So first I want to apologize for the long pause between blog posts. It’s been in the back of my mind like a monkey on my back. But time goes so quickly—you blink and six weeks goes by.
The time since I’ve opened the restaurant has been the craziest six months of my life. There have been so many emotions, so many guests and the opportunity to work with (this may be a biased statement) the best team I have ever worked with in my career. Of course it all hasn’t been fun and games. There have been times when I felt as if my head was going to explode (and sometimes it has), BUT at the end of every day, the good far outweighs the bad, and I couldn’t be happier with where we are currently as a restaurant. This is not to suggest that when I say, “where we are at,” that I am content. We have so far to go. There should never be an ending point. The restaurant is alive and growing and anyone who is a part of it will always be attached to that living being.
What else happened after the first six months? One can really start to feel that the restaurant is finally starting to break itself in. It is still the same room, but it feels warmer and the energy from the guests is in the walls itself. But I only noticed this when I came back from winter break. Our first service back, I just felt that there was something missing in the dining room. Was it the lights? Was it the music? Whatever wasn’t there was freaking me out.
We talked about it after service and I still couldn’t figure it out. After a few days, I finally got it: it was people. It’s people that give the restaurant so much energy. and when it’s absent, you feel as if something is off. Only after I was gone, did I realize that it was the people–guests, chefs, waiters, purveyors–that gave the space so much energy. Without people, the restaurant is just an empty shell.
While thinking about how to get things going again, I took the time to step back for a bit and analyze what we’ve been doing for the past six months. It’s so easy to get so caught up in the whirlwind known as a restaurant that one can forget to take that step. What’s in our menu? How’s service? What happens when we get our new pastry chef? What will we do for the garden? Where will we put the greenhouse? What guest chefs will we invite? And what kind of impact do we want to have on the industry? What mark do we want to leave?
When winter was coming upon us, I was a little nervous as to how it was going to pan out in the end. I wanted guests to feel as if what they ate was an extension of what they saw outside our windows. That also requires a certain dedication to seasonal products. And those products? They are tied…to the weather. We talked about it a lot as a team and we have really taken the challenge full on. The menu has become more focused and the flavors a bit stronger. This is not to say I’m not looking forward to warmer weather, but I think next year, I’ll actually be excited for it to get cold again, but hopefully only for a few months.
The break was a great chance to think about the next year. Super-excited and ready to make our plans a reality.