Bold Press

Local chef takes top prize in contest
August 29, 2008 By Ashley Gurbal, Altoona Mirror

Combine raspberries, peanut butter, beer, honey oil and vinegar and what do you get? If you're chef Bill Sell, it's a raspberry vinaigrette that's a key part of a prize-winning meal.

Sell, 35, the executive chef at Altoona Hotel, created the vinaigrette last week at A Progress Days in Rock Springs, where he won the Regional PA Preferred Best Chef of Pennsylvania 2008 contest. The vinaigrette topped a salad that accompanied smoked, paprika-crusted venison.
Chef looks to be creative with ‘Bold’ restaurant
February 23, 2010 William Kibler, Al toona
The name of a proposed restaurant for Altoona's downtown - Bill Sell's Bold - is confusing in a way that Joe's Pizza is not. Still, the name says it all, according to Brooke Sell.

The new restaurant "will be nothing like you will find anywhere else in town," said Brooke, Bill's wife and co-owner of the new restaurant.

After 21 years as a chef working for others at Altoona Hotel, U.S. Hotel and the Johnstown Marriott, her husband has the opportunity "to be as creative as his ability," she said. "He's earned his way to this."

The Sells plan to open in mid- to late-April in the former Michael's Cafe on 11th Avenue, which closed Dec. 1.

They'll renovate, so the place won't look anything like it did as Michael's, Brooke said.

It will specialize in tapas, or small portions, mostly protein-based, often exotic, with the expectation patrons will order multiple items to "create their own meal," she said.

The setup gives the patrons more-than-usual control over the makeup and cost of their meals, she said.

The Sells will stay away from processed foods, and there will be no trans fats, added salt or chemicals. "Clean eating," she said.

There will be seating for 75, a full-service bar and a wine list.

The Sells will open From, a disc-jockey dance club with bar geared for college students downstairs in the space formerly occupied by Rumors, she said.

Next year, Brooke plans to open an "ultra" lounge upstairs geared for professionals.

It will be "plush and beautiful," she said, with couches, a dress code, an intimate atmosphere, high-end liquor and a rooftop terrace.

Both Sells were born and raised in the Altoona area.

Former Michael's owner Michael Rickard has moved to Florida, where he bought Wise Guys, a nightclub in Daytona Beach. The two-level nightclub has three bars and holds about 550 people.

"I was retiring until this," Rickard said. "I wanted to live life."

But the opportunity came up, and he took advantage.

Michael's was in operation 10 years.

"I had wanted to get out of Altoona," Rickard said. "It was just time."

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

Stop by today at 1413 11th Avenue in downtown Altoona!