Opening a restaurant, DJ and Joel and Amber and Nika and thoughts on 6 months.

We’re hitting six months on the 18th of September and I find myself overwhelmed with amazement and gratitude for the people I’ve been given the opportunity to meet in this time.  We’re losing one of them on the anniversary and I’ve been dwelling on that a bit much – but it brings me to think about how we got here and how lucky I am.

Lamenting, in December, about how the restaurant was never, ever, ever going to be finished, my co-worker Potter, sick of hearing about it, gave me the name of a guy who had built his deck a while back and from that I met Andrew – the wunderkind who built the bar and tables and shelves and sign.  Through Andrew I met DJ – an incredible person with so many talents and such creativity I can’t find words to do him justice.  DJ opened this restaurant.  He and Andrew built what you see. He educated me in what was needed to open this place via numerous texts and late hours talking me through it.  DJ’s unwavering positivity and enthusiasm kept me bolstered when I was flagging.  He has a million ideas and takes amazing chances – all while smiling and bringing coffee.  We don’t see DJ as much as we’d like to – he’s opening other things and helping everyone around him – but his presence is everywhere in the restaurant.  He’s a big part of this family.  Even this week, after we were broken into, moments after I had texted Andrew and asked if I could please please please impose upon him again because we needed help, DJ texted to say he’d be right over to secure the building – and he brought coffee.  And a smile.  And a hug.  And before we were scheduled to open Friday night, Andrew and DJ had fixed what was broken and made it stronger than before – as they have both been doing since the beginning of 2014.

DJ introduced us to Joel.  I met with Joel and DJ at Ernestos – a lovely place near us about which I cannot say enough to convey how nice it is – and Joel scared the bejeepers out of me.  At the time, my plan for the bar was a few local beers, a gin and tonic maybe, and some wine.  I thought “I’m too old for this mixology thing”, but Joel is so nice, so warm, so creative, so thoughtful, and so very very kind – well, I was wrong.  The bar program he has created is so far from what I’d planned and I’m so grateful to have been schooled.  Joel keeps me grounded and is generous with hugs when hugs are very much needed.  And his drinks are delicious.

And DJ brought Amber into our lives – she is our GM.  She keeps the operation working and coordinates with all the pieces and has taught me so much and, more importantly, she puts up with my texts and emails and calls and questions.  Not just about the restaurant – but texts, emails, calls and questions that run the gamut of life.  I’m privileged to call her a friend.  Who has put up with more than she should have to with this crazy new business.

Amber is leaving us on a day to day level on our 6th month anniversary.  She has an opportunity more in keeping with her talents and experience and I’m glowing with excitement for her as she starts a new position.  YAY!  I’ve threatened to ignore this change and continue to seek her counsel at all hours, and I’ll miss her like the dickens, but I’m so proud of and thrilled for her.

Which brings us back to DJ and another person he introduced us to – Nika.  Nika has been with us since before we opened and if you’ve been to the restaurant, you’ve most likely met her.  She’s the really nice, tall, lovely and kind gal who greets you often at the door and is warm and friendly and knowledgeable when she discusses the menu with you. I’m honored to know her and I’m happy to say she’ll be taking over as manager.

This is long.  But it doesn’t come close to mentioning the people who have been so overwhelmingly kind and generous in these months.  More incredible folks who have been here since the beginning – thanks to Graham for the amazing lighting, to Nathan for being cheerful and kind to me as I get in his way, to Nick for making the bar sane and friendly, to Becca for so much professionalism despite so many obstacles, to Brady for being amazing.  These are the folks who have been in-house since the beginning.

And thanks to the neighbors and friends who have supported me and the restaurant since the beginning as well – to Christine, Rebecca, Min, Kennett, Jessica, Steve, David, Beth, Beth, Jela, Potter, Ashley, James, Emme, Griffin, Lyla, Matt, Keri, Angie, Nick, Margo, my amazing employer, Ana, Switzer, David, Ola, Richard, Eric, Marsha, Lynnie, Jake, Matt, Michelle, Mehra, Mark, George, Mark, Maggie, Jason, Russell, Mark, Shannon, and Tony.

Thank you so much for everything!