Author Archives: admin

  • 8 Fermented Foods You Should Be Eating

    Most of us have had pickles on a hamburger or with a deli sandwich but other fermented foods are beginning to take the spotlight for some of their health benefits. Your digestive system (often referred to as your “gut”) depends on good bacteria to help it break down food and keep your body’s systems in good working order. Unfortunately, our modern diet and other environmental factors do not always support this good bacteria.

    Fermented food is a great way to help living organisms keep the bad bacteria in check and to balance your gut health. These are some of the most popular types of fermented foods should you be looking for a way to introduce fermentation into your diet.

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  • You Can Fry That? 10 Unusual Deep Fried Foods from the Texas State Fair

    Since 2005, the Texas State Fair has been the home of an annual showdown of Texas’s most unique food creations. Some of the top dishes bring us the most innovative deep fried foods since the french fry. As a salute to the 10th year of the Big Tex Choice Awards, we present to you the Top 10 Most Unusual Fried Foods at the Texas State Fair.

    Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly (Source: Foodspotting)

    2005 - Deep Fried Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Sandwich

    Relive the gooey-est parts of your childhood with the Fried PBJ and Banana Sandwich. A PBJ Sandwich that’s been frozen is then dipped in batter and quick fried. Top it off with some powdered sugar and you have 2005’s winner for Best Taste.

    Fried Coke Fried Coke (Source: Wikipedia)

    2006 Fried Coke

    How do you fry a liquid? By infusing the flavor into a batter and deep frying it. Then drizzle it with pure fountain syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and, of course, a cherry on top to make a truly unique taste experience.

    Deep Fried Latte Deep Fried Latte (Source: Super Sized Meals)

    2007 Deep Fried Latte

    You’re at the Texas State Fair in 2007 and you need a jolt of caffeine. No worries, just try one of the runners up for the Big Tex Choice Awards: Deep Fried Latte. This lightly fried puff pastry has a hint of coffee and is topped with cappuccino ice cream. Add sweet syrup, whipped cream and sprinkle with instant coffee for a sugar/caffeine high that will get you through the rest of the fair.

    Fried Pineapple with Whipped Cream Fried Pineapple with Whipped Cream (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2008 Fire and Ice

    As much of a show as it is a dessert, one of the 2008 finalists was Fire and Ice. A pineapple that has been battered and deep fried then topped with whipped cream. Not just any whipped cream, but banana flavored whipped cream that’s been frozen in liquid nitrogen. Strawberries and syrup top the smoking desert that proves where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!

    Deep Fried Butter Deep Fried Butter (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2009 Deep Fried Butter

    Deep Fried Butter is one of those dishes that make you think “how do you?” or even “why would you?” But the winner of 2009’s Most Creative category isn’t as bad as you might think. Taste-wise anyway. In fact, Sue Gooding, spokeswoman for the State Fair said to the Today Show, “When you taste it, it really does taste like a hot roll with butter...It tastes great.” That’s because the whipped butter is sweetened and then surrounded by dough and of course, fried. It even had options of garlic, grape or cherry flavors for the more adventurous.

    Fried Club Sandwich Fried Club Sandwich (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2010 Fernie’s Fried Club Salad

    Another one for the “how did they do that?” category is the 2010 finalist, Fernie’s Fried Club Salad. A 12” spinach wrap is filled with diced ham & chicken, iceberg lettuce, carrot strips, cherry tomatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and hickory smoked bacon. Then the whole wrap is deep fried until crispy and served on a bed of shredded romaine lettuce. Toppings include sourdough croutons on a stick that have been deep fried and your choice of creamy Ranch, Thousand Island or Caesar dressings.

    Fried Bubble Gum Fried Bubble Gum (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2011 - Fried Bubblegum

    Don’t worry, you can eat this bubblegum! It’s actually bubblegum flavored marshmallows that have been battered and deep fried. Decorated with icing and powdered sugar, this light, sweet treat won Most Creative in 2011.

    'Picnic on a Stick' 'Picnic on a Stick' (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2012 Picnic on a Stick

    As summer winds down and fall approaches, the weather is often perfect for a picnic. Trust the Big Tex Choice Awards participants to turn that concept upside down! Spicy fried chicken, tatertots and dill pickles are alternated on a stick and then dipped in batter, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Choose from BBQ sauce, ranch or honey mustard as you dipping sauce, ants not required.

