food

Here’s what people are buying at home goods, home improvement stores and more | Food + Living

COVID-19 is shaping shopping behavior. That’s been bad news for retailers on many fronts — but certainly not all. Here’s a sampling some of the items shoppers have been snapping up for their homes.


Bon appetit

The Shops at Rockvale, located off Route 30 in East Lampeter Township, have seen a lower traffic count than usual over the past few months, says manager Kristi Burkholder. But sales reports show that those shoppers who are there are buying more things — especially if those things are related to eating at home, says Burkholder.

“The kitchen stores are out of control,” she says.

Foodie-focused business is also brisk at Zest! in Lititz. There, manager Elizabeth Elia says shoppers are increasingly investing in quality basics like kitchen scales. Pizza stones also are selling. So is anything having to do with bread.

“They’re getting serious about baking. One item that is selling like crazy now is the Danish bread whisk,” Elia says of the circular tool used for denser doughs and batters. “We can’t keep them in stock.”



Our food writer samples 12 varieties of Lancaster County apples


Going big

Tina Ator, owner of Olde Mill House Shoppes in Lancaster, says she has noticed a renewed interest in larger furniture pieces and lighting rather than smaller, “knick-knack-type” purchases.

Customers are looking ahead to the future too, specifically to Christmas gifts and holiday items. Ator says customers started asking her to display those in September.

“They don’t know what is going to happen, so they want to be prepared,” she says. “Some of them want to get it now while they are out and about.”



Gothic Revival touches grace houses, churches around Lancaster [architecture column, photos]


Project materials

From paint to tools, people are buying for do-it-yourself projects. Second-quarter revenue was up 30% over the same period last year at Lowe’s and 23% at Home Depot.

“Most of us are forced to

Continue Reading

The 10 Best Food Storage Containers for Every Kitchen’s Needs, According to Reviews

amazon.com

Whether you’re committed to meal prepping every week or simply trying to organize your fridge, investing in quality food storage containers will make things a whole lot easier. Not only will they help keep your food fresh, but they can also save you time and make your kitchen look much neater.

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for food storage containers is the material they’re made out of. While glass food storage containers are super versatile (many are oven-safe), plastic options are typically more lightweight, which makes them easy to stash in your bag during your commute. While some people still prefer glass over plastic to avoid chemicals leaching into food, it’s also important to note that all of the plastic containers on this list are BPA-free.

RELATED: The 10 Best Lunch Bags for Women, According to Thousands of Reviews

Since there are so many different types of food storage containers available on the market, we scoured the internet to find the ones that are actually worth buying. From space-saving plastic canisters that will instantly organize your pantry to leakproof containers with over 8,200 five-star reviews, there’s an option for you on this list.

These are the best food storage containers to buy in 2020, according to thousands of customer reviews:

Best Glass: Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers

With an average 4.8-star rating from over 5,650 Amazon shoppers, these versatile glass containers from Pyrex are a household staple for plenty of reasons. Between the near-perfect reviews and the wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, you really can’t go wrong no matter which of the many options you purchase. This particular set comes with nine different glass containers ranging from one- to seven-cup capacities, and they’re safe to put in the

Continue Reading

‘Ghost kitchens’ and ‘virtual food halls’ might be the next frontier in Twin Cities dining

Sandwiches had been on Carrie McCabe-Johnston’s mind for two years.

Ever since a family vacation to Florence, Italy, where labyrinth stone streets teem with purveyors of freshly baked bread stuffed with salami or roasted porchetta, she’d been thinking about opening a Florence-style sandwich shop back home.

The founder and chef of Bonafide Hospitality, which includes Nightingale in Minneapolis, McCabe-Johnston was searching for a place for the shop last fall, but put the idea on hold when she didn’t find the right fit.

Then came COVID-19, and as her other dining rooms and bars temporarily closed to customers, sandwiches came to mind once again. Only this time, finding a space wasn’t necessary.

McCabe-Johnston launched Lake City Sandwiches last month as an evening-only, delivery-only business operating out of Nightingale’s kitchen. “It’s our little ghost kitchen,” she said. “Complete with its own branding.”

