Pizza concept wins high-profile investors
Fledgling fast-casual concept Blaze Pizza has attracted $3 million in new funding from celebrity investors including Maria Shriver, "Alien vs. Predator" producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner. "There continues to be strength in the fast-casual segment," said strategist Todd Hooper. "You're getting good food in a nice environment, but you don't have to tip." San Francisco Chronicle
Film explores widespread U.S. hunger problem
The new documentary "A Place at the Table" explores the widespread and growing issue of food insecurity in America with stories of family budgets that don't stretch to cover enough food and children whose educations suffer because they're hungry. The film addresses how hunger and obesity often affect the same segments of the population. "I think it’s really important to think about hunger and obesity as opposite sides of the same coin," Bill Shore, CEO and founder of Share Our Strength, said in the film. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Food & Beverage
Taco Bell and Twitter crowdsource concert video for SXSW
A Taco Bell initiative for a South by Southwest event at the Hype Hotel will use fans' video footage of Passion Pit and Wildcat! Wildcat! for a "rockumentary," writes Karlene Lukovitz. The footage is being collected in partnership with Twitter and its six-second video format Vine as an expansion of Taco Bell's "Feed the Beat" program, which provides food for up-and-coming bands. MediaPost Communications/Marketing Daily
Loyal fans keep older chains alive
Nostalgia and childhood memories are the likely factors that keep some once-hot restaurant chains including Rax Roast Beef, Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips and Ponderosa Steakhouse going, NPD Group's Bonnie Riggs said. "People grew up with them, so they’re very loyal to them. That’s the staying power for these concepts." The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
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Seattle chefs get creative with brunch
A growing number of Seattle's restaurants are opening their doors for brunch, with menus that reflect the same chef-driven creativity that graces the dinner menu, writes Nancy Leson. "It’s good for dinner business to create something new, to draw more attention to Dinette," said chef Melissa Nyffeler, whose brunch menu includes a frittata made with organic dandelion greens and Scotch eggs wrapped in hormone-free sausage. The Seattle Times
Kosher foodies explore new cultures
Kosher food enthusiast Eddie Fox founded the Beverlywood Supper Club 17 months ago to give Jewish foodies who keep kosher a way to broaden their culinary horizons. The group has found ways to create kosher versions of Indian, Korean, Cuban, Vietnamese, regional Southern and Japanese meals. "For me food is an avenue to a person's heart -- it helps you get to know who they are," Fox said. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)
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