Wednesday, October 07 2009
Womenetics: What’s cool in the world of cocktails?
Castellucci: Diners are serious about cocktails. For some restaurants, culinary cocktails are one of the fastest growing segments of business. Customers want fresh ingredients rather than mixes and cocktails constructed in standard ways.
You literally build a drink. It’s something that just keeps getting better.
Womenetics: What old-fashioned foods are back in style?
Castellucci: People are looking for comfort foods, but the bar has been raised.
Restaurants are finding success in reinventing traditional dishes by making them innovative and fresh. Two examples are mac and cheese made with artisan cheeses and fresh whole-wheat pasta presented in new and different ways.
Womenetics: Are ethnic foods in or out?
Castellucci: Restaurants that serve Mediterranean or Asian food remain popular with diners. Our newest restaurant serves Spanish tapas, which customers like because they can order a variety of small plates that can be shared with the table. In Atlanta, tapas and small plate menus are becoming more popular.
Womenetics: Do people who dine out prefer steak or fish?
Castellucci: People want to be healthy. People want steak. In moderation, red meat can be healthy. Lean red meats are supposed to be a part of your diet. Customers are still seeking out quality cuts of meats.
Womenetics: What’s trendy in salads?
Castellucci: Restaurants have moved away from bland house salads. Canned salad dressings are out. The emphasis is on salads made with locally grown and/or organic ingredients, topped with something freshly made in-house. Customers who prefer a salad they can call a meal are adding fresh seafood or slow-roasted meat.
Womenetics:How about dessert? What’s tempting diners?
Castellucci: Customers who order desserts typically want something fresh and special. Nothing prepackaged. They aren’t usually looking for something light in calories, but rather something that tastes good. Customers prefer a small cannoli made with real cheese to a larger low-fat version.
You don’t want to order low-fat chocolate cake. Order the real thing, just a smaller piece. Dessert is to be enjoyed. Get something delicious.
Stephanie Castellucci, and her brother, Federico Castellucci, are co-owners of a Spanish tapas restaurant, The Iberian Pig, in historic Decatur, Ga.The Iberian Pig is part of the family’s Castellucci Hospitality Group, which owns Sugo restaurants, focusing on Italian and Greek cuisine. The siblings are fifth-generation restaurateurs and graduates of the Hospitality School at Cornell University