SaltRock Southwest Kitchen Restaurant Opening in Sedona, Arizona

Amara Resort Unveils the New SaltRock Southwest Kitchen

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
October 17th, 2014

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants’ Amara Resort has opened its newly renovated restaurant that has locals and visitors already raving about it. SaltRock Southwest Kitchen, located in Sedona, AZ, delivers “a fresh take on regional cuisine with signature Sedona style” in a casual ambiance. Chef Massimo De Francesca brings delicious authentic flavors and seasonal ingredients together to create the perfect Southwest menu. Guests can get a taste of Sedona in dishes such as Duck Confit Tacos with Eggplant Mole and Beef Barbacoa Tamale.


Enjoy spectacular Red Rock views while dining inside or take advantage of the outdoor patio to relax after a long day. With an extensive list of drinks on hand, SaltRock prides themselves on having one of the area’s finest selections of agave-based spirits. From tequilas to mezcals, guests can indulge in a variety of crafted margaritas and delectable cocktails.


When visiting Sedona, you are invited to try SaltRock’s dishes that are inspired by the techniques and ingredients of central Arizona’s Verde Valley.

Benchmark Eatery Opening in Santa Barbara California

A New American Restaurant Opens in Santa Barbara

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
October 13th, 2014

Located on historic State Street in beautiful Santa Barbara, a new American and seafood eatery has opened its doors to locals and visitors itching for outstanding cuisine. Benchmark Eatery, the former home of Maggie’s and State & A, comes with a casual atmosphere and offers a variety of delectable American fare dishes with a local twist.


Guests entering into this exceptional place will be surrounded by smells of fresh seafood, pizza and grilled steak, making anyone’s appetite wanting more. From Spinach Ricotta Gnudi to Grilled Ahi to Margherita Pizza, the restaurant offers “food for all” plates that can be enjoyed both day and night.


Patrons can also indulge in the array of delicious cocktails and cold beers including a Summer Sangria, Margarita Ahumado and Surf Brewery Mondos Blonde. Wine enthusiast can choose from numerous popular vineyard labels on their menu. Half bottles are offered for those who are looking to stay awhile.


For seafood lovers planning a trip to Santa Barbara, be sure to visit this fantastic eatery!

Food Allergy Safety for Your Commercial Kitchen

Create a Food Allergy Safe Commercial Kitchen

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
October 6th, 2014

Food allergy safety has become a significant focus in the foodservice industry. Below are best practices to implement, as well as dangers to avoid, when incorporating effective food allergy strategies in your establishment.


Best Practices for Allergen Free Foodservice

  • Educate all staff regarding allergen concerns. They must be confident answering customer questions about how allergen-free meals are prepared and served in your restaurant.
  • Visit NFCA to view online courses educating restaurant and cafeteria staff on proper prep and serving protocols.
  • Offer a list of ingredients for your menu selections as a reference for both diners and staff.
  • Establish a system on meal tickets to clearly notify the chef of a meal that must be allergen-free.
  • Chefs must sanitize all cooking surfaces, utensils, cookware and dinnerware before assembling allergen-free meals. Separating prep stations and serving utensils, strictly for use on dishes which are allergen-free, is an ideal solution.
  • Employees must wash their hands, change their gloves and use a clean apron when working with meals prepared in an allergen-free manner.
  • Coach staff to dial 9-1-1 immediately if an adverse reaction occurs.
  • For additional information about food allergy safety, refer to FARE.


Practices to Avoid in Foodservice

  • Never place allergen-free food on shared equipment and cook surfaces.
  • Do not use utensils or smallwares which were used to prepare allergen-containing food or have not been cleaned properly.
  • By no means incorporate foods containing ingredients you cannot confirm.
  • Refrain from placing allergy-safe meals in common areas with meals that contain allergens.
SLS Las Vegas Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Project Showcase – SLS Las Vegas

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
September 26th, 2014

Project: SLS Las Vegas


Opened:   August 23, 2014


About Company: SLS Las Vegas Resort and Casino features 1,613 guest rooms in three distinct towers – Story, World and Lux – ranging from luxurious rooms to penthouse suites. Designed by the creative visionary, Philippe Starck, in collaboration with Gensler, the resort surrounds its guests with a sleek and innovative look where function-meets-pleasure.


SLS Las Vegas offers a diverse range of restaurants including Andres’ Bazaar Meat, Cleo, Katsuya by Starck and 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria. The resort also introduces an exciting nightlife at premier places such as LiFE and Foxtail as well as live music at The Slayers Club venue. In addition to the dining and nightlife, SLS Las Vegas has an astounding 60,000-square-foot casino with nearly 800 slot machines.


