Tag Archives: Restaurants

Doctor Newson fired from Bay County Health Department because he was educating the public with sardonic warnings

Dr. Jason Newsom railed against burgers, french fries, fried chicken and sweet tea in his campaign to promote better eating in a part of the country known as the Redneck Riviera. He might still be leading the charge if he had only left the doughnuts alone.

A 38-year-old former Army doctor who served in Iraq, Newsom returned home to Panama City a few years ago to run the Bay County Health Department and launched a one-man war on obesity by posting sardonic warnings on an electronic sign outside:

“Sweet Tea (equals) Liquid Sugar.”

“Hamburger (equals) Spare Tire.”

“French Fries (equals) Thunder Thighs.”

He also called out KFC by name to make people think twice about fried chicken.

Then he parodied “America Runs on Dunkin’,” the doughnut chain’s slogan, with: “America Dies on Dunkin’.”

Some power players in the Gulf Coast tourist town decided they had had their fill.

A county commissioner who owns a doughnut shop and two lawyers who own a new Dunkin’ Donuts on Panama City Beach turned against him, along with some of his own employees, Newsom says. After the lawyers threatened to sue, his bosses at the Florida Health Department made him remove the anti-fried dough rants and eventually forced him to resign, he says.

“I picked on doughnuts because those things are ubiquitous in this county. Everywhere I went, there were two dozen doughnuts on the back table. At church, there were always doughnuts on the back table at Sunday school. It is social expectation thing,” says Newsom, a lean 6-foot, 167-pounder in a county where 39 percent of all adults were overweight in 2007 and one in four was considered obese.

Newsom was hired by the state Health Department to direct the county agency. His $140,000-a-year salary is paid jointly by the state and the county. His job primarily involves educating the public about health issues — swine flu, AIDS and the like — but he also decided to address the dangers of glazed, sprinkled and jelly-filled treats.

He angered staff members by barring doughnuts from department meetings and announcing he would throw the fat-laden sweets away if he saw them in the break room. He also banned candy bars in the vending machines, putting in peanuts instead.

In May, lawyers Bo Rivard and Michael Duncan, co-owners of a new Dunkin’ Donuts, asked Newsom to take down the “America Dies on Dunkin'” message. Newsom already had run other anti-doughnut warnings, including “Doughnuts (equals) Diabetes,” and “Dunkin’ Donuts (equals) Death.”

The businessmen had the backing of County Commissioner Mike Thomas, who owns a diner and a doughnut shop. Thomas called for Newsom’s ouster, saying the doctor shouldn’t have named businesses on the message board.

“I think he was somewhat of a zealot,” Thomas says. “I don’t have a problem with him pushing an agenda, it’s the way he did it. People borrowed money to go into business and they are being attacked by the government.”

A short time after Newsom’s meeting with Rivard and Duncan, Newsom says, his bosses at the state Health Department told him that his leadership wasn’t wanted and that he could be fired or resign. He chose to resign May 8 but has reapplied for the job.

“I have never been known for my subtlety. I don’t have a knack for it. I speak the truth to people and just assume that that my data and purpose are so real and true that everyone will see the value of what I’m doing,” says Newsom, who now works at a prison, doing exams of inmates.

Rivard and Duncan did not return numerous calls to their offices.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is pleased that the signs have been removed,” Andrew Mastrangelo, a spokesman for Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donuts said in an e-mail.

The Florida Health Department has refused to talk about Newsom since he is considered a job applicant. “We will be happy to talk to you after the position has been filled,” department spokeswoman Susan Smith said in an e-mail.

Newsom is hoping to get his job back so that he can resume his campaign against overeating.

“My method was a little provocative and controversial,” he says, “but there wasn’t a person in Bay County who wasn’t talking about health and healthy eating.”

Article written by Melissa Nelson at the Associated Press.

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New York’s Highest Grossing Dishes

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This article is by Ben Leventhal from the NYMag.com Grub Street New York.

Save for the four-stars and the true dives, all of the most successful restaurants have one offering that everyone orders: the destination dish. In addition to the simple delight of eating these undeniably fantastic things, these items are also huge moneymakers for their restaurants. So, in the biggest restaurant city in the world, which are the highest-grossing dishes? And what kinds of ridiculous sums are they pulling in?

