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Get to Know (and Taste) These Emersonian Culinary Companies

Emersonians wear many (chef) hats in the food and drink world. Whether it’s cooking, brewing, marketing, managing youth training opportunities, or other ways, Emersonians have a finger in the pie of many cuisines and quaffs.

They work in the front of the house, back in the kitchen, in trucks, in the factory, and the boardroom. Their businesses come in many shapes, sizes, cuisines, and delivery methods. Many of them are graduates (and winners) of the Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship (E3) program.

Here’s a list . Do you know of more food and drink businesses owned and/or founded by Emersonians? If so, please email david_ertischek@emerson.edu.

Bon appetit!

Evy Tea

Evy Chen ’11 won first place in the 2010 E3 Expo with her concept of a high-end tea house. Her business has changed through the years. She had a small tea store in Boston, but as it grew, Chen morphed the company into a nationally distributed bottled beverage company pioneering the concept of cold-brewed tea. Evy Tea now sells four flavors: black tea + superberry; unsweetened green tea; evy palmer; and hibiscus.

Chen has also not forgotten her Emersonian roots, as she is currently a regular mentor for the E3 program.

Crème de Liqueur

Crème de Liqueur is a small-batch, liquor-infused ice cream custard co-founded by 2014 E3 expo winner Elizabeth Nash ’14 and Nisreen Galloway ‘14 . The product is sold in markets, liquor stores, delis, and restaurants in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Crème de Liqueur prides itself on sourcing locally produced dairy and mixed-in products when possible.Crème de Liqueur’s delicious flavors include lemon cream vodka; pistachio amaretto; chocolate brownie bourbon; margarita sorbet; blueberry gin smash; rye whiskey s’mores, and more.

Liv Sweetly

Olivia Strauss holding a plate of cookies
Olivia Strauss ’21 with a plate of delicious rainbow shortbread cookies.

Olivia Strauss ’21 cooked up her DIY baking company, Liv Sweetly, while part of the E3 program. Since graduating, she’s hit the ground, um, cooking, selling recipe kits to teach customers to reduce stress and anxiety through baking. Customers receive a recipe, ingredients, and an informational wellness card, all in a reusable, 100-percent recycled bag.

Liv Sweetly products are being sold in Massachusetts stores, and Strauss is spreading her product at seasonal markets. Recipes include caramel brownies; hot cocoa cookies; peppermint bark crispy bars; s’more sticky buns, and more.

Roundhead Brewing Company

Craig Panzer, MFA ’11 is the co-owner and chief operating officer of the Roundhead Brewing Company, which opened its taproom in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood in October 2022.

man in plaid shirt stands with arms crossed in front of brick building
Craig Panzer, MFA ’11

Among other responsibilities, Panzer utilizes his MFA to run the marketing arm of the company. Co-founder Luis Espinoza heads up the brewing, creating unique flavors such as the Quantum Reggae, a Berliner weisse.

Other drink selections include Rosita (guava wheat), Buen Humor (farmhouse Saison), as well as Peruvian chicha (made from purple corn). Pizza offerings include the Jamon Pizza (prosciutto, tomato sauce, mozzarella, arugula, and balsamic fig glaze); and the Smoke Belly (crispy smoked pork with sweet potato puree, mozzarella, pickled onions and cilantro, and yellow pepper sauce).

Belle’s Bagels

Belle’s Bagels co-owners Nick Schreiber ’09 and J.D. Rocchio began their business in 2012, and grabbed attention as a hip underground bagel brunch in Los Angeles in 2014. Since then, they opened a brick and mortar store in Los Angeles, and offer catering and delivery services.

Their menu consists of noshes, bags o’ bagels, containers of schmears, “fish 2 go,” “new-ish & Jewish” sandwiches, challahs, and more. And for Valentine’s Day they made a special raspberry and vegan white chocolate bagel. Individual items include a charred scallion latke, and the vegan North of York sandwich which is your choice of bagel with smashed avocado spread, cucumber, radishes, sprouts, pickled onions and hot sauce.

Their social media posts are also amusing and even take aim at the greatly held belief of New Yorkers who think NYC’s bagels are the best because of the water.

All Day Baby and Here’s Looking at You

These are two separate Los Angeles area restaurants, both co-owned by Lien Ta ’03 and chef Jonathan Whitener.

