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Recapping the NY Restaurant & Foodservice Show

It was 4:45am on Sunday, March 5th when my alarm went off. Six of us were meeting at Terry Hills, bright and early, to embark on a little restaurant journey. Danielle (Restaurant & Banquet Manager), Chris (Assistant Banquet Manager), Mike (Head Chef), Kelli (Bar Manager), Casey (Head Golf Pro) and I (Darcy, Director of Marketing) piled into a minivan, and headed off to NYC for the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of NY.
Over 500 Vendors. Over 12 hours of education sessions. Cooking demos. Samples. You name it, it was there. But I'm getting ahead of myself... 
Day 1: Early-morning flight into NYC.
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The show kicked off this morning as well, so we arrived around 11am, got our badges, and headed into restaurant mecca. The show was held on the bottom level of the Javits center, Manhattan's largest convention center (which, to hep our golfers visualize, is approximately the size of our front 9). Lanes upon lanes upon lanes of restaurant and foodservice vendors. 
So, needless to say, when we first arrived, we needed to catch our bearings. We literally just explored up and down the aisles to see everything there was to see. And that alone, took all day. Tasted samples. Saw different displays, products and technologies.
IMG 7068so. much. chocolate <3 

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checking out the sights to see, like this Barbie in a meat dress...  
Around lunchtime, our education classes began, so we split up to attend various presentations for the remainder of the afternoon. 
A few favorite items from the day:
  • Wood Fired Pizza ovens (on wheels -- hello, Terry Hills patio?!) which made the most delicious pizzas in just 90 SECONDS. Day made. 
  • Soft-Serve Gelato
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Clearly excited.
  • Taste NY: a dedicated area for NYS food & beverage producers. Cider, maple syrup, specialty oils, breweries, distilleries... all the yum.
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The other highlight was posing with this Sausage Mascot
At the 5pm conclusion, we headed back to our hotel to check-in, followed by dinner, drinks and of course, exploring NYC.
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Day 2: Now that we had settled in and learned the ropes, it was time to get down to specifics.
We started the day off in our respective education classes: "Develop the Right Hospitality Management Team" for Danielle & Chris, "Food Transparency in the age of Fake News and Alternate Facts" for Darcy, and a culinary demonstration by celebrity chef, Donatella Arpaia for Mike, Kelli and Casey.  Mike was one of the few people who actually got to try one of the meatballs she made, so I'm sure he will tell you that was his highlight of the trip. #chefcrush
Next order of business: seeking-out specific products/services that we came to see.
  • Chris and I were on the hunt for new menus (got some great ideas!) and just in general, brainstorming ideas for our own restaurant & banquet facility tradeshow booth.
  • Chef Mike/Danielle had their own wishlist: pretzel rolls, pizza logs, gluten-free options, and/or any & all new menu items/equipment that sparked their interest.
  • Casey ultimately wanted to learn more about the inner workings of a restaurant, but also had one very important goal: finding a solution for credit card sales on the beverage cart. And BINGO, we think we may have found it!
  • Kelli was on the lookout for specialty cocktails, bloody marys, and basically, anything alcohol-related to stock her bar with. 
By the end of Day 2, information overload was a real thing, and we were brimming with new ideas. The good news was that it wasn't even over. We left the conference, quickly freshed up at the hotel, and headed straight to a networking cocktail party, sponspored by the NYS Restaurant Association. We got to chat with other restauranteurs and industry professionals while also saying a big "cheers" to a couple of well-spent days. 

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 IMG 7103Networking FTW
To sum everything up, the show was the perfect mix between education, a showcase of new products, with a little (read as: a lot) of fun thrown in. Here's everyone's main takeaways:
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I think this trip brought together an already good management team and made it better to serve our customers in the best way.
David Scott Peters was an amazing speaker and I was really able to learn a lot from his two presentations, "How to Avoid 3 Deadly Mistakes in Labor Cost" and "Cost Saving Strategies" 
"The Restaurant Expert" by David Scott Peters was a great presentation. This was also just a great bonding experience for the entire team.
I learned the importance of understanding food allergies and the danger to customers if a mistake is made.
Came away with so many new ideas for menus, tradeshow displays, and general restaurant practices to attract new customers. (also, sidenote: losing your voice while attending a tradeshow is NO fun)
And... a handful of exciting items we're bringing back with us: 
  • Pretzel Rolls
  • New appetizers and sandwiches
  • New Menu Design
  • Credit Card sales on the Beverage Cart

5 Things We've Never Had to do in February.. Until Now.

When you think of February in WNY, you generally think of snow. Plain and simple. Snowy, cold, blustery, wintery weather. Right…?

