MRA announces 2017 Restaurant Neighbor Awards

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Restaurant Association announces the state winers of its annual Restaurant Neighborhood Winner awards to individuals and restaurant groups which have demonstrated  dedicated commitment to serving their communities through outstanding charitable service and philanthropy.

The winners will advance to the national level to compete for the grand prize of $10,000 to support their favorite charity or non-profit.

The Massachusetts Restaurant Neighbor Awards winners are:

· Ninety Nine Restaurants (Woburn, MA)

· The Smoke Shop (Cambridge, MA)

· Horseshoe Grille (North Reading, MA)

· Russell Morin Catering and Events (Attleboro, MA)

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.
“The restaurant industry as a whole goes to great lengths to support its neighbors and local institutions, and we’re proud to be able to honor a select few each year for their charitable work,”says Bob Luz, President/CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “These restaurants are truly cornerstones within the communities they operate.”



International NY Restaurant Show adds more celebrity chefs

NEW YORK – The 24th annual danny meyer_250x330.jpgInternational Restaurant Show of New York just added more celebrity chefs to its lineup for the Show, March 5-7 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center here.

“We have an exciting line up of celebrity chefs during the Show and invite our attendees to enjoy presentations by Donatella Arpaia, restaurateur and judge from Food Network’s Iron Chef America; Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Pastry Chef Katzie Guy-Hamilton along with Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack, who is the recipient of the Torch Award,” says Ron Mathews, vice president, Restaurant and Foodservice Events Portfolio. “The International Restaurant Show is the place to see the best and brightest in the industry and gather new ideas to bring back to restaurants and foodservice establishments. ” The events take place in the Culinary Demonstrations theater.

The full schedule includes:

Sunday, March 5
Chef Adam Lathan (11:00 – 11:45 am) is the Co-Founder and Head of Cuisine for The Gumbo Brothers. Adam started cooking at a young age and creating the perfect pot of gumbo soon became his obsession. Having learned the “proper” gumbo technique from his great-grandmother Nanny, Adam is still pursuing the perfect gumbo.
Rapid Fire Challenge: Appetizer Edition (3:30-5:00pm): The Rapid Fire Appetizer Challenge returns for its second year and the heat is on for the competition to showcase their best appetizers for the chance to be named the Champion! Moderated by Total Food Service. Judges include Chef John Hesse, That Meetball Place; Chef Maria Loi, Loi Estiatorio; and Chef Cesare Casella, Salumeria Rosi, Maremma and Beppe.

Monday, March 6
Chef Donatella Arpaia (11:00-11:45am) is best known for her recurring role as head judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and has become an influential woman in the world of food, business, and entertaining. She is a two-time winner of the New York Wine & Food Festival “Meatball Madness” competition, and is a regular contributor to NBC’s The Today Show.
Executive Chef Dan Jackson, Cafe2 and Terrace5, MoMa (12:00 – 12:45 pm) became a line cook at Eleven Madison Park in 2008. While Dan was there, the restaurant received four stars from the New York Times, one Michelin star, and was ranked among San Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants in the world. In 2014, Dan was named Executive Chef of Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art.
TORCH Award Presentation (1:30 – 2:30pm) to Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and the founder of Shake Shack. The Torch Award, presented by The Food Shows and Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, was created to honor outstanding restaurateurs who embody all the qualities and characteristics the word Torch symbolizes, including illumination, energy, victory, enlightenment, and education. Danny’s ability to teach and share clearly demonstrates the definition of the Torch. His restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards and in 2015, Danny was named to the Time 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World.
Chef Roxanne Spruance, Kingsley (3:00 – 3:45 pm) is the Executive Chef and co-owner of Kingsley, a contemporary French-American restaurant located in the heart of the East Village. She creates innovative, seasonal food, while respecting and incorporating regional traditions. Roxanne previously worked under Wylie Dufresne at WD~50 and Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Tuesday, March 7
Pastry Chef Katzie Guy-Hamilton, Clean Eats Dirty Desserts (1:00 – 1:45 pm)was recognized as a Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Dessert Professional Magazine in 2014 and was a contestant on Season Two of the television cooking competition, Top Chef: Just Desserts. She leads Food and Beverage at Equinox, the luxury fitness brand, having crossed over into the wellness world. Prior to juice partnerships her role for chocolate brand Max Brenner International placed Katzie in the lead of their Global Food and Beverage business, overseeing innovation.
Executive Chef Bill Rosenberg, (2:00 – 2:45 pm) of NoMa Social, has earned critical praise throughout his 20-year career as executive chef for some of the New York metro area’s top restaurants. Prior to joining NoMa Social, he was executive chef/owner for more than 10 years of F.I.S.H., which was rated by Zagat as one of America’s top seafood houses and named by Westchester Magazine as the “Best New Restaurant.”



