Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Red Wagon Hot Chocolate that Warms the Soul

Remember coming in out of the cold, all bundled up, you shake the snowflakes off your mittens and mom hands you a cup of steaming hot cocoa with marshmallow fluff on top? Well, even if you weren’t lucky enough to experience this, now you can at Scotty’s Brewhouse. But, what makes it taste even better? It will be warming your soul as well as the kids from Riley Children’s Hospital.

All 5 Scotty’s Brewhouse locations are offering Ghyslain Chocolatier Red Wagon Hot Cocoa topped with marshmallow fluff throughout the winter months. For every mug purchased, $1 will go to Riley Children’s Hospital of Indianapolis.

Ghyslain Chocolatier is an Indiana born company located in Union City, IN and has recently expanded to Richmond, IN and Zionsville, IN. Ghyslain Maurais was born in Quebec, Canada where he found his culinary passion and turned that passion into a business, much like Scotty Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse.

“I’ve never been satisfied with the Hot Chocolate that we were serving,” said Wise, “It is kind of in my nature to constantly work at making our products better.”
While Wise was visiting the open house of Ghyslain’s newest location in Zionsville at The Sanctuary, the light bulb went off. A local company, a passionate chocolatier and a superb product, Wise had found what he was looking for.

“The ideas are always the easiest,” said Wise, “it always comes down to implementation and what we have to do to make the idea work.”

After Wise, his Beverage Director, Amber Martin, and Kitchen Manager of Scotty’s Brewhouse on 96th Street, Angie Vosmeier, were able to determine that the product could be delivered to all 5 locations, marshmallow fluff could be acquired and the bartenders could make this all work with hot milk, the idea of incorporating one of the Brewhouse’s favorite charities came into play.

“The Red Wagon Hot Cocoa is really a win-win in regards to supporting a fantastic local chocolatier such as Ghyslain as well as providing another means to help the Riley Children's Foundation,” said Martin.

Riley Hospital for Children is Indiana’s only hospital that is completely dedicated to the care of children and have been since 1924. “Every year children from all 92 Indiana counties come to Riley Hospital. Riley Children’s Foundation [where the hot cocoa money goes] supports Riley Hospital, Camp Riley for Youth with Physical Disabilities and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. Providing the highest level of care to children is Riley’s first priority, community support helps make this possible,” said Jason Mueller, Communications Manager for the Riley Children’s Foundation.

Hot chocolate is offered at all locations throughout January 30th. You can become involved by making a contribution at Scotty’s Brewhouse locations, visiting or calling Riley Children’s Foundation at 877-867-4539. Want more information on Scotty’s Brewhouse? Log on to or friend us on Facebook and follow us on

Friday, November 20, 2009


I would love to live on the beach. I love the ocean. I love the sun. I love being outdoors. But, more than anything, I really love my family and the people of the midwest, Indiana specifically. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for having 3 beautiful, healthy children, a caring & nurturing wife that works 35 hours outside of the house and another 100 inside the house, 2 healthy loving parents, 2 healthy beautiful sisters, 2 great brother-in-laws, 4 (soon-to-be 5) nephews and nieces and dozens of great friends. I have 500 incredible, caring, hard working and loyal employees and 1,000's of caring, supportive and great customers that make my personal dream a reality.

I'm sure I will curse the snow, sleet and weather a few times before Spring comes around; but, mostly, I am thankful for this place I call home.

Happy Thanksgiving (and #indytweetsgiving)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opinions are like A-Holes...

Pet Peeve - –noun
a particular and often continual annoyance; personal bugbear: This train service is one of my pet peeves. Origin: 1915–20, Americanism

So, I have a new, “continual annoyance.” I’m starting to get “rubbed the wrong way” by people telling me how and how not to use Twitter and Social Media. In my guestimation, the phenomenon known as Social Media has only been around for 3 years, max. And, that’s if you were really savvy and jumped on the bandwagon early. I’m not even going to single out any group of people that I see this come from the most… I’m just generalizing. If you don’t like my Tweets, don’t follow me – it is really pretty simple. Since they don’t offer a degree in Social Media, I’m going to say you are no more of an expert than my 2 year old son. It is just 140 characters of whatever YOU want to talk about and whomever CHOOSES to read it. That’s it.

I’m not even talking about sex, religion, race or any other controversial topics. No, as a restauranteur, I keep my posts closest to my heart’s love and that would be food, drink and sport.

Does Social Media blur the lines for professionals? Well sure. Just as much as false Wikepedia entries or any other “internet research,” the world wide web is full of poisonous spiders. Aren’t journalists always supposed to have more than one source to back up facts? Same thing applies with Social Media. You don’t have to base fact upon one person’s opinion or tweet.

Lately I’ve been reading “reviewers” and “bloggers” disagree with a new form of marketing for restaurants called TasteCasting. I have read that they should be using AFJ guidelines when “reviewing” a restaurant. However, these are not “reviews” and should not be marketed as such or confused as such. At this infancy stage of growth for TasteCasting, the guidelines set forth are described as (from “…a team of socially networked, and social media savvy people that establishments invite to attend a complimentary tasting. In exchange the TasteCasting team broadcasts to their collective network of friends, followers and linked connections using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, WordPress, Flickr and more…”

I don’t believe any TasteCaster is encouraged to lie or bend truths if they don’t enjoy an entrĂ©e, service or the environment. I believe the restaurant is still held accountable. I’m sure free food skews an unbiased review and, from the restaurant owner’s table, it is much easier to prepare for a group that is doing this KNOWING when they are coming vs. a traditional review. But, the point is, these are not professional reviews and are not seen as such. I would bet that a professional journalist or food critic has many different followers/friends than a TasteCaster. Therefore, the information being sent by the TasteCaster is more marketing and opinion than they type of information that may be sent by a professional food critic.

In my opinion, TasteCasting is a great, beneficial resource for restaurants in an economy that has taken most traditional forms of expensive media spending out of our reaches. If you think that these events blur or threaten your expertise, then don’t read them. If you think these events confuse the average consumer or palette of the dining guest, then it is your job to educate them as such.

Personally, I don’t listen to critics – I like to form my own opinion on everything from food, to wine, to movies. I’ve always believed in the old adage: “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one and most of them stink.”