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Restaurant Openings Report: Week of July 27, 2014

Restaurant Openings Report: Week of July 27, 2014

Boston
The Verb Hotel has officially announced a partnership with James Beard award-winning chef Tim Cushman. Tim and Nancy Cushman, owners of The Roof at Park South in New York and o ya restaurant in Boston, will open Hojoko later this fall. Their second restaurant concept in Boston, Hojoko will be a high-energy izakaya (Japanese pub).

New York
On Monday, August 11, for one night only, chef David Santos’ Hot Chicken Pop-Up will bring his love of all things spicy to the next Nossa Mesa dinner at Louro with his version of Nashville-style hot chicken. Diners can enjoy half ($15) and whole ($28) chickens served mild, hot, or extra hot, using his own blend of hot pepper paste. It will be served with the traditional accompaniments of white bread and bread and butter pickles, with sides of coleslaw, deviled eggs, baked beans, pickles, and tomato salad available. Drinks are BYOB, and seating times are 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.; some walk-ins will be accepted at the bar as well.

Café el Presidente is hosting a pop-up café and taquería in the Flatiron Plaza on Tuesday, August 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to mark the launch of their new breakfast service, and as part of a larger series of Flatiron promotional events from the restaurant group designed to share Mexican food traditions with their neighbors. Complimentary La Antigua coffee, freshly made pastries, and signature tacos made by executive chef Jason DeBriere will be served from their trademark converted VW Bus. The kitchen in the brick-and-mortar restaurant is now open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day, and is serving their complete breakfast menu seven days a week, which includes locally roasted coffee and espresso sourced from Chiapas, freshly pressed juices, breakfast tacos, classic egg dishes, seasonal fruit, Mexican granola, and handmade Mexican pastries by DeBriere.

Max Fish soft-opens this weekend on Orchard Street, nearly a year after owner Ulli Rimkus was forced to close the 23-year-old bar due to a raise in the rent. Luckily, Rimkus was able to find a two-story space just blocks from where the legendary establishment and art space originally stood. Rumor has it that she's saved many of the bar's most iconic details — including the cigarette that hung outside and the pool table — which will be restored in the new spot. As this is just the soft opening, only the ground floor will open on Saturday — the basement level won't be ready until the fall. The food menu is also still M.I.A., so for now the restaurant is allowing guests to bring their own food, but the first floor of the bar will be open.

The New York-based farm-to-counter restaurant, Dig Inn, is opening their ninth location on Thursday, August 14, in the Financial District. This location will offer the newest features including an on-site butcher carving block, and a grill and sauté station, which will serve their summer grilled vegetable special of grilled corn from Hoden Farms in Long Island. On opening Day there will be $5 suggested donation, with all proceeds going to their partnership with FoodFight to support food education in a local downtown public school.

Seattle
Tom Douglas has launched yet another culinary project with the opening of his Assembly Hall Kitchen inside the 10,000-square-foot Assembly Hall in Via 6 in Belltown. It includes a juice bar, a deli and specialty market, and restaurant, TanakaSan. Zagat broke the news, reporting that the new lunch counter fills the space that formerly housed a pastry kitchen. The menu in the specialty market, Home Remedy, includes sandwiches like teriyaki pork bahn mi and “Not Your Mama’s PB&J,” pizza by the slice, a salad bar, and build-your-own rice bowls.

Portland
Prettyman's General has opened on SE Hawthorne in the City of Roses. Named after the early Northwest settler known for cutting the path to what is now Hawthorne Boulevard, the eatery offers beer and wine, baked goods, sauces, and preserves, as well as cheese and meat. Diners can select a bottle from the dine-in shelves or choose one of the eight beers on tap, and then pair their drinks with a variety of sandwiches, salads, “drinking snacks,” and pasties from localfavorite, Pacific Pie Co.

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.


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The Rapid Descent of Josh Marks

Things got worse the next day. Having returned to Chicago, Marks was involved in a serious crash that involved several cars. Writing about the incident in his iPad diary, Marks described what seemed like a straightforward accident: “I was approaching a yellow light, [and] as the light turned red . . . a car going eastbound struck the vehicle and catapulted the car into a parked car. Thankfully I escaped the accident with a big scratch on my head and several stitches. I was transported by ambulance and received treatment from Cook County Hospital in the trauma center and stayed there overnight for my aches and pains.”

The reality, says Mitchell, was far more disturbing: Her son admitted that he had blacked out just before entering the intersection and blown right through a red light. “When he came to, he was sitting in the car, and police were coming at him with guns drawn and were yanking him out of the car.” That he had escaped with only a gash on his head was “by the grace of God,” his mother says. “The car was completely [totaled]. The front end pushed in, dashboard cracked in two.” According to the police report, Marks was “yelling, screaming, and attacking” paramedics and was not answering questions “rationally.”

Also absent from Marks’s account is his bizarre behavior in the hospital, which was troubling enough that he had been strapped to his bed and placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold. That evening, his mother recalls, with her on one side of Marks’s hospital bed and his sister Dana on the other, “was a battle. He was telling me that my father, who is still living, was dead, that Gordon Ramsay was dead. He was saying that he [Marks] had an inheritance. He was babbling things that weren’t rational. I was just holding his hand and rubbing his forearm.”

Later that night, Mitchell says, she spoke to a social worker at the hospital about the options available to Marks, who had no medical insurance. After some phone calls, the social worker was able to arrange for a short stay at Rush University Medical Center. But with no insurance, Marks’s time there would be limited, and then he would essentially be on his own.

A psychiatrist at Rush, Michael S. Eaton, broke the news to Mitchell at the end of Marks’s stay: Her son was bipolar and experienced episodes of psychosis. On January 17, Marks was sent home (at the time, he was bouncing between his mother’s and Dana’s houses) with a prescription for lithium and instructions that his family keep a close eye on him.