By starting a new restaurant within a restaurant, albeit one without seats and servers, McCabe-Johnston has latched on to a rising trend of using pre-existing businesses to house new takeout ventures.

With virtual happy hours and virtual meetings now the norm, it was only a matter of time before virtual restaurants took off, too. Call them ghost kitchens, cloud kitchens or dark kitchens — basically any kitchen that’s already in motion can be leveraged to power more than one food business. Especially an underused kitchen, as the coronavirus keeps would-be customers home.

In the Twin Cities, some restaurateurs are going virtual as a way of branching into different cuisines, testing future brick-and-mortar ideas, or just keeping the lights on during a tumultuous year.

“The whole point of us doing it right now is for an additional stream of revenue,” McCabe-Johnston said. “Lake City Sandwiches is going to help what could be a tough winter for Nightingale.”

New brands a lifeline

Continue Reading

Why Virtual Kitchens Are Disrupting The Food And Beverage Industry

CEO and Founder of the Profitable Restaurant Owner Academy, the ultimate resource in starting a profitable restaurant.

Restaurants are notorious for their low-margin business model. After all is said and done, their profitability ranges from 5% to 10%, a number I’ve gathered from a variety of National Restaurant Association articles and surveys. The reason for its low margins is because of the prime cost — food cost and labor — which typically accounts for more than 55% to 65% of the revenue.

As technology rapidly advanced, so did innovation within the food and beverage sector. Third-party apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash have made ordering out easy with just a click of a button — no need to step foot in the restaurant. It is with the advancement of this technology that has allowed new businesses like virtual kitchens, also known as cloud kitchens, ghost kitchens or dark kitchens, to thrive.

The virtual kitchen concept has revolutionized the food and beverage world by taking out one of the major components for any restaurants: the dine-in area. A virtual kitchen is basically a commercial kitchen optimized for food delivery. What that means is that you can have your restaurant ready for takeout orders, without ever needing a dine-in space, which means less investment, lower rent and less labor cost.

After the past five years developing my very own restaurant chain and recently having it acquired, I can see why the majority of my consultation clients are all flocking to this model. Below are four main advantages of why every restauranteur should optimize for this model.

1. Lower Operational Costs

The most direct advantage of operating a virtual kitchen versus a conventional restaurant is the rental cost. Since virtual kitchens do not serve walk-in traffic, they require substantially less

Continue Reading

Bruna’s Cheese Bread Moves From Food Truck to Cottage Bakery

“It’s a bread meant to be eaten fresh out of the oven,” says Bruna Piauí Graf, founder of Bruna’s Cheese Bread. “It can be good later, but I don’t suggest that.” Brazilian pão de queijo — or cheese bread — are savory puff pastries made with gluten-free tapioca flour and cheese. They’re served everywhere in Brazil, and now, thanks to Graf, here in Denver as well.

Graf says she started Bruna’s Cheese Bread because she couldn’t find good pão de queijo in Denver. In 2019, she used the bread as inspiration for a food truck serving Brazilian sandwiches. But when this year’s pandemic ended plans for owning the food truck, Graf turned to selling the pre-made dough as it’s often found in Brazil: frozen and ready to be baked in the oven.

Pão de queijo originated in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The key ingredient, tapioca flour, comes from the yuca plant found there. Yuca, different from yucca, is a starchy tuber long used by Brazilian indigenous peoples to make bread. The process of extracting the flour involves peeling and grating the tuber, soaking it and letting it dry. When colonizers brought enslaved African people to the area, they learned to use the leftover tapioca starch to make their own bread, subsidizing the meager food they were given.

Years later, in the 19th century, Minas Gerais became known for producing a hard, salty Minas cheese. The cheese, plus milk and eggs, were added to the pão de queijo recipe, and it soon became a national delicacy.

Graf started making cheese bread here in Denver in 2019.

Graf started making cheese bread here in Denver in 2019.

Courtesy of Bruna’s Cheese Bread

Graf remembers eating pão de queijo while growing up in Barau, Brazil. “I would always go with my friends and family as a teenager to this [cafe], and

Continue Reading