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Restaurant Owners Uncorked - by Schedulefly
Successful independent restaurant owners share their stories, advice, wisdom, lessons learned and more. Search “Restaurant Owners Uncorked” on iTunes or Spotify.
5 hours ago
ONWARD: Shawn Stokes, Luna Rotisserie
5 hours ago
Update from Schedulefly
3 days ago
ONWARD: Ginger Pertile, Grand Junction CO
Jun 30, 2020
Joanne Palzkill, Dragonetti's / Za 51, Current Chairwoman WI Restaurant Association
Jun 25, 2020
ONWARD: Drew Honness, Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Jun 23, 2020
ONWARD: Ashley Padget, Alisson's Restaurant
Jun 16, 2020
Update from Schedulefly
May 18, 2020
ONWARD: Sean Scott, Known Coffee (Coming Soon!)
May 14, 2020
ONWARD: Cyrus Batchan, Nightshade / Lock & Key (Los Angeles), East West Brewing / Skylight Nha Trang (Vietnam)
May 13, 2020
OMWARD: Lisa Siegel, The Riverside Market / Tarpon River Brewing
May 12, 2020
ONWARD: Julian Brizzi, Brooklyn NY
May 12, 2020
ONWARD: Quick thoughts from Schedulefly
May 8, 2020
ONWARD: Danny Latino, Waterhouse Bar Group
May 7, 2020
ONWARD: Cast Iron Waffles, Coffee & Espresso
1 hr 3 min
May 6, 2020
ONWARD: Josh Wittman, The Federal / Palate / Motorco Music Hall
May 1, 2020
ONWARD: Matt Frey, Bub's
Apr 30, 2020
ONWARD: Gina Stefani, Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants
Apr 29, 2020
ONWARD: A message from Schedulefly
Apr 27, 2020
ONWARD: Hunter Wiggins, Session Bar
Apr 26, 2020
ONWARD: Shawn Stokes, Luna Rotisserie
Apr 24, 2020
ONWARD: Aaron Vogel, District Donuts.Sliders.Brew
Apr 24, 2020
ONWARD: Patrick Woodson, Brewery Bhavana
Apr 23, 2020
ONWARD: Johnny Pavlik, Johnny's Pizza
Apr 23, 2020
ONWARD: Mark Doble, Aviator Brewing
Apr 23, 2020
ONWARD: Chuan Tsay, Heirloom Brewshop
Apr 22, 2020
ONWARD: Ray Villaman, Fireside Pizza/Azul Latin Kitchen/Base Camp Pizza/Rubicon Pizza
Apr 22, 2020
ONWARD: Shawn Wilfong & Brandon Viebrock, Leroy Fox/Cowbell/Mortimer's
Apr 21, 2020
ONWARD: Billy Schaefer, 131 Main / Cowboy
Apr 21, 2020
ONWARD: Paul Wise, Christianos Pizza
Apr 21, 2020
ONWARD: Sean Degnan, Kō Än / SO•CA BODEGA
Apr 20, 2020
ONWARD: Graham Worth, The Common Market
Apr 20, 2020
ONWARD: Chris Dickerson, Corner Taco / Squirrel's Pizza
Apr 17, 2020
ONWARD: Chris Bredeson, The Rockefeller / Saint Rocke / Primo Italia
Apr 17, 2020
ONWARD: Jay & Jeremy Bond, Bond Brothers Beer Company
Apr 17, 2020
ONWARD: Don Nicol, TacoLu
Apr 16, 2020
ONWARD: Micheál Mallie, Jack's Prime / Maverick Jack's
Apr 16, 2020
ONWARD: Chick Evans, Maxie's Supper Club / Great Coast Commons
Apr 15, 2020
ONWARD: Emily Blount, Saint Leo
Apr 15, 2020
ONWARD: Johanna Yorke, Alto Cinco and Otro Cinco
Apr 15, 2020
ONWARD: Drew Honness, Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Apr 14, 2020
ONWARD: David Halpern, 4EG
Apr 14, 2020
ONWARD: Keith Paul, A Good Egg Dining Group
Apr 14, 2020
ONWARD: Marshall Davis, Centro / Gallo Pellon Mezcaleria / Ex-Voto
Apr 13, 2020
ONWARD: Meherwan Irani, Chai Paini Group
Apr 13, 2020
ONWARD: Bret Oliverio, Sup Dogs
Apr 4, 2020
ONWARD: Rayme Rossello, Comida
Apr 3, 2020
ONWARD- Matt Robb, The Goat Group
Apr 3, 2020
ONWARD: Marilyn Schlossbach, Langosta Lounge
Apr 2, 2020
ONWARD: Brandon Sharp, Hawthorne & Wood
Apr 2, 2020
ONWARD: Tyler Carlson, TyMark Hospitality
Mar 31, 2020
ONWARD: Herbie Abernathy, Cobra Cabana / Hot for Pizza
Mar 31, 2020
ONWARD: Jerry Lachman, Katy's / Jerry Allen's
Mar 30, 2020
ONWARD: Scott Maitland, Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery, TOPO Organic Spirits
Mar 30, 2020
ONWARD: Oscar Diaz, Cortez / Jose & Sons
Mar 27, 2020
ONWARD: Jon Seelbinder, Local Icon Hospitality
Mar 27, 2020
ONWARD: Kenneth Cribb, Willy Taco / Fr8Yard
Mar 26, 2020
ONWARD: Cheetie Kumar, Garland
Mar 26, 2020
ONWARD: Dave Lorenz, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina
Mar 26, 2020
ONWARD: Van Nolintha, Bida Manda / Brewery Bhavana
Mar 26, 2020
ONWARD: Jake Wolf, Capital Club 16
Mar 26, 2020
New series: ONWARD
Mar 24, 2020
Quick tip: GREAT idea to generate cash for employees
Mar 23, 2020
Quick tip: Coronavirus resources for restaurants
Mar 23, 2020
Quick tip: Calm is contagious
Mar 21, 2020
A tribute to independent restaurants
Mar 20, 2020
Quick tip: Call your bank and credit card company today
Mar 19, 2020
Quick Tip: Keep your team engaged with Schedulefly
Mar 19, 2020
Quick Tip: Save America’s Restaurants Petition
Mar 18, 2020
Quick Tip: Business Interruption Insurance
Mar 18, 2020
Quick Tip: Government Intervention?
This was supposed to be posted yesterday but we had other items to attend to. Apoligies! Stay tuned, more coming daily.
Mar 16, 2020
Quick Tip: Retired Navy SEAL on Overcoming Big Challenges
Mar 15, 2020
Quick Tip: Big Red F Restaurant Group
Mar 14, 2020
Quick Tip: Bull City Burger and Brewery
Mar 13, 2020
Quick Tip: MOFU Shoppe in Raleigh
In the coming weeks we'll be sharing tips and creative ideas we are learning from restaurants all around the country. Here's the first one!
