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Pharmacies-Turned-Restaurants: The Cure for What Ails You

Written by Katherine Flynn

Credit: W.A. Frost & Co.
W.A. Frost & Company prides itself on serving seasonal, organic, locally sourced cuisine.

If only you could get a doctor to write you a prescription for a meal in a refurbished pharmacy-turned-restaurant — you’d feel better in no time. In the Summer 2014 issue of Preservation magazine, we highlight three such eateries: the Gryphon Tea Room in Savannah, Ga., housed in the city’s 1926 Scottish Rite Building; the Hillside Farmacy in Austin, Texas, named for the 1920s drugstore that occupied the same space; and Tonic at Quigley’s in Washington, D.C., located in the circa-1891 Quigley’s Pharmacy.

There are several more around the country, however, that could also do the trick — consult our handy guide below.

W.A. Frost and Company | $$$

374 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, Minn. 55102
(651) 224-5715

Known for its unique cocktails and local, seasonal organic fare, W.A. Frost and Company has been a St. Paul staple since opening its doors in 1975. The three-story building the restaurant inhabits has been sitting on the same corner in the city’s historic and upscale Cathedral Hill neighborhood since 1889, when it was constructed to house a variety of businesses, including a women’s bath and manicure establishment and the pharmacy of William A. Frost, the restaurant’s namesake.

W.A. Frost and Company now occupies the footprint of the former pharmacy on the building’s first floor, and the entryway features original tile detailing. Low ceilings of original tin in the restaurant’s lower-level lounge area foster intimate conversations, and a back patio allows patrons to enjoy the warmer summer months.

The menu includes an impressive spread of 14 international and domestic cheeses, and a well-stocked and award-winning wine list offers a compliment to any starter, entrée, or dessert selection. Vegetables from the restaurant’s one-of-a-kind backyard organic garden regularly make their way into the Chef’s Tasting Menu, a six-course, fixed-price menu that varies from day to day but recently featured pan-roasted steelhead trout and buffalo spiced veal sweetbreads, among other delicacies.

Credit: Gexydaf, Flickr
The Bair Bistro in Steilacoom, Wash., is housed downtown in an 1895 drug-and-hardware store.

The Bair Bistro | $$

1617 Lafayette St.
Steilacoom, Wash. 98388
(253) 588-9668

A self-proclaimed “living museum,” the Bair Bistro in the small community of Steilacoom, Wash., on Puget Sound, prides itself on inundating diners with relics and photos from the early 1900s when they walk through the doors.

The Bair Bistro occupies the former Bair Drug and Hardware Store, built in 1895, and still features the original name on a sign that faces the street. Since 2009, the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association, together with restaurant owners Maxwell and Sarah Cannon, have worked hard to ensure that visitors to the Bair get an authentic experience. A 1908 soda fountain is still quenching visitor’s thirsts, and some authentic turn-of-the-century remedies line the walls in their original jars.

Hearty favorites like the Cattleman omelet, with ground beef, tomato, mushroom, bell pepper, and parmesan cheese, as well as a pancake topped with lox and served with shredded russet and sweet potatoes, anchor the menu at this breakfast and lunch joint. A wide selection of Italian sodas and ice cream floats keep patrons with a sweet tooth happy. The owners hope to eventually expand the menu to include dinner, and to open up the space to community events.

Fremin’s Restaurant | $$

402 West Third St.
Thibodaux, La. 70301
(985) 449-0333

The building that now houses Fremin’s Restaurant in Thibodaux, La., started out as a three-story doctor’s office and pharmacy, but in 1965 Hurricane Betsy had other ideas. Strong winds pummeled the 1878 brick structure and destroyed the top floor. Today, the two-level former home of the Roth Drugstore hosts diners eager to taste Fremin’s Creole- and Italian-inspired cuisine.

The bar and restaurant got its start in 1998, when brothers Dale, Barry, and Francis Fremin bought the building and started a two-year restoration process that included overhauling electrical and plumbing systems and addressing heavy moisture damage in the walls. Francis describes the process as a “nightmare,” but despite its difficulty, the Fremins were able to preserve the original tin ceilings and exposed brick, maintaining the interior’s authentic feel.

Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty seafood gumbo, crawfish tortellini carbonara, or a traditional chicken club sandwich, there are no shortage of options on the menu. If nothing strikes your fancy, the Tuesday through Saturday happy hour featuring $4 martinis might.

