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5 Regional Food Chains You’ll Wish Were Near You

These five restaurant chains inspire devotion in their home states.



These five restaurant chains inspire devotion in their home states.

With thousands of dining options out there, it is impossible to remember them all. In fact, the United States holds approximately 700,000 pubs, restaurants, and cafes. But how can people recognize up-and-coming restaurants before they reach peak fame? 

With this in mind, here are five popular regional dining options you may or may not have heard of that you should keep your eyes peeled for when you travel. 

Philz Coffee

Philz Coffee: "One Cup at a Time"


Similar to Dunkin'  (DNKN) - Get Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. Report or Starbucks  (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report, Philz Coffee has become California's local café. Created by Phil Jaber and run by CEO Jacob Jaber, its marketing strategy focuses on minimalism and providing a local connection. 

Philz Coffee has now opened up locations in five different cities: San Francisco/Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington D.C., and Chicago. The coffee shop has five different coffee blends, including darker, medium, lighter, decaf, and single origin. It also sells teas, gift cards, and various forms of merchandise. 

Interestingly, Philz Coffee does not use espresso -- in fact, all of its coffee based drinks are made using pour over techniques. It also features some menu items that are very specific, like Ecstatic Iced Coffee, Mocha Tesora, Iced Mint Mojito, Iced Coffee Rose, and more. Milk alterations -- such as subbing the common whole milk for oat, almond, soy, etc. -- is actually free at Philz. It also prides itself as part of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, which is referred to on its website as "A global initiative to make coffee the first sustainable commodity." 

Philz Coffee began in 2002 and now has 70 locations. The coffee chain pulls in annual sales of more than $1.7 million per store and is on the rise. Those who find Philz Coffee attractive should keep an eye out for it, especially as it continues competing with Starbucks and Dunkin'

Krispy Kreme 

The Original Krispy Kreme Glaze Donuts 

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme  (DNUT) - Get Krispy Kreme Inc. Report has been known as Dunkin's competitor for a long time. It was founded on July 13th, 1937 in Winston-Salem North Carolina by Vernon Rudolph. Originally, the donuts were only sold to local grocery stores. As the popularity grew, so did the business, with now 1,400 shops and counting. 

What makes Krispy Kreme different? Firstly, Krispy Kreme is not in every state. In fact, there are 14 U.S. states and territories without these delicious donuts. The donuts are also made in-house, with a glass wall surrounding a conveyer belt glazing and baking the donuts for all to watch. 

The franchise also offers unique deals to its customers surrounding free donuts. When the covid-19 vaccine came out, Krispy Kreme offered a free donut every day to  customers who provided proof of vaccination. The franchise also offers a free donut for every A on a student's report card, and 2020 graduates also received a free "Graduate Dozen" donuts! If you're curious about a deal right now, as of June 8th, 2022 free original glazed donuts will be given out when the company's famous "Hot Light" is on. 

Krispy Kreme used to be a private company but switched back to public on July 1st, 2021 and is currently owned by JAB Holding Company. If you're interested in becoming a franchise owner for Krispy Kreme, check this out.

In-N-Out Burger 

Delicious Burgers, Fries, and a Drink From In-N-Out 

As you probably have heard, In-N-Out Burger continues its delicious legacy as a fast food restaurant unique to California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Oregon. Lynsi Lavelle Snyder-Ellingson, the owner and president of In-N-Out, holds a net worth of $4.2 billion. 

In-and-Out is known for its beef patties, which are free from fillers, preservatives, and additives, as well as its freshly cut potatoes (done in store) for the infamous fries. It also has a "secret" menu, allowing people to customize their orders in "Animal Style," essentially adding In-N-Out's famous sauce and grilled onions. The chain does so well that its annual revenue as of 2021 was $575 million. 

Will In-N-Out Burger ever branch out of the West Coast? Answers are unclear. So far, it has focused on creating more than 334 locations in the six states mentioned earlier. In-N-Out Burger pop ups have also been found around the globe. 

Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery's Larger Than Average Cookies 


Have you ever heard of the NYC favorite Levain Bakery? It was created in 1995 by Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald. The bakery has eight locations with more expected to come in the future.

Levain focuses on perfecting its notorious menu item: cookies. Its cookies are uniquely thick, gooey, and crunchy. They are huge and delicious! In fact, its most popular cookie is the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie, however, there are many more flavors such as Two Chip Chocolate Chip Cookie, Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie. More recently, the bakery decided to sell frozen batches of its cookies at select grocery stores. 

Levain's estimated annual revenue is at an estimated $44 million. Levain Bakery was acquired by the Stripes Group, a private equity firm. Though private, the group has stated that its beginning to expand nationally, so definitely keep an eye out for Levain Bakery near you in the future!

Salt & Straw

Tourists and Locals Enjoying Salt & Straw Ice Cream

Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Salt & Straw was founded by Kimberly Malek in 2011. Its unique name matches perfectly with what it sells: ice cream. The ice cream flavors range from Chocolate Nocino Cherry Pie to Pear & Blue Cheese. The company also is famous for its vegan options, including Mathilde’s Hibiscus & Coconut Sherbet and Pink Rosé & Watermelon Sorbet. 

