The VIP Lounge is a weekly Boston Globe interview of a usually D-list celebrity with some passing connection to Boston. The same eight travel-themed questions are asked of each interviewee — Aisle or window? Guilty pleasure when traveling? This week the VIP is Gary Bimonte, one of seven grandchildren of Frank Pepe, founder of the greatest pizzeria in the country, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, CT. There are now eight Pepe’s pizzeria’s in the northeast, the most recent of which opened, very successfully, in Chestnut Hill mall in Boston. Mr. Bimonte is manager of quality control, popping around to the eight restaurants to ensure the pies are up to New Haven standards. Check out his VIP Lounge interview here.
American barbecue is highly regional. True, barbecue has exploded across the country over the past decade and, when you venture beyond the traditional barbecue regions of America, the cuisine becomes a gallimaufry of styles. And that’s fine, especially since the regions identified by a particular style continue to hew to their traditions. Sure, it’s possible to find smoked brisket in North Carolina and pulled pork in Texas, but you’re far more likely to enjoy yourself if you sample the chopped whole hog pig in The Tar Heel State and get all greasy with smoked brisket and muscular beef sausage in The Lone Star State. Continue reading
The first Pittsburgh-area and Cleveland-area Graeter’s scoop shops will be open sometime this summer. The Pittsburgh store will be located at 10610 Perry Highway, in the north suburban community of Wexford, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. The address of the Cleveland store is 261 Main Street, in the city of Westlake, about 25 minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Word is they’re also opening a second Chicago scoop shop this summer. Tomorrow, June 17th, an 11th Columbus, OH area Graeter’s will open, debuting a new store design and updated Graeter’s branding. Yep, Graeter’s is on the move!
The cousins Wiseman, men behind the hot, artisan Jewish deli (hot artisan Jewish deli?!) DGS Delicatessen of Washington, D.C., have turned their attentions to seafood with their month-old Whaley’s, a raw bar in the Washington Navy Yard, facing the Anacostia River, near Nationals Park. Tom Sietsema of The Washington Post has given the restaurant his imprimatur, particularly praising the small plates and raw bar offerings (as well as the soft-shell crab entree). Rina Rapuano, writing for Zagat, identifies five must-try dishes at Whaley’s, highlighting some of the very same dishes as Mr. Sietsema, including those tempura-battered soft-shell crabs, a plate of clams casino where chorizo replaces the bacon, and some shrimp-stuffed fried squash blossoms. Continue reading
This comes from Dan Kaercher, the founding editor of Midwest Living magazine — his favorite places to eat in the Midwest. He once took an 8,000-mile, 44-day, six-meal-a-day eating tour of the Midwest for Iowa Public Television, so he’s probably better qualified than most to speak authoritatively on the matter. Among his favorites: the Jaarsma Bakery in Pella, IA, home of Dutch letters, Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City, where he enjoyed a chocolate shake with a slice of chocolate praline pecan bourbon pie blended in (!), The Bohemian Cafe of Omaha, soon to close permanently, and the spectacular fish boils at The White Gull Inn in Door County, WI. See the complete story here.
To celebrate their 65th anniversary, Nashville’s Loveless Cafe is delivering free food to local businesses in Nashville. Local companies register online and the Loveless will, each month until November, randomly select one of the businesses to be the lucky recipients of their famously delectable biscuits and preserves. They started in April with 1075 The River. This month, ASCAP won the drawing. Businesses can register for the Biscuit Bash here.
Some down time while shooting “Wolverine 3” in New Orleans — Professor X, i.e. Patrick Stewart (he’ll always be Picard to us, however), stops in at Cafe du Monde for a plate of beignets piled with a snowstorm of powdered sugar, along with a cafe au lait, and a selfie.
Glassboro, NJ, home of Rowan University, is the latest town to receive a brand-new, shiny Tony Luke’s restaurant, and the students are thrilled. The sandwich shop is open until 3 a.m. on weekends, which sounds like a smart decision — we can’t think of a more appropriate 2 a.m. campus snack than a Pork Rabe Italian. Glassboro is something of a homecoming for Tony Luke himself, who raised his kids in this South Jersey college town.
Big breakfasts all day, hearty home-cooking entrees like chicken and dumplings and meatloaf, a lengthy roster of country-style vegetable sides, mile-high pies… and fantastically popular chicken fried steak, all served in a casual and welcoming town cafe atmosphere — that’s been Norma’s Cafe of Dallas, TX for the last 60 years. It was 30 years ago that longtime customer Ed Murph bought the place from the original owners. Over the years he’s opened two additional area Norma’s, with a fourth, near NorthPark Center, in the works — but he’s pretty much kept Norma’s as he found it. Continue reading
Chili dogs at Nu-Way Weiners in Macon; crispy flounder in Darien at Skipper’s Fish Camp; peach ice cream from Dickey’s Peach Farm in Musella — these are three of the 100 Plates Locals Love, a new feature on Georgia’s tourism department website. It’s not all regional specific food, by any means — you’ll find listings for things like great poutine, tacos, and cannoli — but so what? Those are plenty interesting and useful too. Continue reading
The “next generation” Jewish deli DGS, of Washington, D.C., does their own brining, curing, smoking, pickling… as much as possible is done in-house, but the bagels, which really have to be made in a bakery, are brought in. When they opened in 2012 they were unable to find a local bagel of high enough quality to be served with their meats and fish, so they bought par-baked Montreal bagels from St-Viateur and finished them off in-house. This worked just fine except for one thing: they couldn’t make bagel sandwiches because Montreal bagels are too small and the hole is too big. Continue reading
Oklahoma would seem to be an unpromising spot for great seafood, but the White River Fish Market and Restaurant of Tulsa has it figured out. It helps that they are close by the Tulsa airport, from which all sorts of the freshest sea creatures can be brought in. Their reputation for quality goes well beyond the borders of the Sooner State but it’s their burgeoning local clientele that’s allowing them to open their first branch. The residents of Broken Arrow, a city in Tulsa’s southeast suburbs, will be the lucky recipients. Look for the seafood spot in the County Line Shopping Center at the corner of 71st and Lynn. White River’s talking about a late fall opening for the market and restaurant.
