Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene: Fast Food 2.0 Sizzling As New Restaurants Open

Look to this month’s openings for restaurants that are killing it in Pittsburgh. Last week, Burgatory opened its sixth location in Murrysville, the day after BRGR opened its fourth location in the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon. Earlier this month, Big Burrito opened the 13th Mad Mex in Erie. And in mid-December, the third location of Hello Bistro from parent company Eat’n Park will open Downtown.

These local restaurants are taking a page from national chains, borrowing from systems that streamline staff and menus, leading to higher profits than a traditional restaurant without the base ingredients of fast-food conglomerates. They also take measures to personalize experiences, blurring the line between fast food and full-service, offering satisfying meals and an inexpensive night out. And they’re doing better than ever.

Welcome to fast food 2.0, or maybe it’s 4.0, as the genre has been reinventing itself sinceMerriam-Webster added the definition in 1951. The trend here mirrors what’s happening around the country. Although the new breed doesn’t look like Wendy’s or taste like McDonald’s, it’s bringing fast food back in a big way. For years, the fast-food industry has received criticism for disconnecting people from community and culture as well as playing a role in the obesity epidemic. But the updated fast-food market is on a mission to revamp its image from villain to hero.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/dining/2014/11/27/Restaurant-Scene-Fast-food-2-0-sizzling-as-new-restaurants-open-here/stories/201411270057

Highest-Ever CO2 Levels Killing Coral Reefs

This image depicts all of the areas that the M...

This image depicts all of the areas that the Millenium Coral Reef Landsat Archive covers. Red dots indicate coral reef data at the website: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/landsat.pl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people are by now familiar with the Keeling curve, a graph showing the steady increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere measured over decades by the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s longest-running CO2 monitoring station.

The research, started by renowned climate scientist Dave Keeling in 1958, is considered one of the pillars of the scientific consensus that human activity is the main driver of climate change. This year, the data revealed a troubling milestone: CO2 concentrations had passed 400 parts per million for the first time since the dawn of human civilization.

Less familiar, but every bit as troubling to climate scientists, is a parallel slope on a different track of climate data: the increase of CO2 in the world’s oceans, which has been climbing almost in lockstep with the Keeling curve. The rising carbon level is cranking up ocean acidity with astonishing speed—probably 10 times faster than at any point in about 50 million years, according to scientists.

Among other concerns, scientists are now increasingly worried that the acidification of the oceans is likely to cause one of the first abrupt, severe and probably irreversible consequences of global climate change: the loss of tropical coral reefs.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/Loss_of_Tropical_Coral_Reefs_May_Be_1st_Irreversible_Climate_Consequence.html#FGL2gFlgtb5lKOZc.99

Buy Fresh Buy Local Gaining Traction In Lancaster County

“Fresh” and “local” are buzzwords used by marketers to promote everything from organic produce to fast-food sandwiches.

But the Buy Fresh Buy Local network is distinct from Madison Avenue marketing. It is a grass roots movement aimed at encouraging consumers and businesses to buy foods grown and produced in their immediate regions.

Linda Aleci is the chair of the Buy Fresh Buy Local steering committee in Lancaster County. The network’s state coordinator is the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and its national coordinator is the FoodRoutes Network.

Aleci is an associate professor at Franklin & Marshall College and an affiliated scholar with the college’s Local Economy Center.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/777744_Buy-Fresh-Buy-Local-gaining-traction.html#ixzz2D43yHYKM