20% service charge is effectively treated as income (and taxed as such, as opposed to tips, which are traditionally split between staff and not counted as income or wages).

The first option for restaurateurs in this position is to find a way to make the dish cheaper to produce. If they can’t afford people less, they look to downsize the method or the ingredients, hoping that customers won’t notice the difference in quality. They switch from one brand of flour to another, then bacon and butter – until the final dish no longer resembles the cherished original. Kim and Clark were unwilling to do this.

The next option is to raise prices. With food costs up 15%, on top of additional labor costs, the restaurant would have to charge $19 for bing bread, plus 20% service charge, bringing the price to 22, $80, in order to generate the same 4.5% profit they earned before the pandemic. And to be on par with the restaurant’s overall 10% margin, the dish would need to be priced at $23.40 ($28 total with service charge). “It’s hard to charge only what you need to charge when every restaurant bases its prices on below-minimum wages,” Kim says.

But raising prices is not on the table for all restaurants. At New York’s Babbo, $28 would be down for a pasta dish, which can go up to $39 (not including the $85 black truffle tajarin). But thanks to entrenched racial biases in menu prices, Kim is reluctant to charge more than $15 for this Asian-American Korean bread, regardless of the cost of ingredients and labor. (In an even starker example, a place like Eleven Madison Park may even raise prices and reap praise when it dumps tips — then reverse course, bring the tips back, and keep the prices inflated.) This discrimination by the price is “the bamboo ceiling,” she says. “Attitudes toward pricing do not reflect the true value of cooking, but American perceptions of the value of the social and economic status of cooking.”

The only option left is to remove bread bing altogether, which is where Kim and Clark landed. Although this may irritate some customers, the decision was ultimately to retain staff. With no way to mechanize the process and the hard-to-train human element, a sous chef (plus a dishwasher) had to come in the mornings when the kitchen was empty. Working alone, this cook was never really part of the crew, so there was a high burnout rate in the position. Kim and Clark often found that this was the last station a cook had in the kitchen.

The realities of the restaurant industry do not allow Parachute to produce bing bread in a way that serves everyone. Along with making great food, Kim says one of her goals is to leave the industry better than she found it. This work is not done. “We have to start somewhere to move towards a fairer system – towards better compensation for everyone,” Kim says. “If I have to make choices, like take out the bread bing, to do that, then that’s what I have to do.”

Corey Mintz, a food journalist who focuses on working in restaurants, is the author of the recently published book The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Known Them, and What Comes Next (Public Affairs 2021).

Demolition of former church chicken restaurant heralds long-awaited supportive housing development – Pasadena Now Tue, 14 Jun 2022 14:00:40 +0000

Titan Disposal crews demolish the old Church’s Chicken building at 710 North Fair Oaks Ave., June 13, 2022. [Photo by Eddie Rivera/Pasadena now.]

A demolition crew from Pasadena-based Titan Disposal arrived early Monday morning to begin demolishing the former Church’s Fried Chicken restaurant at the intersection of North Fair Oaks Ave and Orange Grove Boulevard.

The location will be the site of Heritage South II, the second phase of the Heritage Square housing project in Pasadena.

The project will be built on city-owned land with a 99-year lease. A three-story mixed-use building with 69 permanent supportive housing units for homeless seniors, 10,000-15,000 square feet of retail space primarily on the ground floor, and surface parking and underground.

An aerial view of the Heritage South II project looking northeast at the intersection of Orange Grove Blvd. and Fair Oaks Ave. [KTGY Architecture + Planning]

Intensive onsite case management services will be provided to tenants, including counselling, healthcare assistance, independent living skills support, onsite activities and other services.

According to a report by planning department staff, the project is “of a contemporary modern design, which complements the nearby southern heritage development without replicating its form”.

Council member John Kennedy led efforts to ensure that local labor would be employed to work on all phases of the project.