Mar 11, 2020
Distillery: Karen Hoskin, part III
Karen is the first person to be on this podcast three times. When we last talked over the summer we agreed we had more topics to cover, and clearly we did. Let's get right to it... ENJOY!
1 hr 1 min
Feb 27, 2020
Cocktail Bar: Hunter Wiggins
Hunter opened Session Bar in Tuscaloosa, AL five months ago and his place is CRUSHING it. Hunter is thirty years old, and this is the first place he has owned, but he's been in the business since he was a teenager. Hunter has very good business acumen, high energy, and humility. A great combination! Enjoy...
Feb 14, 2020
Distillery: Scott Maitland of Topo Distillery in Chapel Hill, NC
Wow. This episode is tremendous. No spoilers, just listen. Enjoy!
Feb 12, 2020
Brewery: Fullsteam's Sean Lilly Wilson joins us again
Sean and Wil caught up to discuss a wide range of topics, from the book "Traction" and it's impact on Sean's business, the Communal Table podcast, Ben's Friends, where the craft beer industry is (possibly) heading, mental health, and more. Sean's a great dude, this was a fun conversation. Enjoy!
1 hr 8 min
Feb 10, 2020
A heads up on the episodes we'll be recording this week.
Feb 7, 2020
Restaurant: Jerry Allen's and Katy's in Wilmington, NC
Jerry Lachman, aka Jerry Allen, is a very humble, low key legend in the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, NC area. This was so much fun to record, and you will absolutely enjoy listening to Jerry share his story and his philosophies on how to run a successful establishment. Enjoy!
Feb 6, 2020
Brewery: The Story Mad Mole Brewing
On a sunny, 70 degree February on the N.C. coast, we sat down with co-owners Martin de Jongh and Ole Pederson and learned how the two programmers-by-day launched a successful brewery eighteen months ago while keeping their day jobs. Enjoy!
1 hr 1 min
Feb 4, 2020
Quick weekly precap from Wil...
Jan 29, 2020
Brewery: Aviator Brewing owner and "Brew Boss" Mark Doble shares his story
Aviator Brewing opened in 2008 with Mark brewing beer out of an airplane hangar (there's a very cool story about why he was there) and driving his kegs to nearby restaurants and selling them out of the back of his truck. Eleven years later and Aviator has outgrown their 23,000 sq ft facility and is building a 65,000 sq ft facility to move into. This is a great story and Mark spent the whole hour with a wide grin across his face as he shared it. The guy clearly loves every minute of what he does. Enjoy...
1 hr 1 min
Jan 24, 2020
Scott Crawford & Steve Palmer and the story of Ben's Friends
Scott Crawford and Steve Palmer discuss addiction and sobriety issues in the hospitality industry, as well as the organization Ben's Friends in a conversation hosted at Crawford and Son. This is a very honest, raw discussion about an issue that has so negatively impacted the restaurant industry for decades. Steve (sober 18 years) and Scott (sober 15 years) lost a very close friend, Ben Murray, share their stories of drug and alcohol abuse, their realizations that they were either going to change their lives or wind up dead, and their respective roads to recovery. And they share the story of Ben's Friends (www.bensfriendshope.com), which Steve co-founded three years ago after Steve and Scott's good friend Ben Murray took his own life due to shame related to relapsing.
1 hr 24 min
Jan 16, 2020
Brewery: Trophy Brewing's Woody Lockwood and Chris Powers
We've known Woody and Chris for a long time, and we're thankful for that. These are two incredibly genuine guys who've built a great business that is very well respected in their footprint. We had a great time hanging out with them, learned a lot about the craft beer business, and even cracked open a couple of cans of their iconic "Trophy Wife" beers. Enjoy...
Dec 19, 2019
Rick Robinson of Deeluxe Chicken talks sobriety, mental health, fitness, and more...
Rick owns Deeluxe Chicken in Durham, NC and has been in the business a long time. We got pretty deep into substance abuse, sobriety, relapsing, mental health, physical health, and more. All the stuff nobody wanted to talk about until fairly recently. This is raw and real and awesome. Enjoy...
1 hr 2 min
Nov 26, 2019
Seth Gross & Shawn Stokes chat with us about concerning industry trends
This is so good, and so relevant. We've had each of these guys on the podcast in the past. We got together to talk about concerns they share about current industry trends. This is a must-listen if you enjoy our podcast...
1 hr 32 min
Oct 24, 2019
Oscar Diaz wants to provide careers, not just jobs
Wow, this is an AMAZING conversation with James Beard Award nominee Oscar Diaz, Executive Chef for Cortez Seafood + Cocktail and Jose and Sons in Raleigh, NC. We spent nearly two hours talking to Oscar, learning his story, why he grew up bouncing back and forth between acting Mexican and acting American, coming to terms with being proud of both heritages, his career growth, and why he got past looking for personal gain and turned to desiring to help the people around him. This is fantastic! Enjoy...
1 hr 40 min
Oct 21, 2019
Distillery: Karen Hoskin of Montanya Distillers visits the show again!
Karen joined us in March, 2018 and shared her story. In this episode we caught up with her and talked about the round of capital she just raised, and whole lot more. This is a pretty deep conversation about some very important issues involving women in hospitality, and it's a must-listen. Enjoy...
1 hr 9 min
Oct 18, 2019
John Zucker shares his story
For more than two decades, Cru Catering and Café Executive Chef and Owner John Zucker has been creating a recipe for success in Charleston, S.C. As the number one graduate in his class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Zucker has trained and created culinary delights under celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at Spago in Las Vegas. From there, he became sous chef for the opening of Canoe, which was nominated “Best New Restaurant of the Year,” by the James Beard Society. Having a knack for knowing a kitchen inside and out and a fiery determination to serve top notch creations, John Zucker is also one of the most sought-after restaurant consultants in the Southeast. Zucker has served as a restaurant consultant for McCrady’s Restaurant, 39 Rue de Jean and Fish, in Charleston, SC, and Nona’s Italian Kitchen in Atlanta. John has a great track record as an owner and a great reputation is a person, and you'll quickly understand why when you listen to this awesome conversation. Enjoy...
1 hr 3 min
Oct 13, 2019
Johanna Yorke and the story of Alto Cinco & Otro Cinco
Alto Cinco first opened its doors in September of 1995 as a takeout restaurant only. In 1999, the restaurant expanded to open a small dining room that consisted of seven tables and the bar area. For many years, Alto Cinco packed its cozy dining room every night...feeling more like a West Village cantina than a Mexican restaurant in Central New York. Finally in 2014, Alto Cinco was given an opportunity to expand into the space next door. After months of renovations, Alto Cinco opened its doors to a much needed newly expanded dining room. This past year marked the restaurant's 20th anniversary. Alto Cinco is so thankful to each and everyone of its patrons for their continued support over the years! In 2013, Ms. Yorke opened OTRO CINCO (serving Spanish Tapas and Mexican), located in downtown Syracuse. Johanna is very genuine, chill, humble and fun to chat with. Enjoy...
