No Vacancy Podcast – Denver, Colorado

February 28th, 2017

While attending the 2017 NEWH Leadership Conference in Denver, Colorado a few weeks back, our Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman had the chance to sit down with Glenn Haussman of the No Vacancy Podcast and President of Rouse Media.

 

Glenn and Corey chatted about a range of topics from the Hospitality Industry, from Restaurant Design to Labor Challenges, Food & Beverage trends to Service Standards and so much more.  It was a very lively and interactive conversation, with Corey already being asked back to participate in another podcast.

 

Check out the show by clicking play below – well worth a listen!

 

NEWH Conference

February 22nd, 2017

Recently, our Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman was invited to participate in a panel on Culinary Trends: Food and restaurant trends to watch in 2017 and beyond at the biennial NEWH Leadership Conference which was just held in Denver, Colorado – February 9th through 11th. NEWH is the premier networking resource for the hospitality industry, providing scholarships, education, leadership development, recognition of excellence, and business development opportunities.

 

Corey was able to share his perspective from an operational side, along with the panel moderator David Corsun, Ph.D., Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver, Tom Ricca of Ricca Design Studios who spoke on the Kitchen Design perspective and Brooke Taylor of Arcsine who shared from an Interior Design aspect.

 

The panel was the wrap up for the 3-day conference, sharing fresh perspectives from industry members tailored for designers, operators and those looking to be on the cutting edge of Hospitality in 2017 and beyond.

 

Life is Beautiful Wins 2016 Music Festival of the Year

February 21st, 2017

A fun start to 2017 for Craig Asher Nyman who spearheads efforts for CAN Media & Entertainment (a subsidiary of The Nyman Group) as the Life is Beautiful Festival was awarded Music Festival of the Year at the 2017 Pollstar Awards in Downtown Los Angeles on February 2. A truly incredible honor for all the hard work the team has put in to building the festival to be recognized by the music industry as a leader in the new wave of festivals. The 2016 festival featured acclaimed artists including Mumford & Sons, J. Cole, Major Lazer, The Lumineers, Jane’s Addiction, Flume, Empire The Son and more. Other artists to perform at the festival in years past include Stevie Wonder, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, Kanye West, OutKast, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Duran Duran and hundreds more.

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Craig and CAN Media & Entertainment have worked with the festival since it’s inception where he has served at Head of Music & Live Performances. The music, art, culinary and learning festival returns to Downtown Las Vegas in September for its fifth installment where Craig is busy at work with the team to make the 2017 festival the best yet.

 

 

 

 

HOTELS Magazine: F&B Meetings get the trendy local touch, too

August 2nd, 2016

Here’s some perspective on the continued trend of LOCAL in all aspects of Food & Beverage, including the impact upon Meetings and Banquets.  Courtesy of our friends at HOTELS Magazine and written by Brittany Farb Gruber, they showcase a few hotels that are embracing this direction.

Posted yesterday, F&B: Meetings get the trendy local touch, too article is a great, quick piece.

As a part of the research for the piece, our Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman was interviewed providing great information and is quoted directly at the end of the article.

Make sure you read HOTELS Magazine regularly for the latest news in the industry, as they embody their tagline ‘Passion for Hospitality’ – extremely true!

 

Raising a glass to 40yrs of Iron Horse Vineyards and 4th of July Weekend in Sonoma

July 12th, 2016

July 4th, easily one of our favorite holidays to celebrate and as such this year we had a whole lot of celebrating to do.   Our dear friend and longtime business collaborate with The Nyman Group, Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards filled us in on plans to celebrate 40 years of Iron Horse we knew exactly where Independence Day would take us.  Joy has shaped the vision of Iron Horse within the Hospitality Industry and her wines are regularly served at the White House and great restaurants around the country.

Iron Horse Vineyards

Sonoma is truly one of those perfect places in America and currently there is so much good happening from incredible juice being bottled and ready to drink to fantastic, fun restaurants to a housing and economic boom, the whole county is firing on all cylinders.  If you have the ability to travel to the region, go now!

Our visit started out on July 2 with us heading to Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley to visit Bill Smart, VP and GM of Lambert Bridge Winery.  First off, Bill is the consummate host and what a lovely experience in our first visit to the winery.  The tasting room at Lambert Bridge is gorgeous and you feel right at home the minute you step foot inside (if you haven’t fallen in love with the winery upon driving up).  We tasted the range of wines and marveled at the delicious juice winemaker Jennifer Higgins has cared for.