    Fried Thanksgiving Dinner in a Ball! Fried Thanksgiving Dinner in a Ball! (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2013 Thanksgiving Dinner

    Most Creative? We agree! Homemade stuffing, turkey and corn...sounds just like Thanksgiving Dinner. But this dinner has a Texas twist. Stuffing and turkey are rolled into a ball, dipped in creamed corn, seasoned cornmeal and deep fried until golden crispy. Add old fashioned giblet brown gravy and an orange cranberry sauce to make your Thanksgiving dreams complete!

    Fried 'Breakfast for Dinner' Fried 'Breakfast for Dinner' (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2014 Deep Fried “Breakfast for Dinner”

    Americans love breakfast, even if it’s for dinner. One 2014 Finalist took breakfast for dinner one step further. Scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, bacon, potatoes, ham, onion, cheddar cheese and gooey cinnamon roll bits all stuffed in a 10” flour tortilla and deep fried. Dip this hearty fair food in creamy country gravy, salsa or pico-queso dip.


    Chicken Fried Lobster Chicken Fried Lobster (Source: State Fair of Texas)

    2015 Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy

    Who said fair-food can’t be classy? Lobster and champagne elevate your taste buds in one of this year’s finalist entries. An entire lobster tail is breaded, deep fried and topped with a champagne, lemon butter gravy for a whole new fair experience!

    Honorable Mentions

    2011 Hans’ Kraut Ball - Pork sausage, onion, garlic, sauerkraut, mustard and delicious seasonings balled up, dipped in seasoned breadcrumbs and deep fried. Spicy Mustard, Raspberry Chipotle or Ranch dipping sauces.

    2012 Deep Fried Jambalaya - Shrimp, cajun sausage and seasonings coated in lightly seasoned flour and fried. Served with a side of spicy ranch sauce.

    2014 Chicken Fried Loaded Baked Potato - Skinless baked potato, butter, bacon and cheese is mixed, coated and battered with spices and flour, then deep fried and served with a ranch dipping sauce.

    2015 Cowboy Corn Crunch - Sweet corn, minced jalapeno, creamed cheese and smokey bacon mixed in a tot and deep fried.


  • Q&A with Alto-Shaam Chef Robert Simmelink

    Not all kitchen equipment is created equal. While some brands cater to accessibility through low prices, others pour innovation, technology, and resources into making their products state of the art. Alto-Shaam, with its highly innovative combi ovens, Cook & Hold ovens and renowned Halo Heat technology, embodies the latter end of this spectrum. We sat down with the brand’s Executive Chef Robert Simmelink, whose been working with Alto-Shaam for twenty-one years, to learn more about how the product line can save you money in the long term while boosting efficiency in the present. Here he answers some commonly asked questions.

    Blast Chillers: Only For Large Commercial Kitchens?

    Despite popular belief, blast chillers can be useful in kitchens of all sizes, not just large commissaries and other high volume applications. “The whole key to the blast chiller is it cools the food so fast that it locks in the flavor and freshness,” said Chef Simmelink. He recommends that kitchens large and small fill their combi ovens with food product -- such as rice -- every few days, and rethermalize them later. Rethermalizing takes half the time as cooking, and because the blast chiller locks in freshness, sticking it back in the combi oven makes it taste flavorful and fresh. “It takes the pressure off the kitchen,” he said. 

    The Cook & Hold Oven is known for many things, one of which is its ability to roast meats with high yield. What else should we know about the oven?

     The Alto-Shaam team strives to show consumers different applications of the most popular products, such as the famed Cook & Hold Oven. “That oven should never be sitting empty,” said Chef Simmelink adding, “You can proof bread, braise stews and shanks. We even make stocks inside the oven overnight so you don’t tie up the burner and run the hood all night.” As the name suggests, Cook and Holds aren’t just for cooking – they’re also for holding. “A Cook and Hold can hold a roast rare for 24 hours without it overcooking,” said Chef Simmelink. Its technology allows for precision holding at food safe temperatures so you can spend your time focused elsewhere. (Did you know Alto-Shaam also has a Cook & Hold Smoker Oven?)

    What’s The Difference Between Holding Cabinets and Warming Drawers?