Wrong.  Not if 2017 had anything to do with it.

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We’re going to hop aboard this global warming train and say that this February was one for the record books. Sure, we had snow here and there but almost nothing about this past month was typical. From the amount of accumulation, to the temperatures, there’s a lot of “Never Have I Ever”s being thrown around.

Here’s our Top 5 Reasons Why February Threw us for a Loop:

1. Week-Long High Temps

There’s always been a high-temp here or there throughout the winter. Maybe even, if we’re lucky – a 2-day stretch. But we honestly can’t remember an entire week of February that could pass for Spring, let alone on some days, Summer.

We would like to accept the award for Best February Weather on behalf of our tee sheet.  

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2. Changing Cups

And speaking of a week-long stretch of beautiful weather, and a week-long stretch of sold out golf, comes the course maintenance.  

Changing out cups (a.k.a holes for you non-golfers) is something we do every day throughout the season, going into December, even early January. You know, before the ground freezes, and there’s no convenient way or logical reason to do so. But when there’s a 5-day stretch of 60+ degree weather, you better believe the grounds crew was all over it.

So we wanted to go on the record and say that 2017 was the first and only time cups have been changed in February.

3. Putting out Garbages

Yes, you read that right. Part of winterizing the course is taking all the garbages in (which I’m sure most of you never even realized was a thing), but we jinxed ourselves this year. We had to put them back out for a week because, well, 1,000+ golfers may have needed them. Another “first time ever” for February.

4. Refraining from Travel

The #travelban is on… at least for the months of April-December for those of us who work on a golf course in WNY. So come January, we are packing our bags and heading to… pretty much anywhere south of NYS.

But again, not if 2017 had anything to do with it.

Our travel plans were majorly upended by Mother Nature. From vacations to trade shows, the weather had us questioning every move. Not to mention, for an industry that plans the vast majority of its tradeshows for these months, it was a fun change of events to try to coordinate who went to what show, while who stayed back to operate the facility (and sometimes, whether or not we even had enough staff to do so).

5. Outdoor Wedding

A February wedding in itself is not bizarre at all. Some couples prefer a snowy backdrop, or an off-season affair to cut costs.

This particular couple got the opposite of a snowy backdrop: a 70 degree day. And luckily, the snowy backdrop was not something they were after. 

Just like if it rains on your wedding day; is it a good omen to have summer weather during your winter wedding? 


Celebrating the beautiful weather, or a "Bird Seed Send Off"? You decide. 


What crazy February happenings did you experience?

Employee Spotlight: Our NEW Head Chef!

We've been on somewhat of a radio silence over the last few months. Blogging took the backburner when things like banquets, holiday parties, tradeshows, etc came up. You know, because we're not busy at all ;)
Now we're back and we have someone we'd like you to meet: our new Head Chef, Mike DeVay!

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Preparing our restaurant and banquet facility for a new chef is, luckily, not something we've had to do in over 10 years. Which, in the restaurant industry, is unheard of. Our restaurant and banquet facility had the same Executive Chef since it was built in 2005. We were thankful to have him for so long, sad to see him go, and all the while happy for him as he enters his retirement. 
Thus, we found ourselves beginning the search for a new Head Chef, and were excited to see what this next chapter would bring.
Now, we're thrilled to welcome Chef DeVay to the team!
So thrilled, in fact, we're already diving deep into his secrets... well, kind of. Here's our Meet & Greet session with Chef Mike:
Give us a brief background of your culinary experience:
I've been cooking since I was a little boy, with my grandmother and mother, but actually got my start at my aunt's bakery when I was in my early 20's. It kind of just took off from there and developed into a passion. I've worked in and around Buffalo and Rochester since then, under some pretty reputable chefs. I love to experiment and create dishes out of my comfort zone. I take a lot of pride in what I do, and providing an enjoyable meal to our guests is what motivates me. 
What is your favorite dish to make? Least favorite?

