Describe your establishment...
Dusty's Restaurants and Deli has many gourmet outlets under one roof ranging from an upscale establishment to a more casual restaurant. Dusty's Cellar, the retail part of the operation, is where customers can purchase fine wines, beers, gourmet foods, fresh baked breads and pastries. It also handles our off premise catering and hosts many walk around wine-tastings. Dusty's Wine Bar is our upscale restaurant featuring contemporary American cuisine with a New World flair. The Wine Bar has received four stars from the Detroit Free Press and four forks from the Detroit News. Dusty's Tap Room is our casual bar with more traditional pub style food. Dusty's ETC. is our upscale gift and home furnishing shop featuring unique kitchen and home decorating items. From here we also run our Gift Basket operation where we ship many of our holiday gift baskets all over the world.
How do you currently menu turkey?
In the Wine Bar we feature turkey in one of our most popular dishes, the Italian Torta Rustica. The torta has been on the menu for years and draws people from all over to try it. This dish was awarded the National Cully Grand Prize, the industry's largest and leading recipe contest that attracts entries from foodservice professionals nationwide. We also sell three different types of turkey sandwiches in the Cellar's Deli and a turkey sandwich wrap in the Wine Bar for lunch.
How does turkey fit in with the scheme of your operation?
Because of its familiarly and great-taste, turkey is and has been very popular and needs to be on our menu to meet customer demands. It can be a healthy delicious lunch or combined with flavors that present a unique meal.
What made you decide to use Turkey on your menu?
Again, customers demand it, especially in sandwich form. We also wanted to use turkey in a signature dish and our version of the classic Italian Torta Rustica is a great representation of how to menu turkey with a little more innovation.
What are the compelling points that make turkey adaptable for lunch and dinner dishes?
For lunch, turkey has always been perceived as a tasty, versatile and healthier sandwich meat that can be featured in wraps, sandwiches, subs, hot sandwiches and as a burger. For dinner, we feature smoked turkey in our torta as a flavorful ingredient in a unique presentation.
Why do you think your patrons order these turkey items?
When we feature turkey items on special we can feature them in two ways - as a healthy menu item or as a unique menu item not featured everywhere else.
From a business standpoint, why do you include turkey on your menu?
The value and low food cost have always been excellent with any type of turkey menu item. However, customer demand is probably the main reason for most food and beverage operations to utilize turkey on their menus. Customers like to order healthier items, especially those with lower fat and cholesterol content and turkey provides them with that option.
When thinking about other proteins you serve why did you choose turkey for this menu item as opposed to chicken, beef or pork?
In our Italian Torta Rustica, we use smoked turkey because of its unique flavor profile and its texture when combined with the other ingredients. Chicken and pork would be too bland and beef would be too heavy.
With the recent push in the industry for healthy menu options, how does turkey help you meet this growing consumer demand?
Turkey sells so well in Dusty's Restaurants and Deli because customers have always perceived it to be healthier (lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in protein). Turkey has a taste that most Americans relate to because of the traditional Thanksgiving meal and next day turkey sandwiches. Turkey is the original American comfort food that started with the Pilgrims and Native Americans.
Have you noticed consumers ordering more healthfully now than two years ago? If so how have you adapted your menu to meet these demands?
The low carb diets' popularity forced us to menu turkey in low carb applications and low carb wraps. Turkey roulades without bread and salads topped with sliced turkey and avocado were extremely popular at Dusty's. Because of the popularity of these menu items we still feature many of them.
How does including turkey on your menu fit in with the revised Government Food Guidelines released in January 2005?
I am not familiar yet with these guidelines, however, I would assume that the government is addressing the truth in labeling issue, the health issues and the organics issue. Turkey's health benefits are well known but at Dusty's we are mainly concerned with customer satisfaction and if that means covering some hot turkey sandwich with a cream sauce and cheese because that is what the customer wants then we will do it. Having said that, I believe that chefs have a duty to create innovative dishes that customers will crave that are not full of unwanted calories and fat to help curb some of our nation's health problems.
How do you use the web as a tool in your work?
I use it for research, I use it for ordering products and I use it to communicate with other professionals who can provide me with information that can help my customers and staff.
Do you use the NTF web site as a resource?
I have used the NTF web site to gather nutritional information on turkey. I have also used it to get some ideas on how to menu turkey items effectively. I also scan the recipes for ideas as well. I also want to know what other chef are doing with turkey and how they are preparing their menu items. It is an invaluable resource for chefs and home cooks alike.
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