“I want to express my appreciation for Councilman Kennedy’s leadership in advocating for local participation in construction projects in his district,” Erin Nolan, Titan Disposal Operations Manager, said Monday. “We especially appreciate the opportunity to be part of an affordable housing project like Heritage Square South.”

Titan owner Jamie Potter added: “Council member Kennedy’s vision to build 1,000 units [throughout Pasadena] in 1,000 days is a tall order. As a demolition contractor, we begin the process of housing our homeless and marginally housed neighbors, and as a local contractor, we pay for this economic opportunity in multiple ways.

Kennedy, who was unable to attend the demolition, in turn welcomed the project.

“Here we will have 69 units that will allow the people of Pasadena and surrounding areas to stay in the unique fabric of Pasadena,” Kennedy said. “And these formerly homeless people will have comprehensive services provided by Los Angeles County, which is just amazing.”

“It’s amazing and today is the start,” Kennedy continued. “It’s the start of demolition, but it’s also recognition that Bridge Housing (developer/owner of the Heritage Square and Heritage South II housing projects) is committed to locally contracting and sourcing materials locally. And they did a phenomenal job on Heritage Square Apartments North.

Kennedy singled out Potter and his company, saying Potter, a Pasadena native, was a “local hit.”

Kennedy added: “We really want to celebrate Bridge Housing and their local hiring, local contracts and local sourcing of materials. And unlike some other developers, Bridge Housing has a proven track record of delivering on its word to the community and council. »

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Opening planned for the fall for the new restaurant | News, Sports, Jobs Sat, 11 Jun 2022 06:12:43 +0000

Buddy Brewster’s Ale House is slated to open in the fall at the former Ruby Tuesdays location at Chautauqua Mall. Photo submitted

LAKEWOOD – The former Ruby Tuesdays location at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood will open as Buddy Brewster’s Ale House.

In a Facebook post, Professional Hospitality Restaurant Group said the business is expected to open in the fall. It will also include outdoor dining.

Professional Hospitality Restaurant Group operates several establishments locally, including The Village Casino in Bemus Point, The Chop House on Main in Jamestown, Buddy Brewster’s Ale House in Fredonia, and Arby’s in Bradford, PA.

Renovations to the property have already begun. Village of Lakewood officials recently confirmed that permits for the work have been approved.

Meanwhile, mall officials welcomed the new venture.

“Our customers are constantly changing and evolving, and at Chautauqua Mall, we want to be able to offer them the best shopping trends and destinations today,” said Julie Bihler, general manager of the Chautauqua Mall. “We look forward to welcoming guests to Buddy Brewster’s Ale House this fall, while keeping shoppers’ health our top priority and providing the safest experience possible.”

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Louis Vuitton opens a summer restaurant in Saint-Tropez – WWD Tue, 07 Jun 2022 04:03:13 +0000

ENJOY YOUR FOOD: Louis Vuitton, long synonymous with its famous monogram, could soon be thought of for appetizing meals too.

Venturing further into the hotel business, the French luxury giant is opening a summer restaurant in Saint-Tropez at the White 1921 hotel on Place des Lices, WWD has learned.

The 40-seat open-air restaurant, slated to open June 17 for the summer, is not attached to a Louis Vuitton store, although there is one nearby.

The restaurant is called Mory Sacko chez Louis Vuitton, named after the promising chef of the MoSuke restaurant in Paris, which has a Michelin star.

According to Vuitton, the vegetable-rich menu will offer “global recipes where African and Japanese influences meet the know-how of French cuisine”. For lunch, Sacko plans to offer gourmet versions of the Japanese lunch box known as an “ekiben,” here made up of glass containers on a custom-made wooden tray.

Sacko also contributed decor, which includes a wooden floor on the ship’s deck, rattan chairs and hanging lamps, and a leafy wall dotted with carved monogram emblems.

The French luxury giant opened its first Vuitton café and restaurant in 2020 at its flagship store in Osaka, Japan, and followed up last year with an LV Café and chocolate shop at its new seven-story Ginza Namiki flagship in Tokyo. .