Length of project:  about 18 months


RWS Contribution:  Many of the concepts that went into SLS Las Vegas were venues that R.W. Smith has worked with for years.  Our Sales Consultant brought together solutions and creative ideas that fit perfectly with the overall feel SLS Las Vegas was envisioning. R.W. Smith provided a variety of quality products including smallwares, countertop equipment, dinnerware and specialty items. Our dedicated Sales Consultant stuck to a strict timeline and stayed organized throughout the entire process to ensure delivery and opening were flawless.


“The opening of SLS Las Vegas is a major milestone, not only for the expansion of the SLS Hotels brand, but for the future of Las Vegas,” said Sam Nazarian, Founder, Chairman and CEO, sbe. “We’re very excited to welcome guests to experience the property and the incredible concepts we’ve built with our dedicated partners, and we look forward to watching the North end of The Strip continue to grow.”


Partnership:  R.W. Smith has had a long standing and trusting partnership with the parent company of SLS.  We have worked with several of their properties and are part of an array of projects per year.  For each project, we work closely with their chefs, key decision makers and daily end users to specify products that meet their needs while enhancing their presentation and increasing profitability.

OB Warehouse Now Open in Ocean Beach San Diego California

OB Warehouse Debuts in Ocean Beach

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
September 16th, 2014

In the heart of downtown Ocean Beach, a new casual restaurant and bar has been added to the growing coastal town’s culinary scene. OB Warehouse, the latest Cohn Restaurant Group eatery, brings an eclectic global menu from acclaimed Chef Amiko Gubbins that includes Golden SoCal Crab Cakes, a Killer Greek Lamb Burger and Banh Mi Pork Belly Flatbreads. Guests can relish in these delicious cuisines while taking in the exciting industrial designs and vintage touches throughout the restaurant.


Care for a drink? Make your way the expansive bar that sits center stage and choose from an assortment of draught beers and specialty cocktails. There are even Happy Hour specials to take advantage of.


“This project has been a long time in the making, and we’re incredibly pleased to bring this fun, world-cuisine dining option to the area,” says David Cohn. “Ocean Beach is a vibrant community known for its character and originality, and we’ve created a menu and design that complements the neighborhood.”


It’s safe to say that the OB Warehouse is a perfect place to relax and hang out with friends or co-workers. Next time you’re in the San Diego area, take a detour to see this amazing restaurant.


Check out their happy hour specials and menu items:

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
September 12th, 2014


Visit our Facebook to enter for a chance to win* a Vitamix Vita-Prep Blender for your foodservice operation. To see more from Vitamix, visit our website.

Source Restaurant Menu Ingredients Locally

Source Ingredients Locally

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
September 8th, 2014

To be more cost-effective and help the environment, take advantage of the locally sourced menu trend. Appeal to the growing number of customers who prefer dining at establishments that utilize distributors of local produce, baked goods and meats.  The best approach is to make it a creative initiative for your kitchen by challenging them to prepare innovative, fresh and nutritious signature dishes.


How to Get Started


  • Make a Plan- Determine a time frame to begin locally sourcing ingredients. Ease yourself into the process by updating one menu item at a time while training your staff on the benefits of utilizing local products.


  • Partner with Local Distributors- Establishing a friendly rapport with nearby farmers, bakers, butchers and even livestock ranchers, is essential in developing your locally sourced menu. An effective relationship with suppliers will allow you to have the highest quality products available when they are needed and at prices which benefit you.


  • Spread the Word- Once you begin featuring ingredients from your community, tell everyone! Share your support of local farms on your menu and website, on signage in your establishment and through online social channels. Customers are increasingly aware of their food’s origins and appreciate when you are open about how you source your ingredients. Your suppliers will also appreciate the exposure you are giving their business, which may encourage them to return the favor.
Saru Jarayaman, Co-Founder of Restaurant Opportunities Center United

Profile of Saru Jayaraman of Restaurant Opportunities Center United

Written by R.W. Smith Co.
September 8th, 2014

Saru Jayaraman is a well-respected foodservice industry professional who believes in establishments being aware of how to incorporate more responsible practices and effectively manage employees. She is the Co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United and inspiring author of Behind the Kitchen Door.


R.W. Smith: As a successful and well-respected Food Labor Researcher, what inspired you to Co-Found and Co-Direct the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-United)?


Saru Jayaraman: When September 11 occurred, there was a restaurant called Windows of the World where many employees lost their jobs due to the catastrophic event. I was asked to start a relief center for the victims and at first it started with providing support to the workers. My primary focus was to ensure employees pay and benefits were being allocated to each person appropriately from their employers. These efforts later became known as part of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-United) where I’m currently the Co-Founder. We have aided thousands of citizens to receive the assistance they require during overwhelming times. The ROC-United has helped employees in 32 cities and is expanding at a rapid rate.


