"'Fun for all and all in fun’ is the attitude at the core of every Dick’s Last Resort (DLR) Restaurant,” President Ralph W. McCracken says. These outrageous, irreverent restaurants have for some 28 years been mixing good food and drink with a unique way of entertaining and making memories for guests.

From the moment guests enter one of DLR’s 13 restaurants, they find themselves in a self-proclaimed “Three-Ring-Circus” where the servers do much more than just take orders and deliver food. That is why all of Dick’s servers don’t merely interview for their jobs; rather, they actually audition for them. “Our servers are happy and naturally gregarious,” McCracken says. “They are also creative and adjust their keen sense of humor to their audience. In a restaurant with an average of over 300 to 400 seats, you are going to have a lot of different personalities and different age groups, so our servers must to be able to adapt to that environment.”

There are many concepts that offer both dining and entertainment, but none have the legacy that Dave & Buster’s has, President and COO Dolf Berle says. Based in Dallas, the company operates 61 locations in more than 20 states that feature large Midways (the D&B name for arcades) and signature entrees, burgers and cocktails.

CEO Steve King says the company’s history goes back to 1982, when founders Dave Corriveau and Buster Corley joined forces. Corley owned a restaurant in a shopping mall, and Corriveau owned an arcade and pool hall that was located across from the eatery.

Wild Wing Cafe is a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll, folk, soul, jazz and a myriad of music styles, depending on the location and the night. From its inception in 1990, Wild Wing Cafe has promoted its great wings and made-from-scratch food paired with live entertainment in most restaurants.

Today, the company started by Cecil and Diane Crowley has 13 company-owned and run restaurants and 21 franchises offering great wings and a platform for up-and-coming musicians to make their mark.

You can find it at grocery stores neatly arranged in mini-trays or watch it being made fresh sitting at a bar. Depending on the location, one order of it can cost $5 or $50 and it can be made with a variety of ingredients. Sushi historically may be a Japanese staple, but today’s Americans are adopting it in droves – so much so that even convenience stores, which are not known for their plethora of healthy, fresh, sophisticated cuisine, have started stocking it in refrigerated shelves.

People like to be given a wide range of choices with their meals. But the restaurants of PizzaRev exceed customers’ expectations by offering more than 30 different pizza toppings for one affordable all-in price, Partner and Co-CEO Irv Zuckerman says.

“The simple truth is that pizza is such an individual item,” Zuckerman says. “We find that when people are given more variety in topping options, they get more creative with their choices. In fact, in many cases, they try toppings for the first time, and the results have been great.”

"Why is there a shortage of healthy fast food?” This is the question that made Nick Kenner and Rob Crespi set on their ambitious quest to open a concept that would offer nutritious, healthy foods in a quick-service environment, at affordable prices while being environmentally conscious.

In 2006, Kenner and Crespi opened their first location at 320 Park Avenue in New York. The young entrepreneurs – Kenner was just 25 when Just Salad took off – had some finance experience but no food industry background, so they enlisted the help of chef Laura Pensiero.

If the United States is a melting pot, then Southern California is in the center of the burner. The region is one of the most ethnically diverse in the world and its dining options reflect it. That is why restaurant developer Innovative Dining Group (IDG) has fully embraced the varying tastes within the City of Angels and its neighbors.

IDG, which began in 1997 with a contemporary sushi bar concept, Sushi Roku, has turned into a company with seven restaurant concepts and 13 locations. Sushi Roku, though different from its other concepts, is the epitome of what IDG strives for with each development. The company describes Sushi Roku as a “unique culinary experience that bridges past and present [and] is the result of an eagerness to embrace new ideas and a profound respect for tradition.”

Ask Michael Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, why he got into the restaurant business in 1978, and he’ll explain it mainly was to take a failed restaurant off his lawyer father’s hands. “My dad did some residential development and a little bit of commercial development, and he owned this restaurant building called Yummy’s,” Whalen recalls. “Soon, it became known as Crummy’s, and that guy went broke.”

Whalen’s father couldn’t rent or sell the restaurant that was in an isolated, inconvenient location a short distance from I-80 in Davenport, Iowa, so Whalen – a recent graduate of Harvard University’s law school – offered to open a restaurant there. “I took the bar exam on Monday through Wednesday and opened the restaurant on Friday,” Whalen remembers. “I did pass, by the way.”

Check out our latest Edition!



Contact Us

Food and Drink Magazine
150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60601


Click here for a full list of contacts.

Latest Edition

Spread The Love

Back To Top