Forget those hoary stereotypes about women’s eating preferences. The ladies love a good steak! Here are America’s ten best steakhouses courtesy of the online women’s lifestyle magazine PureWow. It’s a solid and not entirely predictable list that hits a pair of Old New York classics, Peter Luger and Keen’s, a celebrity chef spot in L.A., Cut, from Wolfgang Puck, and a trio of Midwest old-time favorites in Archie’s Waeside of Iowa, St. Elmo of Indy, and Oklahoma City’s Cattlemen’s. Have a look and argue to your heart’s content.
Danielle Bott is her name, and one of her duties as reigning National Cherry Queen is to travel with her entourage to the eastern media centers to publicize the National Cherry Festival, the wonders of Michigan cherries, and the tourism potential of northern Michigan for east coast residents. She arrived armed with three dozen cherry crumb pies courtesy of Grand Traverse Pie Company, which should be enough in themselves to make folks pay attention. Continue reading
Bisbee Breakfast Club started in the small town of Bisbee, AZ, just north of the Mexican border. The little breakfast spot proved so successful that it was sold in 2011, soon after which the new owners opened a second spot in Tucson, followed in 2014 by a third location outside of Phoenix, in Mesa. The concept must be working because the Bisbee is opening two more restaurants, both in Tucson. The spot at 4811 East Sunrise Drive, which will have a walk-up coffee window that will remain open after the restaurant’s 2 p.m. closing, should be up and running very shortly, while the restaurant at 2936 East Broadway Boulevard will be serving breakfast by August or September.
Has anyone ever traveled the full length of old Route 66 and not paid a visit to Cozy Dog in Springfield, IL? “Oklahoma Joe” Hight, columnist for The Journal Record of Oklahoma City, traveled the route home from Chicago and made the obligatory Cozy pilgrimage, which he said was “like stepping into a Route 66 museum with food.” There were signs and memorabilia, maps and guides, old gas pumps and a library… and Cozy Dogs, which were inspired by founder Ed Waldmire’s visit to Oklahoma, where he spied hot dogs baked in corn bread. Mr. Waldmire came up with the idea of impaling them on a stick, and the Crusty Cur, later Cozy Dog, was born. Read Joe Hight’s column here.
They put tomatoes in the barbecue sauce in western North Carolina, but in the eastern part of the state you’ll find a thin, peppered, vinegar-based sauce. Ideally, the whole hog is cooked with wood or coals, and then hacked up and doused with some of that sauce for trays and sandwiches. Unfortunately, true, wood-cooked pork is becoming ever more rare in the Tar Heel State. Jared Brumbaugh, reporting for Public Radio East of eastern NC, visits three classic eastern Carolina barbecue pits that still do things the old-fashioned way. Continue reading
Omaha’s venerable Bohemian Cafe announced last month that they would be closing permanently on September 24th. Owner Terry Kapoun figured business might pickup over the last month or two as the reality of the closing approached, but the outpouring of love began immediately. Said Mr. Kapoun, “I can’t believe the number of people now. It’s like it was in the restaurant’s heyday.” Not that the sudden increase in business changes anything — a slowing business was only part of the reason for the restaurant’s closure. Everyone involved with the restaurant is also getting on in years. But perhaps all is not hopeless. “I’m now more optimistic that someone may keep the cafe going,” said Mr. Kapoun. Is that just the temporary glow of customer love speaking? We’ll see.
Manny’s Cafeteria & Deli of Chicago, on Jefferson since 1964, today unveiled the completion of their new take-out deli counter as they expanded into space formerly occupied by two adjoining businesses. That counter area (which lacks seating), unlike the cafeteria, will be open on Sundays. They’ll be offering La Colombe coffee, baked goods made by Patti Raskin, and a greatly expanded selection of smoked fish. In the cafeteria proper, they’ve refinished all the surfaces, added ice cream for shakes, expanded their beer offerings, and replaced the old ticketing system with standard, end-of-the-cafeteria-line credit card payments. This is the first significant renovation of Manny’s since 1965.
Danny Meyer is bringing concretes to the home of Ted Drewes! A native of St. Louis, Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer was no doubt inspired by his hometown legend Ted Drewes and his 1959 creation of the concrete when he conceived of his Shake Shack concretes. Come 2017, Mr. Meyer will be competing on Ted Drewes home turf, although Shake Shack offers much more than Drewes’ frozen custard-centric menu. The new Shake Shack will be located in a totally different neighborhood as well, in the Central West End just east of Forest Park at 32 North Euclid Avenue. This will be the first Missouri Shake Shack.