The company currently operates 15 shops all located in Oregon, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and Miami. Not near these areas? That's fine, Salt & Straw also ships domestically. 

Celebrities such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and business partner Dany Garcia invested a nondisclosed amount into Salt & Straw back in 2019, also acting as creative partners and strategic advisors for the ice cream brand. It also received $4.2 million in funding earlier that year, with $2 million coming from Oregon Venture Fund and the other $2.2 million coming from individual investors.

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Sex work is real work: Global COVID-19 recovery needs to include sex workers

Societally, we need to recognize that sex workers have agency and deserve the same respect, dignity and aid as any other person selling their labour.



Globally, sex workers have been left to fend for themselves during the pandemic with little to no support from the government. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

During the pandemic, business shifted from in person to work-from-home, which quickly became the new normal. However, it left many workers high and dry, especially those with less “socially acceptable” occupations.

The pandemic has adversely impacted sex workers globally and substantially increased the precariousness of their profession. And public health measures put in place made it almost impossible for sex workers to provide any in-person service.

Although many people depend on sex work for survival, its criminalization and policing stigmatizes sex workers.

Research shows that globally, sex workers have been left behind and in most cases excluded from government economic support initiatives and social policies. There needs to be an intersectional approach to global COVID-19 recovery that considers everyone’s lived realities. We propose policy recommendations that treat sex work as decent work and that centre around the lived experiences and rights of those in the profession.

Sex work and the pandemic

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently reported that apart from income-loss, the pandemic has increased pre-existing inequalities for sex workers.

In a survey conducted in Eastern and Southern Africa, the UNFPA found that during the pandemic, 49 per cent of sex workers experienced police violence (including sexual violence) while 36 per cent reported arbitrary arrests. The same survey reported that more than 50 per cent of respondents experienced food and housing crises.

Lockdowns and border closures adversely impacted Thailand’s tourism industry which relies partially on the labour of sex workers.

Read more: Sex workers are criminalized and left without government support during the coronavirus pandemic

In the Asia Pacific, sex workers reported having limited access to contraceptives and lubricants along with reduced access to harm reduction resources. Lockdowns also disrupted STI or HIV testing services, limiting sex workers’ access to necessary healthcare.

In North America, sex workers have been excluded from the government’s recovery response. And many began offering online services to sustain themselves.

A woman stands backlit next to a dimly lit bus that reads 'Thailand' with green lighting.
Sex workers stand in a largely shut-down red light area in Bangkok, Thailand on March 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Government vs. community response

Globally, sex workers have been left to fend for themselves during the pandemic with little to no support from the government. But communities themselves have been rallying.

Elene Lam, founder of Butterfly, an Asian migrant sex organization in Canada, talks about the resilience of sex wokers during the pandemic.

She says organizations like the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform are working in collaboration with Amnesty International to mobilize income support and resources to help sex workers in Canada.

Organizations in the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Spain have also set up emergency support funds. And some sex worker organizations have developed community-specific resources for providing services both in person and online during the pandemic.

Global recovery needs to include sex workers

The International Labour Organization’s “Decent Work Agenda” emphasizes productive employment and decent working conditions as being the driving force behind poverty reduction.

Sociologist Cecilia Benoit explains that sex work often becomes a “livelihood strategy” in the face of income and employment instability. She says that like other personal service workers, sex workers also should be able to practice without any interference or violence.

In order to have an inclusive COVID-19 recovery for all, governments need to work to extend social guarantees to sex workers — so far they haven’t.

As pandemic restrictions disappear, it is crucial to ensure that everyone involved in sex work is protected under the law and has access to accountability measures.

A woman stands wearing a mask with a safety vest on in front of a collage of scantily clad women and a sign that reads 'nude women non stop'
A volunteer helps out at Zanzibar strip club during a low-barrier vaccination clinic for sex workers in Toronto in June 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn


As feminist researchers, we propose that sex work be brought under the broader agenda of decent work so that the people offering services are protected.

  1. Governments need to have a legal mandate for preventing sexual exploitation.

  2. Law enforcement staff need to be trained in better responding to the needs of sex workers. To intervene in and address situations of abuse or violence is critical to ensure workplace safety and harm reduction.

  3. Awareness and educational campaigns need to focus on destigmatizing sex work.

  4. Policy-makers need to incorporate intersectionality as a working principle in identifying and responding to the different axes of oppression and marginalization impacting LGBTQ+ and racialized sex workers.

  5. Engagement with sex workers and human rights organizations need to happen when designing aid support to ensure that an inclusive pathway for recovery is created.

  6. Globally, there needs to be a steady commitment towards destigmatizing sex workers and their services.

Despite the gradual waning of pandemic restrictions, sex workers continue to face the dual insecurity of social discrimination and loss of income support. Many are still finding it difficult to stay afloat and sustain themselves.

Societally, we need to recognize that sex workers have agency and deserve the same respect, dignity and aid as any other person selling their labour.

