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I Tried the Mask Made for & by Hospitality

I Tried the Mask Made for & by Hospitality

by David Klemt

Wearing a mask is part of everyday life, particularly for hospitality industry professionals.

DCBL Masks was designed by hospitality professionals for the hospitality industry, born out of their reverence for the workers putting themselves at risk so the communities they serve can retain a semblance of their normal lives.

Their first mask, the X-1, is intended to provide solutions to the problems presented by other face coverings.

Thoughtful Design

One problem with the standard masks and face coverings we’ve grown accustomed to is their tendency to muffle voices. One of the driving design elements behind the DCBL X-1 is the projection of the wearer’s voice.

The X-1 is a three-piece mask and its second layer is what sets it apart from others. The middle layer is sound-enhancing, sculpted foam that allows the wearer’s voice to carry. No more going hoarse from yelling, no more (or less, at least) repeating oneself, no more guests leaning in or stepping closer to hear what’s being said (hopefully).

That second layer is also intended to improve breathability. The inside layer’s design provides an air pocket for similar breathing functionality. It’s also made of natural bamboo so it’s soft, moisture-wicking and cooling, and it receives an antimicrobial treatment.

The X-1’s outer layer is polyester and resists dust and moisture while also protecting against UV rays. There are two flexible “suspension” systems, one for the nose and one to seal the bottom of the mask. Straps are Spandex, ear loops are adjustable, and there’s a clasp system so the wearer can choose how to secure the mask to their head.

Designed by Industry Pros

DCBL is the brainchild of industry veterans Michael Tipps and Homan Taghdiri. Tipps and Taghdiri are the co-founders of both DCBL Masks and Invictus Hospitality, a consulting agency headquartered in Los Angeles.

Tipps boasts over two decades’ experience in hospitality. He got his start in South Florida and has worked every front-of-house position. His journey through hospitality helped him gain perspective regarding the challenges inherent to the industry, and he eventually co-founded Invictus.

Taghdiri worked in hospitaity for 13 years before becoming a licensed attorney in California. He has worked every position in the industry. While he no longer studies law, when he did, he specialized in real estate, business and the hospitality industry.

DCBL’s Mission

There are three main goals DCBL seeks to achieve: Protection, projection, and connection. I’ve explained how they achieve the first two goals.

If the first goal isn’t realized, goals two and three don’t matter. If DCBL whiffs on the second goal, the third is unachievable. The X-1 seeks to make conversation easier when wearing masks so people can feel more connected. Being separated by masks, distance, barriers, and staying at home is detrimental to us all. The DCBL X-1 addresses that issue.

As the DCBL website says, “Staying safe and making a living shouldn’t be as challenging as it has been.” I feel the brand accomplishes their deceptively simple goals.


First things first, I didn’t receive my X-1 in exchange for this post or any monetary compensation. I was genuinely curious about the mask and placed an order for two.

My masks arrived in a black bubble mailer, making them seem a little cooler from the start. They were each sealed in their own packet with an insert that explained the three layers, different methods for securing the X-1, machine washing instructions, and more.

DCBL X-1 mask packaging

In my experience, the mask felt soft and comfortable before even putting it on. The X-1 feels like a well-constructed, high-quality mask.

DCBL X-1 Mask

I have to say, I dig the interior layer. Not only is it soft and comfortable, the design detail is a nice departure from the white, black or pale blue to which we’ve all become accustomed:

Inside layer of DCBL X-1 face mask

It’s comfortable on my face and it allows me to speak comfortably, clearly and loudly no extra effort. I wore mine around my place and while writing this article. The ear loops are comfortable for me but the X-1 can be worn easily with an ear loop extension or toward the top of the head with the clasp system.

My glasses did fog slightly at first, but that became a non-issue after I adjusted the nose bridge suspension area.

Other people’s mileage may very, of course, but I feel that the mask delivers on DCBL’s mission statement: Be Heard.

To learn more and order the X-1, click here. connect with DCBL on Instagram and Facebook. Contact for wholesale orders.

Disclaimer: The DCBL X-1 is not a medical-grade mask and is not intended as a replacement for medical-grade equipment or other recommended measures to stop the community spread of any viruses.

Images taken by author.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Dave Portnoy, Other Celebrities Provide Financial Support for Restaurants and Other Small Businesses

Dave Portnoy, Other Celebrities Provide Financial Support for Restaurants and Other Small Businesses

by David Klemt

Famous chefs and restaurateurs aren’t the only people lending their celebrity to raise money for struggling businesses and the workers they employ.

Well, notoriety may be a better descriptor for Dave Portnoy‘s influence than celebrity. He may not be an operator but he is one of the most prolific pizza reviewers and influencers on the planet. And there’s no denying he’s been in the corner of restaurants, criticizing how officials and their responses have dealt lethal blows to the industry.

The Barstool Sports founder was challenged to put his money where his mouth is by Marcus Lemonis after “ranting” about the plight of Covid-19-ravaged restaurants and bars. Rising to the challenge, Portnoy seeded the Barstool Fund with a personal donation of $500,000, which Lemonis matched.

