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BusINess » Food

Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Strack & Van Til puts its mark on acquired stores

Ron Mize, left, buys groceries at the Strack & Van Til grocery store in Lowell. David Wilkinson, Strack & Van Til president and CEO, said the company is investing more than $2 million in the Lowell store. (Photograph by Kristin Elkins/The Times.)

Ron Mize, left, buys groceries at the Strack & Van Til grocery store in Lowell. David Wilkinson, Strack & Van Til president and CEO, said the company is investing more than $2 million in the Lowell store. (Photograph by Kristin Elkins/The Times.)

By the end of March, Strack & Van Til officials hope to have completed extensive remodeling of the former Wilco County Market that will bring it in line with the company’s other stores.

David Wilkinson, Strack & Van Til president and CEO, said the company is investing more than $2 million in the Lowell store alone, which it bought from Wilco last year.

“Whether a recession or not, we have to make sure it has the look and feel of a Strack & Van Til store,” he said.
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Meyer’s Castle offers fine dining in ‘a piece of American history’

The upstairs dining room of Meyer's Castle in Dyer. (Photograph by Yvette Marie Dostatni.)

The upstairs dining room of Meyer's Castle in Dyer. (Photograph by Yvette Marie Dostatni.)

Motorists making their way down U.S. 30 in Dyer along the bustling stretch of shopping and dining establishments likely don’t realize what a huge piece of history they are driving past. Hidden by heavy foliage behind iron gates up a winding drive at the top of a hill sits an architectural gem that many Hoosiers may not know about—Meyer’s Castle. A simple turn south and all that hustle and bustle evaporates, transporting you to another place and time.

Completed in the early 1930s and designed by architect L. Cosby Bernard, the home was the dream of Joseph Ernest Meyer, founder of the Indiana Botanical Gardens in Hammond. An example of Jacobethan Revival Architecture, it was inspired by a castle Meyer had seen in Scotland, constructed with Indiana limestone and detailed by European craftsmen. The millionaire botanist enhanced the grounds with extensive gardens, and lived in the home until his death in 1950. In 1984, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Cobbler, pie shop opens in Chicago Heights

Bonnie Thompson, owner of Classic Cobbler in Chicago Heights, prepares to make dinner-size cobbler pies at her new business. (Photograph by Mary Compton/The Times.)

Bonnie Thompson, owner of Classic Cobbler in Chicago Heights, prepares to make dinner-size cobbler pies at her new business. (Photograph by Mary Compton/The Times.)

When Bloom High School graduate Bonnie Thompson saw the strip mall come up next to the popular Egg & I restaurant on Dixie Highway, she decided it was time to follow her dream.

Thompson’s new bakery, Classic Cobbler, recently opened in that strip mall at 200 Dixie Highway.

She worked for years as a mental health counselor, but was accustomed to people asking that she bake for their parties. Thompson decided to market her family recipes by opening a shop that specializes in a variety of fruit cobblers, pies and specialty cakes.
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Hot dogs to remember

Alex Kutanovski holds three of the many different style of hot dogs his Crown Point business, Maxwell Street Hotdogs, has to offer. (Photograph by Dan Shelton/The Times.)

Alex Kutanovski holds three of the many different style of hot dogs his Crown Point business, Maxwell Street Hotdogs, has to offer.
(Photograph by Dan Shelton/The Times.)

Maxwell Street Hotdogs serves the Vienna beef sausages in almost more ways and with more trimmings than you can count.

“There are 10 different types of hot dogs that all have different toppings, and with all you can get them Chicago-style,” said Alex Kutanovski, who owns and operates the restaurant.

The small diner-style eatery with a drive-through window opened Nov. 1 in the rear third of a family-owned office building on Main Street. Beside hot dogs, offerings include 16 types of sandwiches such as Polish sausages, prime rib sandwiches, Italian beef, hamburgers and patty melts, plus fries, chili, chili cheese fries and more.

The diner’s name is reminiscent of the former Maxwell Street area of Chicago, Kutanovski said.

“Maxwell Street and Vienna beef is kind of a generic name a lot of Polish Sausage,” he said. “I went to Indiana Secretary of State website and saw Maxwell Street was available in Indiana, and knowing people associate Maxwell Street with quality hot dogs and Polish, we chose it.”

An attorney by day, Kutanovski operates Maxwell Street Hotdogs on evenings and weekends and the Chicago Fire Juniors Northwest Indiana soccer club, where he’s part owner, in his spare time.

“They take up a lot of time, but I typically take care of them after work,” he said. “With the soccer club it’s a labor of love that keeps you going. It‘s keeping high school and college kids employed and 200 kids off the street and active. I’ve learned I enjoy my day job, but when I get out of there I think hot dogs and soccer.”
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Snack food maker to expand Michigan City operations

A contract baker of snack foods announced Friday that it will expand its operations in Michigan City, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2014.

