Saturday, February 4, 2012

Doughnut dinner, Mardi Gras and good (overall) restaurant news

The Liberty hosts a book dinner Feb. 11 with chef John Malik for Malik's "Doughnuts for Amy," described as "a novel of life & death, love & retirement, sugar & spice." The menu is comprised of recipes from the book, ranging from grilled zucchini with roasted red pepper sauce to braised short rib to malted milk and vanilla bean doughnut. $40; 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830.

Georges Brasserie's second annual Mardi Gras Celebration will be Feb. 21, with drink and food specials including seafood gumbo, pan-seared red fish with crawfish and bananas Foster bread pudding, plus live New Orleans jazz. 4620 Piedmont Row Drive; 980-219-7409.

The restaurant industry is projected to expand in 2012, says the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast: Total industry sales (at the country's nearly 1 million restaurants) are expected to reach a record high of $632 billion in 2012, which is a 3.5 percent increase over 2011. Employment in the industry is expected to hit 12.9 million in 2012, which makes restaurants the second largest private sector employer in the country, and about 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. Restaurants added jobs at a rate of 1.9 percent in 2011 (topping the total rate of 1 percent); in 2012, the forecast calls for a 2.3 percent rate, a percentage point above projected total U.S. job gains.