Published by admin on 07 Jun 2013

ROAD FOOD FRIDAYS: JACK’S BAR-B-QUE, NASHVILLE,TN

JACKS

Jack’s is an old school barbeque spot in downtown Nashville in the music area.  It is not a touristy spot like the nearby Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville, or the Hard Rock, or even the local Wild Horse, but a real down home spot.  The original Jack’s, in fact, lost it’s lease in a building torn down to make a parking lot for the Hard Rock.

Like many successful restaurants, Jack’s has started to expand to other locations, just opening its second.  But it still retains the local charm and home spun flavors that make it a success.  Unlike most restaurants that cater to a certain demographic, Jack’s is one of those spots where truck drivers, tourists, couples, and music execs all pleasantly coexist.

Jack’s serve six different types of meat, and that’s what BBQ is all about!  I always get the combo, and try three different groupings each time I go.  I like the turkey as you don’t see that a lot of places, and they also have TN pork shoulder, TX beef brisket, smoked chicken, sausage, and St. Louis ribs.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.  They also have veggie plates for the non-carnivores.  But why go to Jack’s for that?  Would I go to Jack’s for veggies?  When pigs fly!  You get two sides with every meal, so you can try some of the veggies.  The Mac and cheese is great, and yes I know that is not a vegetable.  They have excellent corn as well.  For dessert, try the local favorite, chess pie.

JACKS 2

So try Jack’s.  It’s very homey and local, and the food is a meal for the day.  It’s great stuff.  You might see me there, or maybe Little Jimmy Dickens, maybe even Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.  Who knows?

 

This Roadfood Blog is written by Lin Cook, CEO.

The term “roadfood” is trademarked by Jane and Michael Stern of www.roadfood.com, and is used by permission.  They are the founders of the roadfood movement.  Check out their books on Amazon, and head out on one of their food tours!

 

Published by admin on 19 Oct 2012

The Pittsburgh Business Times Features MSN CEO Lin Cook’s Quote Concerning the Upcoming Election & Economy

The Pittsburgh Business Times and The Philadelphia Business Journal conducted a poll among Pennsylvania businesspeople, with the results printed in today’s Oct. 19th edition. Here is Mr. Cook’s reply to the poll quesion asked, What is your biggest economic issue in this presidential election?

To me the biggest economic issue is balancing the budget and eliminating wasteful spending while trying not to increase taxes. We can’t really afford huge new government initiatives. To raise taxes, the government would have to earn people’s trust as to how the money would be spent in a responsible fashion, not in throw-aways like the stimulus and corporate giveaways like Solyndra or GM, or huge new programs like health care reform that was pushed through without broad-based support or adequate funding. I support Romney. I was once hopeful for Obama, but he has been a disappointment on the items I mentioned in the first point. I also like Romney’s focus on people striving to achieve and creating jobs, as opposed to a government entitlement and dependency mentality being expanded in the current administration. Obama’s economic plans and job creation attempts appear to have pretty much been unsuccessful. Time to give someone else a chance.”

Lin Cook, CEO, Marketing Support Network

To read more about the poll results and various viewpoints from businesspeople across Pennsylvania, read the full article HERE, written by PBT Web Producer Paul J. Gough.

Published by admin on 29 Aug 2012

Hoist Up The John B’s Sails: Happy Labor Day with Ribs, The Beach Boys, The Steelers, Pirates Contest, and More

 

I was very happy to go to the Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour not once, but twice.  I went once in Atlanta on a business trip with old friends Ron and Pete, and once to Blossom Music Festival in Ohio with my wife.  The pictures are from Blossom.  Saw the Boys once on Labor Day weekend, and that’s the kind of event that makes the summer end in a special way.  Make sure you find a special way this weekend to end your summer.  I will see you at PNC Park on Monday!

This blog post offers the first employee, vendor, current or former client, or friend of MSN (we have to know who you are) two tickets for the Tuesday, September 4th Pirates game at 7:05 against the Houston Astros!