Wine of the Week – Groot Constantia Estate Wine, Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Wine of the Week – Groot Constantia Estate Wine, Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Groot Constantia was founded in 1685 in South Africa and is one of the longest surviving trademarks in the world as well as the country’s oldest wine producing farm. The Sauvignon Blanc is a lime green  in color and is rich in fruit flavors from kiwi to granadilla with what Indigo Wines, its producer, calls an herbaceous character. Fresh acidity characterizes it, balancing the greenness. We enjoyed it by itself and with seafood dishes. Groot Constantia’s history is a long and time-honored one, as it was first established wine estate on the Cape of Good Hope. Go to or


Great Eastern Seafood celebrates 35 years

BOSTON – Great Eastern Seafood celebrates 35 years, returning to Seafood Expo North America for the first time in 25 years, in Booth 2781 in March.

Roastery_Ice_Cream_Menu.JPGStarbucks introduces Roastery Affogato menu in 100 sites

BOSTON – At 10 Starbucks Reserve Bar sites here, in LA and in DC, the chain has a new Roastery Affogato menu with vanilla gelato or ice cream that has a shot of hot espresso over it. Also new is a vanilla float with iced coffee, named Cold Brew Malt, Spoon University reports.

US Foods reportedly buying All American Foods

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI – US Foods is said to be buying All American Foods here with some 1,000 customers in RI, MA and CT late this month, according to Food Newsfeed in FSR Magazine, which quotes Northeast Region President John O’Carroll at US Foods.

CPI for food away from home in New England up in January

WASHINGTON – The Consumer Price Index for food away from home in New England rose 2.3 percent in January from the year-ago period, the U.S. Labor Department reports.

Vongerichten plans vegetarian restaurant in New York’s ABC Carpet & Home

NEW YORK – Jean-Georges Vongerichten will reportedly open a third restaurant at ABC Carpet & Home where it will take space previously occupied by LePain Quotidien. Called ABCV, the chef will be Neil Harden, formerly at Pure Food and Wine.





New England Food Show hosts “The Toast” at Empire

BOSTON – The official after party, “The Toast,” celebrates the 2016 New England Food Show’s first day and takes place at Empire again this year. Hosted by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) on February 26 at 5 p.m., it offers appetizers, unlimited sushi, cocktails and music by DJ Liz Ladoux, a top female DJ, plus a live performance by Sam James, an NBC’s “The Voice” finalist.

The celebratory evening event is $25 per person to the general public and each ticket includes admission, complimentary passed appetizers and a voucher for Empire’s “Sushi Unlimited,”which can also be redeemed at a later date during their weekly Monday night promotion. This event is sponsored by US Wealth Management, BMI and Toast Tab. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate with colleagues and friends in the industry during the official after party of the New England Food Show. Tickets for “The Toast” are available for purchase here.


What’s Brewin’ Mocha Porter from Oregon

We discovered Mocha Porter from Rogue Ales in Newport, OR when it was a special one night last week at Navy Yard Bistro in Charlestown, MA. It’s a rich brown color with malty hops and a creamy finish and is 5.3 percent ABV. Rogue Ales describes it as “dedicated to the chocolate lover in each of us.” We found it nicely balanced and rich in flavor with a combination of eight different malts. The hops are from Rogue Farms and Rebel & Liberty. Rogue calls itself “a small revolution which expresses itself through handcrafter ales, porters, stouts, lagers and spirits. The mission is to “brew the finest,” and present it with a touch of what it calls “educational, entertaining mischief.” We applaud their efforts on this one, for sure! Visit



Rue la Rue opens in New York’s Washington Heights

NEW YORK – Rue la Rue Café, a tribute to the beloved “Golden Girls” TV show, opened this past weekend in Washington Heights here with memorabilia from the late Rue McClanahan who played Blanche. She was a friend of Michael LaRue, who seeks to honor her memory with a photographic timeline of the actress inn the café. It also houses a shop with memorabilia such as her Emmy award and costumes. Lovers of the show recall the four women gathering in their kitchen for cheesecake, and Rue la Rue’s menu offers four different varieties. Open currently from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., LaRue plans to offer dinner at a later date, according to published report.