Tag Archives: Fall

Spice Up Your Fall Menu: Apple Recipes!

Fall is one of our favorite times of the year! From the beautiful leaves and fun seasonal recipes, there are endless possibilities for your restaurant! Apples are one of the most versatile produce items this time of year. And did you know that October is National Apple month? From breakfast, snacks, desserts and drinks – we rounded up the best of the best for you to celebrate throughout the month and to encourage customers to be regulars in no time!


You know what they say – breakfast is the most important meal of the day! And who doesn’t love breakfast?! These breakfast apple recipes are one of a kind and will give your customers another reason to come back tomorrow!

apple pie pancakes

via AverieCooks.com


apple french toast

via LemonTreeDwelling.com


Fall season begins the time of endless, delicious desserts! Customers are searching for the perfect savory, but refreshing desserts and apples give this perfect combination! Mix it up and offer a variety of these sweet treats – they’re sure to be crowd favorites!

apple crisp stuffed baked apples

via Life-In-The-Lofthouse.com


apple fries

via FavFamilyRecipes.com


caramel apple cheesecake bars

via SugarApron.com


apple shortbread bars

via SoberJulie.com


apple oatmeal cookies

via LiveWellBakeOften.com

apple crisp

via TastesBetterFromScratch.com


Are your customers looking for delicious drinks rather in food? Try serving up these classics with a twist of apple!

caramel apple sangria

via TheWholesomeDish.com


apple cide floats

via DomesticallyBeautiful.com



Fall Produce to Add to Your Menu

The weather is starting to get cooler, and that means one thing: Fall is coming! That also means many restaurants will start to change their menus to incorporate produce that is now in season. Wow your customers by creating autumnal meals inspired by the upcoming harvest.

Top 6 In-Season Produce

 1. Apples

When I think of Fall, one of the first things I think about is going to the apple orchard and getting a jug of fresh apple cider. From Red Delicious to Granny Smith, this versatile fruit can be incorporated in desserts, salads, drinks and more.

2. Pumpkinspumpkin

Ah, the old Halloween staple. Pumpkins are so much more than carving material. In addition to the iconic pumpkin pie, pumpkins can be used in cakes, soups, roasted or just plain mashed. Cooking light suggests using a smaller pumpkin, as those tend to be sweeter, with a more concentrated flavor. Don’t forget to save the seeds for toasting!

3. Cauliflower

Upon first glance, cauliflower may not look like the sexiest vegetable in terms of flavor, but there is oh so much you can do with it to have customers clamoring for more. Cauliflower is great as a gratin, it can be roasted and it can even stand alone as a soup. Want to cater to those looking to eat healthier? Serve mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes for a low-carb option.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Although they are available year-round, fall is when the fresh batch of sweet potatoes come in. More and more restaurants are serving up sweet potatoes as fries. In addition, sweet potatoes can be used for soups, desserts, sides and breads. They can even be used to make pancakes!

5. Mushroomsmushroom

If you’re a fungus fan, fall is the perfect time for you. Mushrooms come in so many varieties, each offering their own flavors and benefits (I’m partial to chanterelles. Delish!). You can stuff them, serve them over steak, make a gravy, add them to salads…the list goes on! If you are really adventurous, you can go foraging yourself! Just make sure that you or someone with you is experienced enough to know which mushrooms are safe to pick and eat.

6. Winter Squash

Don’t let the name fool you: winter squash is ready to go in early fall. Butternut squash is great roasted, mashed or in soups. Acorn squash can be used for stuffing. Once cooked, the flesh of a spaghetti squash can be pulled apart in strands and served just like the pasta for which it’s named.

Fall Recipes

Need inspiration? Take a look at these tasty recipes, sure to warm the belly as the weather grows cooler.





What’s on your menu this fall? Which ingredients are you using? Let us know in the comments section!

All Things Fall Food

Fall began on September 22, which means time on the beach, at barbecues and enjoying ice cream is over. It’s time to start thinking about fall food favorites.

From tailgating to festivals, there seems to be something for everyone. Fall is especially a time when we start craving certain flavors such as apple, pumpkin and cinnamon.

Let’s take a look at different things to enjoy over the next few months.

Fall Foods

When the weather starts to cool off, we start turning towards comfort foods and baking. Simply Recipes has compiled a fantastic list of Fall Recipes. Here you will find different uses of some fall favorites such as pumpkin soup; as well as classics like apple pie.