In addition, last month the brand launched a pop-up restaurant in its flagship in Seoul’s Gangnam district, this Louis Vuitton Café will be overseen by Korean-born French chef Pierre Sang Boyer, who runs several restaurants in Paris.

Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Vuitton, hinted that restaurants and even hotels could be a future avenue of expansion for the megabrand.


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At Restaurant Monastère on rue Granby, doors and hearts are still open after 39 years – The Virginian-Pilot Sun, 05 Jun 2022 14:36:34 +0000

NORFOLK – Granby Street is teeming with sports cars and revelers rushing to bars this Sunday evening. Near the corner with Charlotte Street stands a dark red brick building with medieval doors and a wine-colored canopy.

He is Business as usual inside Monastery Restaurant, one of the oldest businesses in downtown Norfolk. Servers scramble to serve a family of four seated in the middle of the dining room and a New York couple in the back. Soft lighting makes the space warm and inviting; mirrored arches, wood paneling, and oil paintings of bearded men create an old-world vibe.

The owners, Anna and Adolf Jerabek, are busy in the kitchen cooking dishes from recipes passed down from their mothers and grandmothers. In 1967, the couple emigrated from what was then Czechoslovakia to the United States in hopes of finding a better life. They started in New York, where they worked and saved to open a restaurant he had dreamed of, Monastery Restaurant. It was near Central Park and attracted patrons to the American Ballet Theater and Broadway shows.

The restaurant consumed most of their time but Adolf was tired of living in New York. He was still sick. He wanted to raise the two sons they had in a safer community with cheaper schools. Even though Anna Jerabek was keen on New York, she agreed to move. A friend suggested Virginie to me. The couple sold the business and moved.

In 1983, they moved to a Granby street closed to traffic and known as Granby Mall. The neighborhood was dilapidated, only a few businesses still existed.

“People said I wouldn’t make it here,” says Anna. “I told them, ‘I’m tough. I will do it.’ And here I am.”

Clients stopped by for the veal cordon bleu and Slavic sauerkraut and the camaraderie that occurred when the Jerabeks put their spoons and knives down in the kitchen and chatted with guests in the dining room.

Anna Jerabek watched customers get married, have children, and then bring their children to the restaurant.

Some people came regularly from other parts of the world. Jerabek remembered a man who ordered goulash bratislava, a classic beef dish with a rich paprika sauce and dumplings. It reminded him of home but with more meat – a testament to how cooking connects people.

Anna Jerabek served me creamy sweet and sour Slavic sauerkraut, a favorite dish of our mutual friend. It tasted amazing with its sautéed onions and sugar. I felt like a queen dining with tumblers enjoying a basket of fresh homemade bread and a whole Gala apple. They paired well with the blue cheese and havarti slices. Anna Jerabek encouraged me to try her snails, snails, roasted in homemade garlic, chives and onion butter. I hesitated then I rushed. I couldn’t believe I had missed this delight my whole life.

Cheerful Anna Jerabek returned later with pep in her step, carrying Valais raclette – a creamy cheese from Switzerland served on a sizzling plate with Lyonnaise-style sautéed potatoes, capers and sliced ​​pickles. It has become my favorite starter due to its richness and textures. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too salty. For dinner, I had the veal cordon bleu, a tender galette filled with Swiss cheese and ham and served with Lyonnaise potatoes, steamed broccoli and a lemon – another nice dish. Adolf Jerabek took a break from the kitchen and brought out the desserts: warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce, Black Forest cake and fruit balls. Each dessert was prepared with finesse and filled with flavor. I knew I wanted to come back after indulging in the last bite.

At the height of the pandemic, the owners sat customers at every other table. Anna Jerabek has seen another change: first-time visitors and young professionals arriving eager to try something new. It was a welcome change at a time when most of his older clients were staying home.

Like many restaurants, the monastery is struggling with staff shortages. Its most recent employees have been there for about six months; it had employees who had worked there for decades and who have now moved on to professional careers. She had to fill in the gaps.