“I was bewildered,” Mitchell says. Before these incidents, Marks had never shown the slightest sign of anything resembling a mental health problem. In fact, he was the rock of the family. Now he had been diagnosed with a severe disorder that his mother knew almost nothing about.

‘He was very quiet, very withdrawn. You knew something was working in there, but you didn’t know what was going on.’

Her first step was to find out what they were dealing with. “I started Googling it,” Mitchell says. “I bought a book for myself, and I bought a book for Joshua.” Everything she read resonated. People with bipolar disorder, for example, experience dramatic swings in mood and activity levels. They can be bursting with ideas and energy one day and nearly paralyzed by depressive thoughts the next. That was Marks lately. His mother also researched psychosis. The condition, she learned, included a number of symptoms—hearing voices, having hallucinations, experiencing paranoid delusions.

The information was helpful, but it led to the far bigger and thornier questions of how and where to get Marks help—and how to afford it. She set off on what would prove to be a confusing and frustrating search for treatment to address the complex set of long-term psychiatric issues that come with such a diagnosis.

Making matters worse was the fact that funding for mental health services had been slashed dramatically. From 2009 to 2012, Illinois cut $187 million, or 32 percent, from its mental health budget. Only three states—South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska—axed a larger percentage, says the advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness. (Illinois did restore $32 million of those cuts in 2013, blaming an administrative error.) According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Illinois’s per capita spending ranked 36th nationally as of 2010 (the most recent year for which figures are available). In Chicago, meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel outraged the city’s mental health advocacy community in 2012 when he abruptly closed fully half of the city’s outpatient facilities.

Mitchell knew her son needed further treatment, but “every place I called said that without insurance they couldn’t help.” The number of institutions that turned her down grew so large that she began keeping a list: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Hartgrove Hospital in the western suburbs, the psychiatric rehabilitation center Thresholds, and the University of Illinois medical center, among others. One facility was so overcrowded, she says, “that I was told it was run like a jail.”

Occasionally, such as after the January accident, Marks’s mother was able to plead her way into getting a temporary hospital bed for him. But then he would be sent home with yet another set of prescriptions (“I had bags of medications,” Mitchell says), cocktails of drugs that would sometimes seem to stabilize him and other times leave him “like a zombie.” Any improvement was temporary, and family members would soon find themselves in search again of lasting solutions.

Mitchell eventually discovered CountyCare, a new Medicaid program operated by Cook County that is an outgrowth of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It covers everything from X-rays and laboratory tests to prescription drugs and mental health services. To qualify, Marks needed to be at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, live in Cook County, and not be eligible for regular Medicaid. But even after he was approved, there were problems. Because the program was so new, many providers had yet to start accepting the insurance.

Despite his spotty care, Marks would have stretches when he acted perfectly normal and lucid, and during one of those periods, in February 2013, he made a public service video for the Make a Sound Project, a suicide prevention organization. “Me, personally, I have bipolar disorder,” Marks says on camera. “I get a little anxious sometimes, and how I cool out is I listen to music.” But as spring and then summer arrived, it seemed nothing could stave off Marks’s psychotic episodes.

One evening, he asked his mother out of the blue, “Do you hear all these voices that are in my head?”

“I’m sorry, Josh,” she answered. “I don’t hear the voices.”

“I’m getting a lot of noise,” he said. “I need to go lay down.”

Arriving home with his mother another night, Marks burst out of her car and started screaming. His mother watched, terrified, as he took off running. Not sure what else to do, she called 911. When officers approached Marks, he calmly lay down on the sidewalk. A police van took him to St. Bernard Hospital, where he underwent yet another examination. Once again, he was sent home with a handful of prescriptions and a mother scrambling to figure out what to do in the long term.

Then came the night of July 28, 2013. Earlier that day, Dana had noticed Marks struggling. “He was saying that he saw other people outside of himself, and this person was telling him that he shouldn’t live, basically,” she says. Marks was supposed to stay with his mom that night, but the hour grew late and he wasn’t responding to Mitchell’s calls.

Mitchell would later learn that Marks had parked his car in Hyde Park and apparently wandered around for hours. At some point, in what the family believes was either a suicide attempt or an effort to quiet the noise in his head, Marks shot himself in the ear while sitting in his car. (The family won’t say how they think he got the gun.) At about 4 a.m., he used a University of Chicago emergency phone. The responding campus officer found Marks with cuts all over his face, which turned out to be bullet fragments. When the officer asked what was wrong, Marks attacked him, wrestled him to the ground, and tried to take the officer’s gun. A second officer arrived at the scene and beat Marks with a baton and doused him with pepper spray. Marks broke free, but three other officers helped tackle him in a nearby backyard. Throughout the incident, Marks babbled incoherently, at one point saying Gordon Ramsay had possessed him and turned him into God.

The officers took Marks to the campus hospital and then Mount Sinai for treatment. He had suffered a hematoma and a broken jaw, which required surgery. Authorities charged Marks with aggravated assault against a police officer—a felony. The judge set his bail at $150,000, which meant the family would have to come up with $15,000 to get him out. His jaw still wired shut, Marks was put in the general population at Cook County Jail for a couple of weeks until his mother was able to cobble together the money.

On top of that, she needed to hire a lawyer and also a psychiatric expert who could explain the role Marks’s bipolar disorder likely played in the incident. In the psychiatrist’s case, Mitchell would be responsible for an $800 retainer plus a “$100-something per hour” fee. “My back was against the wall,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do.”

Local and national media outlets ran with the story, including the syndicated tabloid television show TMZ, whose report featured a narrator with a nasal French accent, cartoon sound effects, and the head of Gordon Ramsay sprouting devil’s horns and laughing maniacally in a lake of fire. “It was a crazy altercation,” says the narrator, with no hint of irony. Meanwhile, Marks’s mother says, she and her son were “drowning without a life preserver.”

