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Uncrustables grows into $200 million business; plant planned for Colorado

By Katie Byard Published: January 31, 2017
uncrustables

This also is posted to the business news blog - Your Business.

The J. M. Smucker Co. in Orrville [NYSE: SJM] said Tuesday it plans to build an additional Uncrustables sandwiches manufacturing facility in Longmont, Col., near Denver.

Construction of the facility -- which will  have about  250 employees when phase one is complete and up to 500 employees in total  --  will start in spring 2017 with production expected to begin in calendar year 2019, Smucker said.

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Norka, revived iconic Akron soda, available at Cracker Barrel shops

By Katie Byard Published: January 31, 2017

Some folks have noticed that Norka soda — the iconic brand that Michael Considine revived in 2015 — is available at Cracker Barrel locations.

Under a deal revealed late last year, the Norka’s signature flavor, cherry-strawberry, is available in more than 630 Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.

The soda (Norka is Akron spelled backwards) is made and bottled at contract packaging facilities, including one in Pennsylvania. Considine, an Akron resident, touts that cane sugar is used — no-high fructose corn syrup — along with natural flavorings.

Crain’s Cleveland Business reported this week that the deal allows Cracker Barrel to add other Norka flavors.

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Northeast Ohio getting its first Fresh Thyme Farmers Market

By Katie Byard Published: January 27, 2017

Chicago area grocery chain Fresh Thyme Farmers Market  -- specializing in organic/natural items -- says it will open its first store in Northeast Ohio at 7 a.m. Feb. 8 in the Golden Gate shopping center in Mayfield Heights, outside Cleveland.

Fresh Thyme said the first 250 shoppers, aged eighteen and older, in line on the morning of Feb. 8 will  receive a free bag of groceries. The store will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony with city officials at 3:45 p.m. that day.

Fresh Thyme has been described as a cross between Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, with prices often lower than Whole Foods, and more fresh foods than Trader Joe's. They're designed to draw customers from a fairly larger area. 

The store, south of Mayfield Road and west of Interstate 271, is in a former Office Max and totals about 30,000 square feet in size.

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Bob Evans Restaurants says tweets are "alternative facts;" restaurants are not closing

By Katie Byard Published: January 26, 2017

Bob Evans Restaurants wants you to know that its more than 500 restaurants are open for business and rumors to the contrary are "alternative facts."

The New Albany, Ohio, chain issued a cheeky news release today in response to rumors that it is closing its restaurants, which are in Ohio and 17 other states.

The company said the rumors -- fueled by social media chatter -- flew after Bob Evans Farms announced yesterday it was selling its restaurant division to a private equity firm.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Bob Evans Restaurants President John Fisher said of the rumored shutdown of the chain.

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Akron area McDonald's gets Big Mac sauce attack; Special Sauce giveaway over in two minutes

By Katie Byard Published: January 26, 2017
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McDonald’s gave away 10,000 bottles of its Big Mac Special Sauce today, and the nearly 50 bottles available at the McDonald’s on Medina Road in Bath Township were snapped up in two minutes.
“I had people waiting in line at quarter to 9 and the giveaway began at 11. We had all 50 people in line and [the bottles] were gone in two minutes,” said the store’s manager, Carol Cushman.
Actually, Cushman clarified, the store gave away 49 bottles to customers. One bottle went to an employee, who won a drawing.
The McDonald’s at 3875 Medina Road (also known as state Route 18) was among nine McDonald’s in the state -- and the only one in the Akron area -- that received an allotment of bottles for the giveaway. Brian and Lea Heidman are the owner/operators of the McDonald’s on Medina Road.
McDonald’s insists that the sauce isn’t just Thousand Island dressing. “The Big Mac Sauce is unique to McDonald’s and includes a classic combination of ingredients,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Becca Hary told USA Today.
It was the first time McDonald’s has given away bottled Special Sauce, and the giveaway was a promotion to herald the iconic Big Mac’s 50th anniversary and the chain offering the Big Mac in two additional sizes for a limited time.
There’s the single-patty Mac Jr. and there’s the Grand Mac, with a larger patty and more cheese.
News reports say the additional sizes come after news that only one in five millennials have tried a Big Mac. This was according to a corporate McDonald’s memo, which operators learned of last year.

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Downtown Akron loses 3 Point restaurant; eatery says shutdown related to underground fire last month

By Katie Byard Published: January 25, 2017
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3 Point restaurant in downtown Akron, which had been temporarily closed after an underground fire in December, has closed permanently after seven years on East Market Street.

