MRM News Bites: Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, Cool FLSA Tool and More on This Week’s Plate

Each week, Modern Restaurant Management magazine compiles restaurant industry headlines in MRM News Bites. Send items of interest to Content Director Barbara Castiglia at

Dine Out for No Kid Hungry

In the U.S., one in five children can’t rely on their next meal, but this September, people can make every meal count for kids simply by dining out. Nearly 15,000 restaurants are offering customers major deals in exchange for simple donations to No Kid Hungry, the campaign working to end childhood hunger in America.SHARE OUR STRENGTH'S NO KID HUNGRY CAMPAIGN LOGO

With thousands of eating options on the menu—from family diners and fast food empires, to fine dining and neighborhood joints—there’s a meal to match all tastes and budgets. And for every $1 donated, No Kid Hungry can feed a child 10 meals through on-the-ground programs and partnerships that connect kids with healthy food where they live, learn and play.

To find participating restaurants by zip code or state, visit

“If there’s one thing chefs understand, it’s connecting people with food,” says Andrew Zimmern, creator and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel and chef ambassador for the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry initiative. “More importantly to me, as a father, I understand very well that hungry kids can’t learn, and kids who can’t learn can’t reach their best and brightest potential. I won’t stand by and see kids fall short on their futures when there is a solution at hand.”  

Since its launch in 2008, restaurants have raised $37 million in support of No Kid Hungry to help ensure every kid gets a healthy meal, every day.

The fundraising effort comes at a particularly important time for kids struggling with hunger: back to school. As children begin the 2016 school year, far too many are opening their textbooks on an empty stomach; only about half of kids who qualify for a free school lunch are also receiving breakfast—a critical meal for academic success. Research shows that when kids eat breakfast at school, attendance rates improve an average of 1.5 days more per school year, math test scores rise by 17.5 percent and kids are 20 percent more likely to graduate. No Kid Hungry is working with a growing number of leaders in school districts, cities and states across the country to make breakfast part of the regular school day, which leads to increased participation, so all kids start their school day ready to learn.  

“This is ‘family style’ dining at its best,” said Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, the national nonprofit behind No Kid Hungry.  “When people dine out at partnering restaurants during September, they are sharing their table with the 16 million children who can’t count on their next meal.”

Dine Out for No Kid Hungry is the largest restaurant-led initiative to help end childhood hunger in America. Since its launch in 2008, restaurants have raised $37 million in support of No Kid Hungry to help ensure every kid gets a healthy meal, every day. It is nationally sponsored by Founding Partner National Restaurant Association, as well as ARYZTA (La Brea Bakery & Otis Spunkmeyer), Citi, Ecolab, OpenTable, and Smithfield.

FLSA Research Tool

TSheets, the employee time tracking app, and Lexology, the legal research platform, released a new FLSA lawsuit research tool. The tool will enable business owners to gain new insight into steeply rising wage and hours lawsuits brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Private lawsuits have risen 456 percent since 1995, while Department of Labor investigations have collected more than $1.1 billion in back wages since 2009. These are alarming statistics for business owners, and new FLSA regulations set to take effect on December 1 are likely to cause a new wave of prosecutions when the overtime threshold doubles to more than $47,000.  TSheets-Lexology-FLSA-Lawsuit-Research-Tool[1]

Edward Costelloe, Managing Director of Lexology said, “The FLSA research tool will be a valuable resource to business owners, HR professionals and legal professionals. It will make FLSA compliance more transparent and potentially cheaper.”

Matt Rissell, CEO of TSheets, added, “The FLSA is relevant to almost every employer in the U.S. and with the looming overtime regulations estimated to affect at least four million employees, businesses everywhere need to act today to get the insight they need to prepare and protect themselves. Our research shows that four out of every five Labor Department investigations leads to a prosecution. These costs can be devastating — but so could the overtime costs that are about to hit. If you don’t know how many hours your salaried employees beneath the threshold are working, it’s time to find out — as soon as possible.”

