Tuesday, May 27, 2014

JJ's Awarded Top 100 Movers & Shakers by Fast Casual

[official press release]

JJ’s Red Hots Honored by Fast Casual as One of 2014’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers

Charlotte’s Hot Dog Restaurant Named #43 in List of Top 50 Restaurants in Fast Casual’s Prestigious Annual List

                  CHARLOTTE, May 21, 2014 – JJ’s Red Hots is officially moving and shaking.
                  The Charlotte-based upscale hot dog brand was honored Sunday night by Fast Casual as one of the year’s Top 50 restaurants, finishing #43 in the publication’s 2014 Top 100 Movers & Shakers list.
With restaurants in Ballantyne & Dilworth, JJ’s Red Hots was the smallest brand on the list for number of units, the only Charlotte-based brand and the only Hot Dog/Sausage concept to make the list. But that’s just fine with owner and founder Jonathan Luther, who accepted the award at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago with JJ’s director of marketing and brand development Brandy Newton.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Luther. “We feel like we have a world-class brand that is ready for the right growth. And we will strive to deliver on the quality, service, value brand promise upon which we were founded.”
Newton, who oversees all promotional activities for the brand, maintains an impressive following on behalf of JJ’s on Twitter (1500+), Facebook (3100+) and Instagram (1000+), according to the Fast Casual special report.
“Our two-word mission statement is ‘Create Joy’ and that is exactly what we’re doing with the brand,” said Newton. “From Frank the Tank (JJ’s ubiquitous hot dog cart) to our kick-ass hot dogs, we are having fun and making people happy.”

According to Cherryh Butler, senior editor of FastCasual.com, this year’s honorees were selected from nearly 900 nominations and evaluated by industry experts: “We applied multiple criteria against the nominees, including innovation, unit and revenue growth, use of technology and social media, branding and marketing and overall contribution to the industry.”  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baseball, Hot Dogs and Beer.

We love baseball, but in a perfect world, there would be thirty regular season baseball games. And a one-game World Series. Baseball is important, but good grief, It's long winded. It is a slogging marathon of boredom. Lots of grown men literally standing around. But it has come to Uptown Charlotte in a huge way, and it is a hell of a lot of fun to go to a Charlotte Knights games, because thankfully, at BB&T Park, there is excellent beer and premium Sahlen's hot dogs to pass the time. 

As you may or may not know, the hot dog we serve in our restaurants is the official hot dog of the Charlotte Knights. Based out of Buffalo, NY, Sahlen's Packing Company has been making delicious hot dogs and sausages for over 140 years. And thanks to Chris Cauley and the entire Sahlen's team, we had the opportunity to take over the Third Base Party Deck and invite 40 of our closest friends and fans of JJ's Red Hots. We had a party and a baseball game broke out!

Thanks to Sahlen's and all who competed and won our first Charlotte Knights Giveaway!

(Winning responses listed below)

now that's a ball field 

Incredible views of #CLT

The Knight Sky 

Cop: Excuse me sir, can I ask why you were going 100 mph in a 45?
Me: I was going to JJ's Red Hots
*cop hi-fives me and gives me his car
-Darrell Jones

Pickled pearl onions, pickled pearl onions, pickled pearl onions, pickled carrots.
-April Vahey

The sweet @Buffalo4676 is deserving of these tickets! #ThankATeacher She MAY even change her name to JJ
-@JDubCLT (Jeff D) 

Thanks for the "packing my life in boxes" fuel, @JJsRedHots!

Going old school for @KnightsBaseball contest #gotnothingbutloveforyouJJ www.youtube.com/watch?v=V…

Too easy. I'll do it in less than 140 characters AND in a Haiku:
Need a big sausage
Get your mind out of the gutter
I want JJ's NOW

-Chris Richardson

Date night of choice for us is ALWAYS JJ's. Nothing more romantic than a dog and beer. 
-Cassiday Proctor

I love JJRH so much that I will have literally eaten it for every meal of the day. 
-Michael Brennan

A hot dog haiku:
Dogs and beer for me
Must go for Dog of the Week
JJ's is the best
-Chris Keener

When we're back in CLT, we visit JJ's Red Hots...
-Heather West

The Hog Thai'd drew me in and I've been a LOYAL customer ever since @JJsRedHots you complete me.
-Erin Potter

I would literally fall over dead if I stopped eating JJ's. End. Of. Story.
-Michael Hernandez

Had my first Weiner the Pooh last night, I died and went to heaven.
-Jim Davies I look forward to the new specials. Nothing like getting new meat at JJ's!!! -Na'Shota Lytle 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Stalking The Muse

This business is about food. Period.