That half-million dollars isn’t the only donation Lemonis has made to help small businesses. The entrepreneur, philanthropist and television show host launched the Nashville 30 Day Fund by putting in $500,000 of his own money just days after December 25, 2020. This particular fund provides small businesses and individuals that operate or reside within a half-mile radius of the Christmas Day bombing site in Nashville with forgivable loans up to $100,000

Back to the Barstool Fund. Bolstered by celebrity backing and support from more than 175,000 donors and counting, the fund has raised more than $22 million in less than a month and helped more than 100 businesses.

Guy Fieri, who helped grow the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to well over $20 million, has donated money to the Barstool Fund. So have Aaron Rodgers (who reportedly pitched in $500,000), Tom Brady, Dana White, and Kid Rock.

One crucial element for small businesses applying to the Barstool Fund is that they must still be paying their employees. There are no regional restrictions, but applicants do need to explain the intended use for whatever funds they may receive. According to a Newsweek article, checks will be given to businesses selected for Barstool Fund support on a month-t0-month basis.

Below you’ll find the restaurants, bars, pubs, taverns and even a soda shop that have received Barstool Fund grants as of yesterday afternoon, January 11. To apply for funds, please click here. If you can afford to contribute, please follow this link and click “Contribute to the Fund.”


Gaetano’s Tavern on Main (Wallingford, CT), Laskara (Wallingford, CT),  Piggy’s Cafe (Hartford, CT), Red Rock Tavern (Hartford, CT), Abbey Burger Bistro (Baltimore, MD), Claddagh Pub (Baltimore, MD), Don’t Know Tavern (Baltimore, MD), Dough Boy Fresh Pretzel Company (Dundalk, MD), Atlas Pub & Kitchen (Chicopee, MA), Casa Mia (Marblehead, MA), Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill (Walpole, MA), Jimmy’s Pub & Restaurant (Mansfield, MA), The Park Lunch (Newburyport, MA), The Village Trestle (Goffstown, NH), Hoboken Beer & Soda Outlet (Hoboken, NJ), Jack’s Cafe (Verona, NJ), Marandola’s (Bradley Beach, NJ), Mia Restaurant (Oceanport, NJ), Nanni Ristorante (Rochelle Park, NJ), Tim Kerwin’s Tavern (Middlesex, NJ), The Underdog Bar & Grill (Haledon, NJ), Acquista Trattoria (Fresh Meadows, NY), Bayview Tavern (Seaford, NY), Borrelli’s (East Meadow, NY), The Café (Long Beach, NY), Chadwick’s Restaurant (Brooklyn, NY), Durf’s Family Restaurant (Fairport, NY), The Eagle House (Williamsville, NY), Holbrooks Backporch (Holbrook, NY), Johny’s Luncheonette (New York, NY), Kabooz’s Bar and Grill (New York, NY), Kirvens (Bronx, NY),La Conca D’Oro (Catskill, NY), Mama Mia 44 SW (New York, NY), Mary Ann’s Mexican Restaurant (Port Chester, NY), Mulligan’s Fireside Pub (Bronx, NY), Portobello Restaurant (Staten Island, NY), Roomers Bar (Lake Placid, NY), San Martino Ristorante (Yonkers, NY), Squire’s Tap Room (Tonawanda, NY), Trattoria L’incontro (Queens, NY), Flanigan’s Boathouse (Conshohocken, PA), Jack’s Spot Tavern (Pitman, PA), Kelly’s Seafood (Philadelphia, PA), La Collina (Bala Cynwyd, PA)


Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen (Chicago, IL), Ken’s Diner (Skokie, IL), Que Rico (Chicago, IL), The Rathskeller (Indianapolis, IN), Special Dogs & More (Columbus, IN), The Bomber Restaurant (Ypsilanti, MI), Champ’s Pub (Brighton, MI), Kennedy’s Irish Pub (Waterford, MI), Mac’s Acadian Seafood Shack (Saline, MI), Water Street Tavern (Kent, OH), Dairy Land Family Restaurant (Madison, WI), Gray Brewing Company (Janesville, WI), J&B’s Bar & Blue Ribbon Tap Room (Milwaukee, WI)

Rocky Mountains

Durango Diner (Durango, CO)


Play Louisville (Louisville, KY), Steak Street (High Point, NC), Freddie’s Beach Bar (Arlington, VA), Wonju Korean Restaurant (Roanoke, VA)


Al J’s Tavern (Tucson, AZ), Coney Island Hot Weiners (Tulsa, OK), Mack’s Tenders (Houston, TX)


Anaheim White House (Anaheim, CA), Cactus Cantina (Riverside, CA), Dessert’D Organic Bake Shop (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Locale Farm to Table Eatery (Bakersfield, CA), Mexican Riviera (Torrance, CA), Mitla Cafe (San Bernardino, CA), Rubi’s Frosty Freeze (Whittier, CA), Tadich Grill (San Francisco, CA), Vincenzo’s Terrazza (West Covina, CA), Banks Billiards (Banks, OR), Mayan Mexican Family Restaurants (Lacey, WA)

For the full list of Barstool Fund recipients, click here.

Image: Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash