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McNulty divulges plans for "palace of fermentation" in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood

Sam McNulty and his partners are redeveloping the Market Culinary Building, a 43,000-square-foot warehouse at W. 24th Street and Bridge Avenue in Cleveland. After purchasing the building last year for $800,000, McNulty, brewmaster Andy Tveekram and partners Mike Foran and Mark Priemer will spend an undisclosed sum rehabbing it into a hub for beermaking, cheesemaking, charcuterie, distilling, kombucha and other types of fermentation. 

Irish graffiti artist Maser creates mural in Cincinnati neighborhood

“Maser is not only shedding a positive light on graffiti,” says Josh Heuser, owner of AGAR. “He is inspiring and motivating people through his unique art style.”

ZipPitt plans to run zip line from Mount Washington to North Shore

In "the interest of awesomeness," a $1000 microgrant will help a Pittsburgh company run a zipline across the Ohio River, from Mount Washington to the North Shore.

Embassy of France embarks on green roof project

In Washington, D.C., the Embassy of France has taken the first steps toward installing a green roof on the largest of its three buildings.

Innovative public art comes to the Delaware River waterfront

As part of the ongoing effort to re-imagine the Delaware River waterfront as a regional destination, Philadelphia is bringing a large-scale, interactive art installation to the Race Street Pier.

Bradenton company ups employee educational support

Many businesses value educational attainment and appreciate the impact on the local economy. Bradenton IT support and consulting firm United Systems Computer Group not only recognizes the external benefits, but takes it one step further to integrate it into the company culture. 
Now in its eighth year of business, the company delivers IT support services to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Tampa Bay region. The company is growing and thriving in a down economy, something they attribute, in part, to the value placed on employee educational attainment.
"Education is paramount to our success,'' says David Spire, president and CEO of United Systems Computer Group.
In addition to the typical tuition reimbursement, the company takes it a step further by providing paid time off for employees to study. They also have an on-site lab where employees can take a study break during the work day. Education is also an integral part of each employee's individual strategic plan.
In a world where long work hours are encouraged, the company truly supports work/life balance by telling employees to go home if they're working too long. Spire has even been known to pay for an employee to go on a date with his wife. "I don’t care if you like me, as long as your wife likes me,'' jokes Spire. 
Support from the business community is essential to increasing educational attainment in the region, a goal of the Graduate Tampa Bay initiative launched in March of this year in conjunction with the Talent Dividend. A 1 percent increase in the number of Tampa Bay residents with college degrees would result in an additional $3 billion for the region in the form of increased productivity, innovation and social benefits.
A perpetual learner himself, Spire is currently pursuing an MBA degree at Webster University's Sarasota campus.
"I'm the champion for my people,'' says Spire. "If I make their existence in the organization solid and enjoyable, they're going to take that out to our clients. Our clients are happy, and that's based on the happiness of our staff.''
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: David Spire, United Systems Computer Group

This story originally appeared in 83 Degrees on Dec. 4, 2012.

World Street Kitchen expands food truck into bricks-and-mortar location

After mulling over a street food restaurant concept, several years ago brothers Saed and Sameh Wadi, owners of the Saffron Restaurant & Lounge in Minneapolis, decided to start out with a World Street Kitchen food truck. 
Local legislation had only just changed to allow for food trucks. “We jumped right on it,” Sameh says. “What better way to test the market for street food than on the street?”
World Street Kitchen, which features a seasonal menu of foods from street carts around the world--with a twist--was one of the city’s first food trucks, he adds.
It wasn’t long before the Wadis returned to the idea of a physical restaurant. They looked for a location that would complement the food truck, not compete with it.
Last week they opened a bricks-and-mortar version of the restaurant in Minneapolis’s Uptown area, in The Greenleaf, a building that includes apartments and first-floor retail.  
Uptown seemed ideal because “It has a neighborhood feel, but it also has a little nightlife,” he says. “That fits really well with the concept.”
Beginning with an empty shell, they buillt the space out over the last year. “We wanted it to have the same vibe as the food truck, and translate it into here.”
One way they accomplished that is by having counter service. That way, “There’s no separation between you and a guest. You don’t wait for a waiter.”
An open kitchen also lets people see the food being prepped. “It’s an instant connection with the people making the food,” Sameh says.  
The dining room has an industrial feel, with recycled materials, wood and concrete, and metal accents. Many items have been repurposed.  
Besides the big, bold flavors of many street foods, “There’s something about being curbside,” eating, he says.  
He fondly remembers eating street food as a young boy. “Some of the best food I’ve had is from a rinky-dink stand where the person does one thing, and does it really well,” he says.
This kind of food is also a creative challenge to the chef. “While Saffron is a reflection of me as a chef, this is more of a reflection of me as a person,” he says. “This isn’t what I’m trained in, but it’s what I like to eat.”  
Source: Sameh Wadi, World Street Kitchen
Writer: Anna Pratt

This story originally appeared in The Line on Dec. 5, 2012.
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