NRA and ACF Team Up

After a long history of collaboration, the National Restaurant Association has a new partnership with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) that brings together North America’s largest professional organization of chefs and the leading business association for restaurants. This formalized partnership offers exclusive benefits to ACF and NRA members alike, including:

  • opportunities for ACF members to earn continuing-education hours through judging and teaching opportunities with the NRA;
  • recognition of ACF certification within the NRA;
  • recognition of ServSafe Certification Program as the industry standard for chefs and foodservice professionals;
  • discounts for ACF members to attend the NRA Show and other selected events;
  • discounts for NRA members to attend ACF events;
  • educational and mentoring opportunities through ProStart, ServSafe and Chefs Move to Schools; and
  • a seat at the table for both ACF and NRA in industry council roundtables.

ACF and NRA members have multiple opportunities to connect and network throughout 2017. The NRA Show, the industry’s largest trade show, is May 20-23. ACF is hosting two Signature Series events in 2017: ChefConnect: Chicago, Feb. 5-7, and ChefConnect: NYC, Feb. 26-28. The Cook. Craft. Create. Convention & Show will be held in Orlando, Florida, July 9-12, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Playboy’s Best New Bars List

Every year, the editors at Playboy search the U.S. for the top new places to get a good drink – the spots where they take making a good drink seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously.  After calling for nominations from readers, bartenders, writers and industry insiders, Playboy’s list of the 50 Best New Bars in America 2016 was unveiled.Playboys Best Bars Screenshot[3]

Chicago and New York City were at the top of the best drinking towns for people who want to try somewhere new, with five nominations each.  New Orleans, L.A., San Francisco and Seattle each come in with three nominations.  Bar hoppers everywhere are encouraged to vote for their favorite nominee to help Playboy’s editors determine the Best 10 New Bars in America. The 10 winners will be announced in the November issue of Playboy magazine.  Voting ends August 31. 

Playboy’s 50 Best New Bars in America


Bar Name                                City

Hojoko                                     Boston

Fresh Kills                                Brooklyn

Yours Sincerely                        Brooklyn

Dante                                       New York

Solomon & Kuff                        New York

Suffolk Arms                             New York

Grapperia                                 Pittsburgh

Columbia Room                        Washington

Left Door                                  Washington


Bar Name                                City

The S.O.S. Tiki Bar                  Atlanta

Ticonderoga Club                     Atlanta

Small Victory                            Austin

The Townsend                         Austin

Foxhole                                    Bentonville

Bar Mash                                 Charleston

Rapscallion                              Dallas

Canard                                     Houston

Eight Row Flint                         Houston

Sweet Liberty                           Miami

Bastion                                    Nashville

Old Glory                                  Nashville

Bar Frances                             New Orleans

Comprere Lapin                       New Orleans

Revel                                       New Orleans

Herman’s Loan Office               Orlando


Bar Name                                City     

GreenRiver                               Chicago

Mezcaleria                                Chicago

Milk Room                                Chicago

Moneygun                                Chicago

Sparrow                                   Chicago

Overlook Lodge                       Cincinnati

Standby                                   Detroit

Gib’s                                        Madison

Tattersall                                  Minneapolis

Retreat                                     St. Louis


Bar Name                                City

Occidental                                Denver

Bar Leather Apron                   Honolulu

Montecristo Cigar Bar               Las Vegas

Break Room 86                        Los Angeles

Old Man Bar at Hatchet Hall     Los Angeles

Viviane                                     Los Angeles

Starline Social Club                  Oakland

Bit House Saloon                     Portland

Kindred                                    San Diego

Bellota                                     San Francisco

The Treasury                            San Francisco

White Chapel                           San Francisco

Bar Melusine                            Seattle

Dark Bar                                   Seattle

JarrBar                                     Seattle 

Chef-Driven Concepts at Trade Food Hall

Lincoln Property Company and Alcion Ventures have signed leases with eight chef-driven tenants for Trade Food Hall, slated to open this fall following $5 million in renovations.

