By: Hotel News Resource
Following a multimillion-dollar revitalization project, Manchester's iconic venue for business travelers, presidential candidates, weddings, conventions and business events opens today as DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown team, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and representatives from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce took part in a ceremony today to unveil the new DoubleTree by Hilton sign and introduce the hotel to the community.Along with renovated guest rooms, a reconfigured lobby and a Hilton Honors Executive Lounge, the new DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown features an entirely reinvented dining destination – The Current Kitchen & Bar. The new restaurant boasts a casual dining experience with upscale creative dishes, including an array of small plates, local craft beer and signature cocktails, all with an emphasis on local products. The revitalization project also entailed expansion of the business center, renovated meeting spaces and a new market featuring beverages and snacks.
"This is a tremendous moment as we formally begin a new era as DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown," said Kim Roy, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown. "DoubleTree by Hilton prides itself on paying attention to details, large and small, that make a positive impact and impression on our guests, all starting with our signature, warm DoubleTree Cookie at check-in. Our revitalized hotel features across-the-board modernizations and enhancements, along with a fresh and delicious new restaurant concept. We are excited to begin our next chapter in the Queen City and our DoubleTree by Hilton team members are looking forward to continuing our longstanding tradition of community commitment and involvement."
By: Michael Cousineau, NH Union Leader
The foliage may be a little slower than usual in turning this year, but that isn’t bothering the folks at the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain in Lincoln.
“It’s just going to help push us into late October (with more bookings),” General Manager Renee Blood said this week. “From a business perspective, it’s great all the way around.”
State travel officials on Wednesday predicted a record number of visitors and spending for the upcoming Columbus Day Weekend, the state’s third-busiest travel weekend of the year. The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development expects more than 300,000 out-of-state, overnight visitors will spend more than $115 million in New Hampshire over the long weekend — a 5 percent increase in both spending and visitor totals over last year.
“Huge; it’s a really big weekend,” said Mary Ellen Delaney, co-owner of Delaney’s Hole in the Wall, a North Conway restaurant.
“Consistently over the past couple of years, the fall is very busy and people start coming in the first week in September and will continue to come in until the middle of November,” Delaney said. “That hasn’t changed in the last five years. It stays very, very busy. Weekends, it escalates.”
By: Ryan Lessard, Union Leader Correspondent
Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro says he made changes to the Tuscan Village development to expand outdoor entertainment after visiting new developments across the country.
The recently updated plans took a single structure that would have housed a cinema and bowling alley and split it into two buildings. The gap between them will be a courtyard used for outdoor shows such as music concerts, festivals and other forms of family-friendly entertainment. It can also be used as a skating rink with a Christmas tree in the winter.
“The Tuscan Village will program that entertainment as a service to the development,” Faro said.
He said the buildings bordering the courtyard will have restaurants in the upper floors with terraces on which people can eat, drink and watch the show below.
Faro said he thinks it would give people more reason to visit the new downtown space. He got the idea after visiting a number of “aspirational” developments in states including Texas, Ohio and California.
“There’s some interesting things happening,” Faro said.
At the Legacy West development in Dallas, Texas, Faro was particularly awed by a country music concert in an outdoor stage area made of shipping containers with a gravel floor; diners in second- or third-floor restaurants could watch the show.
By: John Koziol, NewHampshire.com
Sweet, but with a little heat, different but familiar, and ultimately delicious, the Bacon Corn Johnny Cakes with Maple Drizzle concocted by Dan Duris has earned the Manchester native $5,000 and the title of Northeast Region winner in the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest from General Mills.
Chef and co-owner of the Gypsy Café, which he operates on Main Street with help from his wife Kristy, and mother and fellow co-owner Claire Allard, Duris on Aug. 17 was presented a check by General Mills officials who, as part of the contest, also gave $1,000 to a charity of his choice: Jean’s Playhouse.
Automatically entered into the running for the national title, which would mean an additional $20,000 for him and $4,000 more for the playhouse, Duris grew up in the Queen City, which his mother still calls home, and attended the then Plymouth State College to major in business, but ended up in the food industry instead.
He started at the bottom, by peeling potatoes for Scott Rice, the founder of the Woodstock Inn & Brewery, and gradually honed his culinary skills. In April 2006, Duris opened the Gypsy Café, which, he explained, has an eclectic menu featuring food from around the world, albeit “with a New England twist.”
By: Michael McCord, NHBR
The ongoing revival at Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton took a fun turn in July when the company held an in-house brewing competition among 10 teams and hosted a recent visit by Gov. Chris Sununu. Smuttynose has moved forward from a financial bottom that forced an auction sale of the company earlier this year, first to Provident Bank and then to Runnymede Investments, a local private equity firm. It’s also a sign that the brewery — named after the third-largest island in the Isles of Shoals and founded in 1994 — was going back to its innovative roots.
“Being the head of a craft brewery like Smuttynose really does ruin you for other career paths,” quipped Richard Lindsay, the new CEO, about the combination of fun, 100-hour weeks and sharing beer with his neighbors. “I had the luxury of inheriting a really experienced team. The top four to five brewers have more than 100 years of experience.”