Please call the office and ask for Julie Pennington x173 to claim your prize.  First call from someone in those categories here in Pittsburgh gets the tickets!

Many Americans work hard all year, and Labor Day is a celebration of the work ethic of America.  Marketing Support Network is a labor of love for most of the staff here, and clients and prospects that visit see a difference in the positive attitude here described as quite different compared to what they see in other similar companies they have visited or used.

This post is a Happy Labor Day to our staff and all those who enjoy their work.  Our staff has some of the hardest working, nicest, friendliest, most caring folks out there, who take excellent care of our clients in a very special way!  Have a great time on your boat (hoist up the John B’s sails!), or at your family picnic, rib fest, outdoor concert or sporting event!  Here in Pittsburgh we have the Heinz Field and South Park rib fests, Pitt & Steelers football, and playoff seeking Pirates baseball.  Let’s go Bucs!  Happy Labor Day!

 

 

 

 

All photos taken by: Lin Cook

 American Flag Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Published by admin on 06 Jan 2012

ROAD FOOD FRIDAYS TOP 25: #10 Rustic Inn Crabhouse – Fort Lauderdale, FL

 

We start off 2012 with the countdown of our road food top 10.  Road food is a delightful combination of food, memories, and down home atmosphere.  It is, to me, as Anthony Bourdain would say, the “good stuff.”  This week starts off the best of my best, Lin Cook’s best of roadfood through the summer of 2011.  My apologies to Rehoboth Beach, which surely would have had several entrants.

Southeastern Florida is full of fun spots to dine.  There are beautiful higher end spots like the old school, and now sadly departed, Martha’s On The Intercoastal, and the fun but faux Cuban Bongo’s Cuban Cafe where I was accosted by scary bouncers with ear pieces.  But, when we are thinking road food, it has to have at least a little bit of Mayberry.

The Rustic Inn is a family favorite.  It is the kind of place that I would never go by myself.  You have to go in groups, and the bigger the better.  And, with our family, bigger is normal.  The Rustic is usually very crowded, and it has several different seating areas, each with its own vibe, including waterfront dining. There is a wide variety of types of folks there from couples on dates to families with small children to retirees (like love bugs in an August Orlando) to herds of guys who look like they are having a fantasy football draft.  All with different goals and expectations and all looking like they are finding them met at the Rustic.  A sure sign of gastronomic success!

There is a wide variety of food, including all kinds of seafood, all good or better.  You can really chow down at the Rustic.  The portions are large.  The selection is larger: the dinner menu is nine pages!  But at the Rustic, it is all about the crabs.  I am partial to the golden crabs, which are caught relatively locally along the Florida and Carolina coasts.  The Old Bay crabs are great too.  The crab sampler, with four different types of crabs, is a lot of fun, as are the combo platters where you can mix and match beef and various forms of seafood, primarily lobster, shrimp, and, of course, crabs.  Stuff your face on the Admiral platter!

The most fun is the wooden crab hammers.  Everybody loves to pound them on the tables, and the staff calls the troops to pounding in celebration of birthdays.  People love the vibe so much that bratty little kids can pound their table to death and almost all their table neighbors think it is cute.  Let your kid try that at the local TGI Fridays and see how long you last!  A sure sign that the Rustic should be in my top ten – one of the hammers has a special place on my dresser.  My only other restaurant icons are a plastic bobbing lobster from Yoken’s Restaurant in Portsmouth, NH, and the J.C Strobel bobblehead from the Beacon Restaurant in South Carolina.

A good crab house is where friends and family linger, making noise, picking at crabs, pounding their hammers, laughing and having fun.  The Rustic is such a place, and it deserves its place in the Lin Cook Roadfood top ten. Here’s a pound of the hammer to my family, especially my sister Tricia and her husband Ralph, frequent partners with my wife and I at the Rustic.

Stop back next week, y’all, for number nine.  Think Florida if you are in the sub freezing weather here in the northern American tundra!  If you are at the Rustic tonight, pound your hammer for me!