1 hr 10 min
Oct 2, 2019
Jeff Seizer and the story of Royale
Let's start with saying Jeff makes one of the best burgers on the planet. Period. Now that we've got that established, he's also a really cool guy who loves to talk hospitality and share his story and lessons he's learned over his year in the business. He worked at several New York restaurants and institutions before landing as Owner/Executive Chef of Royale in Raleigh. Chef Seizer was a sous chef at Union Square Cafe, on the opening team at Maialino, and a chef de cuisine at Gramercy Park Hotel. He then served as executive chef at the Langham Place, and two years as executive chef at Biricchino. And, once again, his burgers are AWESOME! Enjoy...
1 hr 11 min
Sep 28, 2019
Restaurant Owner Quote: Matt Frey, Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream
Sep 25, 2019
Scott Crawford opens up about manic energy, sobriety, balance, and more.
Chef Scott Crawford opened Crawford and Son in Raleigh, NC November 2016 – a neighborhood restaurant referencing his commitment to family and community – and in 2018, it was named the “Triangle’s Restaurant of the Year.” Through his restaurant group, Crawford Hospitality, Crawford plans additional restaurants, including a French bistro, Jolie (opened August 2019) and modern American Steakhouse, Crawford Brothers. A five-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist for “Best Chef: Southeast,” Crawford also earned the coveted Forbes Five-Star award at Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa, at The Georgian Room at The Cloister Hotel and at The Woodlands Resort & Inn. Prior to opening Crawford and Son, he showcased his progressive take on Southern comfort food as executive chef of Standard Foods, where he also spearheaded the restaurant’s whole-animal butcher program and backyard feeder farm. Crawford’s leadership extends beyond the kitchen; he joined the Board of Ben’s Frien…
Sep 23, 2019
Shawn Stokes and the story of Luna Rotisserie
Luna’s chef and owner, Shawn Stokes, has over 15 years experience in the restaurant industry. A 1998 graduate of Johnson & Wales University’s culinary arts program, he has worked in numerous successful establishments up and down the East Coast, including the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL, Chillingsworth in Cape Cod, MA, Hank’s and Peninsula Grille in Charleston, SC, and Komi in Washington, DC. During his time in the industry, he served in front-of-house and back-of-house roles, gaining a well-rounded understanding of restaurant operations and management. In 2005, Shawn left the restaurant world to pursue a career in international development. He spent the next 10 years working in different parts of the world, gaining experience with organizations such as the US Peace Corps, USAID, UNICEF, CARE International, and Catholic Relief Services. Unable to stray too far from his culinary background, much of his work centered on improving global food systems. Most often, he lived and worked…
1 hr 25 min
Sep 19, 2019
Corbett Monica and the story of Bella Monica and Stellino's
Corbett and his wife Julie opened Bella Monica in Raleigh, NC in 2000. Nineteen years later, it's still widely regarded as a badass institution in the fast-growing Raleigh restaurant scene. Two years ago, they opened Stellino's down the road in Cary, and we talked for over an hour about why Corbett got into hospitality, what he loves about it, his and Julie's mission and philosophies, and much more. Corbett is as genuine and humble and kind as they come, it was an honor to get to hang with him. Enjoy...
Sep 14, 2019
We serve restaurant people with business philosophies like our own
Wil shared some thoughts about how we and the customers we serve run our businesses in very similar ways.
Sep 12, 2019
Teddy Diggs and the story of Coronato Pizza
Teddy was born into a military family and traveled across the country for much of his childhood, exploring foods and cultures native to the locations wherever his dad was stationed. He loved learning and experiencing regional traditions and cuisine and fell in love with food because of it’s ability to connect people. Teddy worked in the restaurant industry while in high school and he later attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After culinary school, Teddy worked in the top kitchens in Washington D.C., focusing on high-end Italian cooking. In 2009, he was lured to Martha’s Vineyard to run a restaurant group that focused on the Island’s sustainable fishing and farming efforts and also ran the dining programs for two of the island’s top hotels where he was fortunate enough to have many varied restaurant operation experiences, including cooking for many celebrities and President Obama. Teddy moved to Chapel Hill with his wife and two daughters in 2014…
1 hr 13 min
Sep 6, 2019
Sean Fowler of Mandolin in Raleigh shares his story
Sean was a history major in college in Virginia who didn't want to follow his buddies to Wall Street. Instead he hit the road to Jackson Hole, WY where he worked in restaurants and did a lot of snow skiing. He wound up at the Culinary Institute of America in Denver, CO and went on to work with several chefs in AAA Five Diamond restaurants to hone his skills before he opened Mandolin eight years ago. Today he and his wife run a thriving business, get much of their produce and eggs from their own farm, and are building an a new local institution in a building that once housed a long-time, popular pharmacy where Sean grew up going to after school, to hang at their lunch counter. This is a cool story and Sean is a great guy who we are very proud to serve. Enjoy...
1 hr 12 min
Sep 5, 2019
Restaurant Owner Quote: Scott Maitland
"Turn your investor list upside down."
Sep 4, 2019
Dorian: Quick message from all of us at Schedulefly
Sep 2, 2019
Restaurant Owner Quote: Jake Wolf
Aug 30, 2019
Eric Montagne on Locals Oyster Bar, sustainability, seafood charcuterie, and more
Eric is the kind of person who glows with natural, authentic, true hospitality from the moment you lay eyes on him. Wil had the opportunity to learn his story, the amazing chefs he has worked with, what's happening with commercial fishing and sustainability, his new focus on seafood charcuterie, and a lot more over nearly and hour and a half together. Great interview with a great guy. Enjoy...
1 hr 8 min
Aug 29, 2019
Restaurant Owner Quote: Keith Santangelo
This is the first in a new series of quotes from our two books and our podcast interviews. Short, educational or inspiring quotes interspersed between our long-form interviews. Enjoy!
Aug 28, 2019
Jon Seelbinder on overcoming a black swan event and getting better from it
Jon was on this podcast in March of 2017. The day after we posted the episode, a massive fire burned down a large apartment building near Little City Brewing, a tragic even that led to the main feeder streets to Little City being shut down for the last two years. This unexpected even had a huge impact not only on Little City, but on Jon's entire group, Local Icon Hospitality. Here's his honest, vulnerable telling of what he and his team went through, and how they've come out the other side stronger and better than ever. This is an awesome, awesome interview. Enjoy...
1 hr 19 min
Aug 23, 2019
Jeff Mickel and the awesome story of Whiskey Kitchen
Jeff has been in the business for nearly 20 years, and opened Whiskey Kitchen three years ago. He and Wil discussed the story of Whiskey Kitchen, which is filled with both tragedy and success. Jeff shares the story openly, and offers a lot of great advice and wisdom from his time in the hospitality business. Whiskey Kitchen's name says it all, this place has a tremendous whiskey collection and a fantastic menu. Jeff is a cool character, and you'll enjoy learning and listening to him share...