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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GSK and IQVIA launch platform of US vaccination data, showing drop in adult rates

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of vaccine uptake has been a point of contention, but a new platform from GSK and IQVIA is hoping to shed more…



Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of vaccine uptake has been a point of contention, but a new platform from GSK and IQVIA is hoping to shed more light on vaccine data, via new transparency and general awareness.

The two companies have launched Vaccine Track, a platform intended to be used by public health officials, medical professionals and others to strengthen data transparency and display vaccination trends. According to the companies, the platform is intended to aid in increasing vaccine rates and will provide data on trends to assist public health efforts.

Judy Stewart

The platform will also allow users to identify vaccination trends for adults in the US across multiple vaccine types. Users will also be able to scan claims data nationally to track trends alongside pre-Covid metrics.

“For the first time, Vaccine Track brings quarterly data tracking and trends together in a comprehensive platform for immunization partners, decision-makers and stakeholders. Our goal for Vaccine Track is to support the return to pre-pandemic vaccination rates for adults and to go beyond by empowering the vaccine and public health community with frequently updated, actionable information to get ahead of disease together,” said Judy Stewart, GSK’s head of vaccines in a statement.

This move comes as vaccination rates in adults were already low even before the pandemic, with a CDC report stressing that vaccine coverage in adults was low across all age groups.

So far the platform’s data show a decline in adult immunizations, excluding flu vaccinations, across the country during the pandemic. The platform currently only has information from January 2019 to December 2021 on hand but will be updated every quarter.

The data itself observed that rates were especially low in minority populations, which were already showing lower rates of immunization pre-pandemic.

The platform also showed that national trends for adults aged 19 and older are still low, with an average decrease of 18% through last year in overall claims. Average monthly claims through 2021 for recommended vaccines were between 12% and 42% below 2019 rates, with nearly half of the states in the US facing greater than 30% reductions in overall claims for recommended vaccines from pre-pandemic levels.

In Medicare patients, the platform’s analysis found a more than 30% reduction in overall claims for recommended vaccines among Black and Hispanic populations between 2019 and 2021.

The information itself is sourced from medical claims data and longitudinal prescription data, the companies said.

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Pfizer vaults into sickle cell market as GBT deal confirmed

Pfizer’s reported interest in acquiring sickle cell disease specialist Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT)  has been confirmed, with the
The post Pfizer…



Pfizer’s reported interest in acquiring sickle cell disease specialist Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT)  has been confirmed, with the $68.50-per-share deal valuing GBT at $5.4 billion.

As we reported this morning, the deal gives Pfizer already-approved SCD therapy Oxbryta (voxelator) – which industry watchers reckon could see a dramatic uptick in sales with Pfizer’s marketing muscle – plus a phase 3 antibody candidate, a phase 1 follow-up to Oxbryta that could offer improved dosing.

Oxbryta is the main asset in the deal, with Evaluate predicting sales could reach $1.5 billion in 2028 – a leap forward from the $195 million it made last year and $127 million in the first half of 2022.

Pfizer is expecting big things from the takeover , predicting that the company’s SCD franchise will bring in combined peak sales of more than $3 billion.

The boards of both companies have recommended the deal to shareholders, and the two companies suggested it should close before the end of the year – assuming of course it doesn’t fall foul of any antitrust issues raised by financial regulators.

The GBT deal comes at a time when the market for SCD therapies is undergoing significant change, with multiple new drugs reaching the market after years of stagnation and progress also being made with genetic therapies from the likes of bluebird bio, Vertex Pharma/CRISPR Therapeutics and Precision Bio/Novartis.

Oxbryta came to market in 2019, a few days after Novartis’ injectable anti-P-selectin antibody Adakveo (crizanlizumab), which is also tipped for blockbuster sales but like Oxbryta has suffered from a slow rollout.

CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex are also in the running with their gene-editing candidate CTX001, in phase 1/2 trials which are due to generate final results later this year. If those results are positive the partners have said they could file for approval in the US before year-end.

Meanwhile, bluebird bio’s one-time gene therapy  lovotibeglogene autotemcel is supposed to be heading for regulatory filing in the US next year, although it has been delayed by an FDA partial clinical hold implemented after a persistent case of anaemia was seen in one adolescent patient in a clinical trial.

GBT’s inclacumab – another P-selectin antibody that could encroach on Adakveo – is in a pair of phase 3 trials due to generate results next year.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of orally-active pyruvate kinase R activators from Forma Therapeutics and Agios – etavopivat and mitapivat, respectively – in mid-stage development, and Pfizer has its own SCD candidate in PF-07209326, an E-selectin anatomist in phase 1.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t Pfizer’s first deal in SCD. In 2011 it paid $340 million for rights to rivipansel, a pan-selectin antagonist developed by GlycoMimetics, which failed a phase 3 test in 2019 and was jettisoned by Pfizer the following year.

The deal is another example of Pfizer splashing out on business development thanks to windfall cash generated by its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and oral antiviral therapy Paxlovid. It comes shortly after the group closed a $6.7 billion acquisition of Arena Pharma, bringing on board etrasimod in late-stage testing for ulcerative colitis, and made an $11.6 billion takeover bid for Biohaven and its migraine therapy Nurtec ODT (rimegepant).

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