Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Next Level

A little over a week ago, I wrote, almost as an aside, that I had gone and hired me a real live dyed-in-the-wool chef. A foodie. Someone who knows how to cook and loves doing it.

And then, yesterday, I realized quite out of the blue that we had reached the third anniversary of our purchase of the restaurant.

So, there it is. Three years into the thing, and I’m finally going to make this restaurant MINE. By getting out of the kitchen, handing the sauté pan to someone who really KNOWS how to operate it, and using his skills to advance my vision.

No more pushing someone else’s dream up the mountain. I’ve proven I can do that. That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment…there have been oh-so-many times in the past thirty-six months when I’ve nearly conceded that, indeed, I could not. Do. It.

The time has come to bleed and sweat and ache, and laugh and celebrate and high-five, not just for something I “can do,” but for something I can love and be proud of. This young man, this twenty-five-year-old in the early years of what I’m sure will be a fine career, is going to help me get there. If we’re lucky, we can have a long, mutually beneficial association. If we’re lucky.

Tonight, sitting in the restaurant, on a beastly hot evening when I was pretty convinced that people would rather walk over burning coals than sit in our poorly air-conditioned dining room and consume pasta, I watched group after group come in, sit down, enjoy a meal. I lent a hand here and there, answered the phone, opened a bottle of wine, seated some folks, schmoozed a little…

And then I went home and left the clean up to the people I pay to do that.

For the first time in three years…


in three years

I felt like I OWNED a restaurant.

And it felt