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Three Sophisticated Piña Coladas You Should Try

July 3, 2014 Jessica Sidman 0

Piña coladas are more often appreciated by Banana Boat–slathered sun seekers than serious cocktail connoisseurs. That’s a shame, says DGS Delicatessen Beverage Director Brian Zipin, because “the piña colada along with the Mai Tai are the two greatest drinks in the world, in my opinion—except for Manhattans.” Zipin and a number of other top bartenders […]

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What It Feels Like After You Wolf Down 69 Hot Dogs In 10 Minutes (VIDEO)

July 3, 2014 Buck Wolf 0

Eating 69 Nathan’s hot dogs in 10 minutes is punishing.

One dog and bun is 290 calories. Sixty-Nine is 20,010 calories — more than the typical man should consume in a week.

It’s a mammoth amount of food. If you stretched it out, one six-inch dog after the next, that’s 34.5 feet long — almost enough to form a belt around the Statue of Liberty. That’s a perfect image for what Joey Chestnut plans to do Friday at Coney Island’s 98th Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

But that’s not what Major League Eating’s No. 1 gurgitator wants to do. He hit that mark last year.

“I’m breaking 70,” the 30-year-old, 230-pound San Jose engineer promised as he joined HuffPost Live Wednesday, just two days before he goes for an unprecedented 8th consecutive title.

RELATED: This Is How You Eat 69 Dogs In Ten Minutes

“It takes six weeks for me to prepare for this contest,” Chestnut says, and after each training session he fasts.

“I do a cleanse… a liquid diet, lemon juice, a little protein supplement, no solid food. Then, I make sure I go a little harder each time.”

But how does he feel after eating 69 dogs and buns?

“It’s the meat sweats,” he says. “It’s coming out of your pores for days.”


Chestnut holds many world records. He’s eaten 141 hard boiled eggs in eight minutes, 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes, and 15 pints of vanilla ice cream in six minutes, among many other records.

The hardest food to eat? Ice cream, Chestnut says. “It’s the brain freeze.”

A total of 16 men and 12 women are expected at Coney Island this Friday. In the women’s competition, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas is heavily favored. She set the record for ladies — wolfing down 45 hot dogs and buns in 2012. That action begins on ESPN 2 at 11:30 ET.

An hour later, the men gather around Chestnut’s table at Coney Island. Matt Stonie, the No. 2 ranked eater, is expected to go chew-for-chew with the champ. The 19-year-old has eaten 5.5 pounds of birthday cake in under nine minutes.

But does Stonie have a chance? Tune in Friday to find out.

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7 Steps To A Healthier Summer BBQ

July 3, 2014 Yagana Shah 0


By Maureen Callahan

It may be the favorite way to cook on hot summer days, but experts say the high heat of grilling can produce cancer-causing compounds that are dangerous to your health.

But don’t ditch the barbecue just yet. Grilling can still be one of the healthiest methods of cooking, as long as you use the right techniques and make healthy food choices.

In fact, the trick to being the healthiest BBQ boss on the block is as simple as seven smart strategies:

1. Scrub the grill. A few passes of a good stiff grill brush will take off any charred compounds lingering on the grill. And that’s important, why? Well, these bits of charred residue harbor potentially harmful cancer-causing chemicals that might transfer to your newest grilled masterpiece.

2. Pick the right meats. How does grilled chicken with tomato-avocado salad or grilled chicken with honey-chipotle BBQ sauce sound? These light recipes are a good to grill not only for flavor, but also for health.

Chicken is lower in saturated fat than red meats such as steak or burgers. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up those juicy foods. “It’s OK to eat red meat as long as you limit the amount,” says the American Heart Association. Best red meat choices include leaner cuts like round, loin or sirloin.

What about hot dogs? Health experts put them on the avoid (or limit to the very rare occasion) list. Not only are processed meats linked to cancer, but a 2014 study also links them to heart failure.

3. Turn down the heat. While it’s tempting to crank up the heat to give barbecued meats a charred, crusty exterior, it’s also a sure way to produce some nasty cancer-causing chemicals, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Potentially dangerous heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form when muscle meats are grilled directly over an open flame with high temperatures. Current research suggests these chemicals can cause cancer in animals. But cancer experts say it’s probably wise for all of us to reduce exposure to these chemicals.