    Warming Drawers and Holding Cabinets are both back of the house holding applications. People often gravitate towards warming drawers versus a traditional holding cabinet if they have a small amount of product to hold. In that case, warming drawers can be conveniently built into a station. For larger amounts of storage, Alto-Shaam’s holding cabinets are the answer. Two compartment holding cabinets allow you to hold different kinds of food at their respective holding temperatures -- like red meat and turkey for example.

    What’s the Difference Between a Soup Well and a Hot Well?

    The only difference is the shape. Hot Wells are based off of a steam table pan, while Soup Wells or Kettles generally hold somewhere between 7 and 11 quarts of food. These products, which are seen in applications ranging from food courts to super market delis, and universities, are catered to cook and also hold. Both use the same Cook & Hold technology, surrounding the food product with gentle radiant Halo Heat, which allows the food to hold longer.

    How is the Alto-Shaam Convection Oven Different From Others Out There? 

    According to Chef Simmelink, there are two main talking points. First, the distinct Alto-Shaam airflow across the entire oven cavity provides even cooking, eliminating the need to turn pans throughout the cooking process. Second is the durability that’s built into it during construction. “Convection ovens get beat up,” said Chef Simmelink adding that despite the rigorous commercial use, theirs is built to last. Features such as doors that open simultaneously and heavy-duty handles are but a few of the many quality attributes that help Alto-Shaam endure.

  • Receiving Food | National Food Safety Month

    Every September, the foodservice industry celebrates National Food Safety Month. Everyone knows there's no easier way to lose customer loyalty than being the culprit of a patron's food borne illness. Because restaurant kitchens breed team environments, it's important for everyone, from the executive chef to the dishwashers and porters, to be educated on proper food safety.  Doing so not only keeps the restaurant up to code but also maintains a high quality standard for the business, not to mention a strong reputation. In  honor of National Food Safety Month, we will be posting a series of educational blog posts pertaining to all aspects of food safety, from receiving food to storing it, serving it, and the many steps in between.

    Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 9.09.32 PM Photos courtesy of

    Food safety education isn't just for professional chefs either. In fact, everyone can benefit from food safety knowledge because we all eat and handle food, therefore we're all at risk for the same illnesses and repercussions. Some of the upcoming blogs will feature helpful information for both residential and commercial cooks, while others will pertain more to the professional industry. This year's Food Safety Awareness theme is "Let it Flow," which focuses on the flow of food in restaurants. Knowing some basic rules will definitely help kick start your food safety practice. This blog begins with "Receiving" food. Here are a few tips.

    What Temperature Should Food Be Received At?

    This question is dependent on the kinds of food you're receiving, though most potentially hazardous foods should be received at 41ºF or lower. Below are a few exceptions.

    • Live Shellfish, Shucked Shellfish, and Milk: Should be received at an air temperature of 45ºF or lower then cooled to 41ºF or lower within 4 hours.
    • Eggs: Should be received at an air temperature of 45ºF or lower.
    • Frozen Food: Should be frozen solid when received.

    Why Does Food Need To Be Received at these temperatures?

    Three words: "The Danger Zone." These three words probably ring a bell, and rightfully so! The Danger Zone is the temperature bracket (41ºF to 135ºF) where bacteria grows most quickly on food. Leaving food out in these temperatures can cause bacteria to double in as little as twenty minutes. Therefore, there is urgency in making sure food is at the proper temperature when it's received and then promptly stored.

    What Should Be Done Upon Delivery?

    When food arrives at the establishment, there is a checklist to be aware of. When food is in transit there is an increased opportunity for items to shuffle around and for cross contamination to occur. Knowing this, it's important that whoever is receiving the shipment inspects it thoroughly. Here are the common questions to ask and the things to look for when receiving a shipment. Should any of these not adhere, you have the right to refuse the delivery.

    • Are the food containers in good condition? Check for any damage as they can often crush or tear in transit, thereby leaking and potentially cross contaminating.
    • Are the temperatures where they should be? It's important to check them with a sanitized thermometer before signing for the delivery. These pocket thermometers do the trick.
    • If you're receiving canned goods, make sure they're not swollen anywhere as this may be a sign of product spoiling or damage.
    • Mark the delivery date on food products before storing away.
    • Are the delivery vehicles in good, clean condition?
    • Are frozen foods completely frozen? Make sure there is no thawing occuring upon delivery.
    • Lastly, does the supplier deliver product on a timely schedule? It's important that food is stored away quickly after it's received to keep food held at the right storage temperature. Hold your suppliers accountable to the scheduled delivery time.

