You be the judge
Restaurant surveyors Tim and Nina Zagat want to hear from you, via the Internet. Between now and May 28, savvy Clevelanders like you can log onto www.zagat.com/topsurvey and offer your own unique critique of the food, decor, and service at about 40 of the city's most visible dining rooms, including Century, Kosta's, Lola, Mise, Mojo, OZ, Saucy Bistro, and Weia Teia. Besides providing a numerical rating of restaurants you've visited within the past year, you'll also be invited to share your "descriptive, pithy, and witty" comments. All volunteer critics will receive a free copy of Zagat's 2002 Guide to America's Top Restaurants, after it is published in November.
Whether it's individual-serving-sized ketchup bottles or a special blend of coffee, restaurateurs are always on the lookout for inexpensive gimmicks that can set them apart from the crowd. Now it looks as if they've found a keeper in the Sugart sugar sticks that have been showing up on local tabletops. The long, slim sugar packets hold 2.8 grams of granulated sugar wrapped in colorful artwork. According to the sweet folks at International Marketing Systems (exclusive sales and marketing agents for Sugart U.S.A.), they are an attempt to capitalize on the "stick" type of sugar packaging popular in the European market. Sugart sticks presently come in several cool art-deco- and pop-art-influenced designs, and have proved to be quite the conversation piece. According to Steven Dupre, buying director at Cleveland's Hillcrest Food Service Company, nearly a dozen local restaurants, caf´s, and coffee shops have started carrying the product since it became available last year -- Erie Bleu, Curcio's, and D'Agnese's among them. "Diners come to know places for little touches like this," says Dupre. "These sugar packets are just another detail that stands out in the mind of the consumer."