Based in Missoula, Mont., HuHot Mongolian Grills has become one of the fastest-growing Mongolian grill concepts in the nation. The company was founded in 1999 and is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2014. Through a growth strategy that includes a combination of corporate and franchised locations, HuHot is striving to optimize internal operations and differentiate itself through fast, customer-oriented service and fresh, healthy food. 

“We are a growing, national chain of create-your-own Mongolian grill stir fry restaurants,” COO Jeff Martin says. “Our guests enjoy dining in our restaurants, selecting from fresh ingredients and having meals cooked right in front of them with all of the theatrics and flair.”

Los Angeles-based Grill Concepts has called class into session with its newest concept, Public School. The gastropub delivers an education in the art of food and beer. The concept was launched three years ago when it converted the bar area inside one of its Daily Grill locations in downtown Los Angeles into a testing site. 

“Looking back, it was probably the best decision we made in launching Public School 612 – we were able to test the décor, the food, the ambiance, the beers – everything without actually opening a full restaurant until we were ready,” Senior Vice President of Operations John Sola says. 

A fully functioning winery offering high-end culinary and cultural experiences with intimate concerts, food and wine classes, private events and fine-dining options sounds like a venue exclusive to wine country – but it’s not. “We built something very unique,” says Michael Dorf, owner and CEO.

As a music venue owner, Dorf knew how to put on a good show, but it was his passion for wine that inspired him in 2008 to create City Winery – Manhattan’s first fully operational winery, restaurant and performance space. “I caught the bug for winemaking in 2004 and thought it would make a great theme for building a music venue in New York,” he says. “On some level, I like to say we are operating a fancy lemonade stand and figured out that the trick to bring people to the lemonade stand is putting on a good show.”

Does the “perfect” chicken salad recipe exist? Stacy Brown has tried to answer that question for most of her life. 

“Every restaurant I entered, I would order the chicken salad sandwich. The funny thing about chicken salad is that everyone’s idea of the ‘perfect’ one is so completely different, although we all pretty much agree that chicken and mayonnaise are the two key components,” she said in a statement. “So, after tasting every chicken salad I came across, I realized everyone’s idea of the perfect recipe is different.”

Hotels understand that to attract guests, the primary focus must be comfort. There is a lot that goes into that, of course – the quality of the room and furnishings, the level of service provided and the availability of amenities, to name a few – but for guests traveling for business or pleasure, they want to be comfortable and feel well taken care of. This goes beyond a good night’s sleep, however, and Atlific Hotels understands that meeting the needs of guests’ stomachs is a major part of an overall quality experience. 

Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar is the place to be in Pennsylvania for the big game, date night or night out with friends. “We are a non-traditional casual sports bar with a focus on quality food and offering a great value to our guests,” Co-Founder and President Gary Huether Jr. says. 

The Harrisburg, Pa.- based company was founded in 2008 by Huether and Mike Murphy and offers a diverse menu. The highlights include fresh antibiotic and hormone-free Kobe/Wagyu burgers, its signature Maryland Crab stuffed pretzel cheesesteaks, salads and flatbread pizza, but the restaurant is best known for its extra large wings, Huether says. 

Experience matters in the restaurant industry. Led by President Frank Westermajer and his 30 years of restaurant experience, Westar has grown over the past seven years by providing an experience and environment that keeps customers coming back.

Westar consists of Westar Foods Inc., West Partners Inc. and Café Foods Inc.  In addition to Westermajer, leading the company are business partners Steven Barrett, Ronald Damiana and Wayne Glasser. The organization was founded in 2007, investing in a number of Hardee’s franchises at a time when Hardee’s was looking for franchisees to take on some corporate-owned locations. 

“At the time, I was a regional vice president with Hardee’s and thought it would be a good time to get into the franchising side of the business,” Westermajer says. “We started with 18 stores that ranged in size from 3,000 to 3,500 square feet.”

It may be best known as the place to come to put your cares aside and have some fun, but for The Greene Turtle, food is serious business. With a menu that includes soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps and a variety of other “comfort food” appetizers and entrees, and a bar list favored for its mix of craft beers and local and mainstream standards, the sports-themed full-service restaurant chain has perfected the recipe for casual dining popularity, and is now looking to replicate it in markets far beyond its Maryland base. 

“Our competitors do a great job with their brands, but I think we are a little bit ‘above the bar’ as far as our food is concerned,” President and CEO Bob Barry says.

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