By Suzy Biever
And they're off! And I'm not just talking about the Thoroughbreds. I'm talking about all of the mint juleps made and sold at the Kentucky Derby every year. A tradition that's nearly a century old, the mint julep is a drink made using sugar, bourbon, and mint leaves, and is typically served in the iconic pewter or silver cup. Using more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-To-Serve Cocktail, over 1,000 pounds of fresh mint, and more than 60,000 pounds of ice, a soaring 120,000 mint juleps are served during Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs. However, a $1,000 mint julep is also served at the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, the proceeds of which go to charity for retired racehorses. These luxury juleps boast gold-plated cups, silver straws, Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint leaves from Ireland, spring water ice cubes from the Alps, and sugar from Australia.
But if you're not able to travel down to good old Louisville, Kentucky for one of these $1,000 mint juleps, you can use the recipe below to make your own. Start your own tradition and make mint juleps for your guests (and yourself) during derby weekend!
- Put granulated sugar, water, and leaves from mint sprigs into a glass. Save a few leaves for garnishing.
- Muddle everything together in bottom of glass.
- Pour in the bourbon.
- Fill a separate glass with crushed ice.
- Using a julep strainer, pour the bourbon mixture over the ice.
- Garnish with remaining mint leaves, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
- Serve and enjoy!
By Emily Gertenbach
For many of us, "tequila" + "Cinco de Mayo" = "Margarita." They're tasty, refreshing, potentially fruity, and easy to make from scratch or with a mix. This year, though, why not add a new beverage to your celebratory menu? The Paloma is another tequila-based cocktail that's extremely popular in Mexico, and fantastically simple to make! With just a few ingredients, you can pull together this tart and refreshing drink for dinner party guests, bar patrons, or just for yourself. It was a big hit when we taste-tested it here at The WEBstaurant Store! This recipe makes one Paloma cocktail. If hosting a party, try making a big batch in a large punch bowl and ladling them out for all your guests!
- Rim a Margarita glass or other beverage glass of your choice with salt.
- Pour 2 oz. of blanco tequila into a cocktail shaker.
- Add 1/2 oz. lime juice and 4 - 6 oz. fresh grapefruit juice.
- Add a dash of salt. If a less tart beverage is desired, replace the dash of salt with a bit of sugar.
- Shake and pour over ice.
- Top off the cocktail with seltzer water to fill the glass.
- Garnish with a slice of lime and serve!
By Emily Gertenbach
I’m a big fan of Cinco de Mayo, as are many people in the United States. It’s fun! It’s in May, so it’s kind of warm! It’s a great reason to drink Margaritas and celebrate Mexican culture! I had a suspicion, though, that there was probably a more historical basis to the day that I was unaware of. A quick trip over to The History Channel's site enlightened me: Cinco de Mayo is actually commemorating part of the Franco-Mexican war, when the Mexican army achieved victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Regardless of where you are from, it's a great day to indulge in some delicious, traditional Mexican drinks. Aguas Frescas, literally translated as fresh waters, refers to a number of light and refreshing beverages commonly made from fruits, cereals, flowers, seeds, and water. You can make aguas frescas with a wide array of ingredients, but to encourage summer’s slow arrival here in Pennsylvania, we’re making a vibrant, cool, watermelon version!
Watermelon Agua Fresca
- 1 cup cubed seedless watermelon
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 lime, sliced
- Handful of fresh mint leaves
- Sugar to taste
- Divide your watermelon cubes into portions that are manageable for your blender. Blend the watermelon, pulsing as needed, until it forms a smooth puree. Repeat until all of the watermelon is pureed.
- Gently stir the watermelon puree in a large pitcher or bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of water. Slowly add in sugar to taste.
- Place 1 lime slice and 3 mint leaves in the bottom of a mason jar mug or other glass and muddle them gently.
- Fill the glasses with ice and pour in the watermelon puree. Garnish with additional lime slices and mint. This recipe makes two servings of watermelon agua fresca.
