Legends and Lies of Launching a Restaurant-logo

Legends and Lies of Launching a Restaurant

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The Bug Man

Here’s a dream many of us have had in the restaurant business. We’re sitting at a table in our favorite restaurant. Over the shoulder of our companion at the table, a fly buzzes lazily in the sunlight. We reach for our soda glass and absent mindedly shoo away a fruit fly swirling over the glass. You open the napkin covered breadbasket of warm rolls to find a few black specks that don’t look like poppy seeds. At the table next to you, you notice a something crawling up the leg of the empty...


The Passion of Chili

This is not a story about a passion for Chili, it’s about the passion of the chili. A fervor that encompasses more than a desire for just a hearty bowl of meat stewed in spices. And it doesn’t matter whether there are beans involved or if there’s a specific condiment to dress the potion. Because in the world of chili created by Brian Walusis and his partner Mason Downey in the small river town of Miamisburg, Ohio chili is elevated and celebrated as a locally inspired craft no less involved...


The Devil in the Details

So, when you grow up in Chicago or have lived there for a while, there’s going to be a hot dog somewhere in your life’s tale of adventure. For Alan Katz, the hot dog has come to mean a path to success in an industry he loves and has been devoted to for over 40 years. Alan’s route to success in the hot dog world is an interesting tale of an early passion for food that took him to the CIA, hotel kitchens, a small seafood chain and a first try at his own restaurant that didn’t quite make it....


Spiros Zakas, designer

Spiros was a very large influence in restaurant designs starting in the mid 70’s not only in Chicago with the work he did lettuce entertain you and others, but around the country as well. He had a sense of place and purpose in his restaurant designs that not only created a great experience for the guest, but also provided a practical approach to operations as well. Elements that all too often in a lot of restaurants I’ve seen and worked with don’t co-exist as well as they should. Too many...

A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name

The prospect of being your own boss and owning your own business is a dream many people from all sort of backgrounds have. It’s one that can frighten you and those close to you, or it can empower you to succeed and those around you to pitch in where they can to first show their love and second to do what they can to help that dream become a reality. When the latter exists, nothing is impossible, or so it seems.


Pin Balls, Pizza, Pasta and Pie

When your young and need cash and you’re not disposed with a criminal mind, you get a job. And the easy job to get has always been in a restaurant. That’s what set Scott Foster off on a career path that’s taken him on a journey from the dish pit through an encounter with Oprah Winfrey’s only foray into the restaurant business to leading the Nova Group of 7 restaurants.


Chairs, Elevators and Caddies

For every restaurant in the planning stage, whether it’s a small mom and pop shop with a zero-based budget or a 15,000 square foot place with 400 seats that’s ready to spend five million dollars or more on construction and FF&E…there’s a design team involved


A Guy With A Plan

In some way, his is the story of every woman or man wearing the mantle of Chef. His is also the story of every dreamer who may have never set foot in a restaurant kitchen but somehow knows there’s a place for them in the restaurant cosmos.


Richard Melman and The Fish Market Redemption

We were both with him in the fledgling years of the mid to late 70’s and it was this exposure to the energetic drive, limitless creativity and irreverent attitude to the status quo that formed both our approaches to the business of launching a restaurant.


Panic Attack

Without getting too analytical, first thing to consider is the validity of the feeling. Is this joint I’ve spent nearly a year working on and have spent a lot of money to create (mostly not mine) in fact, wrong? If so, what is it that makes it so? And then if it is wrong, how wrong is it and will I be able to fix it in time?