Next, it was heading south to Santa Rosa for an afternoon in the sunshine with Rose and Bubbles over at Inman Family Wines. We’ve been big fans of the winery for some time and it was a pleasure having Jon as our host for the day and making sure our glasses were always full as we relaxed next to the vineyard.  If you make the trek this summer make sure to ask for Jon and pick up a bottle or three of their Endless Crush Rose.

 

Being a bit famished after two fantastic tastings it was off to Zazu for dinner.  This was also our first time at the new location inside The Barlow.  The true definition of Farm-to-Table is exemplified by what Duskie Estes and her husband, John Stewart continue to do at Zazu.  On this evening we started with a smorgasbord of salumi, antipasti and some black pig bacon wrapped dates. All tasty and delicious as was the homemade pasta used in the stroganoff followed by a perfect char and crust on the 30-day dry aged rib-eye. The wine list at Zazu is also filled with gems for you to select from and if you want to know what real Caesar salad should taste like, look no further!

 

The following day was what the whole trip was planned around, celebrating 40 years of Iron Horse Vineyards. As a family that has been there from the beginning it is with profound joy and admiration we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Iron Horse and the sensational job Audrey, Barry and of course, Joy, have worked tirelessly on to make the winery an icon in the business and in the world.  On this day we were all enjoying Spirit of ’76 Cuvee and wow what a firework!  Just an absolutely delicious and perfect sparkling wine while enjoying it in the Iron Horse garden.  In typical Joy fashion there was always a ‘next stop’ and on this celebration day it included following “Uncle Sam” and a 20-person brass band called The Hub Bub Club to a 1920’s corral where the bubbles were flowing and everything from New England lobster rolls to bison sliders were being served.  The highlight of the celebration however came inside the corral where Joy had assembled a collection of impressive and unforgettable memories over the past 40 years of Iron Horse. A perfect soiree for the holiday weekend.

 

 

Following Iron Horse and with a couple hours until dinner it was off to UNTI for a quick tasting. Having been a fan of the wines for some time because of the European styles and techniques we were all very excited about this tasting. We had a lovely host in Kelsey who took us through the whole range and even sampled us on some additional varietals, which weren’t featured on the daily tasting selection. While we sincerely advise you to go, buy, drink immediately we’d be doing a disservice if we didn’t advise you to purchase some of the UNTI Grenache Blanc, a home run!

For dinner we met up with good friend and journalist, Matt Villano, at Underwood Bar and Bistro in Graton. Matt and all our friends in the area all suggested Underwood as a must visit and as such we obliged and were not disappointed.  We could and nearly did eat through the entire menu; a few highlights include the pan roasted chicken (oh my harissa!) and Liberty Farms duck breast and confit.  Pair those entrees with Fathers & Daughters Ella’s Reserve Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 and the Kokomo Claret 2011 from Dry Creek Valley and we were happy campers indeed.

The following day was the 4th and to celebrate our nation’s independence we went to visit good friend, Sean Tevik at Thomas George Estates.  This is another must visit when you are in the area. The winery is relatively young after purchasing the land and facility from David Bynum in 2008 and with such a storied history prior to taking over it’s no wonder TGS specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay! Now look, not only is the wine delicious and one you should stock up on but they have also relocated the tasting room to the Cave making for an even better experience than one could ask for.  Sean and his team are gracious hosts and just give them a heads up you are coming and have a great time!

 

Like all good things, our trip had to come to an end but not before cruising down to San Francisco for a few hours to visit our good friend Nick Floulis at Hole In The Wall coffee. It’s amazing what he’s doing with 27 sq-ft of space (yes, that’s correct, 27). The pour over coffee is strong and tasty, four blends to choose from, and his personality may just keep you there for hours! Don’t believe us?  Go experience for yourself!

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A weekend in wine country flies by too quickly but we’re blessed to have the opportunity to see friends doing great things and we can’t want to be back and enjoy even more memorable experiences.

CANADIAN GAMING SUMMIT – June 2016

June 17th, 2016

What an experience!  It was great having a chance to be back for the 2nd year in a row at the Canadian Gaming Summit, Food & Beverage Experience and share with our Canadian friends some of my knowledge and experience from the industry.  Delivering the Keynote to attendees was a pleasure and I made sure it was more of an interactive experience, rather than just ‘talking at’ those who were joining us.  We were able to have a very lively discussion on all aspects of Food & Beverage, while looking at where our industry had come from, where it was currently at and where it is going.