    These are some of the most important tips for receiving food product.
  • Introducing Portacool™

    The Portacool Islander is designed for patios, thanks to a small footprint and tower design. The Portacool Islander is designed for patios, thanks to a small footprint and tower design.

    In the Southern United States, where the temperatures are hot almost year-round, cool air is a cause for celebration. In many trades and businesses,  having cool temperatures to work in is essential and can actually boost efficiency and productivity. Portacool™ recognized a need in the market for an economical, effective cooling system that could be used in locations and businesses of all shapes and sizes. And so they went to work designing a solution. In 1990, they created the first portable evaporative cooler. Today, 25 years later,  Portacool™ is a growing global leader with distributors in 56 countries and in all 50 U.S. states. The company is headquartered in the town of Center, Texas, roughly 20 miles west of Louisiana where the conditions are hot and humid. Their products are a favorite to industries of all types (see more below!) and investing in one brings a breath of fresh air to any working environment. Learn a little more about the brand with these commonly asked questions:

    Why Should I Buy A Portacool™ Cooler?

    For comfort, first off. If you're working in an industry or any place that is without A/C, the Portacool™ evaporative coolers are made for you, designed to keep the space surrounding cool no matter the outside temperature. Secondly, for productivity. According to a study on Portacool's website, you risk a 16.6% decrease in productivity at temperatures of 92 degrees or higher.

    What Temperatures Are Ideal For Portacool™ Coolers?

    Portacool™ units will bring the temperatures down in nearly every environment, making the conditions more cool and comfortable. However, for optimal performance, the temperature should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher with a relative humidity of below 75%.

    Who Benefits?

    Just about everyone! Here are a few industries and places that use Portacool™ daily:

    1. Agriculture: Barns, Stables
    2. Aviation: Hangars, Repairs
    3. Automotive: Garages, Dealerships
    4. Military: Mess Halls, Training Areas
    5. Restaurant / Event: Outdoor Dining or Parties, Amusement Parks, Tents
    6. Home: Garages, Patios, Decks
    7. Sports Venues: Gyms, Workout Rooms
    Plus any business with warehouse facilities!

    Will It Mist?

    Unlike a misting system, these units use evaporation to emit cool air, keeping excess moisture to a minimum.

    So What Is Evaporative Cooling?

    Evaporative Cooling 101. Evaporative Cooling 101, courtesy of Portacool

    As you can see in the graphic above, evaporative cooling is essentially the cooling of air with water. This is how it works:  water is consistently spread over a cooling media (the brown figure above.) Air sifts through this media via negative fan pressure, and evaporation occurs when the air meets water. When water evaporates, the air it comes in contact with lowers in temperature. There's a cooling sensation that occurs, very much like the feeling one gets when climbing out of a swimming pool. 

    Are Chemicals Used?

    No. Unlike an air conditioner, Portacool's evaporative coolers do not use chemicals or refrigerants to cool down the air.

    How Hard Is It To Assemble?

    One of the great perks of buying a Portacool™ Cooler is that it's easy to assemble. Almost all models are ready to use straight from the box!

    What Options Do I Have?

    Lots! There are a number of models to choose from depending on your needs. The largest unit will cool up to 4,000 square feet and there are smaller units designed for smaller spaces. Models such as the heavy-duty Hurricane 3600 have a unique airflow pattern designed to reach farther distances while the Cyclone 1000's small footprint can be easily used in residential spaces.

    Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-319-0690 from Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM Central Standard Time. We look forward to helping you!

  • Mission Restaurant Supply Acquires Dallas-based Fixture King

    (Click here to View the Full Release)

    Mission Restaurant Supply Acquires Fixture King, Corp.

    Mission Restaurant Supply has expanded its footprint after recently acquiring Dallas-based Fixture King, Corp.. 

    June 3, 2015 (San Antonio, TX) – Texas-based foodservice dealer Mission Restaurant Supply continues to grow and now maintains an even stronger presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area after the latest acquisition of Fixture King.

    The latest addition marks a continued strategic move for the Mission brand, with branches now representing the North, South, Central, and East Texas territories along with the Rio Grande Valley. Owner/CEO Jack Lewis says, “We are genuinely thrilled about this opportunity to expand in the North Texas market. Both our companies share the same family dynamic and dedication to help improve businesses in the foodservice industry.”