Check back later this week for another delicious Cinco de Mayo beverage!
By Emily Gertenbach
On Saturday, April 20th, a group of WEBstaurant Store volunteers joined the Sierra Club’s Lancaster group and the Manheim Township Parks & Recreation Department for a pre-Earth Day cleanup. The group helped to remove invasive plants from the Landis Woods Park, which is an important step in keeping the forest healthy for the springtime. This was the second year in a row that our WEB volunteers helped with the Landis Woods Cleanup, and it was once again a great way for our employees to help take care of our community!
By Suzy Biever
"Kale is Kool!" Such is the mantra of Brad's Raw Foods. And their vehicle for this message? It's their delectable line of leafy kale, chips, and crackers made from vegetables, seeds, nuts, spices, and other healthful ingredients. All of the products are uniquely manufactured, dehydrated below 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-24 hours in a "labor of love." This process allows them to retain their nutrients and enzymes, and still be considered technically "raw."
So how did Brad's Raw Foods come into being? It all began with owner Brad Gruno. After spending nearly 20 years in fiber-optics telecommunications, Brad moved back home to Pennsylvania following a recent business failure. He was at least 40 pounds overweight, had high cholesterol, and was mildly depressed. However, after watching the film "Eating" with his aunt, which highlights the benefits of a plant-based diet, Brad decided to make a change and started following a strictly raw diet.
Brad still missed the crunch and crisp of traditional snack foods, which led him to create the tantalizing products Brad's Raw Foods sells. His company has grown successfully since its founding in 2008, and is continuously expanding. In a Q&A interview with Natasha Shapiro, Communications Director at Brad's Raw Foods, she elaborates on the changes and additions the company has recently made, and what we can expect from them next!
What other products can we expect to see in the future from Brad's Raw Foods?
Brad’s Raw Onion Rings will be launching soon, and we’re all very excited. Though we can’t divulge any secrets, there are lots of “rawesome” products on the Brad’s Raw Foods horizon!
The company recently introduced Brad’s Raw 4 Paws “people quality” dog treats. What was the motivation behind introducing these products to the market?
There are two really great aspects of the Brad’s Raw 4 Paws product line. The first, of course, being that it’s the only dog treat of its kind on the market! And we all know how important “man’s best friend” is to us! The second part has to do with kale stems. We do not use the kale stems for Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale, so for the Brad’s Raw 4 Paws we grind up the kale stems and kale is actually the main ingredient in the treats! It’s great because it’s incredibly healthy for dogs and we’re also able to utilize ALL of the kale!
You opened a new 14,000 square foot factory and education center in Pipersville, PA. What sort of events and programs do you offer/will you offer at this new facility?
We’ve hosted so many amazing events at The Chip Factory already! We’ve had healthy movie nights, open houses, a holiday shopping event, and have had prominent people from the raw food community, such as David Wolfe and Joe Cross, come to speak. The Nourished Community (a healthy meal planning service) also hosts various classes and workshops at The Chip Factory as well.
When Brad first started producing his raw snacks, he was working out of a neighbor’s garage and selling his creations at farmers' markets. Now, his chips, crackers, and kale can be found in over 500 stores. Is there any future expansion being planned? Where does Brad’s Raw Foods go from here?
While we did just recently move to a much larger facility than we started in, we are already bursting at the seams! Whether or not we move to a larger factory or open an additional one is up in the air at this point. However, moving some of our office space elsewhere and perhaps adding a separate warehouse and shipping facility are both in the works. Brad is seeing where this journey takes him. Whatever we need to do to keep sharing healthy foods with the masses, we will do.
How are you looking to expand distribution in the future?
Brad's Raw Foods started locally in and around Philadelphia. Within a year or so we had completely saturated the East Coast. After almost 3 years we are sold nationally, mostly on the East and West Coasts. We are quickly making our way toward the center of the country as well. We also have retailers in Canada and even Guam! Within another couple of years we believe that we will be fully saturated across the country and would love to start exporting internationally.
