Here’s more on Otto’s Kitchen & Cocktails

I had a chance to catch up by phone with Sarah Acconcia, the Baltimore celebrity chef who is playing an important role in Otto’s Kitchen & Cocktails, the new restaurant Robert Faucette and Roburitto’s owner Rob McGrath, who goes by the name “Rob Burrito,” will open late this summer in the former Bistro 19 space in downtown York.
Acconcia, whose participitation in the project was announced last week, clarified her role at Otto’s. Acconcia, the executive chef at Bookmakers Cocktail Club in Baltimore, won’t be Otto’s executive chef, she said. She’s keeping her day job at Bookmakers, a Federal Hill eatery.
But as a consultant to Faucette and McGrath, Acconcia will play a key role in shaping Otto’s. She’s helping plan the menu, laying out the kitchen and helping hire and train the kitchen staff for the highly anticipated restaurant.
She’s excited about being part of the project, too.
“Rob (McGrath) saw it as an opportunity to have a good chef he knows and trusts work on his project,” said Acconcia, a contestant on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,”  and Baltimore City Paper’s “Best Chef” of  2014. “This project is really special to him, and it will be special to York.”
Acconcia and McGrath got to know one another because her husband plays in a band with one of McGrath’s employees. Neither Faucette nor McGrath could immediately be reached.
Look for a menu at Otto’s with “easy, approachable food,” Acconcia said. But she wouldn’t didn’t spill too many details about the menu, which in the press release announcing her participation in the project, was described as “a new take on American comfort favorites with a signature nod to the American South.”
“The menu that we’re writing doesn’t exist in York right now,” she said.
Acconcia said being part of the Otto’s project has introduced her to York’s growing restaurant scene.
“I wasn’t super familiar with York until recently, but it seem like there are a lot of small, interesting places popping up,” she said.

 

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How York County ranks as a place for children

A recent study by a pair of Harvard University economists examines the relationship between where one lives and how much one makes.
Economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren looked at how moving to different counties across the country affects how much the children living there can expect to earn by the time they reach adulthood.
A article on The New York Times’ blog, The Upshot, titled “The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up,” took a county-by-county look at this based on Chetty and Hendren’s data.
It found that poor kids growing up in York County, earn on average $1,180 more by the time they reach age 20 than they would if they grew up elsewhere.
Children from average income families earn $1,910 more. Children from wealthy families earn $2,480 more while kids from families in the top 1 percent of income earn $2,720 more.
Good schools, two-parent households and low crime rates are among the factors that correlate with income mobility, Chetty and Hendren found.

 

 

 

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More from Wednesday night’s Manufacturers’ Association meeting

Penn State head football coach James Franklin roused the audience Wednesday night with his talk at The Manufacturers’ Association’s 109 annual meeting.
But Franklin’s rah-rah appearance wasn’t the only news from the event at the Pullo Center at Penn State’s York campus.
The association, which is an advocate for the region’s manufacturers, also handed out awards to three area organizations:

Community Investor of the Year: Harley-Davidson York Vehicle Operations, Springettsbury Township

Manufacturing Partner of the Year: Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Lancaster

Manufacturer of the Year: New Concept Technology, Manchester Township

Manufacturing is a huge part of the region’s economy, with an economic impact of almost $11 billion and supporting 110,000 jobs, the association said.

 

 

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The latest on Brockie mansion

As anyone who’s spent any time in York County knows, YDR Editor Jim McClure is a big fan of local history.
I, on the other hand, am a relative newcomer to York County. So when Jim asked me recently about Brockie mansion, I had to admit I had never heard of it.
So, I did a little checking and found out that Donoma Development Company, which is based in Dauphin County, bought the Spring Garden Township mansion in August 2014 for $727,500, according to records on file at the York County land records office.
Norman K A Hoffer, who is one of Donoma Development Company’s owners, according to Pennsylvania Department of State records, could not be reached for comment.
The two-story Brockie was built in 1912, and is an impressive 10,297 square feet. It replaced the original Brockie mansion, which burned in 1912 and was at one point the home of Jeremiah Sullivan Black. Black served as Attorney General and Secretary of State under President James Buchanan.
The current Brockie had its own high-profile resident back in the late 1990s.
It was home to Perry Odak and his wife at the time Odak was named CEO of ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s Homemade in 1997. Odak and his wife, Rosalie Vitrano, sold Brockie in 2004, according to York County property records.

 

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Pa. business owners feeling better about profits, sales

Pennsylvania business owners are feeling more upbeat about their company’s prospects, a new survey for PNC Bank finds.
A slightly higher percentage of owners of small and medium-size companies said they expect higher sales and profits than when they were last surveyed six months ago.
But don’t expect the optimism to translate into much additional hiring. Eight in 10 of the 150 company owners surveyed said they don’t plan to expand their workforce. Just 11 percent said they plan to hire more full-time workers, and that’s down from 19 percent last fall.
Current employees shouldn’t count on getting a raise, either. Only 29 percent of the business owners surveyed said they’re planning on giving their workers a raise. That’s down from 30 percent in October.
Meanwhile, 43 percent of business owners said they expect to increase sales. That’s up from 39 percent last fall, and the highest percentage since 2012, PNC said.
Thirty-six percent forecast higher profits, compared with 35 percent six months ago.
Overall, 80 percent of those surveyed said they are optimistic about what’s ahead for their company, up from 78 percent six months ago.
The survey was conducted between Jan. 22 and March 11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 8 percent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wolfgang Candy bringing back Skipjacks for a limited time

SUBMITTED-- Wolfgang Candy Co. is bringing back its popular Skipjack candy fora limited run.