1 hr 12 min
Aug 21, 2019
Independent restaurants are a gift to their communities
Some thoughts from Wil about how much meaning and value independent restaurants add to their communities.
Aug 16, 2019
Lisa Carvey from The Braeburn shares her story and wisdom
Wil had a fun conversation with Lisa Carvey, owner of The Braeburn in Langley, WA on Whidby Island on the Puget Sound. They spoke for an hour and covered lots of actionable and philosophical ground. A fun conversation. Tons of respect for Lisa and her crew! Enjoy... .
1 hr 15 min
Aug 14, 2019
Via Negativa: Wil's riff on removing vs. adding
Every now and then Wil shares some observations he's made from interviewing successful restaurant people. Here's one of them...
Aug 7, 2019
Van Nolintha on purpose, self care, culture, community, and more.
This is a deep, powerful conversation between Wil and Van, owner or Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, N.C. They have become friends over the last few years so they got into a meaningful conversation about not just the story of Brewery Bhavana, but also about about life and philosophy and how we treat and build relationships with the people we work with and the people we serve. Enjoy!
Aug 1, 2019
Angela Salamanca, Marshall Davis and their new concept, Ex-Voto
Angela and Marshall are opening Ex-Voto at the Durham Food Hall this Fall. We have tremendous respect for Angela and Marshall, and Wil had a great time chatting with them about their new project. They are so incredibly welcoming, honest, authentic, humble, passionate, and dedicated to lifting up the people around them and providing warm, memorable experiences to their customers. *Wil got the conversation sidetracked for about 30 minutes talking about Mezcal, so be forewarned. Enjoy...
1 hr 9 min
Aug 1, 2019
A quick thought from Wil
Some thoughts Wil wanted to share about restaurants and Instagram.
Jul 29, 2019
Chuan Tsay and the amazing story of Heirloom Brewshop
This may be our best podcast ever. We have no words to describe it, just listen and enjoy...
1 hr 44 min
Jul 24, 2019
A long, fun conversation with Bret Oliverio
Bret Oliverio owns Sup Dogs, and he's one of the best human beings we've come across in our years of serving restaurants. The story of Sup Dogs is so powerful that we made a film about it a few years go. It's here: https://vimeo.com/223895178. Bret was also featured in Restaurant Owners Uncorked part II. Wil asked Bret to hang out and catch up over a podcast, and the result was nearly two hours of conversation about everything from Sup Dogs being named the best college bar in America by Barstool Sports, to the pros and cons of growing to more location (there are two locations now), to family, business philosophy, a You Tube celebrity who has left both $10,000 in cash and a piece of pure gold as a tip, to anything else that came across our minds. This was fun, real, and could have gone on for a few more hours if we had let it. Bret and his team are all amazing people, and we are very fortunate at Schedulefly to have the chance to serve them. Enjoy!
1 hr 47 min
Jul 22, 2019
Drew Moore shares his story
Drew Moore runs three successful establishments in Carrboro, NC. He also closed his fourth establishment two months ago, so we had a lot of meaningful things to discuss. Drew has poured his heart and energy and money and passion and sweat into the restaurant business for many years, and he is very open and transparent with his story. Really, really great guy. We had fun hanging out. Enjoy!
1 hr 4 min
Jul 16, 2019
Kenneth Cribb shares the Willy Taco and FR8yard story
The first night I met Kenneth 5-6 years ago I watched him demonstrate the servant leadership he and his partners have built into the culture, and I was very impressed. We are lucky to serve many restaurant owners who I not only learn from and admire, but who I would be very happy to have my kids work for one day. Kenneth is absolutely one of them. Willy Taco has two incredibly successful locations (Greenville and Spartanburg, SC and FR8yard (Spartanburg) is killing it with it's unique location and incredibly fun vibe. Kenneth and I drank some beer and sat on the upstaris deck at FR8yard after a southern summer storm and enjoyed a great conversation about hospitality and the things he and his team do to make memorable experiences for their guests. Enjoy...
Jul 9, 2019
Emily Blount of Saint Leo shares her story
I can't say enough good things about Emily Blount. Humble, authentic, successful, generous, and full of passion and energy for the restaurant business. In three years since opening, her restaurant has twice been a semi-finalist for a James Beard award. Check out her inspiring story here. Enjoy!
Jul 3, 2019
Whiskey bar owner Kevin Barrett shares his story
Kevin owns Dram & Draught in Raleigh and Greensboro, NC with business partner Drew Schenck. This place is like heaven if you like whiskey! Kevin and I spent half of this episode talking about the amazing nectar of the gods, and the other half talking about hospitality. We did this while sipping on Nikka Taketsura, Booker's 30th Anniversary Special Edition, and a bottle of Old Grand-Dad bottled in the early 80's. We had a great time, obviously. Enjoy!
Jun 20, 2019
The story of The Grey in Savannah, GA
When Johno Morisano bought the former Greyhound bus terminal building that had been built in 1938, he intended to hold it as a real estate investment. But upon closing on the property, he immediately decided he wanted to open a restaurant in it. Nearly five years into the business, The Grey has won Eater's Restaurant of the Year, been named as one of Time Magazine's 100 Greatest Places on Earth, and partner and Chef Mashama Bailey was recently named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation after being nominated each of the last two years. We had a very fun, wide-ranging conversation and I came away so thoroughly impressed with Johno's work ethic, passion for his business, respect and care for his team, amazing relationship with business partner Mashama, and devotion to making The Grey a institution for the people in Savannah to enjoy for many years to come. Tons to learn from a guy who came into the hospitality business with no former experience, and quickly helped make…
Jun 13, 2019
The story of Bond Brothers Beer Company
Bond Brothers was named the best new brewery in the nation by USA Today in 2016. Here's the story of how brothers Jay & Jeremy Bond and their two business partners had so much success so quickly they threw out their 5-year plan after just 6 months, since they were growing exponentially faster than they had anticipated. With no significant hospitality experience between the four of them, the guys were able to approach the business organically and with a fresh perspective, and have had no turnover after three years in business. We talked about why they don't micromanage, collaboration within the beer community, the three pillars of their business, why quality is becoming more important these days since customers are more educated on craft beers, the trend of craft breweries being acquired by large multinational companies and the impact that is having on the industry, and more. Jay and Jeremy are extremely nice, genuine, soft-spoken, humble guys who have built an absolutely phenomenal bus…
Jun 6, 2019
Brandon Sharp tells his story
Brandon has been in the business over twenty years, and earned seven consecutive Michelin stars as Executive Chef of Solbar in Napa Valley from the years 2010-2016. He returned to Chapel Hill, NC in 2016 and opened Hawthorne & Wood on April 6 of this year. Brandon and I covered a wide range of topics, from his education over the years about flavor combinations from around the world, the decision tree process of opening his first restaurant, learning through experience that chefs that yelled at staff didn't get their best work, giving his staff immediate feedback, both positive and constructive, striving for perfection but accepting excellence, investors, the four guideposts of his restaurant, and more. Brandon has been very successful but is very humble and curious, constantly trying to learn from others. He's a cool dude, and was very fun to chat with. Enjoy...