What are Brad’s absolute favorite products? Why?
Brad’s a fan of our spicier products (his philosophy is the hotter the better!), such as our Nasty Hot flavor of Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale and the Hot Red Bell Pepper flavor of Brad’s Raw Chips. As for the rest of the company, it honestly depends on whom you ask! We really do have a flavor to satisfy anyone’s taste buds!
Do you have any products that you particularly like ordering from The WEBstaurant Store?
We get a lot of kitchen supplies from The WEBstaurant Store that are essential to the production of products. Some important products range from sample cups that we use at our demos, to lubricant for our mixers, to Teflon sheets that we use to line our dehydrating trays!
Reading about Brad's Raw Foods and learning more about their products, we here at The WEBstaurant Store decided that we had to try them for ourselves! The raw chips and crackers that we ordered and sampled were a huge hit among our employees. See some of the pictures below from our wonderful taste test experience!
It probably goes without saying but, Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company is famous for its clam chowder! As their menu notes, this restaurant’s chowder was voted “Best Chowder” 2012 By Cape Cod Life & MV Magazine. Made with "Just Tons of Clams and the Good Stuff," (no gluten, butter, or flour!) and a thin and gourmet cream base, it's no wonder that this restaurant's chowder was named the MV Chowderfest Champion.
The restaurant is also very good at coming up with innovative recipes that attract locals and tourists alike! If you’re a fan of fresh seafood that is caught the same day that you eat it like I am, check out The MV Chowder Company's current Oyster Shooter Menu:
Along with serving outstanding seafood, the restaurant thinks of its customers first! On New Year’s Eve, Choco offers a unique deal for families: “Dinner and a Sitter”. This program is a huge hit! Choco brought in Pre-school certified care givers as well as EMT’s to watch children at the event space called “Dreamland” located above the restaurant. The children were entertained with crafts, movies, and a dinner including Macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, and other kid friendly fare. The parents meanwhile were enjoying gourmet seafood downstairs in the restaurant.
I had the opportunity to interview restaurant owner J.B. When asked what new ideas he has for the Chowder Company, he said “Character-mascot dinner parties for families...families will enjoy a buffet while they get the chance to dance with their favorite TV and movie characters.”In addition to these family oriented activities, Choco caters to the young adult crowd. Every Friday and Saturday night, they host DJ dance parties with no cover. Because Reggae and island music are so popular on Martha’s Vineyard, the DJ’s usually spin popular tunes in addition to these island rhythms.
Stay tuned for the next series blog post: Dreamland
By Christopher Zook
One of the biggest obstacles to starting a restaurant comes right off the bat - you need startup money. Without the cash to pay for the building, utilities, etc., you're dead in the water. But applying for a loan can be complicated and exhausting, especially if you go in unprepared. So while there's not always a "sure-fire" way to get a loan, this quick non-comprehensive list should help.
1. Invent a Good Idea, Find a Great Location
Creating a concept is only half the battle when you're in the early stages of your business - you'll also need an excellent location. When you consider what you want to build, think about where it could go, who would go there, and if your desired demographic fits the demographic of the people around it. For example, if you want to sell a lot of spicy food and liquor, building near an area with a large elderly population probably won't bring in the cash you need. So take a few moments and consider these factors before making your location decision:
- Your business's age, occupation, and income demographics
- Distance from target demographics
- Visibility and accessibility from major highways
- Desirability of surroundings
2. Talk to the SBA
After you decide on a place, organize your thoughts and consult with the Small Business Administration. The SBA is a federal institution designed to simply help citizens start businesses. To earn their support, you have to prove to them a mix of subjective and objective qualities about yourself, including:
- Good character
- Business expertise
- A reasonable proposed loan
- Personal ability to withstand possible early financial losses
By showing these qualities, you can get the SBA to vouch for you on your loan. It's essentially as if they're co-signing your loan, and while it doesn't absolve you of liability or responsibility, having the US government on your application is a phenomenal reference. Plus, these people are experts on small businesses - you can probably get a few questions answered on the side.
