Keegan Leaving Main Event and Marble Room Debuts

On the plate for MRM’s Daily Bite is  news of a longtime industry leader’s exit, a dining destination in Cleveland and a charitable effort … with pizza.           

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Keegan Exiting Main Event Entertainment

Charlie Keegan has resigned as President & Chief Executive Officer of Main Event Entertainment. Keegan will step away from his day-to-day duties on November 24, and has agreed to remain available in a consulting capacity for an additional 12 months. Main Event is a bowling-anchored dining and entertainment destination with 38 centers in 14 states, serving more than 20 million guests annually. The company currently has five new centers under construction with several more in the pipeline for 2018 across the East, Midwest and Southern regions.

Charlie Keegan

Keegan has led Main Event since October of 2006, when the company was sold to Macquarie Leisure Trust Group. During his tenure, the concept was completely re-engineered and put on a steady growth track.

“Main Event Entertainment has been one of the greatest sources of pride in my life,” said Keegan in a note to staff. “What we have accomplished together is nothing short of amazing. We have gone from being a locally known bowling alley in Texas to a nationally recognized entertainment brand with industry admiration and global appeal. Our compound annual growth rate the last five years alone is over 30 percent. And we have built an impressive leadership team, with a proven track record of success, to lead Main Event Entertainment into the future.”

“It is important to me that I share with all of you what I believe makes Main Event Entertainment such a compelling story. It is our reputation as a place with Noticeably Better People and a Noticeably Distinctive Culture,” continued Keegan. “It is people like you that our guests identify with, and people like you that make our experience so special. We are unique in the industry because of all the work you do to create compelling offerings, signature branding, excellent service and amazing properties.”

“People want to be us, companies want to be like us, but there is nothing like the original. I’m so proud of the work you have done and it’s been an honor working with you. There is more amazing left in Main Event Entertainment and I look forward to watching it unfold.”

A leading global search firm has been engaged to find a suitable successor to lead the business through its next phase of development. (Top photo by  David Schacher Photography LLC.)

Marble Room Opens in Cleveland

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar opens for lunch and dinner to the public at the historic Garfield Building located at 623 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland.

Marble Room

The former majestic National City Bank space boasts 40-foot ceilings, dramatic pillars, chandeliers, and grand staircases offering endless visual excitement and an unparalleled dining experience.

“We want Clevelanders and visitors to our city to enjoy the magnificent space we have restored and indulge in a one-of-a-kind dining concept marrying history and modern cuisine with professional, gracious service,” Malisse Sinito, President, Millennia Hospitality Group. “It was a remarkable undertaking, but a labor of love as my family is from Cleveland and we want to give the city another reason to be proud.”

 Sinito and her husband Frank Sinito, CEO of the Millennia Companies, purchased the Garfield Building at the corner of East 6th St. and Euclid Avenue in 2014 with the intent to preserve this historic structure and convert it to a 21st-century use.  They assembled a team of architects, designers, and creative minds to change the office floors into residential apartments and transform the former National City Bank hall  into the Marble Room restaurant.  The Garfield Building was originally built by President Garfield’s two sons in 1893 and was home to Guardian Bank, Cowell & Hubbard Jewelers, and the English Woolen Company before National City took over in the 1920’s.  

The new restaurant design was initiated by Morris Nathanson Design out of Rhode Island and was managed and completed by American Preservation Builders, LLC teamed with Millennia’s Director of Design and Construction,Matthew Solomon, AIA and Chief Interior Designer, Erin Larson, along with Architect of Record John Waddell, and WHS Engineering. 

Marble Room

“It’s a magnificent space, but there are two stars here, the design of the restaurant and the design of the food,” said Sonny Gorushanovich, General Manager.

Chef Brandon Veres and Chef de Cuisine Kyle Anderson designed a menu featuring seafood and prime steaks with distinct and original presentations.  Additionally, Executive Sushi Chef Jango Enkhtaivan is overseeing the raw bar and sushi selections.  Homemade ice cream, pastries, and breads will be crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Dwight Penney

Papa Murphy’s Launches Pizza Pilot Partnership

Papa Murphy’s Holdings, Inc. has forged a pilot partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, which raises funds and awareness for local children’s hospitals to provide treatment for millions of children each year. To support these efforts, Papa Murphy’s will host a charitable giving campaign at participating Papa Murphy’s stores in the Memphis, St. Louis and Minneapolis areas from September 15 to October 15,and will have a special National Pepperoni Pizza Day celebration on September 20.

“We are incredibly honored to announce this pilot partnership and do our part to raise funds and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” said Weldon Spangler, CEO of Papa Murphy’s Holdings, Inc. “We have many children come through our doors each day, and we’re proud to help make a positive impact on extremely deserving children. Giving back to our communities is something that has always been part of the Papa Murphy’s brand, and we invite area residents and visitors to join us in supporting this cause.”