Then came a glimmer of hope. After Marks’s release from jail, Mitchell learned that Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in the South Loop would accept CountyCare insurance. The hospital agreed to provide a two-week inpatient stay, followed by eight weeks of outpatient care, at no cost to the family.

The treatment seemed to slow Marks’s decline a bit, if only because he was so heavily medicated. “He was very quiet, very withdrawn,” his mother says. “You knew something was working in there, but you didn’t know what was going on.”

Upon his release from the hospital, however, Marks was hit with something unexpected. His discharge papers included an additional diagnosis: paranoid schizophrenia.

He was shattered. “He couldn’t bear the thought of another diagnosis,” his mother recalls. Adds Dana: “It was like, ‘How can I move forward in my life and adjust to what I need to do if I never know what am I dealing with?’ ”

Knowing how upset her son was, Mitchell took him to live at her father’s house near 97th and Peoria on the city’s Far South Side. There, at least, he could be watched around the clock.

With Marks whipsawing between periods of restlessness and anxiety and those when he did nothing but sleep, the tormenting voices spoke more loudly than ever, the noise roaring constantly in his ears. At times “he would just stand and stare,” his mother recalls, “and I would say, ‘Josh, is there anything I can do for you? Can I help you?’ He was like, ‘No, I am just thinking about something.’ I wanted to help him so badly, but I didn’t know what do.”

She did the only thing she knew—just be there for him, offering any gesture she could think of to show love and support. Sometimes that meant holding his hand or lying down next to him in his bed and speaking in a soothing voice until he drifted off. Other times she would take him to get something to eat. Nothing fancy, just the kind of comfort food he grew up with, street food like gyros and Al’s Italian Beef. “We would be laughing because he would eat it so fast and he’d be enjoying it. I was like, ‘Josh, you really smashed that sandwich.’ That’s how we would say it: ‘You really smashed that.’ ”

One October day as Marks was walking down the hallway of his mother’s home, Mitchell reached her arm up to give her son a high-five. It was a silly gesture, a mother being playful, but when their hands met, she felt a connection. “Let’s do that again,” she said. They did. And for a moment, Mitchell says, they both seemed to just admire their hands together, palm to palm. But the moment passed, and her son was gone again.

The next morning, Friday, October 11, Marks rose early. It promised to be a beautiful day—clear and sunny. While his family slept, Marks picked up his cell phone and, at 6:41, sent a text to someone he knew. “Can you bring the tool this morning?”

Mitchell, tortured with worry about her son, stayed home from work with him at her father’s house that day. Something told her she needed to be with him. At one point, she called Dana. “Joshua is not right,” Mitchell said. “He’s still very down. I want you to talk to him.”

When Marks got on the phone, Dana tried to keep the worry out of her voice. “Hey, Joshua, what’s going on?” she said.

“Oh, nothing,” he replied. Bad sign. Anytime her brother said he was fine, she knew from experience that he wasn’t.

“Mom is concerned about you, and so am I.”

“Oh, you guys don’t have anything to worry about,” Marks responded. “I’m going to be OK.”

His mother had to leave the house briefly to pick up Danielle from school and take her to the dentist. That’s where they were heading when Mitchell got a call from Marks’s uncle. A neighbor had seen Marks walking around an alley in her father’s neighborhood with a gun in his hand.

Mitchell raced toward her dad’s house. “Mommy, slow down!” her little girl cried. But Mitchell didn’t dare. She zigzagged through Englewood, down Halsted to avoid the rush-hour traffic on the Dan Ryan. Please, God. Please let him be sitting on a curb crying. Please.

She dropped her daughter off with her dad and began scouring the neighborhood alleys. Where is he? Increasingly frantic, she made one last turn, a mere block from her father’s house. She registered the clothes first: the familiar black Windbreaker with the red and blue stripes, the black jeans her son loved.

She found him lying on his back, staring sightlessly at the sky. A gun was beside him. She saw a small wound, a bullet hole, in his head. But there was so little blood. Maybe, she thought for a second. . . . No.

She stood over the body, trying to form words, but she couldn’t speak. Instead, she screamed.

Condolences poured in from friends and fans. Among those offering sympathies was Gordon Ramsay, who tweeted: “Just heard the devastating news about Josh Marks. My thoughts are with his family & friends at this tragic time.”

The family released a statement that disclosed the bare bones of what Marks had been up against. “Behind that huge smile, Josh was in the battle of his life fighting mental illness,” it read in part. The family refuses to fault MasterChef for having any role in his suicide. Yes, the experience was stressful. And that stress may have triggered something in Marks. But it was his mental illness that led him to take his own life.

Mitchell is less sanguine about her struggle to find help for her son. She says she is working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to create a foundation in Marks’s name that will raise awareness about bipolar disorder and offer assistance navigating the convoluted mental health care system. Says Dana: “Our hopes are to continue his legacy and to give hope to other people who are not only dealing with bipolar and schizophrenia, but whatever they might be dealing with when it comes to mental health.”

On a late-May afternoon, Marks’s mother struggles with her emotions as she tells her son’s story. She leads me to a table in the corner of the dining room of her Bronzeville home, where his ashes rest in a silver urn. She and Dana have layered pieces of Marks’s bloodstained T-shirt and dried roses from his funeral in with his remains. A locket with his picture dangles on a sheer ribbon from the urn like a medal.

In the dying light, Mitchell caresses the urn as if cupping her son’s chin. “I talk to him sometimes,” she says, looking away, as if she could not otherwise get out the words. “Not always. I can’t always take it. But I like to talk to him.”

When she does, his voice will rush back, like a good memory, like the ingredients of a favorite recipe. And sometimes she’ll find herself in the kitchen, like she did last Thanksgiving, thinking how Josh would put a twist on something she was making—the unexpected ingredients he would add to her sweet potatoes, say—and she’ll turn on a burner for a saucepan to simmer, until she can feel him there again, until she can feel her son’s warmth.