3. Make a Thorough Business Plan
Every restaurant needs an air-tight business plan - and it needs to be a good one. Most banks and lenders will view a start-up restaurant as a high-risk investment because they know more than half fail within three years. Given the risk, you need to make sure you can sell both your idea and yourself, and that includes presenting the following:
- A summary outline with the restaurant name, logo, contact info, your name, etc.
- Your qualifications (a resume)
- Restaurant concept, menu items, necessary permits, and business license
- Demographics analysis, pricing strategy, and growth schedule
- Other funding sources, previous income statements, cash flow, and tax returns
- Sales projections, job descriptions, management team resumes, and legal documents
This is it. Eye of the tiger. Final countdown. Get pumped up, energized, and focused, because this is the most important part of the process - the actual application. You have the SBA on your side, a bulletproof business plan, and the perfect location for your concept. To win the favor of your potential lenders, they'll need a lot of information, such as:
- A cover letter with the loan amount, terms, and repayment period
- A business summary with name, location, menu, demographics, competition, goals, and management profiles
- Market analysis and strategy
- Menu analysis
- Management plan with organization chart, job description, and officer resumes
- Personal financial data
Be confident and present all the required information to the best of your ability. If you've done the proper research, analysis, and planning, you should have money in your pocket soon enough.
5. Other Sources
It's important to remember that there are other sources of money than just banks. Friends and relatives are a good source of potential start-up cash, especially if they want to go in on the business with you. And if you're lucky, you can attract an "angel investor", or someone who will give you money in exchange for a small percentage of later profits. Obviously, these sources all need to be paid back - but they could be more patient, understanding, and reasonable than a bank if you run into a pinch. On the other hand, a bank can often afford to lend you more. So for a well-rounded financial profile, a healthy mix of multiple sources may help provide the foundation your infant business needs to get off the ground.
By Kim O'Brien
While cake is the perennial birthday favorite, we much prefer pie. Pizza pie, to be exact. WEBstaurant Store employees were treated to enticing blends of pesto, peppers, and artisan cheeses last Friday at our pizza-themed birthday lunch! Those with March and April birthdays worked with corporate chef Matt Schuler to prepare a variety of pizzas, from veggie-laden varieties to meat lover's mixes. The lunch featured mouthwatering pizza creations topped with asiago and feta cheese, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, sausage, and more!
Check out our Instagram pics of the pizza prep and final result!
Pictured clockwise: Photographers Lisa and Chris help prep pizza dough; White cheese pizza with broccoli, tomato, feta, ricotta, and pesto; Organic spring green salad with blue cheese, apple, and white balsamic vinaigrette; Voila! The final lunch display
One of the most popular dining destinations on Martha's Vineyard was founded under a simple premise: the founder and his friends couldn’t find a burrito on the island during winter months. As a result, Sharky’s Cantina was born.
Sharky’s opened its doors on Memorial Day 2005. Just ten minutes after the opening, “the place was swamped,” remembers J.B., restaurant founder. Now a renowned Mexican style restaurant, Sharky's prides itself for winning multiple Best of the Vineyard awards, including Best Year Round Restaurant, Place for a Cocktail, Family Dining, and Wings! With wallet-friendly prices (50 items under $10!), it's no wonder that Sharky's has seen so much success.
Located on Circuit Avenue, Sharky's is situated in the heart of Oak Bluffs town. Circuit Avenue is the center of town and Sharky’s is right across the street from Post office Square - a central location for people watching and ice cream tasting. J.B. is adamant about keeping all of his businesses open year round to stimulate the Vineyard’s economy and bring life and activity to the island during the winter when the crowds have left.