Hearthside Food Solutions LLC, which bakes products for national snack food brands including Keebler, Nabisco and Kraft, plans to invest more than $3.8 million. The company plans to construct 23,000 square feet of additional production space for the addition of new snack cake and cookie baking lines, according to a news release.
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Wal-Mart, Michelle Obama announce effort to make, sell healthier foods

Wal-Mart President and CEO Bill Simon looks on as First lady Michelle Obama takes part in Wal-Mart's announcement of a comprehensive effort to provide healthier and more affordable food choices to their customers, Thursday in Washington. (Photograph by Cliff Owen/Associated Press.)

Wal-Mart President and CEO Bill Simon looks on as First lady Michelle Obama takes part in Wal-Mart's announcement of a comprehensive effort to provide healthier and more affordable food choices to their customers, Thursday in Washington.
(Photograph by Cliff Owen/Associated Press.)

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest grocer, says it will reformulate thousands of products to make them healthier and push its suppliers to do the same, joining first lady Michelle Obama’s effort to combat childhood obesity.

The first lady accompanied Wal-Mart executives Thursday as they announced the effort in Washington. The company plans to reduce sodium and added sugars in some items, build stores in poor areas that don’t already have grocery stores, reduce prices on produce and develop a logo for healthier items.
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Tequila Si Cantina expands into Lowell

Chef Casey Anderson prepares steak fajitas at the recently opened Tequila Si Cantina restaurant in Lowell. (Photograph by Tim Hunt/The Times.)

Chef Casey Anderson prepares steak fajitas at the recently opened Tequila Si Cantina restaurant in Lowell. (Photograph by Tim Hunt/The Times.)

Ron and Michele Burget recently opened the second in what they plan will be a long line of Tequila Si Cantina franchises.

Ron, who has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, opened the Lowell location Dec. 3 and is planning to open a third Mexican-themed eatery in Dyer during the spring or early summer. He envisions a fourth and fifth in Winfield and Valparaiso.
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It’s too good not to go

Nada Karas, co-owner of Good To Go by Lucrezia, shows some of the food baskets the store offers. The Chesterton business serves unique, gourmet, and healthy foods. Good To Go also serves olive oil and vinegar bottles that are refillable in the store. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Nada Karas, co-owner of Good To Go by Lucrezia, shows some of the food baskets the store offers. The Chesterton business serves unique, gourmet, and healthy foods. Good To Go also serves olive oil and vinegar bottles that are refillable in the store.
(Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

The Karas’ love of food mixed with job dissatisfaction put them on the path to opening and operating their two restaurants and recently their new Italian deli, Good To Go by Lucrezia.

Michael Karas is the president and Nada Karas is secretary of Karavan Restaurant Inc., the parent of Lucrezia Café in Chesterton, Lucrezia Ristorante in Crown Point and Good To Go by Lucrezia in Chesterton.
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New deal site offers steep restaurant discounts

Foodies have a new way to snag reservations at posh urban eateries—and enjoy them at a steep discount.

A six-month-old Web service called VillageVines is elbowing its way into the growing crowd of discount sites that offer everything from haircuts to yoga sessions for as much as half off.

VillageVines, modeled on a competing service called OpenTable, offers a 30 percent discount on restaurant tabs—alcohol included—at up-scale destinations around the country. Subscribers to the service pay $10 to make a reservation, and the discount is discretely applied to the check.
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Hammond restaurant inspired memorable Peking duck scene in ‘A Christmas Story’

The duck decapitation—which sets the turkey-deprived Parker clan into fits of giggles—is a highlight of “A Christmas Story.” Left to right: John Wong as the Chop Suey Palace owner, Darren McGavin as The Old Man, Melinda Dillon as Mother, Ian Petrella as Randy Parker and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker (the young Jean Shepherd). The Cam-Lan, Hammond's first upscale Chinese restaurant, is widely believed to have inspired the memorable “Chinese turkey” scene. (Photograph from <em>A Christmas Story</em>, 1983.)

The duck decapitation—which sets the turkey-deprived Parker clan into fits of giggles—is a highlight of “A Christmas Story.” Left to right: John Wong as the Chop Suey Palace owner, Darren McGavin as The Old Man, Melinda Dillon as Mother, Ian Petrella as Randy Parker and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker (the young Jean Shepherd). The Cam-Lan, Hammond's first upscale Chinese restaurant, is widely believed to have inspired the memorable “Chinese turkey” scene. (Photograph from A Christmas Story, 1983.)

Thwack! • One stroke of a cleaver, and Jean Shepherd immortalized Peking duck as “Chinese turkey” in A Christmas Story.

To recreate the Parkers’ Yule meal in the 1983 film, read on. But let’s first pay tribute to the Hammond family and restaurant that inspired the memorable Chop Suey Palace scene.

When TBS kicks off its 24-hour film marathon at 7 p.m. tonight, watch the restaurant action closely. The proprietor (actor John Wong) exudes goodwill to his guests, their turkey savaged by the Bumpus hounds.
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