SUBMITTED– Wolfgang Candy Co. is bringing back its popular Skipjack candy for a limited run.

Wolfgang Candy Co. stopped making Skipjacks two years ago.

But fans of the milk chocolate-covered oyster crackers, which went by the name of Cracker Crowns back in the day, haven’t forgotten them. They’ve been asking Wolfgang to bring them back.

So, starting today, Wolfgang is bringing Skipjacks back for a limited time. They’re on sale online and at the company store in Wolfgang’s North York headquarters. The seven-ounce packages retail for $6 each.

Wolfgang produced 1,000 packages and “when we sell the last package, we sell the last package,” Wolfgang CEO Ben McGlaughlin said.

Skipjacks’ return is part of Wolfgang’s plan to bring back three or four of its other popular “retired” candies a year for a limited run. The company is asking customers on its Facebook page to sound off on which candies they’d like to see make a comeback.

Maybe we’ll see other favorites like Raisin Clusters, Peanut Clusters and Pecan Turtles make a return run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Promotion boosts sales of Pa. wines

October’s month-long promotion of Pennsylvania wines drove sales of wines from Commonwealth wineries up 31 percent at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said.

More than 41,600 bottles of wine from Pennsylvania was sold at the board’s stores in October during Pennsylvania Wine Month, the PLCB said. The bottles sold for a combined $466,000. They were part of the more than 506,700 bottles of Pa. wines, worth a combined $5.5 million, the board’s stores sold in 2014.

“We took a very proactive approach this year in partnering with the Pennsylvania Winery Association to promote Pennsylvania wine during Pennsylvania Wine Month and it clearly made a difference,” PLCB Chairman Joseph E. Brion said in a statement. “We’re thrilled with the results and will continue to look for ways to support in-state wineries. It’s good for the overall economy and its good for our consumers.”

York County is home to several wineries including Allegro Winery in Brogue, Naylor Wine Cellars in Stewartstown and Moon Dancer Winery & Cider House in Wrightsville.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fun facts about the Pennsylvania craft beer industry

All it takes is a night out at the Holy Hound taproom, Liquid Hero brewery or other York drinking establishments to see that the craft beer industry is booming.

And a lot of those beers are made in PA, including several from York County.

But I didn’t realize just how big this industry is until I was poking around online and found some data provided by the Brewers’ Association, a group aimed at supporting craft brewers and beer enthusiasts.

Here’s what I learned:

The Pennsylvania craft beer industry has an economic impact just shy of 2 billion dollars.

That’s right– 2 billion, with a “b.”

Keep in mind, economic impact does not mean “profit” or “sales.” It’s a much more complex figure that looks at how the industry affects the economy.

Pennsylvania has the 4th largest craft beer economic impact in the country, after California, Texas and New York.

In terms of output, Pennsylvania produced 1,788,556 barrels of craft beer in 2013.

That’s right– barrels. (Also, as it happens, with a “b.”)

That’s the 2nd highest production in the country, beat out only by California, which generated 2,948,895 barrels in the same year.

This becomes more impressive when you consider that the state of Pennsylvania consists of 46,058 square miles, compared to California’s 163,707.

I’d surmise that nationally-distributed Pennsylvania brands like Victory, Straub and the Samuel Adams Pennsylvania Brewing Company play a prominent role in this tremendous output. (The database doesn’t break it down by brand). Still, that’s a lot of beer.

In terms of actual craft breweries, Pennsylvania has 108, ranking 7th in the nation.

That number has jumped from 88 in 2011, matching the national trend of increasing numbers of independent breweries nationwide.

Still curious? Check out the Brewers’ Association website and dig around for yourself:

–Brett Sholtis

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York County ranks high when it comes to credit scores

As you open your wallet to buy those last-minute Christmas gifts, know this: York Countians are among the most credit-worthy folks in the country.
A new study released by NerdWallet, a personal finance website, ranked the 20 areas whose residents had the highest average credit score and the 20 areas with the lowest average score.
The York-Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon area had the 18th best average credit score, with an average of 685, according to the report.
Two other Pennsylvania areas also made the top 20. Johnstown-Altoona was No. 12 with an average credit score of 689. Pittsburgh came in at No. 15 with an average score of 688.
Residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul were the nation’s most credit-worthy with an average score of 702. Folks living in the Harlingen-Brownsville, Texas area had the lowest average credit score at 628, the report said.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Consumer issues, Gary Haber, Your money | Leave a comment

“Twelve Days of Christmas” costs 1 percent more in 2014

 

Geese don’t come cheap, it turns out.
Pittsburgh-based PNC Wealth Management is out with the 2014 edition of its annual Christmas Price Index, which calculates how much it would cost to buy the all of the items in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
For 2014, PNC figures the cost at $27,673, up 1 percent, or $280 more than in 2013.
Those six geese-a-laying are a lot pricier than they were in 2013. They’re up 71.4 percent, to $360.
The price of a partridge, the one in the pear tree, also increased. It rose 33.3 percent, to $20.
If you purchased all the items mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as often as they are repeated in all of the song’s verses, it would cost you $116,273, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2013, PNC said.

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