Restaurant Openings Report: Week of July 27, 2014 - Recipes

And we’re not just talking about any old hamburger, either. We’re talking about getting another Wendy’s premium hamburger for just one dollar more with the offer in our app. So if you get a Pretzel Bacon Pub Cheeseburger—which you should, btw—you can get a second one for only $1—which, again, you absolutely should.

Ordering from your phone is already pretty dang easy. And since you save 10% off any mobile order over $10, the easy thing is now also the savvy thing. So, select the offer in our app, add a Jalapeño Popper Chicken sandwich or lemonade to your order, and bask in just how easy it was to save money.

On June 3, we pledged to donate money and take action to support social justice, youth and education in the Black community. As we make progress, we want to bring you along. We are making it a point to act both nationally and locally, because giving back and taking care of people in the communities where we operate is at the heart of what Wendy’s stands for.


Research & Reports

Visit Alexandria produces original research, and shares secondary research, marketing presentations, and organizational reports throughout the year.

Any questions? Contact Vito Fiore at [email protected]

"What&aposs New in 2021?" Tourism Marketing Forum

On January 28, 2021, Visit Alexandria provided information on new openings and offerings in 2021, new travel industry research and consumer trends, development around the City, and members-only marketing opportunities.

View the Member Promotions & Programs Summary and Annual Planner

2020 Annual Meeting

On September 23, Visit Alexandria held its 2020 Annual Meeting virtually, broadcast live from The Westin Alexandria Old Town. The organization highlighted COVID-19 response programs and showcased the resilience of the community. Momentum from record-setting results during the first eight months of the fiscal year, July 2019 to February 2020, created a strong foundation for Alexandria’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has had a disproportionate impact on the hospitality and tourism industry.

In calendar year 2019, Alexandria garnered the highest-ever economic impact from travel. According to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s just-released 2019 Economic Impact of Domestic Travel on Virginia and Localities report, spending from destination market visitors coming from more than 50 miles away was $881 million, producing $28.6 million in local tax revenues for Alexandria. However, these 2019 figures do not account for the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the tourism industry.

Fiscal year 2021 programs include the promotion of hybrid meetings and micro weddings and the launch of virtual site tours and experiences.਍.C.-regional marketing will include expanded Shop Small strategies to support independent boutiques during the holidays and the second iteration of Alexandria Restaurant Week To-Go in the late winter. A major Black history and travel initiative will increase Visit Alexandria’s capacity to tell an inclusive story of the city’s past and present, and includes a reimagined self-guided driving tour, major photo and video shoot and expanded PR strategies. Destination marketing will focus on a 3-hour drive radius encompassing Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the D.C. Metro, gradually expanding outward as health confidence improves. 

Visit Alexandria closed the virtual event with a new video that highlights the resilience of the Alexandria community, featuring the innovation and adaptions of the city’s small businesses, hotels, health department and city government

FY21 Visit Alexandria Operating Plan

The Visit Alexandria Board of Governors has approved the following plan and budget for the organization for the upcoming fiscal year, focusing on strategies for recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

COVID-19 U.S. Tourism Industry Research

Here are some frequently updated resources on the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, as well as consumer sentiment during this period.

"What&aposs New in 2020?" Tourism Marketing Forum

2019 Visit Alexandria Annual Report

Visit Alexandria announced record visitor spending numbers at its annual meeting at the Birchmere Music Hall on September 23, 2019. Visitor spending increased $33 million dollars to $859 million, according to data just released by Virginia Tourism Corporation. This continues the positive growth trend over the past six years for Alexandria’s visitor economy. Other data released at the meeting shows that tax revenue generated by non-residents represents 71% of Alexandria’s sales, meals and lodging tax receipts, saving the average Alexandria household $673 per year. Other highlights of the past year include:

72.5% hotel occupancy (exceeding 70% for five straight years)

2.3 million website visits to VisitAlexandriaVA.com (+15%)

1,190 total press stories (+2%)

141,000 social media followers (+8%)

$46 million in meeting leads (+2%)

Throughout fiscal year 2019, Visit Alexandria celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers tourism brand alongside the state. Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, attended Visit Alexandria’s Annual Meeting and highlighted the state’s yearlong celebration. Visit Alexandria announced that in the 50 years since, and adjusted for inflation, Alexandria’s tourism industry has tripled. The presentation also included a look at the year ahead, which will include a new destination advertising campaign, new consumer research, the launch of The Leadership Collection at Alexandria meetings initiative, and a focus on neighborhood content.

For more on FY2019 impact and FY2020 initiatives, view the Visit Alexandria 2019 Annual Report.

2019 Holiday Marketing Results

On January 13, 2020, Visit Alexandria shared marketing results for the 2019 holiday season.

Fall 2019 City Academy Presentation

On September 26, 2019, Patricia Washington presented to the Alexandria City Academy about Visit Alexandria&aposs organization and functions

Alexandria Hotel Association Presentation

On August 13, 2019, Visit Alexandria presented to the Alexandria Hotel Association about the latest lodging and travel trends, at the national, regional, and local level.

Alexandria City Council Presentation

On March 26, 2019, Visit Alexandria presented to Alexandria City Council. Topics covered included organizational approach, economic impact, and new initiatives.

"What&aposs New in 2019?" Tourism Marketing Forum

On January 28, 2019, Visit Alexandria provided information on new openings and offerings, consumer and tourism research, development around the City, Summer 2019 Metro shutdown response, and members-only marketing opportunities.

The Metro options flyer created in response to the shutdown is available here or at VisitAlexandriaVA.com/MetroOptions.

2018 Visit Alexandria Annual Report

Visit Alexandria announced record visitor spending numbers at its annual meeting on September 24, 2018. 