“People never know I worked 16 hour days and still do to this day,” the 80-year-old said.

It helps explain how the family has been in the business for over 50 years. They don’t let trends influence their decisions. Their menu and decor have remained largely the same. What differs: the memories they create for people.

I arrived at the monastery as a stranger and left feeling like family. I had the same feeling when reading restaurant reviews. People were constantly talking about how kind everyone was.

Jerabek’s eyes lit up when asked about the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in the area. She would like to help them find work. She held back tears as she said she was proud to be in the United States and as an American.

Let's eat

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“Send them to me.”

Rekaya Gibson,, 757-295-8809; on Twitter, @gibsonrekaya


Where: 443 Granby Street, Norfolk. Street parking.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 5 to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays; 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. Hours may differ due to staff. Reservations accepted on site.

Inputs: $17 to $36.

Details:, 757-625-8193

Check out the upgrades coming to the 65-year-old tiki paradise – Sun Sentinel Fri, 03 Jun 2022 21:52:27 +0000

The dark, rummy Molokai bar is empty, the kitchen lacks equipment, and the tropical landscaping is far from complete, but the long-awaited facelift of South Florida’s favorite tiki time capsule – the Mai-Kai Restaurant and the Polynesian spectacle – is finally taking shape.

Eighteen months after the Mai-Kai put its iconic building and grounds up for sale, its new owners replaced the flood-damaged roof that caused a collapse and unexpectedly closed the restaurant in October 2020.

New art renderings sent to the South Florida Sun Sentinel reveal a preview of the $8.5 million revival of the 65-year-old Oakland Park landmark, which would include the following sweeping upgrades:

  • Thick canopies of swaying coconut palms and tropical clusia plants and gushing waterfalls line the entrance to the northern Federal Highway, along with an enlarged, winding wooden bridge to handle the extra car traffic. (To do this, the Mai-Kai demolished its Bora Bora building on the north side of the property, which has stood derelict since it was damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.)
  • New outdoor patio seating for the refreshed Molokai bar at Mai-Kai, near the porte-cochere.
  • A new 3,500 square foot banquet hall for private gatherings and a rum wall displaying rare bottles. (The plan is to dismantle the original Chinese brick ovens, used to smoke the meats for Mai-Kai entrees in the old kitchen, brick by brick and reassemble them behind glass as the centerpiece in the new foyer from the banquet hall.)
  • A foliage-covered roundabout in the back parking lot, designed to erase, arguably, what was one of the Mai-Kai’s greatest horrors: rows of vehicular traffic bottlenecks on the Federal Highway .
  • A privacy wall to block the visibility of neighbors living behind the Mai-Kai on 20th Avenue NE.

The developers have already replaced the 18,000 square foot roof and the air conditioning system – and a new state-of-the-art kitchen will soon be available. Inside the dining room, the Mai-Kai’s old lamps were fitted with LED lights, and the seating booths and Polynesian columns were repainted, reupholstered and restored to bring back the restaurant’s traditional look.

Bill Fuller, a commercial developer whose Mad Room Hospitality (Ball & Chain, Blackbird Ordinary) bought the building and land with investors, says the Mai-Kai is now on track to reopen by the end of the year. fall 2022.

“If you look at old Mai-Kai postcards, it’s like stepping off a boat in Bora Bora or Tahiti and strolling through that beachside paradise,” Fuller told the Sun Sentinel. “That’s what we’re creating here again. This is how [original owners] Bob and Jack Thornton wanted it.

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So far, the Mai-Kai’s makeover is halfway done, Fuller says. Although the city of Oakland Park has already given the green light to the project, some construction must “begin in 60 to 90 days” because two design elements must be approved by the city’s historic preservation board. These include a new roundabout in the back parking lot of Mai-Kai and a rebuilt A-frame roof over the future banquet hall, he says.

“Because both designs impact the exterior of the property and it’s a historic building, we need special approval for this,” says Fuller. (The Mai-Kai was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.)

