Expectations, Expectations…

We have officially been open for reservations for just over a week. There is one question that I have been asked more than any other and that is “what does it feel like to have pressure on you to deliver?”  I can honestly say that the pressure has always been there from the beginning, but when you see the first reservations start to come in and they are from Brazil, Mexico, Australia, The States, etc. it changes something inside of you. The thoughts of all the critics and bloggers coming to visit you quickly disappears and is replaced by this feeling of being humbled by people traveling to Copenhagen to eat. Of course we are one of many restaurants that people are traveling to this city to experience. But with this comes certain responsibilities. The first is making these guests feel like they are entering our home. Making them feel comfortable and happy. The next is a responsibility to our colleagues. Everyone is working so hard to make this city a place that people want to travel to eat. It takes everyone working together to accomplish that. That is why I love this city. All the Chefs and restaurateurs realize that it is a special time. Everyone is really putting his or her selves out there. You feel like you are part of something bigger.

Enough with the romanticism. We are officially 4 weeks from opening. The dining room is very close to being move-in ready. The kitchen is getting a new floor this week, followed by the installation of all the large equipment. The garden is bursting to the point that we actually had to pull some of the vegetables and eat them. They were ready now. We have planted new stuff that will be ready for the opening. I spoke with Søren Wiuff last week and told him about our premature harvest. He just laughed and called us amateurs. He will be paying us a visit later on this summer. He says that autumn is his favorite time of the year, not spring. So that should ensure us of the latter part of the year being quite fruitful.

This year is really going to be an experiment in not only the garden, but in all aspects of the restaurant. Through all of our experiences we have a good idea of how to run a restaurant, but all of those experiences are drawn from running restaurants in different settings, with different logistics, and with different guests. I don’t think you can ever be 100% ready and set when you open a new restaurant. You have to have the mindset that you will be making changes and you have to embrace those opportunities when they come.

I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Peter, Rene, and Lau form Noma this week and pick their brains. I am truly lucky to have this wealth of knowledge to draw on. We went through every aspect of the restaurant and they did not hold back in their opinions and thoughts. It is amazing how different people can interpret the same scenario in completely different ways. I guess what I am trying to say is that you should never assume that anyone will act in a certain way when presented with a choice. I am making a reference with regards to how the guests will enter the restaurant. You will see when you come and eat.

To that end, I thought that this blog, which is actually the uncensored mental vomit of thoughts going through my head while trying to open my own place, would stop when we finally opened the restaurant. But the more I thought about it, there’s more than one definition of being “open.” And as far as we’re concerned, that is what we are all about – and what we will continue to be because that is how we got here in the first place.

4 thoughts on “Expectations, Expectations…

  1. Denis Giannelli

    I hope that all of your Great Expectations come to fruition, Matt. Good luck- I know you will do well!
    Denis G

  2. George and Dea Puthoff

    Dea and I are so excited for you and your wife to have such a great opportunity to two really hard working neat people.

    We wish you and your staff the best on opening day. After reading your blog I can remember what my father told me years ago…(1950’s) I was with Dad at his Feed store and a customer came in to pay the bill for the month.. On the way out of the store Dad grabbed a 10lb sack of flower and gave it to the customer. I asked Dad why he did that because I new the customer didn’t pay for the flower. Dad Said to me…” Son, you have to give in order to receive”. You guys will do just fine and good luck.

    Love ya

    Dea and George

  3. Gee Giannella Lopez

    All the very best from your Jersey Mother. We wish you all the very best with your restaurant. I know you will do so well. Good luck. All our love cuz..

  4. Marc Blazer

    Matt, best of luck. I am sure you’ll knock it out of the park (although I suspect that is a reference most Danes probably won’t get). I look forward to following your success both on the blog, and in my visits to Copenhagen!

    All best,

    Marc Blazer

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