Reflecting on fiscal year 2018, Visit Alexandria shared that it had another banner year, noting record tourism revenues, local tax receipts, media coverage and web traffic. According to just-released figures from Virginia Tourism Corporation, $826 million in visitor spending (from 50+ miles) produced $27.4 million in tax revenuesਏor Alexandria. Travel also supported 6,546 jobs in Alexandria and spending by non-residents saved each household $616 in taxes. Visit Alexandria announced these results:

  • 72.5% hotel occupancy (exceeding the national average of 66.2%)
  • 1,167 total press stories (+14%)
  • 2.03 million website visits to VisitAlexandriaVA.com (+5%)
  • 131,000 social media followers (+19%)

One of Visit Alexandria’s key projects for fiscal year 2019 will be the King Street Corridor Initiative, a public/private partnership focusing on programming, beautification and marketing, spearheaded by the City of Alexandria and Visit Alexandria. In celebration of Alexandria’s new waterfront experience, Visit Alexandria will launch the Portside in Old Town programming series that features free-to-the-public themed weekend happenings in history, art, music and fitness with activities for families and for adults, plus additional pop-up experiences and events.

For more on FY2018 impact and FY2019 initiatives, view the Visit Alexandria 2018ਊnnual Report.

"What&aposs New in 2018?" Tourism Marketing Forum

On January 25, 2018, Visit Alexandria provided information on major openings and events, consumer and tourism research, and members-only marketing opportunities.

The presentation included new data from Visa that shows the breakdown of Alexandria consumption tax payments਋y cardholder location. Find a direct link to that data here.

2017 Visit Alexandria Annual Report

Visit Alexandria announced a new immersive experience of Alexandria along with record visitor spending numbers at its annual meeting on September 25, 2017. Visit Alexandria 360 is a virtual reality tour that brings a new dimension to the਎xtraordinary Alexandria਋rand. It allows users to explore the city in 360° through VisitAlexandriaVA.com/360 or its mobile app that can be used with virtual reality headsets.

Reflecting on fiscal year 2017, Visit Alexandria shared that it had another banner year, noting record tourism revenues, local tax receipts, hotel occupancy, media coverage and web traffic. According to just-released figures from Virginia Tourism Corporation, $790 million in visitor spending produced $26.6 million in tax revenuesਏor Alexandria. Travel also supported 6,450 jobs in Alexandria and saved each household more than $391 in taxes. Visit Alexandria announced these results:

  • 73% hotel occupancy (exceeding the national average of 65.6%)
  • 1,023 total press stories (+11%)
  • 1.94 million website visits to VisitAlexandriaVA.com (+4%)
  • 110,000 social media followers (+29%)

For more on FY2017 impact and FY2018 initiatives, view the Visit Alexandria 2017 Annual Report.

Fall 2017 Alexandria City Academy

On September 14, 2017, Patricia Washington presented to Alexandria City Academy about Visit Alexandria&aposs organization and functions.

Welcoming National Science Foundation

On September 12, 2017, Visit Alexandria presented to members and the Alexandria community about working with NSF and welcoming them to the Carlyle neighborhood.

2017 LGBT Marketing Workshop

On August 24, 2017, Sara Stanton presented to members about the LGBT traveler, and how to be both welcoming and effective in their business&aposs marketing efforts.

Summer 2017 Lodging Research and Trends

On July 27, 2017, Visit Alexandria presented to the Alexandria Hotel Association about the latest in lodging data and marketing trends.

Top 10 Insights from 2017 Simpleview Summit

On June 19, 2017, Vito Fiore presented to the Visit Alexandria Board of Governors on the top learnings from the Simpleview Summit, a web and digital marketing conference for the tourism industry.

IPW 2017 Recap

On June 19, 2017, Lorraine Lloyd presented to the Visit Alexandria Board of Governors on Visit Alexandria&aposs activities associated with the IPW international travel trade show which took place in Washington, DC this year.

Welcoming NSF Panelists

On April 20, 2017, Visit Alexandria presented to the National Science Foundation Directorate Liaisons&apos Meeting about their upcoming move to Alexandria and how Visit Alexandria can assist them in welcoming visiting panelists.

Spring 2017 Lodging Outlook

On February 28, 2017, Tom Kaiden presented to the Alexandria Hotel Association about the state of the lodging and tourism industries in Alexandria.

"What&aposs New in 2017?" Tourism Marketing Forum

On January 25, 2017, Visit Alexandria and its partners provided information on new initiatives, major openings, economic development, tourism research, and members-only marketing opportunities.

LGBT Marketing Workshop

On November 2, 2016, Visit Alexandria held a workshop on welcoming and marketing to the LGBT community. Justin Ayars of Unite Virginia and Wirt Confoy of Virginia Tourism Corporation presented information to members and community partners at Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria.

2016 Visit Alexandria Annual Report

At their annual meeting on September 19, 2016, Visit Alexandria announced the next evolution of its Extraordinary Alexandria brand through its new advertising campaign, 𠇊lex and Andria,” with the tagline, “let’s get together.” The destination marketing organization unveiled the playful new campaign, which highlights the contrasts that make Alexandria unique while deeply reinforcing the brand name of the city. 

Reflecting on FY2016, Visit Alexandria shared that it had a banner year, noting record tourism revenues, local tax receipts, hotel occupancy, media coverage and web traffic for Alexandria.

  • $771 million in visitor spending produced:
    • $25.5 million in tax revenues for Alexandria
    • Supported 6,340 jobs in Alexandria
    • Saved each household more than $350 in taxes

    To read our press release and check out our new ads, click here.

    Alexandria City Academy

    On September 15, 2016, Patricia Washington presented to Alexandria City Academy about the activities and structure of the organization.

    Hotels Outlook Fall 2016

    On September 9, 2016, Vito Fiore presented to the Alexandria Hotel Association meeting about the state of the lodging industry in Alexandria and across the nation.

