So here’s a fun idea for local restaurant owners: One of my fav eateries in Portland, Maine, is selling seats, literally. Back Bay Grill is selling seats. You put down a grand (or more if you like) and get 150 percent on account, plus reservation privileges, etc. It’s going gangbusters. BBG serves superb fare in a casual bar setting with some hip touches in the dining room. Reminds me of Levain when it was good. But it is not a precious or spendy place. And the seat sale is a great idea. Restaurant gets the cash upfront, customers saves 50 cents on the dollar for the duration of their scrip splurge, and it’s fun.
Would it work here? Not sure, but if a town the size of Portland, Maine, can do it and have it work, can’t we? Well, given the fact that restaurants are less popular a cultural exercise in the Twin Cities than in many smaller cities, I doubt it. Sad.
The Voice of Minnesota, AM950, is starting a new weekend food show called Fresh and Local in partnership with the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Hopefully it won’t be an infomercial for the MFM, and hopefully the host, Susan Berkson, will ask them why they sell pineapples and avocados. They don’t grow here. If she doesn’t, I sure will in July when I tour the market with her and go on air. Hey, MFM, get rid of all the stuff that’s not local, fresh, and best!
Volun-tourism is this year’s PINK. Everyone I know is taking some time, traveling to another state or abroad, and doing good works. I like Empowerment International in Grenada, Nicaragua. It is operating out of Barrio Esperanza, another place in the world desperate for everyone’s help. Check it out here. The organization teaches kids the importance of education and then grooms one generation of street-smart, enthusiastic youngsters to teach the next crop of kids who walk in the door.
Kathy Adams is doing amazing work down there, and you can buy pics taken by children at the center online. I visited there last week, and I am in love with the mission and philosophy.
Now that NWA is really a part of Delta (finally), I get to travel through Atlanta a lot on my way to far-flung, exotic places. So I always bookend my trips with the best chicken sandwich in the world, the Chik-fil-A classic. Not even close, it’s the best, and it’s in several of the airport concourses at Hartsfield. Don’t skip the Polynesian sauce.