According to Craft BrewingBusiness.com, New Hampshire has the seventh-highest rate of craft breweries per 100,000 residents in the country (5.6) and Smuttynose has been one of the most prominent in New England. But the company co-founded by Peter Egelston was overleveraged from a $22 million investment to build a new, LEED-certified brewery and restaurant on Towle Farm Road, which opened in 2014.
By: Hadley Barndollar, Seacoast Online
When traveling to a faraway cooking competition, unexpected surprises are never good. That’s why chef David Vargas will bring pots, pans and blenders on his flight to Louisiana this weekend.
As owner and chef of both Vida Cantina and Ore Nell’s BBQ, Vargas will tout his signature charred and smoky flavors at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans Saturday. He’s one of 12 chefs competing from around the country, and he will present his creative, creamy dish to a panel of judges.
The prize if he wins? “A crown and bragging rights,” he laughed.
Vargas began his career in food at his family’s Mexican restaurant, and then in the kitchens of chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. He chose to stay in New England, and became chef/owner of Portsmouth’s Vida Cantina in 2014. Then, in 2018, he opened Ore Nell’s BBQ on Badger’s Island in Kittery, a Texas-style barbecue eatery.
The well-known chef has been involved in the New Hampshire Community Seafood program for the last few years, which is essentially community-supported agriculture, but with fish. Vargas and his restaurants buy into the shares at the beginning of the season, and receive local fish each week to serve fresh. He’s been a “big supporter” of the program since it began, he said.
When the Louisiana Seafood Association reached out to New Hampshire Community Seafood about a Granite State chef who may want to participate in the competition, they recommended Vargas.
By: Max Sullivan, Seacoast Online
Runnymede Investments of North Hampton plan to keep Smuttynose Brewing Co. alive as a New Hampshire staple, they said this week after being announced as the company’s new owners.Runnymede was named Smuttynose’s chosen buyer March 16, a week after the Provident Bank bought back the brewery at a foreclosure auction for $8.25 million. The purchase included the brand, as well as its $24-million facility and Hayseed Restaurant at 105 Towle Farm Road. It followed financial struggles caused by craft beer industry changes. The purchase amount was undisclosed, according to a press release from Smuttynose.
Andy Hart of Runnymede said Smuttynose has been a big part of his life personally. He recalled how he and his wife purchased every case of Finestkind IPA in stock at Gary’s Beverages in Portsmouth for their backyard wedding, then ordered more.
“I never would have thought that years later, Smuttynose would enter my life again and create more amazing memories,” said Hart.
In a statement from Runnymede, the new owners said founder Peter Egelston and his partner Joanne Francis “have created something magical here and we want to keep it that way.” Egelston is remaining in place as president for the immediate future, though he said Wednesday it is too early to tell what his long-term role with the brewery will be.
McDonald’s Becomes the First Restaurant Company to Set Approved Science Based Target to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Company Expected to Prevent 150 Million Metric Tons of Emissions by 2030
Today, McDonald’s announces it will partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year in a new strategy to address global climate change. Additionally, McDonald’s commits to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels. This combined target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Through these actions, McDonald’s expects to prevent 150 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. This is the equivalent of taking 32 million passenger cars off the road for an entire year or planting 3.8 billion trees and growing them for 10 years. The target will enable McDonald’s to grow as a business without growing its emissions.
“To create a better future for our planet, we must all get involved. McDonald’s is doing its part by setting this ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the challenge of global climate change,” said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and CEO, who announced the plan in a video released by the company. “To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling.”
By: Elizabeth Dinan, Seacoast Online
Matt Louis, chef and owner of Moxy restaurant, has been named a semifinalist for a 2017 James Beard Award in the category of “Best Chef Northeast.”
Also owner of Portsmouth’s Franklin Oyster House restaurant, Louis was chosen among a list of national candidates for the award established in 1990 to recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement. This is the fourth time Louis has been selected as a James Beard finalist, from a national culinary talent pool. He’s the only New Hampshire chef nominated this year.
“I am very grateful that our team and community is being recognized by such an important organization and foundation,” Louis said. “It’s a diverse list, which shows the amazing creative talent that is out there.”
Louis said he believes there are many people who are not on the finalist list who deserve to be, “so when you are on it, you have to be grateful.”
He said the selection committee is comprised of food writers, chefs and past winners, all of whom are well respected in the culinary world. At Moxy, Louis said, he’s inspired by New England’s culinary history and product, creating new dishes nightly to be shared.
By: Ron Ruggless, Nation's Restaurant News
Restaurant sales and traffic were up slightly in November, and operator optimism for the coming months improved, the monthly National Restaurant Association survey indicates.
The NRA’s Restaurant Performance Index, released at the end of December, stood at 101.1 in November, up from 100.9 in October. RPI surveys measure industry health, with values higher than 100 indicating a period of expansion and values below 100 indicating a period of contraction.
The RPI’s expectations component, which indicates operator sentiment for sales and traffic in the next six months, stood at 102.6 in November, up 0.3 percent from October’s 102.4.
“The gain marked the third consecutive monthly increase, which elevated the forward-looking component to its highest level in nine months,” the index overview noted.