Lincoln and Alcion purchased Trade Marketplace, a 32,600 square foot property, in 2014 and have since transformed its dated food court into what will be a premier dining experience, complete with crafted cuisine from around the world, a full-service bar, and indoor/outdoor communal dining. The food hall portion of Trade spans over 9,000 square feet.

Famed Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish will curate two of the eight food concepts. Two Birds will offer Gruel’s take on classic grilled and fried chicken, while Butterleaf, a plant-based concept, will be a celebration of vegetables with a menu that includes kimchi, flash-seared vegetables, and sweet-potato-mushroom burgers.

Chef Hop Phan, known for his food trucks, will also curate two fusion concepts. Phan’s Dos Chinos will offer Vietnamese and Mexican fusion, and Megadon will serve a fusion of Latin, Asian, Mexican, and Hawaiian. Other concepts featured at Trade include artisan sandwiches by The Sandwich Society, fresh seafood by Portside, dessert by Sweet Comforts, and Mediterranean fare by  Gyro King.

Anchor tenants include the beloved Ootoro Sushi, a local favorite that has opened its second location at Trade, and KRISP Fresh Living, which will offer organic juices, bowls, and illy coffee. In addition, Trade will feature a distinctive mix of service-oriented and soft goods retailers.

“This property has been known as a lunch spot to thousands of nearby office tenants in the past, and we saw the opportunity to make it a premier food destination not only for lunch, but for nights and weekends as well,” said Parke Miller, Executive Vice President of Lincoln Property Company. “Trade offers Orange County’s most talented chefs under one roof, and it will draw people seven days a week. Trade will be the only experience of its kind in Irvine, and we’re excited to see our vision materialize this fall.”

Lincoln and Alcion invested more than $5 million in the property to make the food hall come to life. The roof was torn off the building to create an open-air, Southern California dining experience. The building now offers indoor-outdoor seating in a communal dining area, which includes a fire pit and an abundance of natural light. The exterior of the building was renovated to have a sleek, coastal design. The renovated property also features new landscaping, including succulents and irrigated “green walls” covered in vertical plants.

“When we acquired this property, we saw an opportunity to revitalize and transform an underperforming retail center in an A+ location into a culinary-focused and experience-rich marketplace that will serve the needs and wants of the hundreds of thousands of workers and residents in the area,” said Mark Potter, Co-Founding Partner of Alcion Ventures. “Retail today is all about food and experience, and we cannot wait to open Trade to the market.”

Trade is the first major project of the partnership between Lincoln and Alcion in Orange County, and the sixth major project nationally. FLIGHT, which will be the first purpose-built ground-up creative office campus in Orange County is a Lincoln-Alcion venture slated to break ground in early 2017. 


Eleven Hospitality Group will open a second location of Ani Ramen House in the heart of downtown Jersey City’s “restaurant row” at 218 Newark Avenue in late September 2016. Ani literally translates to “big brother”, and fittingly, this new “brother” location joins the original, Montclair, NJ spot (est. 2014), similarly offering their signature Japanese ramen noodle soups and dishes such as pork buns, crispy gyoza. Chef Shigetoshi “Jack” Nakamura’s early input and influence on the menu helped shape the Ani Ramen brand.

Mural Wall by Rich Tu Montclair
Mural Wall by Rich Tu

The Jersey City location will have a full bar serving craft cocktails, sake, selection of Japanese/Asian beer, wine with a late night bar menu available.  Additionally, the Jersey City outpost will have an outdoor courtyard featuring a yakitori grill where guests can gather and enjoy the new yakatori menu. The space is designed by Pixel Experience, and just like Montclair, will feature mural artwork by artist Rich Tu. 