Owners Domenic Fragomeni and Chad Leek, in a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page this week, said the restaurant shut down “due to circumstances related to the underground fire that occurred Dec. 12.”

Previously, in a post on the page, the restaurant had apologized for lack of phone service, and explained that the ongoing fire investigation meant that workers could not access phone lines.

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Summit Mall to get Dewey's Pizza; Cincinnati chain expanding in northeast Ohio

By Katie Byard Published: January 24, 2017

Dewey’s Pizza plans to open its third Northeast Ohio location Feb. 13 at Summit Mall in Fairlawn, with a ribbon-cutting at 5 p.m.

The 90-seat, 3,500-square foot restaurant, featuring adventurous pizzas and salads, will join Dewey’s in Lakewood and Cleveland Heights.

Pizzas — made behind a window, allowing customers to see the action — include the Porky Fig, with a fig jam base and toppings such as mozzarella, fontina and prosciutto.

There’s also the Green Lantern, with red sauce, mozzarella, minced garlic, mushrooms, goat cheese, artichokes and pesto.

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Heat on at Akron chili challenge as firefighters get top awards

By Katie Byard Published: January 20, 2017

Akron firefighters redeemed themselves today, winning both the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards in the 11th annual Akron Firefighters Chili Challenge at Lock 3 park in downtown Akron.


Last year, they took home nary an award in the event in which they challenge representatives of other city departments and local businesses to see who can create the best pot of chili.

Members of the public pay for samples, and get to cast their votes; a judge’s panel also picks a top chili. This year’s event raised roughly $2,500 for Akron Children’s Hospital Burn Center.

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You can vote for best chili at Akron Chili Challenge, starting at 11 a.m. today; Lock 3 ready

By Katie Byard Published: January 20, 2017
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Akron firefighters are hot to regain their title at the 11th Annual Chili Challenge starting at 11 a.m. TODAY -- Friday, Jan. 20, at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron.

This is a fun community event featuring chili made by city departments and local businesses. Attendees get to sample them and cast votes for the People’s Choice.

Cost is $10 for six four-ounce samples and a soft drink; one sample costs $1.50. Proceeds benefit the burn unit at Akron Children’s Hospital.

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Whole Foods opening date not clear, developer says

By Katie Byard Published: January 18, 2017

It’s now not clear when the 365 by Whole Foods grocery in West Akron will open.

A spokeswoman for the developers of the plaza told me early this week that the store would open in the early fall. I included this information in today's Akron Dish that is in print on www.Ohio.com.

However, another spokeswoman for the developers said Wednesday morning that this date may not be accurate and has not been confirmed by Whole Foods.  She said she anticipates Whole Foods revealing an opening date “very soon.”

We will be changing the online version of Akron Dish to reflect this new information, and we will update the online version of Akron Dish.

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Update on closing of Mocha Joe's in Stow: Owner says it's good not to have to set the alarm

By Katie Byard Published: January 11, 2017

In today's Akron Dish round up in the Beacon Journal and on www.Ohio.com, I talk about the New Year's Day permanent closing of Mocha Joe's coffee shop in Stow.

The place - open 18 years - arrived early on the local coffee-shop scene, predating some of the area's Starbucks.

I couldn't reach an owner prior to press time. This morning, I heard from one of the owners - Chris Lewis. She explained that she had planned to have someone else take over the operation that served baked goods along with java.

After that deal fell through, she decided to hang it up. Or should I say she decided to stop setting her alarm?

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Are you a chili connoisseur? Cast your vote for best chili at Akron Chili Challenge

By Katie Byard Published: January 10, 2017
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Akron firefighters are hot to regain their title at the 11th Annual Chili Challenge starting at 11 a.m. Jan. 20 at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron.

This is a fun community event featuring chili made by city departments and local businesses. Attendees get to sample them and cast votes for the People’s Choice.
Cost is $10 for six four-ounce samples and a soft drink; one sample costs $1.50.

Proceeds benefit the burn unit at Akron Children’s Hospital.

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Food-centered exhibit in Cleveland museum closes this week

By Theresa Cottom Published: January 4, 2017

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s latest exhibit centered around food is wrapping up this week.

The exhibit, called Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture, explores the way food moves from the farm to the kitchen table.

It features sections devoted to growing, transporting, cooking, eating, tasting and celebrating food, examining the many ways food is produced and moved across the world.

Attendees can prepare virtual meals, tour an ancient marketplace, see famous dining rooms throughout history and play in the Step2 Children’s Kitchen.

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