2009 Performance in Tabletop Awards

The tabletop is the most important three feet in a restaurant because it's the first thing the guests see and it's the aspect of the foodservice operation they interact with the most. As such a well-executed tabletop sets the diner's expectations for the experience they are about to enjoy. FE&S recognizes excellence in strategic and functional application of permanentware tabletop design in five categories.

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FE&S would like to thank Jody Birnbaum of JB Cater Consult Inc., Molly Schemper of For Intimate Gatherings and everyone else who participated in the judging and submission processes for lending not only their time but also their expertise to this year's competition.

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Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average more than $30

First Place: The Chop House, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Specifiers: Steve Rowe, regional account manager, The Wasserstrom Company, Columbus, Ohio; Simon Pesusich, chef, The Chop House

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The Chop Shop
The Chop House, Annapolis, Md.

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Churchill (Orbit pasta); Syracuse (Tangular 11⅞" plate and 10¼" x 7⅛" rectangular, Slenda entrée bowl, oval platter); World Tableware (Slate platter); Steelite (Neo Eight platter, Zest white taste platter, Distinction 12", 10⅝", 6¼" plates, 12" bowl, 8¾" plate/bowl, 11" and 13" platters, 3-, 8- and 12-oz. cups, 6" saucer)
  • Flatware: World Tableware (Geneva dinner fork, dessert fork, cocktail fork, table knife, teaspoon, dessert spoon, Chop House steak knife)
  • Glassware: Libbey-Luigi Bormioli (Atelier Cabernet, Pinot Noir, cocktail, Rigoletto flute); Libbey (Embassy iced tea, Brandy, Inverness rocks 7- and 9-oz., Irish coffee)
  • Accessories: Neo Image Candlelight (Renaissance lamp, Opal lamp shade); Libbey (Vina decanter, Summit salt and pepper set, water bottle, sorbet dish); World Tableware (rolled bread tray, Belle gravy boat, oyster plate, handled sugar bowl, Windsor sugar tong, double walled wine chiller); Hall (flared ramekin 1- and 3-oz.); Metropolitan Tea Company (Henley brushed S/S tea pot); Chef Specialties (Monarch peppermill)
  • Why It Won: Sophisticated, solid table lamp echoes the masculine style of the chairs and plate borders. Plates look substantial but not clunky. The cocktail glass is elegantly partnered by the martini shaker, which connects the metals of the lamp and flatware. Decanted wine makes a nice presentation.


Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average more than $30Award

Honorable Mention: Real Seafood, Annapolis, Md.

Real Seafood
Real Seafood, Annapolis, MD

Specifiers: Steve Rowe, regional account manager, The Wasserstrom Company, Columbus, Ohio; Simon Pesusich, chef, Real Seafood

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Villeroy & Boch (Marisca platter and plate); Hall (shirred egg dish); World Tableware (Slate platter and square plate); Syracuse (Slenda entrée bowl, 13½" and 11½" platters and 12¼", 10½" and 6¼" plates, Tangular triangle plate); Bon Chef (paella pan, oval baker, soup kettle)
  • Flatware: World Tableware (Norwich dinner fork, dinner knife, teaspoon, dessert spoon, cocktail fork, steak knife)
  • Glassware: Libbey Luigi Bormioli (Rigoletto flute); Libbey (Atelier Pinot Noir and cocktail, Embassy iced tea and brandy, mixing glass, Cosmopolitan, Inverness rocks 7- and 9-oz.)
  • Accessories: Libbey (water bottle, carafe, salt and peppers); World Tableware (Windsor lobster cracker); Carlisle (fluted ramekin 2- and 4-oz.); Vollrath (butter warmer, stainless cup); Chef Specialties (Monarch peppermill)
  • Worth Mentioning: Décor could be overkill but the bold food presentation, including the vessels, stands up to it. Racetrack oval plate with fish accent is an attention-grabber. The full-rim decoration works well with the undecorated products. The understated light-blue-and-white-checked tablecloth and the sail-like napkin fold at the sushi bar carry the nautical theme throughout the entire facility. Effective use of a variety of pieces for a singular look.


Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average more than $30

Honorable Mention: Poppy Restaurant, Seattle

Poppy Restaurant
Poppy Restaurant, Seattle, WA

Specifiers: Stephanie Otis, sales manager, Smith and Greene Company, Kent, Wash.; Jerry Traunfeld, Poppy Restaurant

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Heath Ceramics (dessert bowl Persimmon/French Grey, Redwood, B+B plate Birch, small modern cup Birch, ramekin med Redwood, large modern cup Persimmon, stack mug Redwood, salad plate); American Metalcraft (1" deep alum. hard-coat pizza pan, 12" and 14"); Front of the House (Kaleidoscope Canoe amber glass); City Arts China (fluted 5" quiche, fluted brown ramekin); Kotobuki Trading (handled soufflé cup, small cups, salt dish)
  • Flatware: Cardinal (Empire dessert spoon, dessert knife, teaspoon, salad fork)
  • Glassware: Libbey (rocks glass Super Sham, beverage glass 12-oz. sheer rim Super Sham- water); Anchor/Stolzle (Grandeeza Bordeaux, INAO tasting glass, Chardonnay); Cardinal (cocktail martini)
  • Accessories: Snap Drape (Ultra spun napkin); RSVP (3" salt spoon); Heath Ceramics (Winter bud vase)
  • Worth Mentioning: Creative use of multiple small plates for a single dish. Circles on the wall and the bud vase and flowers nicely support the graphic identity. Use of salt dish and orange insides of selected bowls and cups add a sense of whimsy. Certainly our winner for originality.


Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average more than $30

Honorable Mention: Roaring Fork, Austin, Texas

Roaring Fork
Roaring Fork, Austin, TX

Specifiers: Pam Bernardi, sales manager, The Wasserstrom Company, Columbus, Ohio; John Carver, owner and executive chef and Harold Marmulstein, corporate chef, Roaring Fork

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Vertex (Argyle 12", 10¼", 8¾", and 6½" plates, 12½" and 15½" platters, 10" and 12" pasta bowls, 8-oz. low cup, saucer, espresso cup and espresso saucer, Contour platter); B.I.A. (14¼" x 7" platter); American Metalcraft (cast-iron casserole with cover); Lodge (cast-iron kettle with handle, cast-iron rectangle steak platter, cast-iron 6½" skillet); Staub (cast-iron mini fondue set); JB Prince (steel blini pan)
  • Flatware: Walco (Delrin Jumbo steak knife); World (Geneva dinner fork, dinner knife, teaspoon, dessert spoon, iced tea spoon, cocktail fork, demitasse spoon)
  • Glassware: Cardinal (Millesime carafe, Cabernet wine glass, Elegance wine glass, Excalibur cocktail glass); Libbey (Bravura cooler, Napoli cooler, Embassy ice tea goblet, brandy snifter, and flute, Lexington 7¾-oz. and 10¼-oz. OF and highball, Salud Grande martini, Super Sham cordial)
  • Accessories: Olde Thompson (Caffe Espresso wood salt and pepper); Great Lakes (cedar grilling planks); Clipper Mill (canoe rack, black braided wire-footed bread basket); Candle Lamp (frosted candle base); Carlisle (roll top S/S covered dish); Vertex (Catalina creamer); Vollrath (S/S gravy boat)
  • Worth Mentioning: Nice mix of materials (metal, china wood, stone). Lack of tablecloth is successfully countered with a high-quality table. The tabletop reflects the well-balanced menu.


Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average less than $30

First Place: Back Stage Bar, Cleveland

Back Stage Bar
Back Stage Bar, Cleveland

Specifiers: Jim Latza, sales representative, Anne Ladd, director of merchandising, TriMark SS Kemp, Cleveland; Eric Nugent, Back Stage Bar

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Steelite (Taste, Simplicity); American Metalcraft (stainless-steel bowls)
  • Flatware: Walco (Lisbon)
  • Glassware: Libbey (mixing glass)
  • Accessories: American Metalcraft (stainless-steel creamer, sugar-packet holder, steel basket cone); Olde Thompson (stainless-steel salt and pepper shakers) Tablecraft (Versa chrome rack)
  • Why It Won: The serving pieces, accessories and chairs support the sleek-but-not-stark feel, further warmed by the wood floor. The entire space nicely conveys that interesting "back-stage" feel. The clean, metal tabletop is an excellent blend of black, gray, silver and white. Metal can be cold but that's not the case in this installment.


Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average less than $30

Honorable Mention: Metro Brasserie & Bar, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Metro Brasserie
Metro Brasserie, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Specifiers: Becki Pretzer, regional account manager, The Wasserstrom Company; Matt Taylor, executive chef, Metro Brasserie

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Steelite (Anfora), Vertex (Vista), Homer Laughlin
  • Flatware: Brown Halco (Modena), Myco (steak knife)
  • Glassware: Libbey (Elan), Cardinal (martini and champagne glasses)
  • Accessories: Staub (mussel pot), Lodge (cast-iron serving pots), Browne Halco (ramekin sauce cup), Steelite (Anfora creamer and teapot), Anchor Hocking (salt and pepper shakers), Existing (metal basket and mustard pot)
  • Worth Mentioning: Café wine glasses and carafes complete the bistro experience. The copper top on the condiment container pulls in the brown from the chairs. Padded benches and bar stools with handles on the back add visual interest. White linens with brown butcher's paper are a refreshing complement to the overall tabletop.


Category: Independent restaurant with per-person check average less than $30

Honorable Mention: Stella Blue, Archbold, Ohio

Stella Blue
Stella Blue, Archbold, Ohio

Specifiers: Craig Mason, The Wasserstrom Company; Dan and Cheryl Storrer, Stella Blue

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: World Tableware (Slate, Bedrock), International Tableware (Quaad, Oval, Triangular, Latte)
  • Flatware: World Tableware (Geneva)
  • Glassware: Libbey (Vina, Ballon, Duratuff, Lexington, Citation, Omega, Inverness, Shooter, Frankfurt)
  • Accessories: Marko (linens), Libbey (salt and pepper shakers, sugar caddy), Tablecraft (olive-oil bottle), American Metalcraft (bread basket)
  • Worth Mentioning: Different sizes and shapes of the plates and bowls make this one stand out. Nothing too traditional or as you would expect. Use of the brown tablecloth and beige napkin makes the white china pop.