Second Bar + Kitchen will open the doors to its new location in Domain Northside, Austin, TX, on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Serving as the anchor restaurant for the new ARCHER Hotel Austin, the popular restaurant concept from La Corsha Hospitality Group and Chef David Bull will offer much of the same New American cuisine as the original downtown location, as well as an expanded breakfast menu and Texas-inspired poolside and terrace dishes. La Corsha Hospitality Group will also serve as the main food and beverage partner of ARCHER Hotel Austin, providing all food service throughout the property including in-room dining, banquet and catering menus, and special treats for guests including house-made pastries with turndown service and unique balcony menus. 

Archer Austin Second Bar + Kitchen Terrace
Archer Austin Second Bar + Kitchen Terrace

Designed by LK Architecture and inspired by contemporary Western culture, Second Bar + Kitchen’s  new main dining space will feature 144 indoor and outdoor seats including a 12-seat bar. The restaurant will also offer new menus at the property’s  outdoor social spaces – including the Pool Patio and SBK Terrace. Chef Bull’s La Corsha team will also bring their culinary expertise to the property. Beverage director Jason Stevens created a distinct program for the new restaurant that features  quality focused cocktails made with classic and modern techniques. Paula Rester, longtime wine director for La Corsha, has carefully selected the wine program to reflect the casual luxury of the new location. Pastry chef, Michelle Arcilla Hall, will oversee Second Bar + Kitchen’s new pastry menu as well as all banquet and catering desserts. Brandon Testi will serve under Chef Bull as chef de cuisine; Cynthia Nelson serves as food and beverage director for ARCHER Hotel.

Growth Plans

Duck Donuts is expanding fast. Darren Shutler and Brad Hobbs, new franchise owners and brothers-in-law, are bringing the first Duck Donuts franchise to Ohio. They are planning an October 2016 opening at 825 Polaris Parkway, located in the Westar Development on the corner of Polaris Parkway and Worthington Road, just east of the Polaris Fashion Place and I-71. The 1,500 square foot location will feature select retail items and indoor seating that reflects the franchise’s iconic beach theme.Donut Assortment 4[2]

“Our first Duck Donuts experience was love at first sight. We went on a family vacation to the Outer Banks in 2014 and visited the Duck Donuts in Corolla, North Carolina. They were the most delicious donuts we had ever tasted, but it wasn’t just the donuts—it was the entire experience, from choosing the icings and toppings, to ordering and watching these special donuts being made and topped! It was so much fun, we couldn’t wait to go back,” says Darren Shutler, school teacher-turned-small business owner.

“I have been happily teaching for over 20 years, but my Duck Donuts experience made me want to take a chance on something completely different. It’s a unique, successful, family-oriented business, and we wanted to be a part of it,” says Shutler.

The Franklin County location is store #42 in the Duck Donuts enterprise. By the end of 2016, Duck Donuts will have 100 stores in operation and/or with signed contracts.

Duck Donuts was founded in 2006 by Russ DiGilio in Duck, NC.

By 2011, Duck Donuts had expanded to four Outer Banks locations and the donut business was so successful that DiGilio was continuously approached about franchise opportunities. The first franchise opened in Williamsburg, VA, in 2013 and there are now 26 open franchise locations.

Duck Donuts store openings are scheduled for:

Woodbridge, VA – August 2016

Fayetteville, NC – September 2016

Bridgewater, NJ – October 2016

Wilmington, NC – October 2016

Stafford, VA – October 2016

Orlando, FL – November 2016

Charleston, SC – December 2016

Nashville, TN – January 2017

Birmingham, AL – January 2017

Pittsburgh, PA – March 2017

State College, PA – TBD

Duck Donuts is also opening soon in Atlanta, bringing the franchise total to 95 stores.

“Our expansion to the capital city of Georgia brings 25-40 new jobs with each new location,” said Russ DiGilio, founder and owner of Duck Donuts Franchising Company LLC. “It also provides Jae Lee, the franchise owner, with an opportunity to live his dream of small business ownership.”