    VisitAlexandriaVA.com Website Return on Investment Study

    From 2014-2016, Visit Alexandria conducted a study of VisitAlexandriaVA.com website visitors to determine the return on investment of the site. The study also revealed other information on how people use our website and their experience in visiting Alexandria.

    During the 20 months of the study period (August 2014-March 2016), over 52,000 incremental trips were generated by the website, resulting in $32 million in additional visitor spending. Nearly 15,000 additional days were also spent in Alexandria on trips extended by the site&aposs influence, resulting in almost $5 million in additional visitor spending. In total, this represents $42 in economic impact for each unique site visitor.

    Top 10 Insights from the 2016 Simpleview Summit

    On June 20, 2016, Vito Fiore presented to Visit Alexandria&aposs Board on the top digital marketing insights from the Simpleview Summit held in April in Tucson, Arizona.

    IPW Travel Trade Show Impact

    On May 13, 2016, Theresa Belpulsi from Destination DC presented to Visit Alexandria and the Alexandria Hotel Association about the significance of the IPW Travel Trade Show that is being held in Washington, D.C. in 2017.

    Spring 2016 Hotels Outlook

    On May 13, 2016, Vito Fiore presented to the Alexandria Hotel Association meeting about the state of the lodging and tourism industries in Alexandria.

    Alexandria 101 2016

    On May 4, 2016, Patricia Washington presented a summary of Alexandria&aposs offerings and tourism impact to front-line staff from Alexandria businesses.  This event was held in collaboration with the Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

    "Mercy Street" Marketing and Impact

    Visit Alexandria produced a presentation to their Board of Governors as well as Alexandria City Council to explain the organization&aposs marketing efforts related to the PBS drama "Mercy Street", as well as early results.

    See the overview presentation here, as well as the early results presented here.

    Halo Effect of Destination Marketing on Economic Development Image

    Longwoods Research conducted a study in 2015 on the impact of tourism marketing on a destination&aposs economic development image.

    "What&aposs New in 2016" Marketing Forum

    On January 14, 2016, Visit Alexandria provided information on PBS&apos new Civil War drama Mercy Street, new events and major openings, valuable tourism research, and members-only marketing opportunities. View the presentation here.

    Advertising Effectiveness & Return on Investment (ROI) Study

    In 2014, ACVA (now Visit Alexandria) commissioned a study with an independent research firm Destination Analysts to determine the return on investment for its advertising.  The study found that for every dollar of advertising, $171 was generated in incremental visitor spending, and $6 in tax revenue was generated for the City of Alexandria.  This $6-1 ratio was an improvement over the $4-1 ratio found in the 2010 study of a previous ACVA campaign.  See the full study here, which also includes other marketing insights on our visitors and our destination: 2014 Advertising Effectiveness Return on Investment Study.

    2015 Annual Report

    Our 2015 Annual Meeting was held on September 30, 2015, at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria. We shared a sneak peek of the upcoming PBS drama “Mercy Street,” based in Civil War Alexandria and premiering on January 17, 2016, and provided a look at our marketing strategy that will leverage the unprecedented national spotlight on Alexandria’s heritage.

    We also shared some numbers highlighting our activity in the past year:

    • $754 million in visitor spending in Alexandria produced $24 million in local tax revenues
    • Alexandria&aposs lodging growth rate outpaced the average performance of its DC-area regional competitors in three key performance metrics:
      • Revenue per available room (+14.7% vs. +9.9%)
      • Average daily rate (+9.0% vs. +4.5%)
      • Occupancy (+5.2 % vs. +5.1%)
      2015 Alexandria Lodging Outlook

      On September 21, 2015, Vito Fiore presented information on the state of the lodging industry in Alexandria and the outlook for the future. See the presentation here.

      Top 10 Insights from the 2015 Destination Marketing Association and Simpleview Summit Meetings

      On July 20, 2015, Patricia Washington and Alfonso Wright presented insights from two recent conferences on marketing trends and technology. See the presentation here.

      2015 Summer Social and New Website Launch

      On July 9, 2015, Visit Alexandria&aposs members gathered to celebrate the launch of the new VisitAlexandriaVA.com website and the kickoff of Live Music Week. See the presentation here, which includes a tour of the new website.

      Data-Driven Marketing

      On June 4, 2015, Visit Alexandria presented their approach to data-driven marketing at the City Department Heads meeting. See the presentation here.

      Hotels and the Impact of Tourism

      On April 27, 2015, Patricia Washington presented to "Agenda: Alexandria" on the impact of hotels and tourism.  See the presentation here.

      African-American Heritage Tourism

      On April 21, 2015, Patricia Washington presented to the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission on the topic of African-American Heritage Tourism.  See the presentation here.

      "What&aposs New in 2015" Marketing Forum

      On January 29, 2015, Visit Alexandria unveiled a new name change, new events and major openings, valuable information from a research study, the annual contact calendar, and members-only marketing opportunities. View the presentation here.

      2014 Annual Meeting, Annual Report, and Advertising Effectiveness Study

      On September 29, 2014, ACVA held its Annual Meeting at the Hilton Old Town. See the presentation, the 2014 Annual Report, and the 2014 Advertising Effectiveness Return on Investment Study.

      2014 ABC Roadshow with VHTA

      This June, in partnership with VHTA, the ACVA met with interested restaurateurs at Union Street Public House to hear about the new ABC laws that go into effect July 1st. ਌lick here for a copy of the presentation.

      2013 Annual Report: A Year of Growth and Transition

      A record year for tourism revenues.ਊ record year for tax receipts.਎xpanded sales. Hundreds of media hits. A million web site visitors. A new strategy. A new CEO.� was a very productive year. Read about it all in the� Annual Reportਊnd check out our preview of what&aposs ahead in 2014.


