February 4th, 2014
09:27 AM ET
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Brian Maloof knows it sounds crazy. Why would a small business build a chicken coop on its roof?

Maloof’s father, Manuel Maloof, opened his namesake watering hole in 1956. Manuel’s Tavern has been an Atlanta institution for decades, a place where journalists and cops rub elbows with legislators, carpenters and college students as they belly up to the wooden bar. The same portrait of JFK has hung over the bar since the days when “unaccompanied women” were not welcome. It's surrounded by pennants of Atlanta sports franchises, past and present

But things haven’t been easy lately. So Maloof “put it out there in prayer” and waited.

“I just said, ‘Father, I don’t know what it is that you want me to do, but it sure has been tough. I need some help here,’” said Maloof, who left his paramedic job in 2001 to work at Manuel’s.

The response he got back was "chickens.”
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January 6th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
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Dorothy Guy remembers when Braddock, Pennsylvania, was a thriving steel town humming with streetcars and commerce where her father, a foundry worker, and mother raised a happy family.

Every other Thursday - “steel mill payday” - her family went grocery shopping at the A&P or Kroger. For the occasional post-church treat, she recalls trips to Isaly’s for a skyscraper cone or a chipped ham BBQ sandwich.

“Braddock was really alive back then,” said Guy, 63, a lifelong resident who’s raising seven grandchildren there.

That was before the steel industry’s decline in the 1970s. Since then, the 20,000-person population of Braddock’s heyday has dried up to around 2,300, and this former metropolis on the Monongahela River east of Pittsburgh has fallen into urban decay. Save for a handful of markets, convenience stores and a cafe, there are no grocery stores or restaurants within the city limits of Braddock, Guy says.

But Braddock Mayor John Fetterman is hoping to change that with the help of Kevin Sousa, a Pittsburgh-area chef known for starting businesses in neighborhoods that have seen better days. And, they’re looking to Kickstarter to fund their big idea.
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November 27th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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Jamie Ordonez is one of the lucky retail employees who will enjoy Thanksgiving Day without having to rush to work. But a brother-in-law who works at Medieval Times isn't as lucky.

The Lyndhurst, New Jersey, castle is open for a 5 p.m. show on Thanksgiving Day, which means Ordonez's family is eating dinner around noon to accommodate his schedule. And, it's not the only Thanksgiving Day joust on the calendar; shows are scheduled in all nine Medieval Times castles in North America, with most offering discounted tickets.
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Filed under: Human Rights • Restaurants • Service • Thanksgiving


May 31st, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger passed away in January after a year-long battle with cancer that inspired a non-profit dedicated to supporting members of Atlanta’s hospitality industry. Over the years, Eatocracy had the good fortune of spending time Ryan and Jen Hidinger through their culinary endeavors; first, in their Grant Park home for their Staplehouse supper club; and in 2013, when the Hidingers launched the Giving Kitchen, a non-profit that supports members of the culinary community who encounter unexpected financial hardship.

The Giving Kitchen will be funded in part by a brick-and-mortar restaurant slated to open in 2014.

Ryan and Jen Hidinger have welcomed hundreds of strangers into their Atlanta home, 10 people at a time, for the supper club inaugurated as Staplehouse in 2009.

With each five-course meal, the husband-wife team built a devoted and diverse fanbase while Ryan Hidinger, a chef by trade, honed his skills in the kitchen and Jen Hidinger got a crash course in restaurant management.

Four years and nearly 200 meals later, the Hidingers are one step closer to their dream of opening a restaurant. They finally have a space in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward, just a few blocks from the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They also have a unique model that guarantees they’ll never get rich off the venture. Instead, 100% of profits from Staplehouse restaurant will go to a non-profit the couple started that supports members of the culinary community who encounter unexpected financial hardship.
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Filed under: Charity • Favorites • News • Restaurants • Underground


Hasbro accepts gender petition with black and silver Easy-Bake Oven
December 18th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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Hasbro announced plans Monday to unveil a black and silver Easy-Bake Oven after meeting with the New Jersey teen who started a campaign asking the toy maker to offer the product in gender-neutral packaging.

McKenna Pope's Change.org petition earned more than 40,000 signatures and the support of celebrity chefs who backed her request to change the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven's girl-centric pink and purple packaging to include boys, too. She also asked Hasbro offer the product in different "non-gender-specific" colors that appeal to boys and girls.

Hasbro said the black and silver design has been in development for 18 months and pointed out that the oven has been offered in a variety of colors since 1963, including teal, green, yellow, silver, blue and purple.

Read the full story - "Hasbro to unveil black and silver Easy-Bake Oven after teen's petition" - on CNN Living.

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Filed under: News


September 21st, 2012
05:46 PM ET
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Curious foodstuffs have graced the formica tables of Atlanta's Gato Bizco diner this year. They're the kind of dishes you might not expect to see in a kitschy short-order neighborhood diner where the menu specialties include biscuits, sweet potato pancakes and huevos rancheros.

Equally unexpected was the rotating cast of internationally-renowned chefs who turned Gato Bizco into the best restaurant in Atlanta, two nights at a time, as they hosted the pop-up BATON Supper Series.
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Filed under: Pop-up • Restaurants


New Orleans' iconic Hubig's Pies burns down
July 27th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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The home of New Orleans's beloved Hubig's Pies was destroyed by a fire early Friday morning in a "total loss," according to the New Orleans Fire Department.

The five-alarm fire at the historic bakery began around 4:28 a.m. in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, CNN affiliate WWL-TV reported.

An employee noticed smoke coming out of the fryer room, where the fire is assumed to have started.
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Filed under: Bite • Breaking News • Cuisines • New Orleans • New Orleans • News • Obsessions • Travel


Want great coffee for less? Take matters into your own hands
May 24th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
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A revolution has been brewing in the workplace among coffee drinkers unwilling to settle for the break room sludge.

For some of them, pod machines and single-serve cups provide the illusion of a superior product. Others swear by the French press method, which has traditionally reigned supreme as the alternative to automatic coffee makers.

Now, more hand-brewed coffees from devices like pour-overs and the Aeropress are popping up in home kitchens and cubicles alike. Even in the CNN.com break room, the buzz of a coffee grinder has become a regular morning fixture. But why the fuss?
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Filed under: Coffee • Help Desk • How To • Sip • Techniques & Tips


May 3rd, 2012
07:00 PM ET
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It was a few minutes before 11 a.m. and Bill Adams had two things on his mind: Brunswick stew and cracklin cornbread.

To satisfy his craving for meat stew and fried pig skin, this lifelong Georgia boy made the hour-long drive Tuesday from his home in Griffin to Harold’s Barbecue in south Atlanta. When he and his friends learned this was to be Harold’s last week in business, they made plans for a final pilgrimage.

“Just wanted to stop by for one last meal,” the longtime patron said as he waited in the restaurant’s dusty parking lot for doors to open. He wasn't alone; there were about a dozen others, including a pair of Georgia State Troopers.

“It’s inevitable. Everything changes. Nothing lasts forever,” he said. “We don’t like it but we can’t stop it.”
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