 

I really enjoyed the chance to share my perspectives from working in the United States and around the world with the Canadians in attendance; so many parallels in our business with the overall awareness that it is all about Hospitality.  In an ever-changing world that is truly driven by technology, we took time to stop and discuss that it really is the importance of human interaction that is the differentiating factor in our Food & Beverage operations.

 

The greatest thing was that our discussions continued through the entire conference, well after the keynote was finished.  All of the attendees and speakers were able to interact and speak further toward many aspects of our industry and the future ahead.  I was even more honored and flattered when the Director of the show, in his closing commentary to the group, invited me back to be a part of next year’s conference!  Very special and I look forward to returning and participating!

 

If you’d like to learn more about the Canadian Gaming Summit and my experiences, please feel free to reach out and we can happily connect.

 

 

Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman to address attendees at Canadian Gaming Summit

June 13th, 2016

The Nyman Group’s Director of Operations, Corey T. Nyman is in Ottawa this week to deliver the keynote address at the Canadian Gaming Summit. Corey will be addressing attendees on Tuesday, June 14 at 9 a.m. local time.

Corey T Nyman

Titled Food & Beverage in a Changing World, his address will encompass where we are at today, tomorrow and the future in Food & Beverage overall. The speech will discuss Guests/Players, Industry Professionals, Local Customers and how they all blend together while looking at trends, flavors, ideas, concepts, brands, relationships and more – all adding to greater experience at our casinos and facilities, then leading to revenue and ROI.

For more information please click HERE.

Adventures to San Francisco & the Bay

March 8th, 2016

 

Recently, three members of The Nyman Group had the opportunity to head to the San Francisco and Bay Area for meetings, events and tastings, experiencing quite a few elements that the area had to offer.

 

Desiring to embrace a classic San Francisco restaurant landmark, we ventured over to Swan Oyster Bar at 1517 Polk St. (no website and they don’t answer their phone, fyi). – a seafood haven founded in 1912 that is cash only, you wait on line for the 16 bar stools and sit elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike.  Every fish and bivalve served are extremely fresh and completely delicious.  We sampled an oyster platter and then the mixed seafood salad, mounded with Bay Shrimp, Dungeness crab and Prawns, which was then served with an olive oil and vinegar dressing, mixed with some of the back fat of the Dungeness, in the shell.  WOW!

 

Needing some caffeine to charge us for the afternoon, we stopped over to see our good friend, Nick Floulis, at his 27-square foot coffee bar (yes, really), Hole in the Wall, located in North Beach at 524 Union Street.  Hole in the Wall only serves pour-over coffee (very cool and impressive), in three distinct roasts – Blonde, Brunette (lovingly known as North Beach) & Redhead, right on Union Street.  They’re fully embraced by the local community and a great spot for a damn good cup of joe.

 

We then moved along to one of our main reasons for the visit, heading to the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) Experience Trade Tasting, being held at the stunningly beautiful venue, Bently Reserve.  Zinfandel is commonly referred to as ‘America’s Grape’, even though it is not native to our country, it has been fully embraced as American in flavor and palate appeal.  Tasting through the over 75 wineries, our favorites were definitely Turley, Klinker Brick, Gamba and Brown Estate.

 

Needing sustenance and wanting another San Francisco classic food and beverage venue, we made our way to NOPA in the NoPa (North of Panhandle) neighborhood.  Established in 2006, NOPA is more than a restaurant, but a gathering point for the local community for good eats, a lively bar scene and late night dining.  We were able to swap standing room only into seats, ponying up to the bar and holding down that area with the buzzing activity around us.  The Half Roasted Chicken was tremendous in flavor, having been brined and basted in an herb butter, and the Country Pork Chop with Brussels Sprouts, Cara Cara Oranges, Mustard and Sesame was divine.

 

Next stop on the tour was to The Independent, one of San Francisco’s premier live music venues, to take in a performance by Kamasi Washington.  The jazz saxophonist was in town as part of the 2016 Noise Pop Festival and came under critical acclaim in 2015 for his album, The Epic.  The show proved to be just that as Kamasi and his band (which at times included his father!) laid down a 90-minute set filled with jazz, funk and a room full of mesmerized fans.  To witness this is a room that holds just 500 people was truly special. Following the show we headed just up a touch of Divisadero St. to swing into Bar 821 for an amaro to finish the evening.  Upon arriving, we looked at the wall of the bar where to amari and digestivos were listed and, we were all immediately and completely in awe of the variety they had available.  There were at least 30 amaros and another 20+ digestives, with tasting flights and bottles from Italy, the U.S.A., Switzerland and France.  We were able to sample a great variety, including Brovo #4, an American amaro from Seattle, Washington, which we never knew existed!

