He’s worked in the Northeast’s top kitchens, but nothing could have prepared Justin Urso for opening a hotel restaurant during COVID-19

Justin Urso, 32, has a stellar resume: Catalyst, Deuxave, and L’Espalier in Boston; Del Posto and Maze in New York City, where he worked under Gordon Ramsay. But nothing could have prepared him to open The Dial inside Central Square’s new 907 Main Hotel in September, when few people are visiting town and locals are reluctant to dine out. The restaurant has a global menu, though, and Urso is banking on people traveling to try his food.



a person posing for the camera: Chef Justin Urso opened The Dial restaurant at 907 Main in Cambridge's Central Square in September 2020.


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Chef Justin Urso opened The Dial restaurant at 907 Main in Cambridge’s Central Square in September 2020.

You’re the chef at a hotel restaurant that opened during a pandemic. How’s that been going?

Well, I mean, it’s been quite an ordeal. Just before COVID-19 hit, we were probably about three weeks to a month away from opening. And then COVID happened, and obviously our site got shut down. And then, once construction was allowed to resume, we went from being able to have five to 10 people working in a space together to only having one person in a room at a time, so then that delayed our construction.

So we’re open now, and we couldn’t be happier. I know times are tough, but as our owner has said, “Sometimes the best thing to do to get through a storm is to drive right through it.” So that’s what we’re doing; we’re full steam ahead and making the best of a bad situation. Opening has certainly been challenging with COVID, with all of the added safety measures — not that they’re a challenge, but it’s something new to get used to and train everyone on. . . . On top of all of the added stresses of opening a restaurant, it’s adding one more on top, but I think our team has done a fantastic job.

What sort of safety protocols did you have to learn? I think people would be really curious to know.

Aside from obviously wearing gloves and masks at all times, we stop service every hour to wipe down and sanitize all surfaces, which you can imagine during a restaurant service has its challenges, but safety is the number-one priority. So we literally stop every hour on the hour and sanitize every surface in the kitchen, and any high-touch points like the slicer, fry handles, underneath any refrigerator doors. All of our employees have to do wellness checks when they walk in the door. They get a temperature taken and fill out a questionnaire every single day.

Also, we recently installed some air-filtration systems. They’re from a company called Aura Air, and they’ve got four different types of filters: a HEPA filter, a copper filter, a UV filter, and an ion sterilization process. So our space is about as safe as you can make it during COVID, but it’s certainly all been things that we’ve had to learn.

What’s your your take on indoor dining? That’s a source of debate and concern for people. How you think

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3 Top Travel Stocks to Buy Now

As everyone knows, the travel and leisure industry is in the dumps right now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet better therapeutics are coming to market every day, and with each passing day, we are getting closer to a vaccine. Bill Gates believes there could be vaccine approvals as early as December or January, meaning the pandemic could end by mid- to late 2021.

There is likely a lot of pent-up demand for travel after a year of restricted movement. Given the run-up in “stay-at-home” stocks this year, investors may wish to look at high-quality travel and leisure stocks that are still down on the year.

That’s why MGM Resorts International  (NYSE:MGM), Disney (NYSE:DIS), and Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) all look like promising “post-vaccine” bounce-back travel picks today.

Sunglasses and a facemask on a suitcase.

Three stocks to play a travel turnaround. Image source: Getty Images.

MGM Resorts International

Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC) recently took a 12% stake in MGM Resorts, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to follow this smart investor into the stock as well. Not only should IAC help grow MGM’s digital offerings in i-gaming and online sports betting, but MGM’s core casino properties appear quite cheap as well.

MGM’s casinos consist of 35% of rooms on the Las Vegas strip, along with many regional casinos and two properties in Macau. In 2019, MGM achieved adjusted EBITDAR of over $3.3 billion and free cash flow of about $1.1 billion, versus a market capitalization of just $10.5 billion, and an enterprise value of $25.7 billion. That’s just a 7.7 EV/EBITDA multiple and a 10 times cash flow multiple based on last year’s earnings.

New CEO Bill Hornbuckle just took the top role as CEO and appears to be doing a good job conserving cash in the new depressed environment. Of the properties that were gradually reopened in the second quarter, almost all generated positive cash flow, even with 30% occupancy during the week and 50% occupancy on the weekends. The company is also implementing a $450 million cost-saving plan this year, which should stick around even when traffic returns.

Not only should the core properties bounce back strongly once the world gets a vaccine, but MGM should also benefit from the expansion of i-gaming and online sports betting across America. MGM’s BetMGM app should benefit from MGM’s casino presence across the country, as well as its 34 million-plus M-Life rewards members it can reach via digital channels. BetMGM is already live in seven states, on its way to 11 by the end of the year, with market access in 19 total states.