Anything BBQ- ribs, chicken, brisket, etc. 

I hate making casseroles or eating them for that matter
What is the best thing you've ever had to eat at another restaurant? Where was it?
Crab-stuffed Filet Mignon with a garlic butter sauce at Bohn's. Looking back on it now, I don't believe it was actually a filet, but it was delicious.
Okay, enough about food... Favorite Professional Sports Team?
NY Yankees/Denver Broncos
If you could go on any reality/competition show, what would it be?
It's a Japanese game show - MXC (like our version of Wipe Out). 

Real Wedding: Brittany & Joe

Pinterest has done great things for the world of weddings. Because of Pinterest, we got this. And let us tell you, we loved it.
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It all started with an amazingly spirited couple, Brittany and Joe. Right off the bat, we could tell we would have so much fun on their wedding day. So, it made sense that this enjoyable, kind, energetic bride and groom would choose professionals like them to work with. We were incredibly lucky to get to work with Deb & Matt Photo. This husband and wife team were warm & professional (not to mention: so cute together!). Their personalities definitely shone through in their photography.
But back to the happy couple.
If this were the Olympic Sport of a Groom's Reaction to Seeing His Bride, Joe would definitely be in medal-contention. Look at the way he broke down into tears when he first saw his bride! 
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And Brittany would win Best Pinterest Recreation for these sprinkle shots. Dying. 
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But seriously, we loved the dramatic warmth radiating off of these shots. This bridge picture is one of our faves (and let us tell you -- we see a LOT). 
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For the heat of the summer, we love that they chose a cool royal blue color scheme, and incorporated pops of blue between white petals and touches of greenery. 
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Brittany and Joe were just so fun, that not only did they throw sprinkles in the mix (pun intended), they gave the sprinkles a partner in crime: donuts. And not just any donuts... Paula's Donuts. Because what's a donut without sprinkles, anyway?
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Thank you again to Deb & Matt Photo for these stunning photos, and obviously to Brittany and Joe, for sprinkling Terry Hills with your love (heh)!
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The 4-1-1 on Olympic Golf

Olympic. Golf. 
Two words that have not be put to use together in waaaaay too long. We're excited, and we're guessing that the majority of our golfers are too. Since, for obvious reasons, it's golf. 
Golf has not made an appearance in the Olympic games for over 100 years, so like us, you might be a little rusty. We did some research and thought we would make it easy for you and share our findings.
What is the format?
Although we wish there would be both team and individual events, it is solely individual. A 72-Hole Stroke Play. A Team event would have been awesome for two reasons: 1. more golf to watch, and 2. our team is stacked. 
Speaking of Team USA, who is it?
The top 60 players in World Rankings qualified to head to Rio, but not necessarily every single one of them decided to play. There were a few drawbacks to the 2016 Olympic Games, one of which is quite obvious- the Zika Virus. Understandably so, quite a few big-name players dropped out of the running, nevertheless leaving us with an incredible team of both men and women:
Men = Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler (who is also winning the Gold Medal in Snapchat updates from the Games), Matt Kuchar & Patrick Reed.
Women = Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, and Gerina Piller. 
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Anyone we should be worried about?
Unfortunately, the whole field is packed. Hence why it's the Olympics. Many accomplished golfers are playing for their home-base, including: Sergio Garcia (Spain), Justin Rose (Great Britain), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Danny Willett (Great Britain), and Martin Kaymer (Germany)... to name a few. 

So golf is here to stay, right?
Sadly, no. You can count on watching golf only through the 2020 Olympics. Unfortunately, its fate will be put up for a vote in 2017, after only one stint as an Olympic sport. A stint where some of the world's best opted out due to unfavorable conditions in the host city. We shall see what happens, but if you ask us, that vote is not quite on an even playing field. Fingers crossed!

Where can I watch it? 
The Golf Channel will be broadcasting the entirety of both the men's and the women's competitions! Men's runs from August 11-14, and Women's from August 17-20. 

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