 

Wrapping up the evening, we had decided to rest our heads at the recently renovated The Buchanan Hotel, in Japantown, right on Buchanan.  This Kimpton property had clean and spacious rooms, friendly staff and a perfect location for our trip.  We would gladly recommend the hotel to any travelers, business or leisure for your next visit to the Bay.

 

Friday morning we hosted a breakfast meeting at Sweet Maple, located right now the street from our hotel where they are focused on fresh ingredients, gigantic portions and fun combinations of flavors.  We were able to sample one of their signature items, the Millionaire’s Bacon (which was featured on the Discovery Network) – thick, free range bacon baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper.  Damn good!

 

After some meetings and exploration, we headed over to Union Larder, a neighborhood joint at the corner of Union & Hyde that refers to itself as a Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie Bar.  Our afternoon stop was perfect timing, as it wasn’t too busy and allowed us to sample the menu, most specifically their House-made Charcuterie and Uni Pate with Fruit Mostarda, a really cool concept of pate.

 

Venturing further down into the city, toward the Financial District (FiDi), we went to see our friends at The Hidden Vine, a wonderful wine bar in the shadow of the TransAmerica Building, complimented by their regulation size Bocce court.  They are great supporters of our Director of Operations’, Labor Wines wine project, featuring the Pinot Noir by the glass.

 

Next on the Bay adventure was a quick BART trip to Oakland for the Vance Joy/Elle King concert at the Fox Theatre.  On this warm February night, it was a breath of fresh air to see Oakland so alive and bustling with activity as patrons entered and exited bars and restaurants. Glancing into the windows of hustling hot-spots and seeing folks eating and drinking, smiling and conversing reassured us that Oakland is continuing to rise again, city-wide.  Just a couple years ago people would have called you crazy to paint a picture of the scene on this night.  The Fox was one of the venues that really led a change for the neighborhood and with shows like Vance Joy, a diverse, happy and fun-loving crowd invaded Oakland in a great way.

 

Saturday morning, we stopped over to the Fillmore Farmer’s Market, which is small but has a nice collection of vendors, purchasing some heirloom carrots, salmon jerky and fresh pastries.  A really fun treat to enjoy a piece of the area’s local flavors.

 

Escaping the city, we were taken to a classic restaurant for lunch, Max’s in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center, which has been open for over 25 years and is run by our good friend Dennis Berkowitz.  His restaurants are truly run for their customer’s pleasure and enjoyment, and happily boasting, ‘everything you’ve always wanted to eat.’  Max’s menu is vast and full of deliciousness, and we sampled too many dishes!  Having the chance to taste their Corned Beef (Nitrate-free!) and Pastrami, was a heavenly experience.

 

Capping off the trip, we had the pleasure to get a full tour of Max’s Commissary, located in the shadow of San Francisco International Airport.  Being shown around this massive facility was quite the perspective, seeing all that they produce for their various operations, located around the bay.  We were given a Chocolate Covered Macaroon that was the size of our fist, truly unbelievable!

 

All told, our 2 very full days in the Bay Area, were tremendous.  Mixing our meetings in with pleasure, we came, we saw, ate, drank, listened to music and caught up with some great people.  Can’t wait to be back there!

 

Tourist in Paradise

September 9th, 2015

Life is what you make of it in eating, discovering and enjoying.  However a food blogger friend of ours, Ralph Raffio has a better take on life and food of course, saying, “Like many wonderful people in my life they know about and take enormous pleasure in good food. Eating is an important part of the pleasure, but it isn’t the biggest part. Sharing is. It’s everything, actually.” So, with that great perspective  began an interesting visit to the East Coast to share some new experiences and visit some old haunts with friends, associates and several thousand other ‘tourists’ in the height of travel season, at the end of Summer. The greater New York area was where I grew up and lived on and off for decades and each time I return to the area, there are of course fond and trying remembrances, but mostly pangs of joy.

 

Long Island’s South Shore is well known for the Hamptons, however one of the best kept secrets  are the older mid-island beach towns around Patchogue that are rich with small local restaurants, farm stands, culture and history.  Delfiore Pizzeria is a great example of a simple and easy restaurant with very good pizza.  It is a local favorite and very accommodating as to type and style of pizza.

The area markets also feature local produce and dairy products, which are the hard to get ingredients in many of our big cities today, but just right for a Summer cookout and dinner party.