    Ayman Alkurdi, original Fixture King Owner adds, “We grew from selling store fixtures into a full-service store for the foodservice operator. Now, after serving the business community for 20 years, we have found a perfect match in Mission Restaurant Supply to continue what we started.”

    The Dallas showroom will operate under the direction of new General Manager Joshua Folan, and is already open for business. “The transition has begun,” says Folan. “Members of the Alkurdi family along with a long-time employee will be joining our team, and we are excited about our future together!”

    Mission Restaurant Supply is the leading foodservice equipment and supply dealer in South Central Texas. The family-owned company also operates a bid contract department, an engineering design team, a custom metal fabrication shop, an e-commerce store, and six Texas showrooms with Leasing and Service Departments in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Fort Worth, and Dallas. For more information, visit or call 210-354-0690.


  • The Barrios Family Restaurants, San Antonio, Texas

    From left: Diana, Louis, and Teresa in front of a portrait of their mother, Viola. Image courtesy of From left: Diana, Louis, and Teresa in front of a portrait of their mother, Viola. Image courtesy of

    The restaurant industry is a tough, yet rewarding one. Businesses come and go, but those that stay – those that endure - find a winning combination in creating great food and serving happy, loyal customers. For the Barrios family of San Antonio, their customers are more than just diners and patrons - they are an extension of the family.

    Los Barrios, San Antonio’s beloved Mexican restaurant, began in 1979 with Viola Barrios, the matriarch of the Barrios family. After her husband passed away in a car accident, Viola needed to find a way to support herself and her three children, Teresa, Louis, and Diana.

    “She always loved cooking,” said Diana Barrios of her late mother. With $3,000, she started her restaurant in a rented boat garage in downtown San Antonio before buying an old Diary Queen building on Blanco in 1980, where the restaurant remains today. When she first started, she had to do everything and the kids got involved from a young age. “Los Barrios became our home,” said Diana, who admits she and her siblings have always been surrounded by food. For Viola, the restaurant became her passion.

    Frozen beverages await at the Viola's Ventanas bar. Frozen beverages await at the Viola's Ventanas bar.

    Today, the family has added two more restaurants to their name, La Hacienda and Viola’s Ventanas, which were added in 2004 and 2013, respectively. At each of the three restaurants, one of Viola’s kids can always be found, a familiar face in an inviting home. “We are still there on a daily basis, still very connected to the business,” she said adding, “We are owners and operators.” Between the three children are eight grandchildren, the latter of which are lovingly called “The Board of Directors”; they’ve all worked in the restaurants at one point or another. It’s a family establishment through and through, and because of this, customers dining there feel like they're home.

    On the Los Barrios family website, this quote greets visitors: “Eating together is how San Antonians celebrate family,” and indeed, San Antonio's family-friendliness – from sports to arts to entertainment and food – is one of the many things that makes it unique.

    San Antonio has always had a warmth, charm, and rich cultural texture to it, all of which combine to create an atmosphere of inclusivity – something best witnessed at any of the Barrios family restaurants! However, over the years, San Antonio has often remained in the shadow of other Texas cities, such as Dallas and Austin. Thankfully today, the Alamo City is on a path of great growth with well-deserved recognition in all arenas, including the food scene.

    Viola's Ventanas at sunset. Viola's Ventanas at sunset.

    “Finally, San Antonio is being recognized for the great food it’s serving up on a daily basis, in all quadrants of the city,” said Diana of the "Tex-Mex capital of the world." And just as every region in Mexico produces different styles of Mexican food, so too does San Antonio. After all, Texas was once a part of Mexico, and the collaborations created here were entirely unique, an influence of French, Spanish, Vaquero, and Native American. “San Antonio’s style (of Mexican food) is habit-formingly delicious!” said Diana, who is a popular fixture on many national television outlet, including Food Network. Be sure to check out Diana's Puffy Taco Throwdown with Bobby Flay! (Can you guess who won?!)

    The menus at the Barrios family restaurants are extensive, but all of them are reflective of the family’s emphasis on casero-style cooking, which is essentially Mexican home style cooking. It’s not fancy food, but it’s quality driven, authentic, and simple, and it’s served in a homey, attractive setting. This style of cooking is best encapsulated in The Los Barrios Cookbook, which has become a seminal piece of Mexican food literature.

