• 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 www.foodsafetymonth.com

    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.
  • Cleaning Your Vulcan Charbroiler

    cleaning your vulcan charbroilerIn a restaurant kitchen, charbroilers are an excellent way to sear beautiful brand marks and impart a light smoky flavor onto proteins, fish and vegetables.

    However, to achieve consistent brand marks and the best release of product off of the cooking grid, routine cleaning and “dressing” of the top surface of the cooking grid with a light coat of oil (typically with vegetable oil but any variety of oil will do) are recommended. Charbroilers typically have cast iron or stainless steel grates.

    To dress the cooking grate, make a “jelly roll” out of a kitchen towel by folding it in thirds, rolling tightly and tying with butcher’s twine. The final roll should be about 4-5” long and about 2 ½-3”in diameter. Keep this roll in a 1/9th size pan next to the broiler filled with a small amount of vegetable oil. Wipe the cooking grates to remove any debris and then, using tongs, grab the roll and sweep the grates, coating lightly with oil. Repeat as necessary or after each product drop.

    At close of service when it is time to clean the unit, allow charbroiler to run on max for ten minutes and then turn off all sections. Wipe the cooking grids and allow the unit to cool completely before attempting to clean. Once the unit is cool, remove the cooking grids and set aside. Clean places where fat, grease or food may have accumulated. Deflector trays and crumb trays should be emptied and cleaned regularly.

    If cooking grids are heavily soiled or show a large amount of carbonization, they can be soaked in a commercial degreasing solution as necessary. If de-greasing is required, carefully remove top grates and submerge in cleaning solution. Rinse completely with clear water and dry before returning to the unit. Do not drop cooking grids, as it may cause damage and may require replacement.

    About Vulcan Restaurant Equipment

    Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including ranges, convection and combi ovens, fryers, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, braising pans, kettles and heated holding cabinets.  Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores.

    We Know Vulcan Equipment - Mission Restaurant Supply

    Mission Restaurant Supply is proud to offer a wide selection of premier restaurant equipment brands such as Vulcan out of our several showrooms in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, McAllen and San Antonio, as well as on our online to the rest of the nation. Our team of experts is knowledgeable and well-versed in foodservice equipment, including charbroilers, and can help you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting one for your business. No matter type of equipment you choose, we'll tell you everything there is to know about maintenance, cleaning, and making it last for years. Visit us today to see if a Vulcan Charbroiler is the right fit for you and your restaurant.

  • Save Time, Labor and Money With Pacojet

    Be it chocolate, watches or something in between, Switzerland has long been associated with quality, so it’s only fitting that the country is also home to Pacojet, one of the foodservice industry’s most respected, quality manufacturers. Saber Rejbe is the Executive Pastry Chef at Advanced Gourmet and Pacojet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Below we learn a little more about him and the product line that is used in over 40,000 kitchens worldwide.

    Chef Saber Rejbi of Advanced Gourmet and Pacojet. Chef Saber Rejbi of Advanced Gourmet and Pacojet.


    Chef Saber Rejbe is a Parisian native who went to pastry school in France before working for many fine dining restaurants and five star hotels - such as the esteemed Hotel Crillon - in the City of Light. It was in these venues that he got his start using Pacojet. “I can probably say I’ve been using Pacojet every day for the last 8 years,” he said adding, “I seem to discover a new way of using the Pacojet every day.”  As a professional chef in his own right, Saber firmly believes that the Pacojet will inspires chefs to create new tastes, sensations, and signature dishes for every course, while improving the bottom line in restaurants of all sizes.


    Pacotizing enables chefs to 'micro-purée' fresh and deep-frozen foods into ice creams, sorbets, soups, sauces and ultra-light mousses -- all without thawing. It’s a unique process of spinning a food product at a high speed of 2,000 rpm. This shaves an ultra fine layer off the frozen product with each revolution, creating a fine, creamy serving in just 20 seconds! 

    Pacotizing 101 Pacotizing 101


    In a nutshell, the Pacojet 2 (PJ2) is an upgraded version of the Pacojet 1 (PJ1). The PJ1 is 22 years old and after years of listening to chefs around the world, the company has added some exciting new features in the PJ2. One such new feature is the interactive touch screen complete with illustrated, intuitive icons with more customization options.  (BONUS: The PJ2 also comes with an international recipe book complete with 75 basic recipes and 50 recipes from a fan club of chefs using Pacojet around the world!) 

    The Pacojet is a complete system that will allow you to create any type of frozen application (sweet/savory/raw/vegan) but it will also work as a superior machine for processing fresh food and whipping.