      Every month we come out with a new and unique premium margarita for you to try. And guess what, it's ALWAYS $5 ALL month long! Stop by your local Chili's today to try this month's $5 margarita. Hurry in before it's gone and keep your eyes peeled for next month's $5 margarita.

      Always $5. ALL month long.


      More and more restaurants are reopening and patios with outdoor seating is revving up within metro Detroit's restaurants.

      Thanks for signing up for the Food and Dining newsletter

      Please try again soon, or contact Customer Service at 1-800-395-3300


      The BEST Chocolate Martini Recipe EVER

      I thought I would get THAT out of the way. Hi, it’s Colleen and today I have an INCREDIBLE drink recipe for you.

      Raise your hand if you want to be the life of the next party you go to. I am pretty sure I can make that happen for you. All it will take is 10 minutes at your stove to wow your friends, family and even some random strangers! If your lookin’ for love, THIS just may be the ticket (really…it could happen!)

      We have Mardis Gras, St. Patty’s Day and big sports finals in the months ahead. I say forget the dip. Bring Chocolate Martinis instead! After all, who doesn’t love chocolate? Make that chocolate you can drink… in an adult version, AND you know exactly what you put in it to make it so decadent and delicious. That, my friends, is what I call a win-win!

      You can serve this as a martini or even as a shot it just depends on your audience. I am calling it a Chocolate Martini… well actually I am calling it the BEST Chocolate Martini You Have Ever Had. However, I make it with grain alcohol, aka Everclear (151 proof) so I guess technically in order to be a true martini, it’s supposed to have gin and vermouth. But I am tellin’ you it won’t matter.

      Investing in a bottle of Everclear is so worth it. It’s about $16 a bottle, and it goes a very long way due to its potency. (And, bonus, it’s gluten-free!) Just ask for it since it is usually held behind the register. If you wanted to, you could switch it out for vodka.

      You can shake it with ice first, but I say keep it simple – just keep it in your fridge in a quart-sized mason jar or glass bottle, shake it up real good and pour right into the glass. You can keep it in the freezer f or 15-20 minutes before serving too.

      Bonus! You can make this recipe days ahead. Just keep it in the fridge, and it will be ready to go when you are! The expiration date will be the expiration date of the cream you use.

      I said you are welcome, BUT maybe I should have said thank you! I lov e my job . It’ s 1:10 in the afternoon on a Monday, and I have already enjoyed a Chocolate Martini, err I mean The Best Chocolate Martini in the World. See what I go through to bring you delicious recipes… Haha, I love my job!

      If you make this, you HAVE to report back. I need to know if you are as in love w ith it as I a m.


      Houston restaurant scene shines in Texas and national spotlights

      Nancy's Hustle, 2704 Polk, is a perennial favorite on Alison Cook’s Top 100. The owners announced Friday that they will open a new restaurant, Tiny Champion, this fall.

      Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

      The dining room at Georgia James

      Julie Soefer / Julie Soefer Show More Show Less

      5 of 6 Jan and Jim Barkley, left, and Jennifer and Mark Gribble, not in picture, enjoy a good moment while dining at Indigo on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Houston. The 13-seat restaurant only open four days a week and serves "neo-soul" food that comes with a huge helping of cultural history. Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

      6 of 6 Poitin restaurant at Sawyer Yards Wednesday May 9 ,2018.(Dave Rossman Photo) Dave Rossman/For the Chronicle Show More Show Less

      When chef Chris Shepherd decided to close his award-winning Underbelly in Montrose to concentrate on new projects, he said people thought he was crazy.

      &ldquoAnd, to be honest, it was,&rdquo Shepherd wrote on Facebook on Tuesday after learning that his decision led to incredible accolades for his restaurants.

      Texas Monthly&rsquos annual list of 10 Best New Restaurants in the state included three of Shepherd&rsquos post-Underbelly efforts &mdash One Fifth Mediterranean, UB Preserv and Georgia James steakhouse &mdash all listed as No. 1. But the top ranking is not based on a collective effort of the three restaurants. Each essentially tied for first place &mdash the first time there was a tie in the 18 years the list has been published, and certainly a first for a chef/owner.

      &ldquoIn less than six months, the James Beard Award-winning chef opened not one, not two, but three restaurants,&rdquo the magazine&rsquos executive editor and restaurant critic Patricia Sharpe wrote. &ldquoAnd did I mention that each one is a smashing success?&rdquo

      Sharpe&rsquos list also found plenty of love for other Houston restaurants. Three others &mdash Nancy&rsquos Hustle in EaDo, Poitín at the new Sawyer Yards development, and Indigo in a nondescript storefront in the city&rsquos north side &mdash landed on the list, contributing to Houston besting all other Texas cities.

      Nancy&rsquos Hustle, the buzzy sophisticate from partners Sean Jensen and executive chef Jason Vaughan, came in at No. 3. In November Esquire magazine named it one of the 13 Best New Restaurants in America for 2018.

      &ldquoWith uncanny intuition, Nancy&rsquos Hustle delivers just what today&rsquos urban diners want in a restaurant,&rdquo Sharpe wrote.

      Poitín, the international cuisine restaurant named for Irish moonshine, found itself at No. 6 on the list. &ldquoThe global menu at Poitín checks off so many countries you wonder if the next stop is the moon,&rdquo Sharpe wrote about owner Ian Tucker&rsquos restaurant, whose kitchen is run by chef Dominick Lee.

      And Indigo, the 13-seat neo-soul restaurant, came in at No. 8. Chef Jonny Rhodes and his general manager/sommelier wife Chana &ldquoare giving soul food a sophisticated spin,&rdquo Sharpe wrote. Rhodes serves his prix-fixe courses with lessons on African American foodways. &ldquoSome of Rhodes&rsquos spiels are literal, others are lyrical,&rdquo Sharpe writes. &ldquoAll are insightful.&rdquo

      Austin is represented on the list with two spots, No. 2 Suerte and No. 5 Intero. Dallas clocks in with three spots, No. 4 Marcellaio, No. 7 Petra and the Beast, and No. 10 Tulum. San Antonio takes the No. 9 spot with Clementine.