    The Los Barrios Family Cookbook. The Los Barrios Family Cookbook.

    “I like to say it’s the perfect gift for any homesick Texan you might know,” said Diana of the book, which compiles the best of their casero-style recipes, all of which are fun, easy, delicious – not hard. These recipes are for novices, to be loved and enjoyed as family favorites, much like the ethos of the restaurant.

    For a first timer to Los Barrios, Diana recommends the cheese enchiladas, a dish people have come back for since Viola started the restaurant thirty-six years ago. The business is a safe haven for family traditions, and often, the employees share their own talents. Enrique, a Los Barrios waiter who has worked with the family for over thirty years always makes secret salsas, something different and delicious that keeps people guessing and craving more.

    Kitchen Action: A peek into the back of the house. Kitchen Action: A peek into the back of the house.

    What's next for the Barrios family? In the months and years ahead, they will continue to do what they do best, and no doubt, their family of customers will continue to come. “We will continue to do like we’ve done for the last thirty-six years, offering our guests a wonderful dining experience and a great meal in an environment that makes you feel like you’re at a friend’s house.”

    As the brand has grown over the years, Viola's spirit lives on through the lives of her children and all those who come back to Los Barrios year after year. The family's greatest accomplishment? Keeping the customers that they’ve had since their mom started the business. Now, they see 2nd and 3rd generations coming in on a frequent basis.  Keeping her memory alive is a priority for her children and in recent years they’ve started the ‘Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation’ which gives high school scholarships to young ladies with great potential.

    Next time you find yourself in a Mexican food mood in San Antonio, be sure to stop by one of the Barrios family restaurants for warm hospitality and a memorable casero-style meal. Thank you to the family for chatting with us!

  • Introducing Paragon Products

    Who doesn't love a little extra profit at the end of the day? Concessions - whether it be snow cones, hot dogs, or tubs of popcorn -  are a great way to add a little more to your bottom line, not to mention they are a satisfying treat that everyone can enjoy. One of the latest brands to come to is Paragon, a professional concession equipment and supply manufacturer. Below are a few quick things you should know before enjoying their products!


    Paragon is an American manufacturer that designs and manufacturers all of their products right here in the U.S.A. (In the town of Nevada in Central Iowa, to be exact.) The only exception to this is their Yeti cooler, but otherwise, every purchase is an American investment! 


    That's right! In addition to being an American company, Paragon has been family owned since Day 1. They began making popcorn machines over forty years ago and have transformed into a one stop shop for all your concession equipment and supply needs.


    Paragon was the world's first manufacturer to introduce a  4 oz popcorn machine! Today, the bestseller, which is priced at $356, is a customer favorite for home theaters and residential use! (Of course, they also have much larger poppers and popcorn machine stands in a number of colors.)

    The 4 oz Popper by Paragon The 4 oz Popper by Paragon


    Their motto carries through in the entire ethos of the company, from the technology employed, to the materials used, and the dedicated, local employees that work at the business. In this way, every product can be purchased with confidence.


    Given their commitment to quality and American manufacturing, it's refreshing to see such competitive, low prices across the product line! The company prides themselves on building solid, user-friendly, and safe equipment at prices that won't break the bank. What's not to love?


    One of the biggest perks of Paragon is that they have something for every concession size and application. Whether it's a hot dog steamer, a snow cone ice shaver, cotton candy machines, pump-action warmers, condiment servers, LED signs, or steam table pans, there is something to satisfy your needs. At you will find a large assortment of Paragon's concession equipment in varying capacities, in addition to a large array of their supplies, all of which will complement your set up! Be sure to check out the Mighty Corn Dog ParaFryer 3000, the compact, portable fryer that can cook 12 corn dogs at a time!

    The Mighty Corn Dog Parafryer 3000. The Mighty Corn Dog ParaFryer 3000.


    Most Paragon products have a 3-year parts warranty, although others have a 5-year offering!

    Should you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-800-319-0690 from Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM! We'd love to chat with you!