For another option, New Green Cuisine has a list of Seven Fall Superfoods. Here we see the usual apples and pumpkins, but also foods not commonly thought of such as kale and turnip greens. These foods can often be found at farmers’ markets this time of year, and all pack a powerful punch of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


Football season is underway and one of the best parts of it undoubtedly is tailgating. Tailgating is a way for fans to build a small community to support their team. They pack up to grill out, eat, drink, and socialize before their game starts. Traditional tailgating favorites include burgers, hot dogs, wings, and beer. Check out Food Network for traditional tailgating recipe ideas.

Love the idea of tailgating but not a big football fan? No problem. Check out these great ideas for fall tailgating in a less traditional setting.

Visit Central’s website for a huge selection of outdoor grills for your tailgating needs too! Or you might have items on-hand and haven’t even realized it. Check out The Daily Meal’s 11 Essential Tailgating Tools From Your Kitchen.


Fall Festivals

Another way to celebrate this time of year is to attend one of the many festivals across the country. Often times, these festivals are focused around a popular fall item or food, such as a pumpkins and apples, while others have less common themes.

Here is a list of some festivals that take place in the fall:

  • Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, North Carolina
  • Sonoma County Harvest Fair, California
  • National Apple Harvest, Pennsylvania
  • Circleville Pumpkin Show, Ohio
  • Floresville Peanut Festival, Texas
  • Fall Festival, Silverton, Oregon
  • Town of Porter Cabbage Festival, New York
  • Wellfleet OysterFest, Massachusetts
  • Black Walnut Festival, West Virginia
  • Harvest Festival, Santa Fe, NM
  • GermanFest, IN


Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival that is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It runs from late September into the first weekend of October. However, many cities in the United States hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations.

Some traditional Bavarian menu items straight from the Hippodrom Oktoberfest Menu include:


  • Bavarian Beergarden Special with Radishes, Bavarian Bacon, potato-cheese spread, bread with lard, butter and chives
  • Spicy raw minced beef with cornichons, capers and onions, with roasted bread from Andechs and butter


  • Aromatic potato soup finished with Véronique
  • Beef bouillon with liver dumpling


  • 2 original Munich sausages according to the masterly recipe of Sepp Krätz with Mari mustard
  • 6 Andechser Klosterseufzer sausages with mashed potatoes, barrel sauerkraut and horseradish


  • Baked Potato with Andechser soft cheese made from skimmed Milk and spring onions
  • Cheese Spaetzle with onion–pear Chutney


  • Juicy roast pork with crusts, natural sauce and potato dumpling
  • Half duck with red cabbage, apples and potato dumplings


  • Sweet yeast dumplings with butter crust and warm vanilla sauce.
  • The Hippodrom dessert dream with Bavarian pancake, baked apples, mini-dumplings, apple strudel, plum compote and creamy vanilla sauce.

Along with a ton of food, there are also several beer tents. Oktoberfest visitors have 14 big tents and 20 small tents to choose from. A “Mass”, or liter of beer, that can cost anywhere from 8.70-9.20 Euros (approximately 11.30-12.00 USD).

Be sure to check out Central’s selection of beer mugs.

Oktoberfest Events in the United States include:

  • Tulsa Oktoberfest, Oklahoma
  • Oktoberfest Denver, Colorado
  • Oktoberfest Chicago, Illinois
  • Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Ohio
  • Addison Oktoberfest, Texas
  • New Ulm Oktoberfest, Minnesota

So from menu ideas and flavors, to tailgating and festivals–fall really does have something for everyone. What fall foods, festivals and trends are you getting excited about?

Central’s Week in Brief: September 23

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1.) Don’t forget Share our Strength’s Dine Out No Kid Hungry is going on right now! This week long national event aims to end child hunger in America. Saturday September 24 is your last chance to participate.  Visit their website to find a participating restaurant in  your area.  And if you work for a participating restaurant, we would love to hear from you on how it’s going! Please comment below!

Image from Dine Out website


2.) Have you seen the new Heinz ketchup packet? According to this Time article, the company took three years to come up with this new design which allows customers the choice to tear off and squeeze or open and dip. Chick-fil-A has already debuted this new packet and other restaurants will be rolling them out soon.


3.) If you weren’t aware of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)’s announcement back in late August, we wanted to remind you that come November 14, practically all private-sector employers will have to post this notice at the workplace, which advises employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Read more about this on the NLRB website or download the poster. 


4.) Chartwells Dining Services and frozen yogurt brand Pinkberry sent out a news release (see here from the Sacramento Bee) stating they have partnered together on three college campuses: Radford University, Bowling Green State University and Valdosta State University.  This partnership will allow students to choose from Pinkberry’s large and healthy frozen yogurt selection, which fits right into Chartwells’ Eat.Live.Learn philosophy.