Okay, it is about leadership and service and cleaning toilets, too, but if the food is not compelling, then you are sunk. You could be the best toilet cleaner in the world and lead folks blindly through big brick walls, but at the end of the day, you cook for people. You provide sustenance. It is a challenge and an honor that we take very seriously.

And it is not always easy to create menu items over the long run that really resonate with people. Sometimes, the food will tease you. She will whisper right in your goddamn ear, look you straight in the eye, and then disappear just as you try to kiss her on the mouth. Poof! She gone…

Muses are fickle and tantalizing beasts.

But every now and then, she lets you in for a little sugar. Maybe it is a perfectly caramelized onion - crispy and complex. A ripe grilled zucchini brushed with olive oil or roasted corn on the cob, redolent with smoke and literally bursting with joy. These are the moments that keep us going. When we are all in the kitchen, nodding in unison with a mouthful of the muse. This happened the other day as we were tasting this month’s Sausage of the Month offering, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Many folks have been asking for a lower-fat sausage with poultry, so we figured, with bikini weather on the horizon, we would oblige. So we are offering a Country Style Chicken Bratwurst with Caramelized Onions and Dijon Mustard. It features some subtle herbs and spices that we purchased from Amy and Scott at Savory Spice Shop. Marjoram, Smoked Paprika, Peruvian Ginger and Summer Savory, to name a few, with a little cream, eggs and white wine to bind it all up. Then we poach it in chicken stock and grill it to order. The crispy caramelized onions complement it nicely and the Dijon mustard finishes with a heady little punch.

This is being served with a rich yet simple ratatouille – sautéed seasonal vegetables stewed in tomatoes – that complements the meaty Bratwurst nicely and makes us long for the red hot summer.

Please enjoy this month’s Sausage of the Month while you can. No telling when the muse will return, but she did give me her digits. So, do I wait three days to call, or….?

spices from our friends at Savory Spice Shop

Fresh Veggies for Ratatouille

The Chicken Sausage is being served with a rich yet simple ratatouille –
sautéed vegetables stewed in tomatoes – that complements the meaty Bratwurst nicely.
Chicken Sausage with Caramelized Onions and Dijon Mustard


It just felt right. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

BrewDogs | The Results Are In!

The Unknown Brewing Co., The Dog Without Boundaries, featuring beer cheese, bacon, Sriracha and fried okra (fried in batter made with their Over the Edge beer). 187 sold.
NoDa Brewing Co., DogMadChad, featuring bacon, grilled onion and peppers, sweet pickle chips and mustard made with NoDa Stout. 148 sold.
Charlotte Beer Blog (charlottebeer.com), Put That In Your Pipe, featuring bacon, smoked cheddar, red onion, smoked jalapeño ketchup. 140 sold.
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Doppel Dog, featuring JJ's house-made bratwurst, copperkraut ( traditional sauerkraut steeped in OMB's Copper Ale and anise seed), beer mustard and fried jalapeños. 127 sold.
Good Bottle Co., Goodness Gracious, Great Dogs on Fire!, featuring chili, bacon, jalapeño and corn salsa, tabasco and Andy Capp hot fries (from the packaged snack). 94 sold.
Salud Beer Shop, La Dominicana, with plantain chips, onions, banana peppers and BBQ sauce. 80 sold.

We want to thank all the participating breweries for creating and promoting their signature hot dog for our  2014 Brew Dog Series.

Click here to read the article in The Charlotte Observer

Read more here: http://shoptalkclt.blogspot.com/2014/04/jjs-red-hots-local-beer-vendors-brew-up.html#storylink=cpy