  • The Origins of the Dishwasher

    There are certain tools that are ubiquitous in commercial and residential kitchens today, and dishwashers are one of them. With all the technology available to end users, it's relatively easy to find a unit that will save space, deliver a quick, deep clean, and do so with conscious energy and water usage. But that wasn't always the case.
    The dishwasher, like all things, developed out of a curiosity and a desire to fix a problem. The following blog will uncover its history and show how far it has come over the years.

    dishwasher L.A. Alexander's patent drawing from 1865
    When was the first dishwasher made?

    In 1850, a man named Joel Houghton created a patent for a device that is now credited with being the origin of the American dishwasher. It was a hand cranked wooden tool that sprayed water on dishes, but was known for its slowness and inefficiency. There was another patent created in 1865 by L.A. Alexander, yet that model turned out to be largely inefficient as well.

    The Cochrane Dishwashing Machine The Cochrane Dishwasher
    So who created the first functional, practical design?

    Josephine Cochrane was a wealthy Illinois socialite born to a family of engineers. An avid entertainer, Cochrane noticed that her family's fine china, which dated back to the 17th century, was chipping after perpetual hand washing. As a result, in 1886, she decided to come up with a design that would eliminate the problem. She measured out all of her china and  manipulated wire racks to keep the dishes in place. These compartments were then set into a wooden wheel, which rested in a copper boiler filled with hot water. With a crank or the activation of a small motor, the wheel would turn, splashing the hot water onto the dishes. Word of her design spread fast. After getting a patent and going into production, she decided to formally debut her Cochrane dishwasher at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. While there, she won the highest prize for her design's durability, adaptability, and mechanical construction. Soon, restaurants and hotels were buying it up. Cochrane then started the Garis-Cochrane Manufacturing Company which would eventually become KitchenAid, and later, Whirlpool.

    Josephine Cochrane Josephine Cochrane
    Then what?

    Until her death in 1913, Cochrane continued to update her dishwasher designs, adding centrifugal pumps, drains, revolving washing systems, and other features that have carried over into modern day equipment. At the turn of the century, various other innovators and engineers worked to create a more efficient dishwashing system, utilizing plungers, dish cradling techniques, and propellers, to name a few. They also began to utilize sprays of water, an early version of water jets, which are commonplace in dishwashing equipment today.

    What were some of the challenges the dishwasher faced over the years?

    Commercial Dishwashers are one of the largest energy and water consumers in the back of the house. Water was a huge obstacle in the evolution of dishwashers, and even still, it is a key issue for manufacturers when designing new models. The large size of early dishwashers was also something that people had to deal with, and manufacturers today continue to strategize how to maximize output while minimizing the physical footprint. The introduction of detergents in the mid 1900s replaced the fatty soaps priorly used for cleaning. These helped usher in an easier, quicker, more efficient means for washing dishes.

    What features do modern commercial dishwashers have today?

    Since Cochrane's inception all those years ago, manufacturers like Hobart and CMA to name a few have been creating new standards of innovation and excellence in the dishwashing industry. Modern day commercial dishwashers are loaded with features and benefits, sleek aesthetics, and water + energy saving designs thanks to ventless technology, Energy Star ratings, and more. It's also easier than ever to find machines that cater to a wide range of dishwashing needs, from delicate glassware to heavy, grimy pots and pans, and for all different dish volumes.  Machines today are also quieter in operation, more conservative spatially, while utilizing strict sanitation elements, like high heat cycles that ensure the deepest clean. There are also more sizes and models to choose from than ever, including conveyor dishmachines, door-type dishmachinesundercounters, and glasswashers.

    Images via Uncle John's Bathroom Reader,, Engines of our Ingenuity
  • Thinking About Buying an Alto-Shaam?

    In today's restaurants, hotels, hospitals and institutions, the kitchen is the heart and soul of the workplace. Never has there been such technologically advanced equipment and innovative tools to keep operators productive, efficient, and meticulously precise in the back of the house. Brands like Alto-Shaam have been pioneers in this movement, engineering and manufacturing equipment that is boldly innovative, and yet easy to operate. Furthermore, in this age of ecological awareness, Alto-Shaam continues to create equipment that is conscious of its footprint, while saving time, energy and costs for the end user.

    Alto-Shaam Versatility Alto-Shaam Versatility

    Can You Give Me A Quick Thumbnail Sketch Of Alto Shaam's Story?