Simply turning down grilling temperatures or using indirect grilling methods that let food sit on a cooler side of the grill is enough to minimize exposure to HCAs and PAHs.

4. Use a marinade. A quick bath in flavorful herb- and spice-based liquids (tea, wines and beer) before grilling will cut down on potential cancer-causing HCAs and PAHs.

“Marinating can decrease HCA formation by up to 96 percent, although studies are still underway to determine which ingredients help the most,” says registered dietitian Karen Collins, spokesperson for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Indeed, the newest research, summarized by Science Daily, reports that marinating pork for four hours in Pilsner beer or black beer ale reduces PAHs considerably, even when grilled meat is cooked to the well-done stage.

5. Plan to precook. Less time spent on the grill means less time for cancer-causing compounds to form. So roast ribs in the oven or crockpot first. Precook chicken or beef in the microwave.

The idea is to use any method that lets you “finish off” meats on the grill for only a few minutes, just enough time to acquire that smoky grilled flavor.

6. Fish for flavor. Seafood might just beat out chicken as the go-to lean protein for summer barbecues for two reasons.

First, wild salmon or shrimp or any kind of firm white fish that is cut into thin fillets will cook quickly on the grill. So that means there’s less time for cancer-causing HCAs and PAHs to form.

Second, seafoods sport low levels of fat. And less fat means less smoke and less of those fiery fat-induced grill flare-ups (which also promote formation of HCAs). Here’s an AICR recipe for tuna kebabs.

7. Pile on the veggies. Those harmful by-product substances that form in meat cooked over high temperatures are not an issue with vegetables. In fact, vegetables, and even fruits, are perfect foods for the grill. You can enjoy all that smoky grilled flavor without any health worries.

Check out this simple grilled vegetables recipe from the American Cancer Society. Or try Cooking Light’s rum-spiked grilled pineapple with toasted coconut.

Read more from Next Avenue:
Advice to parents from a boomerang kid
5 steps to survive your adult child’s return home
Convincing an interviewer you want to downshift

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These 10 Meals Reveal One Thing Fast Food Restaurants Still Get Wrong

July 3, 2014 Sarah Klein 0

The average chain restaurant is cutting back on sodium — very. slowly.

According to a new report from the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the most prominent national chains slashed sodium by just six percent from 2009 to 2013, which amounts to about 1.5 percent per year.

Among the 136 meals from 17 popular chain restaurants reviewed by the CSPI, McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway made the most drastic cuts. The Subway sandwich chain reduced sodium by nearly a third overall and had made reductions in all of the 10 meals the CSPI reviewed. For example, in 2009, a 12-inch ham sandwich with a bag of chips and a Diet Coke would set back a Subway diner 2,730 milligrams of sodium, but the same meal reviewed in 2013 contained 1,895 milligrams.

Even the reduced salt content of a single Subway sandwich is well over the 1,500 daily milligrams of sodium recommended by the CDC for at least half of the U.S. population — including anyone who has high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, is over age 51 or is African American. The rest of the population should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium in a day.

In fact, 79 percent of the 81 adult meals CSPI surveyed contained more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium, and some restaurants even increased their use of the salty stuff. KFC and Jack in the Box were the worst offenders, according to the report, raising the average sodium content by 12.4 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.

“Some companies are clearly making an effort, but we won’t see sustained progress by all companies unless they know that their competitors will be lowering sodium also,” CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said in a statement.

Per the Affordable Care Act, national chain restaurants like the ones sampled here are now required to list calories on in-store menus and to provide full nutrition information at the request of customers and on company websites. So while concerned consumers can certainly keep an eye on their sodium counts, to do so requires a bit of extra sleuthing. As a shortcut to sussing out the worst offenders, the CSPI compiled 10 of the saltiest meals sampled — a list to certainly stay away from. Below are 10 common combinations of entrees, sides and drinks at restaurants near you that contain surprisingly high sodium counts, according to the CSPI’s full report.

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In D.C.’s Transient Restaurant Scene, Stelios Alexandris has Stayed Put for 34 Years

July 3, 2014 Jessica Sidman 0

Stelios Alexandris has been filling water glasses and taking orders long enough that he used to serve Hubert Humphrey at The Monocle on Capitol Hill. “I was like up to here to him,” Alexandris says, hovering his hand around his shoulder to show his height compared to that of the then-senator and former vice-president. In […]