    • Frozen Applications: For frozen foods such as ice cream or sorbet, simply fill the beaker to the fill line with your ingredients and a liquid, cover with the lid, and let it freeze for 24 hours using a regular freezer (see illustration above) or 3 hours with a blast freezer. The Pacojet 2 also has an overfill rescue function that senses and recovers overfilled beaker contents automatically without the need to thaw. Freezing the beaker locks in freshness and aromas. Attach the blade with the splash guard to the Pacojet. When the beaker is frozen solid, remove the lid and attach the beaker using the beaker holder to the Pacojet, then choose the number of servings or portions you desire or pacotize the whole beaker without thawing! It’s quick and simple. As soon as the pacotizing is complete, remove the beaker and your product is ready-to-serve, while retaining the most intense flavors, natural colors and vital nutrients. If you have leftover frozen product in the beakers, simply flatten the product and put the lid back on and return to the freezer for future use.
    • Non-Frozen Applications: The Coupe Set attachments enable the Pacojet to be used as a cutter, mincer, mixer, blender or whipper to process foodstuffs in their fresh state without having to freeze them first. Fish, meat, herbs, fruits, vegetables and spices or cream, egg whites, milk, etc. are simply filled into a Pacojet beaker (if desired, together with other ingredients and seasonings) and processed directly using the appropriate attachment for the texture desired. Then press start! 
    Before (bottom) and After (top) Pacotizing Before (bottom) and After (top) Pacotizing


    The Pacojet has three tiers to choose from, with the only major difference being the quantity of accessories that comes with each of them.

    • The Basic System comes with the Pacojet Machine, a Pacotizing Blade, a Spray Guard, 2 Beakers and Lids, 1 Outer Protective Beaker, 1 Chrome Spatula, 1 Recipe Book and 1 Cleaning Kit.

    • The Advanced System comes with everything the Basic System has, but it has 6 Beakers instead of 2 and a Coupe Set. The Coupe Set comes with three additional blades for non-frozen applications: a 2-blade cutter for coarse textures (e.g. steak tartare), a 4-blade cutter for fine textures (e.g. terrines/pates), and a whipping disc (for whip cream, egg whites and milkshakes). These blades generally allow for chopping, dicing, or pureeing non frozen foods from produce to meats and fish.

    • The Super System comes with everything the Advanced System has with the addition of 4 beakers for a total of 10. It also comes with a Gold Blade which is hardened with titanium-nitride. The Super System is recommended for the chef that has never used Pacojet before. It has all the accessories – including the coupe set – to start working in any size or any kind of application.


    As simple as 1-2-3. The touch screen on the PJ2 shows a 3-step cleaning process, which Chef Saber recommends running at the end of the work day. From the screen you’ll see 3 steps: Cleaning, Sanitizing and Rinsing; each step takes just 1 minute. “If you do that you will maintain the quality of the Pacojet for many years,” he said. Additionally, all the beakers are dishwasher safe.

    The Pacojet 2 The Pacojet 2


     Pacojet is used in restaurants and fine dining institutions all over the world, yet it has also found a home in many niche markets: 

    • Catering Companies and Country Clubs: Chefs that need to travel with their equipment greatly benefit from the Pacojet. “They love using it for ice cream because they can bring the Pacojet with them to any location – just plug and play,” said Chef Saber. (The PJ2 weights 35-pounds.)
    • Bakeries: Bakeries use a lot of whipped cream. With the Pacojet you can pacotize 1 liter of whipped cream in less than 1 minute. Just put the heavy cream in the empty beaker and push start. When you come back to the unit the whipped cream will be ready for use.
    • Bars: Mixologists are also fans of the Pacojet for use in making some of their specialty cocktails, such as Granita, slushy Margaritas, Daiquiris, Pina Coladas, and more.

    • Retirement Homes: Many residents in retirement homes have difficulty swallowing, particularly with dense foods, such as meat. Chef Saber’s experience with Pacojet in retirement homes has been extraordinarily beneficial. “The chef micro-purees the meat and puts it into a mold (chicken or steak mold) and they freeze the mold,” said Chef Saber. “When the meat is frozen it keeps the shape of the mold then you cook it and it’s ready to serve,” he added. Preparing the meat this way also makes it very easy to cut.
    • Raw/ Vegan Communities: Pacojet is a popular go-to for the raw and vegan community, which is rife in states like California. Pacojet enables chefs to do more with their raw menus, even making raw ice creams and raw cheeses, to name a few. For raw ice cream, simply put nuts and coconut oil into the beaker, freeze and pacotize without heating the product. All those raw ingredients will turn into a micro-pureed, creamy ice cream that’s ready to be enjoyed.


    •  Saving Time: The Pacojet prepares individual portions (approximately 3.5 fluid ounces) in 20 seconds and a whole beaker worth of food product in less than 4 minutes! In just one hour the Pacojet will produce 15 liters of sorbet/ ice cream in 15 different flavors or 150 portions of soup in 15 varieties. Also, your staff can prepare beakers ahead of time for the entire week, and best yet, there's no need to strain, puree, or remove peels from the food product prior to pacotizing. Pacojet will pacotize cores, peels, skins and more into micro particles so there is no need to throw them away or waste your time removing them.

    • Eliminating Food Waste: Because the Pacojet has a built-in portion system it only pacotizes the amount of food you tell it to. The remainder of food stays frozen in the beaker and can be put back in the freezer for later use. All the Pacojet beakers are hygienic so no oxidation or contamination occurs. 

    • Saving Money: The Pacojet will improve your bottom line and pay for itself in less than 3 months! Check out this ROI chart:4x6 PJ Profit Card front

    • Saving Space: The Pacojet's compact countertop design (Depth Width Height: 19.7'' x 14.2'' x 7.9'') makes it great for all kitchens, though there’s no limit to the number of beakers that can be added with each unit.