With a cheap stock just in relation to its core casino business, as well as hidden potential upside from BetMGM and IAC’s involvement, MGM looks like a promising turnaround pick in the travel sector today.

Two young girls on a roller coaster.

Image source: Getty Images.

Disney

Most investors know the Walt Disney brand and its impeccable record of value creation over time. Yet Disney’s stock is still off almost 20% below its all-time highs set back

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The Top 3 Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains In The USA

There’s a growing trend in pet-friendly hotels and they are appearing all over the USA. However, there are 3 hotel chains that go beyond just accepting pets. They welcome them with open paws and they have thought of a variety of creative ways of making both you and your pet feel incredibly pampered.

#1: Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton Hotels have no weight restrictions, no number of pet restrictions and no type of pet restrictions. They don’t even charge an extra fee. They really are the most accepting and welcoming pet-friendly chain. If you don’t have your own animal they will kindly provide you with a goldfish to keep you company for the duration of your stay.

The major Kimpton Hotels have a canine Director of Pet Relations who will welcome your pet on arrival. They will also provide you with food bowls, water bowls and pet beds. There are extra packages available, such as pet massages, gourmet treats, chew toys, cat scratching posts, and they offer pet services, such as pet-sitting and dog-walking. Pets are also invited to attend the complimentary wine hour.

#2: Indigo Hotels

Many of the Indigo Hotels will call you prior to your arrival to see if they can enhance your stay beyond your expectations. On arrival you will receive a dog goody basket. Hotel Indigo, Downtown Asheville, even provide custom dog treats with your pet’s name on.

They will also provide you with bowls, beds, toys and complimentary scoop bags. My favorite feature of their pet-friendly program are their canine cocktail parties, known as Yappy Hour. Guests, their four-legged friend and locals mingle over cocktails, and part of the money raised goes to the local animal shelter.

Indigo Hotels do have some weight restrictions in place, which differ between the individual hotels, and they also charge a one-off fee, which ranges between $40-$75.

#3: Loews Hotels

On arrival you will receive a welcome package that includes treats, a golden pet tag, bowls, scoop bags and vouchers for local pet-friendly establishments. In your room you will find comforts, such as beds, litter trays, scratching posts, rawhide bones and even pet DVDs. They also offer pet services, such as pet-sitting and pet-walking.

Loews Hotels endeavor to wait on you paw and foot, and they have room service menus that have been especially created for pets by their award-winning chef. If your pet is the adventurous type then you can head over to Loews Hotel, San Diego, where they hold dog surfing competitions. If your dog would rather spend then day being pampered then visit Loews Hotels, St Pete Beach, where they offer a professional canine therapeutic service.

All pets are welcome and they have a one-off fee, which is normally between $25-$35.…

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Beverly Hills Hotels Guide – An Overview of the Top Luxury Hotels and Budget Accommodation

Despite its reputation as being an upper class area with designer shops and multi-million dollar homes, Beverly Hills doesn’t have to be an expensive place to visit. There is a nice variety of Beverly Hills hotels located near all of the shops and restaurants.

The neighborhood is located approximately nine miles west from downtown LA. There are both public and private transportation options from LAX and downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills. You can take a bus, Uber, taxi, or even the subway. There is always the option to rent your own vehicle as well, although a lot of travelers don’t like driving around Southern California.

It’s recommended that you wait until autumn to visit this destination when the weather is cooler and the volume of tourists is down.

Budget accommodation includes Hotel Beverly terrace, which provides guests with free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Hotel Del Flores is located in the heart of the neighborhood and is a short distance away from Museum of Tolerance and UCLA. This is a historic hotel built in 1928.

Speaking of which, there are a number of historic Beverly Hills hotels. The Sunset Tower Hotel, previously known as The Argyle and the St. James Club, has been a historic site on the Sunset Strip since 1931. It’s a fine example of the Art Deco architecture of its time and worth staying in if you can afford the rate.

Another historic, luxurious Art Deco hotel is The Beverly Hills Hotel. Since it opened in 1928, the staff has been treating guests like royalty. It is also conveniently located within walking distance to popular shops.

Beverly Hills Hotels for Kids

Traveling with your kids? Looking for a family-friendly resort? There are quite a few available, including Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel, Hotel Beverly Terrace, The Crescent, Maison 140, The Beverly Hilton, The Mosaic Hotel, and several others.

If you want seclusion, then you can get all the privacy you want at the Viceroy L’Ermitage. Staying at this property will give you the feeling of being in a private residence with all of the amenities you can expect of a modern, luxury hotel. Why not stay at a rooftop cabana? There is complimentary car service (in fancy sports cars).

If price is a concern, take advantage of Beverly Hills hotels discounts. Sometimes you can find them online when booking your trip through a travel website. Just wait until a great deal pops up. Flexibility and patience are essential when it comes to saving money on a SO-CAL vacation.