“ We see a great opportunity to serve fresh, warm donuts and get involved with our growing communities,” says Jae Lee, first-time Duck Donuts franchise owner. “The Atlanta-area Duck Donuts will be a strong and dedicated philanthropic partner.”

Duck Donuts emphasizes the importance of giving back to the local community through their #QuackGivesBack initiatives. “Our mission is twofold,” says DiGilio, “to serve the most amazing warm, delicious & made to order donuts and to contribute to the communities we call home. The #QuackGivesBack program donates a portion of donut sales to a local charity each month, as chosen by each franchise owner. In October, the entire franchising company will be joining together to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating to the breast cancer treatment or research organization of their choice.”

The new Atlanta-area donut shops will have a variation of square footage with different features, including retail stores and indoor and outdoor seating that celebrates the franchise’s iconic beach theme.

As of August 26, Duck Donuts Franchising Company LLC has 95 donut shops signed, 25 Duck Donuts are open, and 70 Duck Donuts are projected to open in the next two years.

Chicken Salad Chick, profiled here, will be expanding in Florida with its third location in Jacksonville. The new restaurant will open on Tuesday, Aug. 30 in Galleria Marketplace in Southpoint at 6025 Butler Point Road. Chicken Salad Chick of Jacksonville – Galleria marks the 14th Chicken Salad Chick restaurant in Florida and is owned and operated by existing husband-and-wife franchisee team Becky Roland and Richard Meadows, alongside their son, David Roland.

“Richard, David and I are incredibly proud to be a part of the Chicken Salad Chick family and have enjoyed growing with the brand over the past four years,” said Becky Roland. “The unique concept and exceptional dining experience is truly unmatched, and we are thrilled to continue to be part of the company’s growth in Jacksonville. We look forward to being able to share our delicious food and genuine hospitality with the Jacksonville community for many years to come.”

Becky Roland discovered the Chicken Salad Chick concept when her daughter was in school at Auburn University. Roland, who owns the Wishbone Group Inc., along with her husband and son, opened the first franchised restaurant in 2012 in North Port, Fla. Wishbone Group Inc. now owns six Chicken Salad Chick restaurants across the southeast, including the first Chicken Salad Chick in Jacksonville, which opened in May 2015.

The company now has 59 restaurants across the Southeast and has currently sold 147 franchises to be developed across the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is celebrating a major milestone: its 100th restaurant is officially open for business in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Restaurant operations are being led by veteran MOOYAH franchisee, Denney Barrow and his son, Jordan and daughter-in-law, Carrie Barrow, who own and operate two other locations in Birmingham. This new location is adjacent to the University of Alabama, Jordan’s alma mater.gI_97765_mooy

MOOYAH is also celebrating the 100-unit milestone by offering prospective business owners a unique deal: free royalties for the first 100 days after their location opens. Franchisees who sign development deals during the 100 days, between August 29th and December 7th, will enjoy this exclusive celebratory offer.

“Hitting the 100-unit mark solidifies our place as a major player in the better burger segment,” said MOOYAH Chief Operating Officer Michael Mabry. “We’re excited to continue building on this momentum by partnering with entrepreneurs like the Barrows who share MOOYAH’s vision of a seriously fun atmosphere that serves seriously good burgers, fries and shakes.”

MOOYAH’s 100th unit opening comes as the brand celebrates a strong start to the year. The brand is on pace to meet its goal of opening 30 new units domestically and internationally by the end of 2016. MOOYAH is also poised to break into new key growth markets, while continuing to expand in other regions across the country.

“MOOYAH’s rapid expansion is a testament to our brand offering,” said Rich Hicks, MOOYAH chief executive officer. “MOOYAH’s classic concept paired with our customizable menu and high quality ingredients is a recipe for success. We plan to continue this growth and bring our seriously fun attitude and impeccable food to new communities throughout the U.S. and around the world.”