Jun 5, 2019
Trey Wilder shares his story
Trey owns Treylor Park (Savannah, GA and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) and Hitch (Savannah). We discussed a wide range of topics, from attention to detail, to, what he learned not to do, keeping things simple, quality over quantity, branding, being a leader vs. a boss, and much more. Tons and tons of respect for Trey, a genuinely great dude who works his tail and off and loves what he does. Enjoy...
Apr 16, 2019
Chris Dickerson shares his story
Chris owns the very popular, award-winning Corner Taco in Jacksonville, FL and Burrito Royale in Savannah, GA. He's opening Squirrel's Pizza in Savannah soon. And he's a BADASS! In this episode we cover his back story, why having investors would have forced him to make/do things he wasn't proud of, the importance of great systems, the "dance" you have to do with customers, nudging vs. shoving, the difference in a brand vs. a label, never apologizing for who you are, respect over money, how he defines success, and much more. This dude is on his game! Enjoy...
Mar 28, 2019
Veteran owner Fran Scibelli shares her story
Fran has owned iconic Fran's Filling Station in Charlotte, NC for ten years, but she's been an owner off and on since 1994. Fran and her team's mission is to fill up her guests bodies and spirits, hence the restaurant name. We talked about a wide range of topics, from why she only wants one location, to managing people being an ongoing work-in-progress, to learning from her brother about coaching, to why a guest comment helped her realize she needed to remodel, to nailing the basics every day, to trying to touch every table, to paying close attention to OpenTable feedback, to her constant search for "delicious", to her very personal focus on finding a kidney due to her kidney disease, which she chose to make public recently. Fran is an absolutely amazing lady, personally and professionally. I have so much respect for her. This is a must-listen episode. Enjoy...
Mar 27, 2019
Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin shares his story
Vince is the executive chef of Zeppelin in Charlotte, NC. This place has quickly developed a great reputation and when you listen to Vince you'll understand why. Driven, creative, thoughtful, sharp, and focused, Vince shares the ethos of Zeppelin, the hurdles of the first year of a restaurant, chefs thriving under pressure of having other great chefs around, why he focuses on collaboration vs. competition and why chefs should rally around each other, and more. This is a quick, awesome 15-minute conversation. Enjoy...
Mar 25, 2019
Sean O'Neill from Chronic Tacos shares his story
Sean owns three Chronic Tacos locations in N.C. and is planning more. He had a short run in hospitality before diving into this opportunity, but he went after it full speed ahead and is having lots of success. There's a 100% chance you'll learn something meaningful from Sean and be inspired. And you'll laugh a few times as well! He is high energy, sharp, confident, fun to hang out with, and a master of Instagram with over 14,000 followers (he shares his secret sauce during the interview). I really enjoyed learning from a guy who invested into somebody else's idea but has taking ownership of making sure it's very successful in his territory. Sean's awesome, enjoy...
Mar 20, 2019
Wooden Robot GM Zena Irving shares her story
Zena is awesome. She has been in hospitality for 16 years, and grew up with a family background at Disney. She's been at the very popular Wooden Robot Brewery in Charlotte, NC since day one, four years ago. Owners Dan and Josh needed somebody with hospitality experience when they started, an Zena stepped up and has clearly done a tremendous job. We talked about the team's core values, how they stay on their game with such high volume (they've already brewed over 600 batches), the importance of effective and constant communication, their philosophy of working with a shared fate, working out of humility and teachability, making things look easy when they aren't, why Wooden Robot doesn't have high turnover, the collaborative nature of the beer community, and getting ready for their second location that's opening this May. Zena is sharp, focused, authentic, humble, and definitely one her game. Enjoy...
Mar 14, 2019
The amazing Cheetie Kumar joins the podcast
3-time James Beard award nominee (2017, 2018, 2019) Cheetie Kumar, chef/owner of Garland, Neptune's Parlour, and Kings in Raleigh, NC was recently profiled in the New York Times and was named as one of the 25 Southerners of the Year by Southern Living Magazine in 2018. She's as humble as she is brilliant at her craft, and was so kind to sit down with us. We talked about everything from "imposter syndrome" to therapy to southern food culture. A fun, thoughtful, highly educational conversation with an inspiring lady who we admire greatly. Enjoy...
Mar 4, 2019
Prohibition's Ray Burns & Alexa Pavloski share their stories
We were lucky to have a chance to sit down with both Ray Burns (co-owner) and Alexa Pavloski (Events Director) to learn the story of Prohibition, which has very successful, popular locations in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. We talked about everything from the New York bar scene (where Ray got his start), the many costs of running a bar, the importance of empowering your staff, why Alexa applied for a job at Prohibition the day after she first visited as a customer, how Alexa was able to manage all of the events at Prohibition remotely from Australia for three months recently, the many, many hats an owner wears, Ray and Alexa playing "good cop/bad cop" during employment interviews, and much more. Ray and Alexa and the team at Prohibition have found a great balance of hard work and a fun culture, and it was an honor to have the chance to interview them. Enjoy...
Feb 28, 2019
Bohemian Bull owner Chad Biel shares his story
Like so many successful restaurant owners, Chad Biel grew up cooking and started working in restaurants at age 16 as a dishwasher. Since then he's had years of corporate experience with Carrabba's and Chick-fil-A where he learned about having great systems and organization, but also learned he wanted to be a part of something with less bureaucracy. He had been the GM at Bohemian Bull Tavern & Beer Garden in Charleston, SC for a few years when he purchased the business last year. We talked about his focus on bar food done well (food made from scratch, fresh, local ingredients, etc.), his focus on his community and monthly fund raising events, his efforts to reduce his and his managers' hours slightly to enable more focused time while at work, trying to determine the right amount of growth to avoid large company bureaucracy, and the four things you need to get right to make a restaurant work.
Feb 27, 2019
The Story of Vicious Biscuit
Josh Lambert co-owns Vicious Biscuit, which has been extremely successful right out of the gate in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. and has very aggressive growth plans. We had a great interview with Josh, and discussed everything from the initial idea, research, planning, timing, biscuits being the new burgers in the U.S., farm-to-table fresh products, employees coming first, leading by example, social media/PR, and making sure every customer leaves with a smile. Tons to learn from Josh, we could have talked for another couple of hours! Enjoy...