Here’s Looking at You opened in 2016 and earned recognitions, including Restaurant of the Year by Food & Wine — but COVID forced its closure for 17 months. A public campaign helped resurrect the restaurant, and it continues to serve an eclectic menu that evolves nightly, with delicacies including frogs’ legs, escargot, duck liver, blue crab, Manila clams, duck confit, and more.

All Day Baby opened in 2019 on Sunset Boulevard, and “illuminates their childhood ties with Southern food & hospitality, coupled with a touch of inspired SoCal-Mexican flair.” All Day Baby was also a MICHELIN Guide California 2022 selection.

They also invented Tet-a-Tet in 2022, a modern Vietnamese menu with a Latin influence that is a pop-up at night (of course) at All Day Baby.

In 2020, Ta created the nonprofit Regarding Her, which is devoted to the advancement and empowerment of women restaurateurs.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

E3 alum James DiSabatino ’09 is the founder and owner of the Boston-area based Roxy’s Grilled Cheese food trucks and two brick and mortar restaurants of the same name. DiSabatino tells the story of how he got the idea of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese: As an Emerson senior, he was on tour with his brother’s band in Europe, and joked that he could live off bread and cheese. He realized a 9-to-5 job was not the path he craved, so he started one of the first food trucks in Boston.

He bought a truck and spent a year or so bugging Boston officials to license it as a food truck, which weren’t yet legal in Boston. He convinced the Parks Department to give him a food cart license, and the rest is a gooey, tasty tale.

The menu includes offerings such as The Allston — grilled cheese with herbed goat cheese, fig jam, caramelized onions and arugula – which sounds a lot better than what you ate while living as a college student in Allston; and the Green Muenster – a grilled cheese with applewood smoked bacon and house-made guacamole. There are also burgers and vegan grilled cheeses.

Salem Food Tours

Karen Scalia ’89 created and founded Salem (Mass.) Food Tours in 2012 to combine her love of fresh local foods, cooking, history, and her background in event planning and performing arts.

Scalia knows the history of the city from being on the Destination Salem board, and a member of Salem’s Chamber of Commerce. She’s also an actor and writer, and is on the New England board of SAG-AFTRA.

The AM Coffee Walk tour includes organic coffee or tea, a sweet treat, and a mini-spice tasting while walking around learning about local history, landmarks, and the spice trade. The Afternoon Stroll includes everything in the coffee walk, plus fresh New England clam chowder (or a vegetarian option), cheese, wine, sweet, chocolate and spice tasting, with fresh local bread. The four-hour Salem Food Tour features two savory tastings, cheese, wine, chocolate, sweet and spice tasting, local breads, and more.

Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop

Rik Lemoncello with a plate of cupcakes
Rik Lemoncello shows off delicious cupcakes. (Photo by Leah Nash)

Rik Lemoncello, MSSp ’99 is a speech-language pathologist and college professor, who turned his love of cake baking into a social enterprise bakery. The bakery sells cupcakes and other tasty treats made by adults with varying levels of impairment from acquired brain injuries. The business’ mission is to empower adults to re-engage in the community, while rebuilding their sense of purpose and identity through return-to-work opportunities. Some clients are bakers, others package goods, operate the register, or distribute food to markets and larger orders.

The menu includes a variety of chocolate and vanilla cookies and cupcakes, and some unique flavors like Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, berry-oat bars, lemon crinkle cookies, and a savory sun-dried tomato-basil-mozzarella cupcake.

Exodus Bagels

Priscilla Andrade, MFA ‘14 is a former Emerson College affiliated faculty member and co-owner of Exodus Bagels in Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood. Andrade’s Exodus work is varied, and includes being the liaison and manager of the business’ youth training and employment initiative. She also has prior front of the house experience at restaurants, including Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (see above) and Cheers.

Exodus sells bagels by the dozen or half-dozen, with flavors including plain, salt, jalapeno cheddar, everything, garlic asiago, garlic, cinnamon raisin, poppy, wheat, and onion. Along with bagels, Exodus makes scrumptious sandwiches such as the BBB Avocado (thick-cut bacon, roasted butternut squash, and Brussel slaw) and the vegan classic that has house-made carrot lox, Tofutti cream cheese, tomatoes, capers, and red onions.

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