The famous never-ending line at The Halal Guys food cart[1]
The Halal Guys food cart

On September 2, The Halal Guys, will open a Northern Virginia brick-and-mortar storefront of the food cart at the Springfield Tower Shopping Center at 6304 Springfield Plaza.

The Halal Guys grew from its humble beginnings as a food cart on the streets of New York City to the largest American halal street food concept in the world. Known for its classic menu of various Middle Eastern dishes, has already opened in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Northern and Southern California. When Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed noticed that many cab drivers in New York were looking for a place to buy meals in Manhattan, they created their first food cart and quickly grew into a leading tourist and native New Yorker destination for American Halal fare. 

Chevys Fresh Mex will open a new location in the Northridge Fashion Center on August 29. The 5,900 square foot, 200-seat restaurant is the first company-owned location to open since 2007. It is also the first restaurant under construction to open under the leadership of Bryan Lockwood, who became chief executive officer of Chevys parent company Real Mex Restaurants last year. The distinctive design of the new Chevys is modern eclectic, with warm wood tones, industrial metals, and colorful artwork and includes a cantina and covered patio. One design feature is the comal, the griddle where house-made tortillas are made, surrounded by fresh white marble. Another is a neon sign in the cantina, La Dulce Vida, “The Sweet Life,” which entreats guests to relax and enjoy the moment.

Chevy's Northridge
Chevy’s Northridge

“The Chevys brand is about California freshness and authenticity. Unlike chain restaurants, the new eclectic design feels more like an independent restaurant – as in Mexican unchained,” said Lockwood.

The new Chevys will employ 75 people from the local community. 

New Products

Scott Absher and Steve Holmes introduced disruptive human capital management (HCM) services provider ShiftPixy to provide a solution for businesses struggling with the requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), delivering value for both employers and part-time workers. ShiftPixy is the first to address the labor regulation and compliance issues typically associated with the contingent workforce business model by delivering a complete ecosystem for workforce management and compliance combined with a powerful recruiting and scheduling platform. ShiftPixy brings together staffing administrative services, payroll, insurance services, and human resources management (HRM) as well as a Software as a Service (SaaS) based workforce management application together in a single ecosystem.image 3[5]

ShiftPixy serves as the employer for workers, alleviating small and midmarket businesses of administrative, new-hire and compliance programming and reporting requirements.  Because ShiftPixy serves as the employer – providing the relevant benefits, insurance, and healthcare correlated to the number of hours worked – Operators are freed up from navigating compliance regulations and the associated expenses, according to Absher and Holmes.


Subway recognized 12 franchisee teams as recipients of its 2016 Franchisee of the Year awards, and three teams from its development community as recipients of its Development Agent of the Year awards during the company’s annual meetings in Chicago, IL. 

“These entrepreneurs exemplify what makes Subway such a great brand,” said Suzanne Greco, president and CEO of Subway restaurants. “They are on the front lines every day delivering an exceptional guest experience.”

Subway® Franchisees of the Year

  • Fouad Adel Bafakih and Abdul Badia Mohd Dakkak of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Manfred Bolz of Dernbach, Germany
  • Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Olga Nurmasheva of Orenburg, Russia
  • Stephen Pasco of Stoke Bishop, England
  • Jwalit Patel of Bloomingdale, Illinois
  • Rontec Watford Ltd. of Watford, England
  • Torsten Rothamel of Kelkheim, Germany
  • Alexander Ruscheinsky of Regensburg, Germany
  • Jennifer Torres & Jeffery Torres Oh of Yishun, Singapore
SUBWAY® Restaurants President and CEO Suzanne Greco (left) and Director of International for SUBWAY® Restaurants Brian Marino (right) with SUBWAY Development Agent honorees at the annual Leadership Conference in Chicago last month.
Subway® Restaurants President and CEO Suzanne Greco (left) and Director of International for SUBWAY® Restaurants Brian Marino (right) with SUBWAY Development Agent honorees at the annual Leadership Conference in Chicago last month.