Category: Club/Resort

Wisconsin Club
Wisconsin Club, Milwaukee

First Place: The Wisconsin Club, Milwaukee

Specifiers: Larry Matel, sales, Diana Dean, tabletop specialist, Rachel Blair, special project support, and Stephanie Muraro, graphic designer, The Boelter Company; John Constantine, general manager, The Wisconsin Club

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Churchill (Alchemy Mono)
  • Flatware: Sanbonet (Ruban)
  • Glassware: Cardinal (Excalibur, Cabernet)
  • Accessories: Hepp/WMF (bud vase), Candle Lamp (crinkle glass cylinder with black base), JW Rice (salt and pepper)
  • Why It Won: This is a classic, elegant place-setting well suited to the facility. The rim on the china, matching liner plate and the simple, silver bud vase echo the clean, sophisticated style. Distinctive salt-and-pepper shakers support the overall installation.


Category: Club/Resort

Shore Lodge
Shore Lodge, McCall, ID

Honorable Mention: Shore Lodge, McCall, ID

Specifiers: Lucas Ellingson, territory sales representative, Bargreen Ellingson; Brendt Malcheski, food and beverage director, Shore Lodge

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Steelite (Spyro)
  • Flatware: Oneida (Pearl)
  • Glassware: Steelite (Rona)
  • Accessories: Orion (hammered copper charger, wine stand with copper bucket), Turgla (free-form bowl), World (salt and pepper shakers)
  • Worth Mentioning: The use of red in the bowl is a great contrast to other bold pieces on this tabletop and ties into other decorative elements in the room. Copper base plates and wine bucket add texture and dimension.


Category: On-Site Foodservice Award

Salvation Army
Salvation Army/College for Officer Training, Chicago

First Place: Salvation Army/College for Officer Training, Chicago

Specifiers: Monica McCabe, sales representative, The Boelter Company

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Churchill (Menu)
  • Flatware: Oneida (Metro)
  • Glassware: Libbey (Embassy Royal Ice Tea, Lexington 15½-oz. cooler and 5-oz. juice)
  • Accessories: Libbey (sundae dish, glass mug, cooler), American Metalcraft (salt and pepper shakers), Tablecraft (sugar-packet holder, jelly-packet rack), Cambro (custom tray)
  • Why It Won: Custom tray is a nice touch for onsite foodservice. Good-quality flatware. Generally, entire installation is more upscale than one would expect for an on-site application. Unique glass coffee cup, beehive-glass S&P and frosted-glass dessert bowl.


Category: Catering/Banquet Facility

First Place: Crowne Plaza Columbus Downtown, Columbus, Ohio

Crowne Plaza
Crowne Plaza, Columbus, Ohio

Specifiers: Marcia Gibbons, account manager, The Wasserstrom Company; Kathyrn Burton, general manager, and Ann Balut, director of catering, Crowne Plaza

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Corona (Sterling), Cardinal (Delice)
  • Flatware: Cardinal (Kya)Glassware: Cardinal (Oneology, Optimum, Prysm)
  • Accessories: Cardinal (Alizea coffee and tea pots, water pitcher, dressing boat, creamer); Impulse (Ghost bowl, Bombay dish); Tablecraft (Eiffel Tower salt and pepper shakers, Regent bread basket); Cambro (Camcovers)
  • Why It Won: The custom china pattern nicely complements décor, particularly the carpet. Interesting creamer, sugar bowl, gravy boat and coffee pourer contribute to visual appeal. The sleek, out-of-the-way napkin fold drew high marks from our judges.


Category: Catering/Banquet Facility

Hilton Polaris
Hilton Polaris, Columbus, Ohio

Honorable Mention: Hilton Polaris, Columbus, Ohio

Specifiers: Jerry Levine, account manager, The Wasserstrom Company; Tim Shaughnessy, Hilton Polaris

Winning Elements

  • Chinaware: Dudson (Eclipse)
  • Flatware: Hilton Corp.
  • Glassware: Anchor (Colossee, Bormiolli, Riserva, Bormiolli, Ypsilon, Empire, Brandy, Dublino)
  • Accessories: Anchor (Riserva decanter, Ypsilon carafe), Dudson (Eclipse salt and pepper shakers, sauce dish, bud vase), American Metalcraft (Esteem coffee and teapots, water pitcher, bread basket, plate covers)
  • Worth Mentioning: Classic, clean lines. Custom corporate flatware adds elegance. The presentation of table butter with knife and strawberry on the oblong plate is charming, and the handled metal bread basket blends nicely with the other items.
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