 

The term “roadfood” is trademarked by Jane and Michael Stern of www.roadfood.com, and is used by permission.  They are the founders of the roadfood movement.  Check out their books on Amazon, and head out on one of their food tours!
Rustic Inn Crabhouse

Published by admin on 22 Sep 2011

Marketing Support Network Featured on the Pittsburgh Business Times Website

MSN is featured on the PBT website home page slide show today at http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/.  We are also featured on the slide show here: http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2011/09/21/slideshow-hr-leadership-awards-luncheon.html along with information about Jan Mackowiak being the winner of one of the Pittsburgh HR Leadership awards at the PBT lucheon yesterday.   Jan, unfortunately, could not be there as she is cruising the northeastern U.S.  and Canada this week, but a cream puff was eaten in her honor!

Published by admin on 24 Aug 2011

Pittsburgh Business Times Features Lin Cook

MSN’s CEO, Lin Cook is quoted in this week’s Pittsburgh Business Times with his advice regarding our country’s current economic crisis:

“Business functions best in a stable and sustainable economic and pro-business environment. Large government programs are not sustainable as the source of their funding means removing money from the economy, going into debt, or printing money, none of which are solutions for long-term economic growth. Until we get politicians who recognize the detriment of increased government requirements, such as the recent health care legislation and increased taxes, we will continue to struggle economically. There is no free lunch.”

To see the full article, go to their website and access the issue in PDF format from the home page.

Published by admin on 12 Aug 2011

ROAD FOOD FRIDAYS TOP 25: #21 Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant

Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant looks like something from another time because, well, it is.  The Leiper’s Fork location was founded in the 1950s and was a grocery store, gas station, and restaurant.  As time went by, the restaurant became the focus.  You could swear you were in Mayberry here, except that we had just gotten off of a tour bus with Jane and Michael Stern and about 50 other people.  Great down home food, cool ambiance.  Local favorites include fried green beans and pickles (the latter a very occasional favorite of mine), and several kinds of chess pie.  There are favorite local sandwiches like fried bologna and pimento cheese.  I was there during the day but in the evenings there is live music, which in the Nashville area just has to be good.  They opened a second location in downtown Franklin and just recently, one in downtown Nashville. The pictures are very charming of the new locations.  I am sure they are great as well and I hope to visit them, but their expansion is just another sign of America’s obsession with expansion and making money.

The true road food places are those who stick to their one location with mom and pop at the helm.  Duplication is rarely as cool as the original.  Just ask McDonalds or Primanti Brothers here in Pittsburgh.  I left Primanti’s off of the list just because of that.  They lost the real Pittsburgh feel when they opened a location in Florida, despite the fact that I was treated like royalty when visiting there during a Steelers playoff game.   Puckett’s in Liepers Fork is still a great place with its original charm, but just make sure to get there soon before it just becomes another nice place to stop after work with music and a wide selection of beers.

 

The term “roadfood” is trademarked by Jane and Michael Stern of www.roadfood.com, and is used by permission.  They are the founders of the roadfood movement.  Check out their books on Amazon, and head out on one of their food tours!

 
Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Published by admin on 09 Aug 2011

ROAD FOOD FRIDAYS: #22 Tobacco Road Sports Cafe – Durham, NC

 

While number 22 looks like a chain sports bar, you can’t beat this spot for its location, outdoor seating, and surprisingly great food.  Lots of high quality big screen TVs, spacious seating inside and outside eating options to enjoy or hide from the weather.  There are two locations but the coolest one is the café on top of the left field wall at the Durham Bulls minor league baseball stadium.  The other location is in nearby Raleigh.  Can you picture live baseballs landing in someone’s soup while they eat?  Sounds like a good time to me!  The food is not only tasty, but also very reasonably priced.  The menu includes excellent BBQ chicken, a specialty called, Demon Deacon Pasta, and local favorites like cheddar grits. The corn dogs and the slider platter are also good.