RWS: Your partnerships with upstanding establishments and efforts to positively impact the industry are well-known. Please share strategies on how commercial kitchens can implement more responsible practices.


SJ: I would recommend commercial kitchens to focus on sourcing locally and engaging in more environmentally conscious practices.  Embracing a more holistic approach when it comes to livable wages, earnings that don’t require government assistance, paid sick days, and offering healthcare benefits to all employees are also important key items to address.


Currently, there are over 100 establishments, including well-known Chef Tom Colicchio, who believed paying their employees realistic wages will help you receive more customer loyalty, better employee retention rates, and quality work.


Knowing and understanding more about the ergonomics within a kitchen should be another top priority to employers looking to be more responsible. When I was assisting with the development of the Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine kitchen, we suggested having adjustable height cutting boards, using cleaner chemicals with limited amounts of toxins, and non-toxic degreasers. If more businesses took these issues into consideration, there would be less employee accidents and the work environment would be safer.


RWS: What industry resources are helpful to restaurants, hotels and casinos looking to become more sustainable?


SJ: The Rage Association is a supportive resource for restaurants, hotels and casinos interested in advancing the industry standards in employment. There is also an application available to inform consumers if the establishment they are dining at considers the well-being of their employees and work environment.


Learning from other restaurant owners who are implementing sustainable strategies can be influential since you can see the strategies in action. I advise downloading the free ROC Diner Guide to help educate consumers on the hotels, restaurants, and casinos they frequently dine at. The Restaurant Owner’s Manual from the NYC consumer affairs website is also an effective resource that informs employers on proper ergonomic practices and how to effectively manage employees.


RWS: You recently wrote, Behind the Kitchen Door. What inspired you to write about the sustainable, political, economic, and moral implications of dining out?


SJ: Having watched the industry change for the better when books came out for sustainable change, I thought it was necessary to keep these issues at the forefront of both the employer’s and consumer’s minds. My goal was to write a book where customers would understand and demand changes be made within the industry. All of the topics would inevitably need to be adhered to and I felt that it was imperative to get the word out about the modifications taking place. My attempt was to spark a movement for change that would include employers realizing the human side of the business equation.


RWS: The best dining experience that you’ve ever had – where were you and what made it so special?


SJ: I remember when my husband and I took our children to Washington D.C. for a conference and we dined at the Busboys and Poets restaurant. Being vegetarian, options were limited yet our dining experience was exceptional. It was nice to enjoy a meal at a restaurant where our values aligned on employee management and work environment. Also, it impressed me to see they had diversity among the staff.  


Native Son Alehouse Opens in Santa Ana California

New Craft Beer Alehouse in Santa Ana, CA

Written by Ashley Almodovar
September 2nd, 2014

Attention craft beer lovers! Santa Ana has gained a new alehouse in the thriving downtown community that many Southern California locals are excited about. Located on East 4th Street, Native Son Alehouse specializes in small craft breweries from all over California and Portland, OR. Guests can enjoy an open-air second floor patio and indulge in diverse selections of beers including 27 rotating taps.  Some of their more popular drink choices are Lambic and Sour beer, wine, cider and 3 Nitro handles.


Take a night out with friends and experience this new pub that has everyone talking. Discover a new beer that will make your taste buds dance.

Newly Renovated Kona Kai Resort & Marina in San Diego California

Experience Kona Kai’s Beauty in San Diego

Written by Ashley Almodovar
August 12th, 2014

Surrounded by captivating views of the marina and bay on the very tip of Shelter Island, Kona Kai Resort & Marina brings an impressive style and inspiring American spirit to guests coming to visit beautiful San Diego. Just before the Fourth of July weekend, the resort, purchased by Noble House Hotels in late 2012, announced the completion of phase 2 of its $22M renovation.


The high-end boutique Kona Kai Resort now welcomes vacationers from around the world to experience new spacious guest rooms, revitalized in-room amenities, a refreshed lobby, a revamped pool and meeting spaces. Guests can also enjoy the completely refurbuished waterfront restaurant, Vessel, which offers New American cuisine by Executive Chef Erik Nitsche in a chic, yet elegant atmosphere. Have a drink, dine and delight in the 360 degree bar and gorgeous panoramic video art walls or relax in furnished cabanas by the new tiki bars.


For a much needed vacation, come out and experience what Southern California has to offer at the new Kona Kai Resort. To learn more about the resort’s restoration, see their latest news release.