The original Sharky's became so successful that on Cinco de Mayo in 2008, J.B. opened another (even larger) Sharky’s Cantina in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Edgartown was one of America’s main whaling ports during the 1800’s. The town borders Oak Bluffs to the south. With this larger restaurant, J.B. now hosts multiple events on an annual basis. His biggest event of the year is the Martha’s Vineyard Wingfest, a food festival in early December that raises proceeds for the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club. The restaurant also hosts a gigantic Cinco de Mayo party each year!
Mandarin Margarita Mayhem:Sharky’s Cantina became world famous when J.B. introduced the "ObamaRita," a margarita made with fresh mandarin orange juice and pineapple juice. He introduced this menu item as a tribute to President Barack Obama, who spends about a week on Martha’s Vineyard each summer. Ingredients were chosen based on some of the President’s favorite flavors.
How could your ObamaRita be complete without a freshly made "Baracko Taco"? The dish is made with coconut breaded shrimp, topped with pineapple, cilantro and vanilla-infused salsa, and served atop refried beans on a soft taco. It is complemented with a side of rice and black beans.
Below, J.B. shares the ingredients of the popular ObamaRita. Stay tuned for the next series blog post: Martha's Vineyard Chowder Company.
The ObamaRita Recipe:
- 1 shot of tequila
- 1 shot triple sec
- 1 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed & crushed Mandarin orange juice
- 1 splash pineapple juice
- Small splash of sour mix
By Leidra Horton
Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? Well, turns out it is. To help me to prepare for this month of deliciousness, I recently asked our Corporate Chef, Matt Schuler, to help me formulate the ULTIMATE grown up grilled cheese recipe.
I wanted the recipe to mimic the ooey, gooey consistency of gourmet cheese fondue, but I wanted to include the rich flavor of beer [what's better than cheese AND beer?]. Oh, and the bread had to be plentiful [and fresh baked], of course.
The sandwich that resulted from this epic trifecta is seriously mind-blowingly awesome – and it met all of my requirements - cheese, cheese, and more cheese, alcohol, and bread. Try it for yourself!
Click on the recipe cards below for full size cards.
Grilled Beer-Cheese Sandwich
- Start by opening the beer and bringing it to room temperature. It is desirable to get most of the gas out of the beer, but don't let it get stale.
- While that is getting nice and warm, grate the cheese and the garlic in a food processor.
- Once the beer is warm and your cheese and garlic are grated, switch to the mixing blade on your food processor and add the remaining ingredients, mixing until thoroughly blended.
- Refrigerate this mixture overnight to help the flavors develop properly.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; add honey and stir.
- In a separate bowl, mix wheat flour, salt, and all purpose flour. Stir in oil and slowly add flat beer. Once mixed, add to yeast and honey mixture and mix some more.
- Once all of the ingredients are combined, place the dough on a floured surface and knead for at least 10-15 minutes. The dough may need a little more flour added to it if while kneading it's sticking to your hands. The finished dough will feel smooth and spongy and will not stick to your hands.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap until it doubles in size. Do not place dough in a draft or an over-heated area. The dough should be left to rise at room temperature.
- When dough has doubled, punch in the middle and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide into four equal parts and place in lightly oiled loaf pans.
- Score the dough twice on top of each loaf with a knife. Scores should be 2" apart and about 2 1/2" long.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap until the loaves have doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and place the loaves into your preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
Grilled Beer-Cheese Sandwich
- Beer-cheese spread (from above)
- Fresh baked bread (from above), sliced
- After a night of flavor development, your cheese spread should be ready to go. Take 2 slices of your fresh baked bread, and generously butter one side of each slice.
- Place one slice of bread butter-side-down in a warm skillet, top with a generous helping of your beer-cheese spread, and finally add the other slice of bread (butter-side-up).
- Grill until lightly browned and flip over.
- Continue grilling until browned.