    The new Pacojet 2 units come with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor plus a 5-year warranty on the motor. The warranty must be activated when you register the unit on www.Pacojet.com, which takes just a few minutes!


    Pacojet service is also available through Advanced Gourmet for yearly maintenance or any other service needs.


    Aside from talking with one of our specialists, Chef Saber is always willing to help you learn more about the new Pacojet 2. “Every customer is different and every customer has different requests,” he said. “We are really here to help and listen to every new project.”

    Call us at Mission at 1-800-319-0690 or contact Chef Saber at 1-877-648-7084! We're open Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM Central Standard Time.

  • Accommodating Religious Dietary Restrictions in Your Restaurant

    Living in the United States, we are part of a giant melting pot of different cultures, religions, and people. This is reflected in our schools, universities, shopping malls, and your restaurant! There are several different cultures and religions that require certain dietary restrictions. The more you and your restaurant staff are familiar with these guidelines, the easier it will be to accommodate your diverse guests, and the more welcome they will feel at your restaurant. Below are some of the most common guidelines that your guests may need to follow:

    Hindu Dietary Restrictions

    • Vegetarianism (no meat)- Vegetarianism is encouraged, but not required. Hindus believe that one must have respect and compassion for all humans and animals. 
    • Non-Vegetarianism (limited meat) – Chicken and lamb are two acceptable meat options for non-vegetarian Hindus. However, consumption of beef is strictly prohibited as the cow is considered sacred to them.

    Jewish Dietary Restrictions

    • No mixing meat and dairy – It is against Jewish dietary laws to mix meat and dairy. This includes during food preparation and consumption.
    • Meat restrictions – Shellfish, pig, rabbits, and camels are strictly prohibited in any Kosher dish.
    • Slaughtering process – Meat must be slaughtered in accordance to Jewish law which means the animal  must be killed by slicing its throat and all blood must be drained.
    • Food preparation restrictions – Any utensils, dishes, or restaurant cooking equipment that have come into contact with pork products (and have not been washed) must stay clear of a meal in order for it to remain kosher. Many Jewish guests may request that their dishes are dish-washed separately than ones that contained any pork to be safe.

    Muslim Dietary Restrictions

    • No pork products –This includes bacon, lard, and gelatin. If a food preparation item such as a bowl, knife or spoon is in contact with meat product it is no longer considered Halal and cannot be used to prepare Halal food until it is thoroughly sanitized.
    • No alcohol – Preparing food with beer, wine, or other alcohol product is strictly prohibited. Many Muslim guests may request for a sauce containing wine to be cooked without the alcohol.

    By familiarizing yourself with these dietary guidelines, you will be able to accommodate guests of all different cultures and faiths and can establish a special trust with them. Trust between you and a customer can only lead to several more visits to your restaurant!

  • Success Story: Peter Piper Pizza and San Antonio Restaurant Supply

    In the restaurant business, having a partner you can trust can make all the difference. Pizza Properties, Inc., was searching for such a partner and found one in Mission Restaurant Supply.

    Pizza Properties, Inc. is a growing company that owns and operates several Burger King and Peter Piper Pizza franchises all across Texas. The organization places a great amount of control in the hands of their general managers and Area Managers as they also act as owners. This allows them to handpick the businesses they build partnerships with. As a restaurant, one of the biggest partnerships to establish is for restaurant equipment and supplies.

    The Need for a San Antonio Restaurant Equipment Dealer

    Lee Verhyen, Area Manager, supervises five Peter Piper Pizza outlets in San Antonio and neighboring communities. Pizza Properties, Inc. Area Managers like Verhyen have multi-role positions in which they must balance the day-to-day demands of each restaurant as well as completing more administrative “desk tasks”. Hence, they need establish systems and partnerships that allow them to complete the administrative work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    This explains why Verhyen was looking for a fast and reliable restaurant supply company for all of their needs. Initially, he utilized the existing partnerships that Pizza Properties, Inc. had with two main suppliers in Chicago and El Paso. However, he soon realized that he could expedite delivery times by working with a local restaurant equipment dealer. Sure enough, he discovered our location in San Antonio.

    A Fulfilling Partnership

    Although online orders were not yet available during the early years of our work together, a local restaurant equipment outlet allowed Verheyen to  quickly drop off and pick up items as needed. For years partnership has blossomed since, especially after the introduction of online ordering.

    The personal attention from their account representative, along with fair prices and convenience made us the perfect fit for Verheyen and Pizza Properties, Inc’s needs. With a trustworthy and reliable partner, the company is free to focus on making great food and delivering fantastic service.We are proud of the partnership that we have built with Verhyen and Pizza Properties, Inc. and are excited to see where the future takes us.

    Click here to read the entire Success Story.

  • 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 www.MissionRS.com 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 mysanantonio.com From left: Diana, Louis, and Teresa in front of a portrait of their mother, Viola. Image courtesy of mysanantonio.com

    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 MissionRS.com 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 MissionRS.com 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, Neatorama.com, Engines of our Ingenuity

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