Guests get a ‘Taste of What’s Hot’ at opening reception

Guests get a ‘Taste of What’s Hot’ at opening reception

DALLAS —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

During the evening reception, attendees reconnected with one another as they enjoyed the fare from Lazy Dog Café [3], Red Mango [4], Smashburger [5], Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria and Vino Volo [6]. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

Niche concepts, like many of the 2009 winners, are becoming more common and are the most innovative new chains in the industry, Antonio Swad of Pizza Patrón [7] said as he surveyed the scene. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

Tom Ryan, founder of the two-year-old, Denver-based Smashburger chain, served up his “better burgers” in to-go boxes packed next to the concept’s signature “smash-fries,” which are French fries seasoned with rosemary and garlic. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

Brian Gojdics and Anthony Ferrara, chefs from Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria of Seattle, stoked a wood-fired oven in the conference hotel’s parking lot where they cooked Queen Margherita Pizza. The Seattle-based, four-unit concept is based on “authentic” thin-crust pizza like those served in Naples, said owner Joe Fugere. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

Red Mango’s founder Daniel Kim served tart frozen yogurt straight from a soft-serve machine during the party. The concept, which has been operating in the United States for two years, has grown to 55 units. It is based in Sherman Oaks, Calif. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

Lazy Dog Café’s team dished up braised lamb shank with mashed potatoes and sautéed baby spinach; hamachi sashimi with micro-shiso, yuzu and togarashi spices; and Champagne Mojitos. The four-unit chain is based in Huntington Beach, Calif. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

And San Francisco-based Vino Volo poured some of the wines served at their 19-unit wine bar concept, whose locations are all in airports. —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.

Nation’s Restaurant News’ editors selected the honorees and The Coca-Cola Co. sponsored the awards program and reception. To view a video on innovation, visit NRN’s website and the “Show News by NRN” blog: http://shownewsbynrn.blogspot.com/2009/10/innovation-hot-concept-worth.html .— [email protected] [8] —The 50th annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference kicked off with A Taste of What’s Hot: Hot Concepts! Celebration, an event honoring the winners of Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2009 Hot Concepts! awards.