During the current pandemic many restaurants, independents and chains alike, haven’t had the time or inclination to focus on issues of sustainability. Instead, a day-to-day struggle for survival has necessarily become their primary business concern.
Domino’s Pizza, Inc. has been an exception. This July, the pizza delivery giant created a “Don’t Trash the Box” campaign, an effort to get more pizza box cardboard recycled.
Described by company officials as “an opportunity to make a difference when it comes to packaging and recycling,” the campaign was created in partnership with its primary box supplier, Atlanta-based. WestRock Company, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of corrugated paperboard and cardboard containers.
The objectives of the campaign are twofold — to dispel the belief that pizza boxes can’t be recycled and instead persuade more recycling programs to accept the boxes as a reclaimable part of the trash that would otherwise end up in landfills.
WestRock’s part in the process was to first conduct research into whether or not the food residue and fat left behind in a used pizza container did, in fact, preclude the box from being recycled. With the help of the American Forest & Paper Association, the study concluded that such residue did not create quality problems in finished cardboard made partly from recycled pizza boxes.
The second part of the campaign is educational, with both WestRock and Domino’s working to inform pizza customers that boxes can be recycled. In situations where recycling programs expressly forbid the collection of pizza boxes, Don’t Trash the Box is challenging such recycling practices.
Domino’s has also worked with WestRock to increase the amount of recycled cardboard used in the chain’s own pizza boxes.
Domino’s and WestRock both participate in The Recycling Partnership, a non-profit entity dedicated to the promotion of recycled materials. The Partnership has prepared an information kit for local government and recycling companies that outlines ways recycling programs can be tweaked to take pizza boxes.
More information on this effort is available at recycling.dominos.com.
Many restaurants are currently relying on outdoor seating as a way of attracting customers, but Russo’s Lakeside Seafood & Steakhouse in Palmer provides a visual bonus for those who choose alfresco dining – views of Palmer’s Forest Lake.
The restaurant’s permanent menu is extensive, featuring hand-cut steaks, seafood favorites like fish and chips, and an assortment of pasta, salad, and sandwich choices.
Supplementing the above are daily specials such as an unusually-comprehensive baked seafood combo that includes haddock, scallops, shrimp, crab, and lobster.
Hickory-molasses encrusted steaks are a regular offerings, as are fresh steamers.
The restaurant’s full menu can be viewed at facebook.com/RussosLakeside; the restaurant takes reservations at (413) 289-2360.
Pumpkin spice season is once again upon us, with several restaurant chains introducing items enhanced with the warm flavors of fall.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations will be featuring Pumpkin Pie Latte through October 11. Topped with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice, the drink will be served both hot or iced.
Starbucks locations are also rolling out an array of autumn-themed beverages, including pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin cream cold brew, and a salted caramel mocha.
The Burgundy Brook Cafe in Three Rivers lays claim to serving “the best breakfast in Western MA,” and, in support of that assertion, the restaurant likes to supplement its regular menu with inventive breakfast features.
Some recent examples of these include “Berry Berry” French toast made with berry-studded quick bread; Oreo pancakes; an Alpine omelet filled with ham, mushrooms, onions, and Swiss cheese; and sausage biscuits with gravy.
Currently open for breakfast and lunch Thursday through Sunday, the Cafe also serves dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Reservations are available and encouraged.
Equipped with a wood-fired pizza oven, the restaurant is able to offer a selection of pizza creations which are available for dine-in, to-go, or local delivery.
The Cafe’s telephone number is (413) 289-6359.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill locations are “going meatballs” this September, introducing three new menu items in which meatballs have a starring role.
Uno’s “deep dish” meatballs, which are made with beef, pork, ricotta cheese, and seasonings, are available in an appetizer format; they’re baked with marinara and served with pizza chips for dipping.
The meatballs also appear in the chain’s new Meatball & Ricotta Deep Dish Pizza and in a Mom’s Meatball sub.
Uno’s has created several other new menu listings: a Margherita Chicago Thin Crust Pizza, a Chicken Parm sub, and a Deep Dish Brownie Sundae.
The last of the three is assembled on a chocolate chip-studded brownie that’s baked in a deep dish pizza pan. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream complete the dessert build.
Here in Western Massachusetts, Uno Pizzeria locations can be found on Boston Road, on Hall of Fame Avenue, and at the Holyoke Mall.
Since reopening on July14, the Westwood Restaurant & Pub in Westfield has been serving lunch and dinner on a five-day-a-week basis.
Open Tuesday through Saturday, Westwood has also made available a selection of “Family Meals” to serve four, with the menu selections reflecting the popularity of pasta based creations as take out options.
Choices available include Chicken Parmesan, Pasta Primavera, Chicken Francaise, and Chicken Broccoli. Two of these four family meals can be ordered with gluten-free pasta and all selections come with rolls.
For more information about the Westwood Restaurant, go to their website, westwoodpub.com, or call (413) 564-6963.
The Wendy’s Company has launched a new product this September. The Pretzel Bacon Pub Burger, part of the chain’s “Made to Crave” sandwich lineup, represents a return of the pretzel bun to the product innovation spotlight.
Featuring a beef patty topped with Muenster cheese, bacon, onion rings, and pickles, the sandwich is also finished with warm beer cheese sauce and honey mustard.
The new Pub Burger, which has been afforded “permanent menu” status, can also be ordered in a variant form that substitutes fried chicken breast for the beef patty.
Steaming Tender Restaurant In Palmer has been offering live entertainment to its patio guests on Sunday afternoons.
The rear platform of Steaming Tender’s repurposed railroad parlor car serves as a stage, and shaded outdoor dining space has been created using the sheltered platforms of the former railroad station that Steaming Tender calls home.
This summer Steaming Tender has been featuring a number of interesting seafood specials on its menu, including Moroccan swordfish topped with tzatziki sauce and New England haddock served over arugula and topped with a peach and pepper salsa.
The restaurant’s current hours of operation are Thursday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday noon to 7:30 p.m.
Steaming Tender’s website is located at steamingtender.com; their telephone number is (413) 283-2744.
Hugh Robert is a faculty member in Holyoke Community College’s hospitality and culinary arts program and has nearly 45 years of restaurant and educational experience. Robert can be reached on-line at [email protected]