 

The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts are rich in culture, heritage and brimming with new and established restaurants along with food markets all primed for the season.  Guido’s is a perennial favorite of locals and a must stop for picnic preparations for a night at Tanglewood.

 

Just across the Connecticut state line, in Lakeville, is The Woodland a favorite for fresh local fish, sushi and daily specials; extremely popular with the natives.

 

New York, New York – a heck of a town!  Russ & Daughters has been in business for decades and finally decided to open a café which features their tremendous smoked fish selection. My only complaint is, why did they wait so long!

In the mood for a light lunch or brunch, but with some panache and people watching included, head over to Sarabeth’s on Central Park South and you certainly will not be disappointed. It’s a comfortable spot to relax, enjoy a salad, an order of crab cakes which are one of their specialties’ and glass or bottle of Labor Wines Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

When in New York and the Yankees are playing, ride the subway to the game and a night at the Stadium is must, along with eating ballpark food, meandering around and talking to other baseball fans.  Quite the wonderful experience.

 

The Oyster Bar at Grand Central is the quintessential New York old school restaurant occurrence, which is as much of yesterday as it is today.  The best selection of oysters, clams and fish that there is in the City with a dining room and counter seating that is all about food and a nod to history.  By the way, if you’re looking for one of the best wine lists, both by the glass and bottle, this is the place to come too.

Walking neighborhoods in the City is one of the great enjoyments of life and not just a past time.  The Upper East Side is full of trendy restaurants, wonderful shops and plenty of people watching.  But to really experience New York, one needs to have a hot dog; if you’re not going to Nathan’s in Coney Island, you need to head to Papaya King on 86th & 3rd Avenue to enjoy a true New York treat.

After a busy day touring the Metropolitan Museum and viewing art from around the world, since New York is the ethnic melting pot of the country (not sure about this phrase), a visit to Chinatown hits the spot.  The oldest continuing operating Chinese restaurant, serving only Dim Sum since 1920, Nah Wah Tea Parlor is the place to visit.  They are welcoming and always busy, with over 30 choices prepared to order, it most certainly never gets boring.

Continuing on with the ethnic vein, it’s not often you can find Southern Indian cuisine in the states, as most Indian restaurants feature the Northern version of the food.  Anjappar Chettinad, located in the heart of the Murray Hill neighborhood answers this call with plenty of delicious options, including Fresh Whole Grilled Fish, Mint Sauce & House made Chutney, Onion Kulcha and Chicken from the Tandoor oven, accompanied by Vegetarian Biriyani, the traditional roasted rice dish, washed down with strong tea.

 

There are most certainly hundreds or thousands of restaurant options in New York, but your own personal taste and pocketbook can also be your guide to great food, experiences and ambiance. But for a last stop before you leave or a late night experience, one needs to cross the Hudson River and head to the Ironbound ‘Portuguese’ District in Newark, New Jersey.  There are many different types of restaurants, from Churrascaria’s to traditional and home style to simple bars that serve food and drink.  But to truly enjoy a working class local environment where you will be welcomed as you arrive, go and experience Seabras Marisqueria on Madison Street.  Belly up to the bar and feast your eyes on the fresh shellfish and hot food display.  Take a walk by the glass enclosed kitchen and view the fresh fish display and the cooks working the stoves.  The food, wine list, total ambiance and hospitality will assure you of a great time.

It is said one can never truly go back and enjoy the memories of life, but a visit to the East Coast and the New York area are as close as you can to enjoy Paradise!

 

 

ALL IT TAKES IS A WIN

July 23rd, 2015

 

What does this mean, ‘All it takes is a win’? Well, we as human beings thrive on success.  This is not a test, nor a misconception or even a passing fad.  Life is better when we do well – causing overall positivity and happiness, which we love to share with others.

 

A win could be a simple as a stranger smiling back at you on the street when you smile at them.  It is the mere effort of holding a door for someone you don’t know, unexpectedly and them saying thank you or how nice that is.  A greater win is when you have a project go your way, receiving kudos (financial or merely a way to go) from your client or boss honoring what you have accomplished.  Bigger than that, a win is a major life accomplishment such as a graduation or promotion.

 

It doesn’t have to be winning at a game or beating an opponent, but more along the lines of our personal, family or group successes.  Almost all people enjoy sharing their positive experiences with others – for fact of validation, additional emotional reactions or just being good natured.

 

Why do we need to ‘win’?  What’s a way that you’ve ‘won’ recently?  Can we win each and every day?