      Houston&rsquos dominance on Sharpe&rsquos list was underscored by the news that for the first time the James Beard Foundation will announce nominations for its 2019 awards &mdash considered the Oscars of the food world &mdash from Houston, the foundation and Houston First announced Tuesday.

      The nominations will be announced during a live press conference on March 27 hosted at Hugo&rsquos restaurant, and will be attended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. Hugo&rsquos in Montrose makes a good location: chef Hugo Ortega won Best Chef Southwest in 2017.

      What does the choice of Houston for the prestigious nominations mean for local chefs possibly winding up as finalists for the award that recognizes the top culinary talents in America? That won&rsquot be known until the 27th, but the nominations will bring even more recognition to the city&rsquos diverse and vibrant dining scene, Reichenbach said: &ldquoThe city of Houston&rsquos dedication to cultivating and embracing its local restaurants and culinary talent make it the perfect community for such an occasion.&rdquo

      In addition to Ortega, Houston chefs Justin Yu was honored as Best Chef Southwest in 2016 for his work at Oxheart, and Shepherd took the same award in 2014 for Underbelly, breaking a long drought since Cafe Annie&rsquos Robert Del Grande first brought home the award in 1992.

      These latest accolades for Shepherd are the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year timeframe when he totally reshaped his business, which was then centered on the intensely regional, whole-animal butchery-focused Underbelly.

      It was tempting to think Shepherd was nuts &mdash or at least crazily ambitious &mdash when he announced in the autumn of 2016 that he would open five concepts over five years in the old Mark&rsquos space, a 1920s church on Westheimer. But One Fifth Steak, his first concept, was a runaway hit right out of the starting gate.

      A little over a year later, he shocked the Houston dining world again by announcing he would close the celebrated Underbelly, where he had made his national reputation, and open steakhouse Georgia James in its stead, capitalizing on the success of One Fifth Steak.

      He placated distraught Underbelly fans by opening UB Preserv, its smaller and looser spiritual heir, right down Westheimer, so that the blocks between Dunlavy and Waugh began to feel like Shepherdville.

      The remarkable string of openings Shepherd brought off last year, including the switchover from One Fifth Romance Languages to the current Mediterranean iteration, is not just a feat of logistics, but one of human resources. Shepherd was adamant when kicking around One Fifth ideas that he wanted to focus more on being a teacher at this point in his career, as he entered his mid-40s.

      With his latest projects, he has done just that: nurturing such talents as Nick Fine, who came into his own as chef de cuisine of One Fifth Steak and now serves as culinary director for all Shepherd&rsquos restaurants. Nick Wong, who came from David Chang&rsquos Momofuku Ssam Bar, has plunged with verve into Houston&rsquos varied food culture as chef de cuisine at the freewheeling UB Preserv. Matt Staph and Greg Peters are now making their marks as chefs de cuisine at One Fifth and Georgia James, respectively.

      The consolidation of new talent hasn&rsquot stopped there. Shepherd, who once bought and sold wine at Brennan&rsquos, has long partnered with Matt Pridgen to pioneer small-producer and natural wines in Houston. Now they&rsquore setting a pace with cocktails as well, thanks to the inventive work of Westin Galleymore, whose drinks at all three new restaurants are precise and thematically apt.

      All these developments are likely to influence Houston&rsquos dining scene for years to come.


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      City Council Upcoming Meeting - May 25, 2021

      The next City Council meeting is at 7:00 PM on May 25, 2021. This meeting will be held in person and via Zoom.

      If you would like to listen to the meeting via Zoom, please use the following information:

      To view the complete City Council Agenda packet, click here.

      City Council Retreat

      The City Council will hold a Council Retreat on May 26, 2021, from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM at the Multi-Purpose Center. The Agenda for the retreat is to focus on creating a Vision, Mission and Value statements for the City of Buckley. No Council action will be taken.

      If you would like to listen to the meeting live via Zoom, please use the following information:

      SEEKING SALARY COMMISSION VOLUNTEERS

      SALARY COMMISSION VOLUNTEERS

      The City is looking for interested citizens to serve on the Salary Commission.

      Per Buckley Municipal Code 2.58 - the Salary Commission consists of five members, to be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council. The term of each member shall be six months. Terms shall expire earlier than six months when the salary review is complete, and a salary schedule has been filed with the City Clerk or the Commission determines that no salary adjustment is appropriate.

      Members shall serve without compensation and shall be a resident of the city.

      Duties of the Commission:

      The Commission shall have the duty to review the salaries and compensation paid by the City to each elected City official. If after such review, the Commission determines that the salary and/or the compensation paid to any elected City official should be increased or decreased, the Commission shall file a written salary schedule with the City Clerk indicating the increase or decrease in salary and/or compensation. The Commission shall complete its duties and file any increase or decrease in salary to the City Clerk prior to the expiration of its term.

      If you are interested in serving on the Salary Commission, please submit your name, address, and a short paragraph or two on why you would like to serve on the Salary Commission to City Clerk Treva Percival at [email protected] or via mail to PO Box 1960, Buckley, WA 98321 no later than May 21, 2021.

      Restaurant Revitalization Funding Application

      Effective May 3 rd businesses that have experienced revenue losses related to the coronavirus pandemic can apply to the COVID-19 Restaurant Revitalization Funds. This funds provide grants to help restaurants, bars and other food or beverage businesses &ldquokeep their doors open.&rdquo Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

      Businesses can review eligibility and apply through &ldquoSBA-recognized Point of Sale (POS) vendors&rdquo or directly through the online portal.


      Watch the video: Στα 5 καλύτερα του κόσμου το εστιατόριο - 26012014 (November 2021).