Begin your search for budget travel by looking over online promotional codes and using the site to help you plan your trip. All you have to do is use the search tool to find and compare hotel rates. If you have Beverly Hills hotels coupons, make sure they’re valid before booking your trip.…

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Top Romantic Hotels Around the World

When you are on a romantic holiday, finding a perfect hotel is a must and if you are not short on budget, then the chances of landing in a perfect hotel are much higher than the usual. For many people, the honeymoon is the only time when they consider luxury over budget and wish to have the perfect itinerary designed for the entire trip. Since the offers and deals on flight tickets are flooding the internet and fewer information on hotel stays putting people into massive confusion, here we have come up with the list of top romantic hotels around the world that are really amazing and give away nothing but the best delights one can ever savor on. So, if you are not much worried about your budget and looking forward for something luxurious, mood-setting and joyful, then here is a list of the best romantic hotels across the globe for your references:

1. The Gritti Palace, Venice, Italy

The charming and romantic city of Venice must be in your travel bucket list for couple getaways and if you are planning on visiting this enthralling conurbation of the Italy in the near future, then you will find the Gritti Palace a perfect suit for your stays. With an average cost starting from US $800 per night presently, this place will give you an enthralling experience of all time. From the views of the Grand Canal to the fantastic interior that consist of historical artefacts from the heritage of the region are the biggest highlight of the place. The incredible hospitality along with fascinating suits are the key features along with myriad world-class facilities. So, if you are planning on a dreamy vacation to the Venice, Gritti Palace will be the best option for you.

2. Shangri-La Hotel Paris, France

The romantic capital of the world Paris requires no introduction as the city is already in your travel bucket list. The fascinating capital of France is already having an image for being dreamy as well as expensive enough itself, but when we speak of the best romantic hotel, Paris raises the bar manifolds as you have to choose from the best of the best. Hence, Shangri-La Hotel Paris has been a tremendous place for everyone. Incepted as a private mansion in its early days. This 101-roomed property is a thriving place featured with the classic interior, state-of-the-art interior, world-class services and close proximity from the center of the attraction Eiffel Tower. The average cost of the stay starts from US$ 930 per night and can give you a lifetime experience to cherish.

3. Rosewood London, London, England

The blooming British capital London is a truly mesmerizing place for everyone to spend a quality and memorable couple vacation and before you think of any place that can be suitable for your luxurious stay (except for the Buckingham Palace), Rosewood London will catch your eyes instantly. The exterior itself has been a catch for tourists, but once you step inside this giant …

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Top 5 Tips For Car Travel With Your Boston Terrier

One of the challenges of dog-ownership is traveling with your doggy companion. There are issues when traveling with any breed, but Boston Terriers come with their own set of special needs that need to be addressed when taking long road trips. There are many methods, many tools, methods and techniques used to manage traveling by car with your boston terrier. Some work better than others. Now how is it possible to obtain the best results?

Understanding and preparation is certainly the key. In the same way, the real key to getting good results with traveling with your boston terrier is much more know-how about what works and being properly prepared before you travel.

Here are 5 tips for smooth car travel with your Boston Terrier:

1. Take your Boston on a long walk before getting in the car.Just why is this important? Boston Terriers are energetic by nature, and can get bored and moody when they have to be still for too long. This is compounded if they haven’t had a chance for a proper “restroom” break (which you know means several, if you already own a Boston). Make sure you friend has time to run around and do his or her business right before a long car trip.. And exactly what comes about when you follow this advice? You can be sure your Boston will be contented sleeping for a long portion of the trip, and will be comfortable until your first scheduled rest stop..

2. Bring a dish full of ice instead of a bowl of water. Water has a tendency to spill during a car ride, but it’s absolutely necessary that your Boston have access to fresh cool drinking water at all times, particularly if you’re traveling during the summer months. The ice actually helps because Boston Terriers are Brachycephalic (meaning they have a short snout) and are very susceptible to overheating. The cold water will help your pet regulate their body temperature on a hot day.

3. Place shades in the car windows. Once again, the main reason behind this is the Boston Terrier’s intolerance to heat. While you may notice your friend gravitates to sunbeams on the living room floor, it’s very important that they have somewhere shady to lay down.. It is also a good idea because Boston’s have very fine coats and are at risk of serious sunburn if exposed to direct sun for too long.

4. Have a comfy car bed. And why is this a good idea? Car seats are shaped for comfort of the the human buttocks, not for the comfort of our canine friends. With seatbelts sticking out and stitching in strange places they can be very uncomfortable for your dog on a long journey.. Any other reason? Depending on the color of your car interior, the seats (and seatbelts) can get very hot – hot enough to burn your Boston. Having a special bed for your doggy eliminates this risk.

5. Take breaks every 2 – 3

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