Feb 26, 2019
"I fell in love with food and service and never looked back"
Nick Barr, chef and kitchen manager at Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, NC, is a thoughtful, passionate person who cares deeply about hospitality. He's been in the industry since he started working at age 15, and has a great story to tell of learning about himself and what matters to him while working at a large chain for a decade, and how he came to appreciate the importance of local ingredients and the intention and care that goes into serving food that has a greater purpose than profit. He cares deeply about what he puts on his customers' plates, where it came from, how it was prepared, and every aspect of the experience Buxton Hall guests have each time they walk into the door. Nick is a deep thinker who truly cares about his craft. It's inspiring to hear him share his story and his vision for what could one day happen with the local food movement. Enjoy...
Feb 14, 2019
Meherwan Irani joins us again!
It's hard to put into words how much respect I have for Meherwan Irani. The 3x James Beard Award nominee has been so generous with his time with us over the years, including being featured in our second Restaurant Owners Uncorked book. We caught up with him this week after interviewing a few of the team members Chai Pani recently sent to India for twelve days, to learn at a deep, intimate level about the inspiration for Chai Pani. We talked about why it was important for that trip to happen, and much more about the restaurant business, Meherwan's goals, and the legacy he hopes to leave. This is a can't-miss episode. Enjoy!
Feb 13, 2019
Chai Pani team visits India!
Chai Pani Restaurant Group recently sent five team members to India for twelve days, to get a true, deep understanding of the inspiration for Chai Pani, Indian street food. Three of the team members, Isaac, Andy and Gavin sat down with me to share why they went, what they learned, and how the trip impacted each of them both professionally and personally. In over a decade of serving restaurants, this is one of the coolest investments I've ever seen a restaurant make. This is such an incredible story, and we're so proud at Schedulefly to have the opportunity to share it. Enjoy...
Feb 11, 2019
Ben Garbee of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, SC
Wow, this was fun! I sat down with Ben at Lewis Barbecue and we talked about everything from what he learned about hiring staff when he as a delivery boy at a Chinese restaurant as a teenager, to what he loves most about hospitality, to Detroit-style pizza. Ben is engaging, thoughtful, sincere, humble, hard-working, and has built an incredible culture at Lewis. Ben is the kind of guy I'd want my kids to work for one day if they work in a restaurant. Tons of respect for him! Enjoy...
Nov 29, 2018
HK Hospitality Managing Director Patrick Schmidt shares his story
Patrick is helps run the very highly regarded HK Hospitality, with eight locations in the NYC metro area. We talked extensively about the benefits and challenges of running successful restaurants in New York City. There are 20,000 restaurants in the five boroughs, with hundreds opening all the time. If you own or plan to own a restaurants in New York, this is an excellent episode to tune into. Patrick is sharp, focused, and shares a lot of insight on how to get it right in one of the most competitive restaurant markets on the planet. Enjoy...
Nov 28, 2018
Kitchen No. 324 server Elle Trimmell shares her story
Elle is awesome. Let's start with that. She began as a server as age 16 and has grown into a very polished, thoughtful, caring, genuinely hospitable team member at Kitchen No. 324, where she's been the last four years. I am always inspired listening to people who "get it," and Elle does. Listen to Elle talk about the philosophy of "Extreme Hospitality" that's part of the culture in her awesome restaurant group, A Good Egg Dining Group. There's a wonder story that comes with it. Enjoy...
Nov 27, 2018
Quick comment from Wil
Nov 27, 2018
Martha King, "Queen of All That Matters," shares her story
Martha is so fun to speak with, and that makes sense because she's part of a very fun organization. Bull City Burger and Brewery and Pompieri Pizza in Durham, NC are known for taking a stand on issues they care about (all ingredients, except ketchup, are made in house) and doing things in a fun, memorable way (you'll find out in this episode what you can do for a 26% discount). We've had owner Seth Gross on the podcast and in one of our books, and we were delighted to have the chance to catch up with Martha. Enjoy...
Nov 26, 2018
Celestine owner Julian Brizzi shares his story
Julian Brizzi owns Celstine, Rucola, and Grand Army Bar in NYC. And he's a badass. He started cooking for his family at home when he was nine, and hasn't looked back. This is a great interview and we learned ton from Julian about raising money from investors, learning from trial and error, the upcoming $15 minimum wage in NYC, what hospitality means to him, "imposter syndrome," and a lot more. He's humble and genuine and you'll enjoy learning from Julian...
Nov 25, 2018
Jax Fish House server Bekah Greutman shares her story
When Jax director of operations Adam Reed recommended Bekah for this podcast, he said she is "epic-ally positive." Having spoken to her, I can't think of better way to put it! Bekah is new to the hospitality business, but has quickly become a phenomenal server at Jax and is both inspiring and fun to speak with. She has a natural instinct for what great hospitality is all about, and you'll enjoy listening to her talk about why she loves what she does. Every restaurant owner I know would love to have Bekah on their team. Don't miss this episode!
Nov 19, 2018
GM Noah Singerman of Leon's Fine Poultry & Oysters
Noah is the new GM at Leon's, an extremely busy, successful, well-respected restaurant in the highly competitive Charleston market. Noah has a lot of experience in very well-run restaurants, and is very dialed into how to run a restaurant successfully and create an atmosphere where both his guests and his staff thrive. He's sharp, committed, motivated, and is absolutely on his game. Enjoy...
Nov 18, 2018
Fullsteam Brewery owner Sean Lilly Wilson shares his story
In our second in-person podcast, I had the honor of speaking with Sean Lilly Wilson, who founded Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, N.C. Sean started Fullsteam to help craft the "Southern Beer Economy." Through the act of commerce, he and his team aim to foster community and agricultural pride, create wealth, and encourage entrepreneurship within the post-tobacco South. And though their mission is lofty, they aim to keep it all fun. It's beer, after all! This was a very wide-ranging conversation. I learned a lot from Sean, and could have easily spoken with him for a few hours. Enjoy...
Nov 16, 2018
Chef de Cuisine Amie Gehlert shares her story
Amie is the Chef de Cuisine at Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes in Oklahoma City, OK. She started as a busser at age 16, went to culinary school, and has had lots of really cool experiences over the years. We talked about the chef quitting her first night as a busser and how she stepped onto the line to help, igniting her passion right away! We also covered "extreme hospitality," why being vulnerable is good, her biggest challenges, and more. Amie is a dedicated, intentional, thoughtful person who loves her craft. Enjoy...
Nov 15, 2018
The Common Market partner Graham Worth shares his story
Two and a half years ago, Graham left the world of investment banking to become a partner at The Common Market. TCM has three locations in Charlotte, NC, each with it's own feel but all sharing the common thread of being a "neighborhood living room." I've been to one location, and that's exactly how it feels. Very welcoming, very relaxed, full of hospitality. I really enjoyed talking to Graham about everything from what he and his team hope to do with The Common Market, the transition from corporate America to entrepreneurship, and much more. Graham and his partners have an absolutely killer business, and you'll enjoy learning why it's working out so well...