Subway Development Agents, who are usually franchisees themselves, create teams in their markets to work with franchisees on a wide range of tasks, from food safety and appearance to new product launches and brand initiatives. In their role, they help franchisees operate exceptional and profitable sandwich shops.

Subway® Development Agents of the Year

  • Franz Amrhein, Montserrat Odio, and Jan Holtermann in Costa Rica
  • Dave Kelsey and Daljit Nahil in the United Kingdom 
  • Deniz Yasemin in Turkey 

Denver-based restaurant group Punch Bowl Social, founded by entrepreneur Robert Thompson, appointed Hugh Acheson to serve as Culinary Partner. In this newly created role, Acheson will quarterback the ongoing culinary direction of the growing restaurant concept and further strengthen Punch Bowl Social’s commitment to a seasonally inspired, scratch kitchen. Over the past several months, Acheson has been developing his new menu at Punch Bowl Social – a nearly complete overhaul of the food offerings – which will be introduced at all Punch Bowl Social locations beginning August 26.

Hugh Acheson, Culinary Partner, Punch Bowl Social
Hugh Acheson, Culinary Partner, Punch Bowl Social

Acheson’s partnership announcement comes on the heels of the recent appointments of Denver chefs Chris Cina and Matt Selby, further strengthening the culinary team as Punch Bowl Social continues to expand nationally. Through the collaboration, Acheson will develop all seasonal menu changes, create daily green plate and blue plate specials offered at all locations, and provide guidance and leadership on the Punch Bowl Social management team.

“Hugh’s style is nostalgic for me, bringing me back to my roots growing up in Mississippi. He blends modern cooking techniques and trends with an authentic, southern culinary platform,” said Robert Thompson, CEO and founder of Punch Bowl Social. “The partnership with Hugh brings an injection of soulfulness to our menu while providing a consistent, disciplined and innovative approach to our culinary program. With Hugh, we have a seasoned partner who will engineer the food aspect of our business, which is the keystone to our concept’s success within the ‘eatertainment’ category.”

“I have admired Punch Bowl Social’s dedication and commitment to a completely scratch kitchen on such a large scale. There is nothing quite like it in the country,” said Acheson. “Their original southern inspired menu, design aesthetic of each location and food forward vision provides me with a unique opportunity to help grow and define the culinary program in a way that we hope will inspire other restaurants to focus on food in a similar way.”

With current restaurants in Denver, Portland, Austin, Detroit, Cleveland and Schaumburg, IL, new locations of Punch Bowl Social will open in Indianapolis and Minneapolis later this year with six more locations in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood, Sacramento, San Diego, Rancho Cucamonga, Chicago and Dallas scheduled to open in 2017 and a Brooklyn location in early 2018.

Conrad New York has appointed Gerron Douglas as executive chef.  In his new role, Douglas will oversee all dining operations at Conrad New York, including the hotel’s signature restaurant ATRIO Wine Bar & Restaurant, the seasonal Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar, and in-room dining. Douglas brings more than 13 years of experience to his new role, where he will guide the hotel’s unique culinary programming and lead menu development that focuses on incorporating locally-sourced, sustainable foods.

Gerron Douglas
Gerron Douglas

Prior to his role as executive chef, Douglas served as Conrad New York’s executive banquet chef, at Restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events, where he managed all aspects of the hotel’s catering to ensure customer satisfaction and business profitability, while providing leadership to the rest of his team. Douglas spent 10 years in a variety of roles, including sous chef at the Waldorf Astoria New York, prior to joining Union Square Events. There, he worked closely with the executive chef and the banquet chef to create new menus and develop innovative concepts. Douglas began his career as a line cook at Café Provencal in Los Angeles in 2002 before he took his talents to New York in 2005 with Amuse restaurant.

Douglas hails from Los Angeles, California and earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from the Le Cordon Bleu Program at The California School of Culinary Arts.