Throughout the month-long campaign, families and fresh-pizza lovers alike who visit any participating Papa Murphy’s store in the Memphis, St. Louis and Minneapolis areas may make charitable donations to CMN Hospitals through a variety of methods:

  • Customers are invited to purchase paper Miracle Balloons for $1, $3, or $4.25, with all proceeds donated to support their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Because fresh-baked goodness comes when you set your oven to 425-degrees, those who give $4.25 or more will receive a paper Miracle Balloon that includes a detachable coupon for $4.25 off a regular-priced pizza of any size on their next visit to Papa Murphy’s. 
  • Customers are also invited to round up their check to the nearest dollar, with the difference donated to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
  • On September 20—National Pepperoni Pizza Day—Papa Murphy’s will celebrate one of America’s favorite pizza toppings by offering a large pepperoni pizza for only $6 to any customer that donates $4.25 or more to CMN Hospitals.

“We’re thrilled Papa Murphy’s has chosen to partner with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and join in our efforts to provide the necessary funding to ensure that sick children get the care they need,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Papa Murphy’s fresh pizzas are a delicious way for us to increase awareness, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with a company that values children and families.”

Half & Half Debuts

A half is made whole as Mike and Liz Randolph opened a second location of Half & Half in Webster Groves at 220 W Lockwood Ave, Webster Groves, MO 63119. The breakfast, lunch and brunch concept’s new location joins its Clayton counterpart.

Half & Half

As chef/owner and James Beard semifinalist Mike Randolph explained, “This Webster Groves location is the five-year evolution of the Half & Half brand. We didn’t expect the fanfare that came with the first location. We hoped to do 100 covers in a day, now, we do that before 9 a.m.”

With the design, the Randolphs wanted to evoke a sense of New England-style with an airy, inviting environment in the 3,700 square foot restaurant. After four-months of renovation, longtime design partners, SPACE Architecture & Design, created the contemporary country feel with warm, natural wood floors and tables contrasted against bright, white beadboard walls. Pops of color come into play with Half & Half’s signature navy ampersand coffee mugs on each table.

Photo by J. Pollack Photography

As with its sister restaurant, guests can watch the barista team at work on six seats around the coffee bar. In addition, the 85-seat restaurant features a mix of tables and booths as well as a large communal table made of a now-extinct, 200-year-old species of pine. An impressive wood pergola draws guests to the center hostess stand, creating a sense of privacy and inclusion at the same time. The check-in area is marked by a large wooden spoon, hand-carved by SPACE’s Tom Niemeier. 

“We make everything in-house at Half & Half,” explains Chef Randolph. “From Buttonwood Farms local eggs to our monthly-rotating coffee program, our guests appreciate how great ingredients can elevate simple food. We feel that will resonate with the Webster Groves community as well.”

The name Half & Half is not only a literal nod to the much-utilized brunch ingredient, but it showcases the Randolph’s commitment to quality ingredients and coffee–a 50/50 (or half and half) split focus. “You can find some really great breakfast places, but for some reason, very few pay careful consideration to the coffee. It’s equally important to us at Half & Half.”

Photo by J. Pollack Photography

The coffee menu is curated by Blueprint Coffee (one of the local roaster’s founders, Mike Marquard, helped open the original Half & Half). The Randolphs and the Blueprint team meet monthly to pick a rotating featured roaster from around the country along with offering Blueprint’s traditional drip and pour-over coffees as well as espresso. New to the Webster Groves location, guests will be able to order coffee through a window in the restaurant’s breezeway for a new on-the-go coffee option in the area.

Executive Chef Dale Beauchamp of Half & Half will also oversee the Webster Groves kitchen. With two full lines as well as a back prep area, the new location allows for a significantly larger amount of working space. “We won’t be running into each other as much here,” jokes Beauchamp.

The menu at Half & Half Webster Groves will remain the same as the Clayton location, focusing on Southern-inspired breakfast and lunch fare. The chef team at Half & Half Webster Groves will also run unique weekend brunch specials, independent of the Clayton restaurant. 

Creation Gardens Acquires Bluefin 
Creation Gardens,  a technology driven foodservice company acquired Bluefin Seafood of Louisville, Kentucky. By now offering fresh seafood, Creation Gardens has the ability to continue to serve their customers with daily delivery of a wide variety of products through a digital platform. This acquisition now allows for a stronger presence in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Longtime Louisville resident, Ken Berry and the Bluefin family join Ron and Mollie Turnier.
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and offering chefs daily delivery among a wide variety of products for their kitchens.

Creation Gardens continues to grow its reach in the foodservice industry through recent 2017 acquisitions of Joe Lasita and Sons Produce of Cincinnati, Ohio and Coe Catanzaro & Sons Produce of Springfield, Ohio.

“This acquisition now completes our quest to offer all of the challenging product lines in foodservice, where focused teams of experts can concentrate on producing a superior product as distribution distractions gets pulled out and put on our incredible service platform. We choose to offer our chefs daily delivery, industry leading cut off times, broken cases, 6,500 stock items, state of the art technology and unmatched service in lieu of a traditional sales force.  Our chefs will now be able to access almost everything they need to operate their culinary program,” remarked Ron Turnier, President of Creation Gardens.  “Our customers and our team have so much respect for what Ken and his team have built.  Ken has been a personal mentor to me for nearly 18 years and we are so excited to be working together.”

Founded in 1997, Creation Gardens now has 460 employees, a fleet of more than 120 trucks and four distribution facilities reaching 2,800+ restaurants, hotels, country clubs and other foodservice operators in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.   Product lines offered include produce, meats, seafood, gourmet products, paper supplies, dairy, hand cut fruits and vegetables and general pantry items.