Nov 14, 2018
Looking Glass Hospitality Group owner Scott Schmidt shares his story
Scott has been in the business since he was a fifteen year old dishwasher, and it was fun hearing him talk about the importance of every role in a restaurant, including the dishwasher, who matters much more than you might think. This was wide-ranging interview, covering a lot of ground from the importance of strong employee benefits, to three things you need for your restaurant's first year, to the shift in our culture to consumers appreciating independent restaurants now more than ever. Scott left a long career in corporate restaurants three years ago, taking on a big risk with a wife and four kids at home, but he's found fulfillment and is working both smart and had as he builds a business he intends to be around for decades. I have tons of respect for Scott, and and soaked in a lot of wisdom while speaking with him. Enjoy...
Nov 9, 2018
AGM Jake Hunka of Jax Fish House (Boulder) shares his story
When I asked Adam Reed, who runs the Jax Fish House locations for Big Red F, for some folks on his team who are great at what they do, love their work, and would enjoy sharing the passion for hospitality, he told me Jake Hunka, the AGM, has done every you can do and would be great on a podcast. He was right! Jake talks about hustle gaining respect, not putting on blinders, and the importance to him of working for an organization like Big Red F that cares so much about the communities they serve. Jake is fun and energetic and authentic in his love for his work. Enjoy...
Nov 7, 2018
Our first in-person episode: Kate Shields from Bida Manda
Wow, this was a fun experience! Kate and I sat on a coach in Bida Manda while lunch service was winding down, and we had a great conversation about her story, what she loves about hospitality, what she has learned from Van and Vanvisa (the brother and sister who own Bida Manda), the challenge of learning to be the new GM, and much more. Sitting in person with Kate enable us to connect on a deeper level than we could have over the phone, and the conversation was much better for it. This went so well I'm now planning to start doing as many in-person interviews as possible. Enjoy...
Nov 6, 2018
MOFU Shoppe owner Sophia Woo goes from food truck celebrity to brick and mortar
Sophia and her business partner Sunny Lin won season six of "The Great Food Truck Race" on The Food Network. Now they own the popular and highly-respected MOFU Shoppe in downtown Raleigh, N.C. Listen to Sophia tell the story of going from working for a Big Four accounting firm to food truck to brick-and-mortar, while also sharing why staff always come first, what we can all learn from Millenials, and more. Sophia is interesting, engaging, smart, caring, and fun to talk to and respect for her time is the only reason I didn't keep rolling with this chat for a couple of hours. Enjoy...
Nov 5, 2018
Ten Crows BBQ GM and Manager talk ridiculously over-the-top service
Our first episode with two people features Jonathon (GM) and Casey (Manager) of Ten Crows BBQ in South Lake Tahoe, CA. We cover a lot of topics, but one really sticks out, which is the acronym they use within their group of restaurants: ROTS (Ridiculously Over-the-Top Service. I love the approach they take to hospitality, and they share some great examples. This is a fun interview. Enjoy...
Nov 3, 2018
The Rockefeller owner Chris Bredesen shares his story
Chris has been around the restaurant business in southern California his whole life (his father is a Burger King franchisee). He learned a lot about the business from his dad, but he loved surfing and considered turning pro. However, after college and then business school, he found himself interviewing in suit-and-tie, about to go down the path to corporate America. Fortunately, he realized that wasn't what he was meant to do, and The Rockefeller was born. Chris and his team have done a tremendous job building a group with several successful brands, and he talks about everything from learning to delegate, making his team members believers, choosing locations, leasing vs. owning, and much more. A wide-ranging conversation with a guy who has his finger on the pulse of what it takes to make it in the tough restaurant business. Enjoy...
Nov 1, 2018
Erin Barfield of Chuck's Fish and FIVE
Erin is in Tuscaloosa, AL and manages not one, but two killer restaurants: Chuck's Fish and FIVE. These are sister restaurants, and part of a really incredible group co-owned by Cris Eddings, who has been on this podcast. Erin talks about her passion for hospitality, juggling two restaurants, her management style, what she's learned from the two owners, systems she has put into place, and more. Erin is very sharp and it was a pleasure to learn from her. Enjoy...
Oct 30, 2018
TyMark Hospitality co-owner Tyler Carlson talks shop
Tyler has been in hospitality since he was a teenager, though he nearly went down the suit-and-tie route after college. He talks about why he realized that wasn't the right career path; the importance of clear goals, communication, and discipline; who he admires and learns from; what he likes to read; and what he hopes to accomplishment within his group of restaurants. Great interview with a great guy. Enjoy...
Oct 29, 2018
Melfi's GM Adam Gainer shares his story
Adam has been in the hospitality business since two weeks prior to his 16th birthday, and he's learned a ton about it over the last fourteen years. He talks about what he's learned on the job vs. what he learned while getting a hospitality & tourism degree, the saturated and competitive hospitality market in Charleston, S.C., how to keep good staff, his leadership style, and more. A great interview! Enjoy...
Oct 23, 2018
Nailing the basics - a few thoughts from Wil
Wil shares some observations from the challenges his favorite local breakfast restaurant is facing, challenges faced by every restaurant at some point in their life cycle.
Oct 22, 2018
Mark Lacz, co-owner TyMark Hospitality, shares his story
Mark has been in hospitality from a young age, and knew early on it was what he wanted to do for his career. He's been in the business for 18 years, he's been an owner for 8.5 years. This is a great interview from a guy who worked his tail off to learn as much as he could early on, willing to do whatever it took for the short term to help set himself up for long term success. He's inspiring to listen to, he's very transparent and sincere, he offers great advice for anybody considering being an owner, he has his priorities in check, and he has big plans for his group. A great interview! Enjoy...
Oct 16, 2018
The Goat Group operating partner Matt Robb talks about the bar business
This is a great interview to listen to for anybody interested in the bar business. Matt talks about the formula for success in the business, the importance of starting at the bottom (he started as a busser), hard work, solving problems every day, managing through the changes in labor laws, and the importance of building relationships with customers. Matt is awesome. Enjoy...
Oct 15, 2018
Ursa Minor Brewing founder Ben Hugus shares his story
Ursa Minor Brewing is a 5-barrel brewery that opened in Duluth, MN 2.5 weeks ago, so Ben has a really interesting perspective! He and his brother have been working hard on for 4-5 years to take the brewery from idea to business plan to groundbreaking to opening their doors. Ben talked about what he learned along the way, why craft brewery people are all so supportive of each other, the challenge of raising money, and why their opening week was such a massive success. Enjoy...