Fuller’s Barlington Group, a Miami-based business developer, leads the team behind the big transformation, which came together through a partnership with the Mai-Kai’s Thornton family. The restaurant has also partnered with the American National Bank of Oakland Park and investors Richard Oneslager, Jeff Roschman and Mark Macek.

Property records show that the Mai-Kai building and land are worth at least $3.5 million. When completed, Fuller says the property, its antique decor, furnishings and intellectual property would be valued at $16 million.

For these upgrades, it is essential to keep the design of the Mai-Kai as close as possible to the original 1956 plan, adds Kern Mattei, managing director and cousin of the Thornton family. After the kitchen roof collapsed, the restaurant faced millions in expensive repairs the family couldn’t afford, and they put the restaurant up for sale in January 2021. Wealthy developers immediately came knocking at the gate, some eager to demolish it, but only one – Fuller’s group – suggested keeping the Mai-Kai exactly as it was.

“We want everyone to feel like this is what old Mai-Kai remember and love,” Mattei says. “The new banquet hall and roundabout are my favorite new features. I can not wait. It’s total immersion once you turn off Federal, a perfect oasis for guests.”

Next, Fuller and company will show off the new renderings of the Mai-Kai during a presentation at Hukilau, the restaurant’s annual rum-soaked Polynesian party. The festival returns June 9-12 at the Beachcomber Resort & Club, 1200 S. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach. Tickets cost between $129 and $569 via

Tacos Mi Nacho perseveres through the pandemic to open a new Meriden restaurant Wed, 01 Jun 2022 21:50:00 +0000

MERIDEN – At the new Tacos Mi Nacho, guests are greeted with Mexican music, an outdoor seating area, and light wood double doors leading to the restaurant.

Inside, patrons discover brightly colored walls, a large chandelier, and other colorful decorations, some of which come straight from Mexico.

Luis Lemus and Claudia Sánchez are the owners of Tacos Mi Nacho, 562 Broad St. Lemus, Sánchez and their daughters Sofia and Camila Lemus said they were happy to finally be in their new home.

“Now I can’t believe it,” Sánchez said with a laugh.

The family had rented the previous location — in a nearby plaza at 550 Broad St. — for 15 years. Going forward, they will only manage the new location.

“This is the first restaurant we call our own,” Lemus said.

They also run a second Tacos Mi Nacho location at 1796 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike in Southington.

The new building was designed to look like a Mexican ranch. Wood salvaged from a century-old house that previously stood on the site was used for the bar and frames.

The menu has not changed but the plan is to expand it in the future. The restaurant has a large bar at the entrance, but the owners are still waiting for a liquor license. They plan to have a full bar including house cocktails. This will be the first time the company has sold alcohol.

When the couple was asked about the hardest parts of the process, Lemus said “everything was a challenge.” He noted that construction of the new building began just before the pandemic and COVID-19 uncertainties led to a brief pause on the project.

Lemus said prices had risen and companies working on the project had experienced a labor shortage.

Lemus recalled when they opened the first location 15 years ago his eldest daughter was born. Lemus said he recently spoke to his wife about his pride that the whole family now works at the restaurant.

“I’m just happy to watch them grow,” Sofia Lemus said of her parents’ new building.

Luis Lemus said the new restaurant brought big changes for the family and employees as they were used to a much smaller space. Employees from the old site have been transferred to the new one and new employees have recently been hired.

Trevor Summa, 10, from Meriden, was celebrating his birthday on Tuesday with his father, James Summa, at Tacos Mi Nacho. James Summa said the Mexican restaurant was his son’s favourite. He has been a patron for 15 years and called the new building “fantastic”. Trevor Summa likes the new building, but he’s also happy that they “still have good food”.

Ciro Solis, of Meriden, was also at the restaurant on Tuesday with his daughter Rose Solis. He has been a client for about 12 years and described the new building as “beautiful, quiet and family-friendly”.

Tacos Mi Nacho can be reached at 203-379-0259.

Journalist Karla Santos can be reached at