    Alto-Shaam's founder, Jerry Maahs, entered the industry as one of the first Chicken Delight franchise units in the 1950s. As the chain expanded to home delivery, Maahs sought out a way to keep food hot, particularly in the wintertime. By the 1960s, Maahs learned about thermal heating cables. He discovered that when wrapped around the oven cavity, they provided gentle, even heat to the product within it. This led to the introduction of Halo Heat, which nearly sixty years later is a staple to the brand's product line today. And so, in many ways, Alto-Shaam's beginnings were driven by innovation. By the 1970s, Alto-Shaam introduced their Cook & Hold ovens which provide low temperature overnight cooking. By the 1980s, the brand had moved beyond low temperature cooking and introduced Combi Ovens to their line, becoming one of the first U.S. manufacturers of this type of equipment. Today, Jerry's son and daughter run the company and continue to take Alto-Shaam to the forefront of the industry.

    The AS-250 Countertop Cook & Hold Oven. The AS-250 Countertop Cook & Hold Oven.

    What Does Alto-Shaam Manufacture?

    Alto-Shaam manufactures a full line of commercial kitchen equipment with products thatcook, hold, serve & more. Below is a break down of the most popular equipment:

    A full list of Alto-Shaam's product line. A full list of Alto-Shaam's product line.

    Why Should I Buy Ovens, Chillers, Rotisseries, From Alto-Shaam Over Another Brand?

    There's a reason that people all over the world have Alto-Shaam equipment in their kitchens. First is the quality manufacturing, the technological innovation, and the versatile design. Alto-Shaam units can cook, hold, display and chill, to name  a few. For nearly 60 years, the brand has been pioneering solutions for commercial kitchens and helping to create profitable businesses. (Should you need some more convincing, take a look at the long list of equipment awards and Best In Class ratings that the brand is honored with year after year.) Though more expensive upfront than other options, the food created from an Alto-Shaam is better tasting, not to mention the equipment is designed with eco-efficiency in mind. Their products will save you considerably in the years after your investment. Alto-Shaam's product line helps operators and end users re-imagine performance. It helps them to elevate their menus and to meet the demands of their market. Each unit is equipped with unparalleled innovation and technology for consistent, flavorful results time after time.

    The 500-2D Electric Warming Drawer The 500-2D Electric Warming Drawer

    Why Should I Buy Alto-Shaam From Mission?

    Mission has been a partner in the foodservice industry since 1988. Our tenure over the years has allowed us to secure strong partnerships with manufacturers like Alto-Shaam. In addition to having the most competitive prices on the market, we also offer Free Shipping and financing on all of the Alto-Shaam on our website. 

    The 750-TH/III Cook & Hold Oven. The 750-TH/III Slow Cook & Hold Electric Oven.

    Is Alto-Shaam "Green?"

    Alto-Shaam's commitment to the environment reaches far back, way before the waves of "green" thinking were mainstream. In the 1960s,  Alto-Shaam's founder, Jerry Maahs, innovated the brand's 'Halo-Heat' technology. This essentially replaces the convention of fan-driven heat with a slow, motionless, low-temperature heat in the oven cavity. The result is a cooking process that doesn't dry out or shrink the food or zap it of its flavor. Instead, it retains moisture, naturally tenderizes meats, locks in flavors, plus a whole lot more. Today, this innovation is ubiquitous to the brand. And while it may result in better tasting food, it also results in energy efficiency. Alto-Shaam has found that excessive water and energy aren't required to make quality food, and so by efficiently using the two resources, they can control not only the quality of their menu, but also their bottom line. Alto-Shaam's Cook & Hold Ovens can cook a load of food overnight for less than $1 of electricity. Best yet, because these ovens have such low emissions, they don't require a hood. (A hood generally costs $2 per hour when in operation, which can quickly turn into $30 per day savings!) The bottom line: The company is committed to sustainability in all of their products.

    Screen shot 2015-03-04 at 1.43.30 PM
    What Markets Can I Find Alto-Shaam In?

    Casinos, universities, catering companies and banquets, hotels, full service restaurants, quick service and fast casual restaurants, correctional facilities, K-12, convenience stores, supermarkets, and more. Alto-Shaam has a huge product selection ranging in size and task and can be found in all different foodservice businesses, large and small. 

    Let us help you find an Alto-Shaam solution for your kitchen. Our team of commercial kitchen experts are available by phone from Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM Central Standard Time. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you find the right unit for your business.

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