Here are our educated guesses at New York’s top five cash cows. Volume numbers are straight from the restaurateurs, except in cases where “est.” is used. As restaurants are (sensibly) unwilling to release their food costs, we spoke to an industry chef who gave us his best, anonymous guess. We also called a couple of purveyors for comparison pricing. For yearly gross we did the math, assuming a 365-day year (most of these places do not close for holidays).

1. The Spotted Pig, Cheeseburger: $17
Description: Char-grilled eight-ounce burger with Roquefort cheese and shoestring potatoes
Daily Volume: Approx. 200 orders
Food Cost: 19 percent or $3.25 (La Frieda ground beef at $3.99 per pound, or $2 for eight ounces; brioche bun, $0.50; Roquefort cheese, $10 per pound, or $0.50; fries and garnish, $0.25)
Yearly Gross: $1,241,000

2. Balthazar, Steak Frites $30.50
Description:Classic steak frites with maître d’ butter or béarnaise sauce
Daily Volume: 85 orders
Food Cost:24 percent or 7.24 (La Frieda petit tender steak, $5.99; frites,
$1; butter or sauce, $0.15, garnish, $0.10)
Yearly Gross: $951,600

3. Nobu, Black Cod with Miso $26
Description:Two four-ounce sablefish fillets, marinated
Daily Volume (est.): Approx. 100 orders
Food Cost:13.5 percent or $3.50 (eight-ounce sablefish, $3; miso glaze and garnish, $0.50)
Yearly Gross: $949,000

4. Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Pork Bun $9 for two
Description: Two steamed buns filled with marinated pork belly, hoisin sauce, and a few cucumber slices
Daily Volume (est.): Approx. 200 orders
Est. Food Cost:20.5 percent or $1.85 (two steamed buns, $0.50; one-to-two-ounces prime pork belly at $3 per pound, $1; hoisin, cucumber, scallion, garnish, $0.35)
Yearly Gross: $657,000

5. Waverly Inn, Macaroni and Cheese $55
Description: Macaroni with cheese and shaved white truffle
Daily Volume: Approx. 20 orders
Food Cost:9 percent or $5.10 (elbow pasta, four ounces, $0.50; cheese blend (Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano), $0.50; garnish; $0.10 cents; shaved truffles,* $4)
Yearly Gross: $501,875
* We believe the house uses canned white truffles most of the year, if for no other reason than the volume of truffles needed for this much macaroni and cheese would be an importation challenge — and the U.S. Customs office might have something to say about it.

Honorable Mention
Freemans, Artichoke Dip $10
Description: Artichoke and Parmesan dip, served with sliced, toasted baguette
Daily Volume: 35 orders
Food Cost: 33.5 percent or $3.35 (canned artichokes, $2.15; mayo/Parmesan cheese, $0.80; one quarter of a toasted baguette, $0.40)
Yearly Gross: $127,400

But don’t think that a $1.2 million gross in cheeseburgers at the Spotted Pig, for example, translates into $972,000 net revenue. Food cost is but the tip of a restaurant’s operating cost. Labor and operating costs (rent, insurance, etc.) generally wipe out another 60 percent of gross, give or take. However, there’s no disputing the virtues of seven figures of burger business.

Lawsuit: Man claims he found used condom in his soup

A mission Viejo, CA man has sued a local California Claim Jumper restaurant claiming he ordered French Onion Soup and bit into a condom instead of melted cheese.

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Zdenek Philip Hodousek filed the lawsuit July 21 in Orange Sounty Superior Court seeking unspecified damages over fears he may have contracted a disease.  He wants to have the restaurant employees DNA tested to find a match to the used condom.

The restaurant PR firm says no one can prove that the condom submitted to a lab for testing came from the restaurant.  Also, that the restaurant did an internal probe and revealed no employee was involved in the wrongdoing.

Pizza Time


Here is a great restaurant on St George Street in St Augustine, Florida. It is hard to believe in the middle of this big tourist trap, we found this great pizza joint!  We ordered a large pie, half pepperoni and half cheese. A large order of Garlic knots and a Cheese Calzone. This is the best pizza in the Northeast Florida area! Between the five of us eating, we managed to polish off most of the food!