5.) Today is the first day of Fall! This means restaurants will begin to roll out their new products and LTOs (limited time offers).  Cinnabon has the Carmel Mocha Chillatta, Starbucks brought back the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte and Burger King recently announced the latest addition to their dessert menu–soft serve ice creamHappy Fall everyone!

water, image from morguefile

5 Ways to Keep Customers Cool

Temperatures have been holding at record-breaking heights this summer in the United States.  In fact, according to The Weather Channel, it’s actually been as hot as 117 degrees, recorded in Childress, Texas on June 26.  That’s not even counting the humidity which can make the heat index rise even higher.   With all of these thermometer busting days, it’s tough to find ways to keep customers cool.  To quell the complaints until snow begins falling again, Central’s got just what you need.  We’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks and recipes to keep patrons chilly and maybe even allow them to enjoy outdoor dining without the fear of melting!

water, image from morguefileHydrate Through Water

We all know that it’s important to get enough water into your system even when it’s  scorching outside.  Thankfully, this is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your guests (and staff) healthy and happy.

Product Tip:  Water Coolers can be a great investment to keep staff from overheating while a pretty glass can help make water a bit more appealing to guests.

Try this twist to add a little flavor: Lemon & Cucumber Water from Food.com

 Hydrate Through Food

If filling guests up on water sounds like an opportunity for money loss, rest assured there are also other ways to keep them hydrated.  Foods like watermelon and cucumbers are also full of H2O and are in prime season during these hot months.

Try these tasty recipes:  Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho from Epicurious
Minty-Watermelon Cucumber Salad from Taste of Home

Don’t Forget the Ice

It may not be a great idea to encourage customers to fill up on frozen margaritas while they’re out in the 100°+ heat.  In fact, alcohol actually speeds up dehydration according to the U.S. Army Medical Department.   Instead, you can cool them down by offering a slushy, non-alcoholic alternative (if they’re tasty enough diners may not even miss the alcohol).

Product Tip: Instead of crushing the ice yourself or burning out the motor on your food blender, try using an ice shaving machine like the Hamilton Beach Revolution Ice Shaver.

Try this sweet addition:  Pear Green Apple Raspberry Granita also from Hamilton Beach

chili pepper, image from MorgueFileBeat the Heat with Spice

It may sound crazy, but spicy food actually helps cool you off.  Think of the weather in places like India and Mexico, then think of the different types of food they eat.  Items like curry and chili pepper are so popular in these places because they increase sweat.  According to The New York Times, “If you are living in a hot climate, the increase in body temperature (when eating spicy foods) can make you feel cooler by diminishing the difference between you and the surrounding air and by inducing sweating, which cools the body when the perspiration evaporates.”  So why not use the heat as an opportunity to try out a few new spicy recipes for patrons, while educating them on the benefits of using heat to cool off?

Product Tip: Don’t forget to have anyone preparing these spicy items wear gloves, especially while cutting up and handling peppers.  Cut Resistant are good to prevent chopping accidents while non-latex and vinyl gloves are great options to help ensure excess seeds and/or juices don’t end up getting rubbed in worker’s eyes.

Try these spicy recipes:  Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry from Food Network
Thai Stuffed Chili Peppers from About.com

Eat your Greens

While eating a salad may sound like just the trick due to the cold veggies (or even just the thought of iceberg lettuce), there is actually more to their cooling effect.  FoodRepublic.com suggests, “Green, leafy vegetables—like spinach, kale and broccoli—are packed with calcium, which is crucial to your body’s thermoregulatory abilities.”  In plain English this means that the calcium helps keep your brain in contact with the rest of your body to make sure you don’t overheat.  Salads are also a great idea for restaurants in the summer months because so many different fruits and vegetables are in season, making them a bit cheaper, yet fresher tasting.

Product Tip:  After washing your lettuce and any other vegetables, throw them in a Salad Spinner or Dryer to make sure they’re dry and will grab hold of any dressing you might use.

Check out veggie versions or opt to add fruit: Roman Summer Salad from Food Network
Strawberry Summer Salad from All Recipes


If these five tips still have guests sweating (remember that’s supposed to happen with the Curry), there’s always the hope that Fall is just around the corner (September 23) and hopefully with it will come cooler weather.  In the meantime, kick back, relax and let the fan be your guest’s best friend.

Have a fail-proof recipe or idea for staying cool in during the sweltering summer months?  Share your thoughts with us below.