My friend Ron ordered a “Specialty of the Day” which was based on the cheddar grits.  Being a lifelong southerner, he comes by this acquired taste honestly.  I have always found grits to be a food related to Gerber baby food in the taste and appearance spectrum and something to be avoided at all costs for its blandness and how it looks.  Its best location is on a baby bib, not on my lips.  Ron persisted and convinced me to try the dish, and unbelievably enough, they made grits taste good!  They should be ranked much higher just for that.  Great food, baseball, good prices- you just can’t beat the Tobacco Road Sports Café.

 

The term “roadfood” is trademarked by Jane and Michael Stern of www.roadfood.com, and is used by permission.  They are the founders of the roadfood movement.  Check out their books on Amazon, and head out on one of their food tours!
Tobacco Road Sports Cafe on Urbanspoon

Published by admin on 05 Aug 2011

ROAD FOOD FRIDAYS TOP 25: #23 Bacci’s Pizzaria – Chicago, IL

 

Some places are described as a hole in the wall.  Roadfood favorite #23 literally is!   My younger son’s favorite fill up the tank spot, Bacci’s, gives you a piece of pizza so big that it literally is a meal itself.  The restaurant has an open pizza kitchen, a bunch of real Chicago Italian pizza guys, and is just a block away from the beautiful confines of Wrigley Field.  My wife and I ate there to duck out of a rain storm over Memorial Day weekend on the way to a Cubs game.  The space can’t be more than about 15 feet wide and it’s shaped like a bowling alley.  There is a counter on one side across from the ovens, the place where you order, and a few tables.  I would be surprised if you could fit more than 25 people in there.  In an old school building of exposed brick interior, this is old Chicago at its best!  Giordano’s is great, but this is Chicago old style at its finest!

 

The term “roadfood” is trademarked by Jane and Michael Stern of www.roadfood.com, and is used by permission.  They are the founders of the roadfood movement.  Check out their books on Amazon, and head out on one of their food tours!
Bacci Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Published by admin on 02 Aug 2011

ROAD FOOD FRIDAYS TOP 25: #24 Loveless Cafe and Motel – Nashville, TN

 

#24 is Loveless Cafe and Motel.  This is a classic, Tennessee down home favorite.  It’s great for breakfast with homemade biscuits, great pancakes, or how about eggs with BBQ.  Located in a rural area, this is a frequent haunt of country and western artists so maybe you will see Vince Gill or Little Jimmy Dickens here.  There is a gift shop and a motel, and it is an all around good time!  This was one of the stops on the Roadfood tour of Nashville my wife and I did for vacation about three years ago.  The tour was with Jane and Michael Stern, authors of the Roadfood books, as well as many others.

There’s nothing like riding around the greater Nashville area in a tour bus with as eclectic a group of people you will find- from a surgeon’s wife from Memphis, who shared several meals with us, to a blackjack dealer from the Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ.  Once she found out that I was from Philadelphia, she could not be convinced that I did not know all of the roadfood places in southern NJ!  A German television crew accompanied us, filming the tour as a documentary on American cuisine.  For that, unfortunately, they should have just stopped at the local McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.

Nashville is one of my favorite places and it is filled with great people I’ve met over the years like Bill Hood and John Dodd.  If you have never been there, it is a great place to go for a week or a weekend.  Even if you don’t like country music all that much, the Grand Ole Opry and other venues are a slice of Americana no one should miss.  One of my good friends, Ron Richardson, bought Terry Platt and me tickets to the Opry as a surprise when we were once in town for a trade show.  We bunked together in the Opryland Hotel for the night.  I don’t know how he did it, but we wound up in the front row at the show.  The musicianship was top notch, and it was a trip to be there when hundreds of middle aged women walked down the aisle to give flowers to, or take pictures of, Wade Hayes.  As we commented afterwards, thank God they were not coming for us…….

 

The term “roadfood” is trademarked by Jane and Michael Stern of www.roadfood.com, and is used by permission.  They are the founders of the roadfood movement.  Check out their books on Amazon, and head out on one of their food tours!

 
Loveless Cafe

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