Oct 12, 2018
Bellisio's Service & Beverage Manager Elissa Husby shares her story
Elissa has a degree in business and a minor in math, but found her way to the fun world of hospitality and has never looked back. She talks about the Bellisio's culture of being a small team but a big family, the annual retreat her restaurant group takes everybody on, the connections with the community that are made over a meal, the concept of throwing a party in your "house" every day at the restaurant, and more. She is a very impressive person with a great perspective on hospitality. Enjoy...
Oct 11, 2018
Amy Usefara of Chow Daddy's and Truffles shares her story
Amy has worked her way up from server to bartender to manager to GM. She talks about having a strong work ethic, learning something new every day, building a grey team, following her owner's lead, and why she loves what she does every day. Enjoy...
Oct 9, 2018
Sweet Cow GM Elissa Otten shares her story
Another passionate, enthusiastic, fun member of the team at Sweet Cow Ice Cream joined me for a great conversation on what to look for in a hospitality job, questions to ask when interviewing, the many (many, many) roles of a GM, the hiring and firing process, work ethic, sharing in customers' important life moments, and more. Elissa is awesome! Enjoy...
Oct 5, 2018
Callie France of Sweet Cow Ice Cream shares her joy for her work
Callie is a 17-year-old shift leader at Sweet Cow Ice Cream in Louisville, CO. Sweet Cow owners Drew and Ross were on the podcast recently, and spoke very highly of their incredible staff. When you listen to Callie talk about what she does and why she has so much fun doing it, you'll know why those guys are so fired up about the team of people that work with them. Enjoy...
Oct 2, 2018
Sup Dogs server/bartender Tarra Leatherwood talks Sup Dogs culture
If you don't know the story of Sup Dogs, head to http://www.schedulefly.com/films_books.htm and watch the film we made about it. It's one of the coolest stories you'll ever come across, in hospitality or elsewhere. Tarra Leatherwood has been working there for three years, and she's a great ambassador for the tremendous brand Bret and his team are building. She talks about the amazing culture, the fast pace, the teamwork, and the genuine, authentic care Bret and his family show for their staff. And you can't listen to her share her passion for what she does and not wish you had her on your team. Enjoy...
Oct 1, 2018
Provision Concepts GM Justin McCrary shares his love of hospitality
Justin McCrary has been in the restaurant business since 1999, and with the team at Provision Concepts since it was formed in 2014. He told a great story about the importance of not burning bridges, and we got into his love of teaching/coaching, the value of building relationships with guests, his strengths/weaknesses, and what he loves about the business. Enjoy...
Sep 26, 2018
Trophy Brewing GM Shane Fisher talks shop...
Shane is the GM of Trophy Brewing in Raleigh, NC. We had a wide ranging conversation, discussing everything from the multiple responsibilities in his role as GM, to his leadership style, to the challenge of staffing in a growing market that has a great restaurant scene, to his love of craft beer and the Trophy team's philosophy on it. Enjoy...
Sep 21, 2018
Chef de Cuisine John Patterson talks controlled chaos, family, and the daily life of a corporate chef
John has been in the restaurant business most of his life. He and I talked about what fuels his passion for the business, being an introvert in the restaurant business, managing controlled chaos, the family environment at his restaurant group, Provision Concepts, and the daily life of a corporate chef. John is a positive dude who clearly enjoys his profession immensely...
Sep 20, 2018
Tap + Table Executive Chef Brian Jenzer shares his story
California native Brian Jenzer has cooked at places all over the world, and today is the Executive Chef at Tap + Table in Raleigh, NC. We talked about everything from the value of culinary school (he went to one) to his management philosophies to the importance of starting at the bottom and working you way up. Brian is a great dude and this was a great conversation. Enjoy...
Sep 18, 2018
Tasting Room GM Brandon Muller of Montanya Distillers shares his story
Like so many people we've had the pleasure to interview, Brandon has been in the hospitality business for his while life. And also like so many people we've interviewed, you can't listen to him talk without wanting to be on his team. He is a GM who still works bar shifts, handles kitchen manager duties, and does all sorts of things to help make Montanya run well. He loves what he does, loves the organization he works for, and has a great overall perspective on how to get hospitality right. Enjoy...
Sep 13, 2018
Jonny Adler shares the incredible story of The Skinny Pancake
Talk about a man with conviction! Jonny and his brother Benjy started The Skinny Pancake in Burlington, VT out of a hand-made cart in 2003, and fifteen years later they have seven locations, a commissary kitchen, a catering business, a festival bus ... and that original cart is still around. We talked about everything from effective lease negotiation to "the triple bottom line" to the idea of no profit without purpose, and no purpose without profit. Jonny has a ton of passion for what he does, and runs his business with a very clear purpose and focus. Enjoy...
Sep 12, 2018
A lifetime of lessons from Ray Villaman
Ray has been in the restaurant business since the 1980's, and has done everything from being the interim CEO of a large chain, to being the Executive Director of the California Restaurant Association, to owning and running a very successful group of restaurants in the Lake Tahoe, CA area. Ray is extremely knowledgeable about the hospitality business, and offered an enormous of amount of excellent advice and wisdom during our conversation. Enjoy...
Sep 11, 2018
Quick note from Wil
Sep 11, 2018
Renee Newton: Chemist, Distiller, Bar Manager
Renee Newton graduated with a degree in biology and chemistry, came to Crested Butte to work for the Rocky Mountain Biological Labs, had an opportunity to become a distiller at Montanya Distillers, and now is the bar manager and head of special events. She's a diverse, genuine, fun person who you'd love to have on your team. Enjoy...
Sep 7, 2018
Two Cantina 76 managers talk culture, competition, and being part of a phenomenal organization
Brandi and Adam are GMs at the first Cantina 76 location in Columbia, SC. Cantina 76 is a very popular, successful brand with five locations in South Carolina. Listen to Brandi and Adam talk about the fantastic culture within their organization, the great leadership they work under, their awesome executive chef, how they excel against their competition, building relationships with regulars, and more. They are both high energy and fun to talk to about hospitality. Enjoy...
Sep 5, 2018
Top Nosh Hospitality Asst. Director of Ops Rob McAlister shares his story
Rob has been in the hospitality business for fifteen years, most recently as the Assistant Director of Operations for Top Nosh Hospitality in Chicago. These folks run a handful of awesome restaurants, and Rob and I discussed everything from managing costs to building relationships with regular customers to what podcasts he enjoys. A fun, wide ranging conversation? Enjoy...
Aug 29, 2018
Flexibility, work for joy, and keeping the customer first
Nick Gitsis owns The Silverlake Family Restaurant in Warsaw, NY. Started in 1990 by Nick's father, now in his 80's and still a regular presence at the restaurant, Silverlake has become an iconic locally owned business in the Warsaw area. Both regulars and travelers enjoy the experience of being served by personable, welcoming staff and being able to make special requests which are honored happily. Nick is a pilot who spends most of his year overseas, but he's able to rely on communication tools as well as a great team of trusted managers to ensure Silverlake continues the tradition of being a special place to experience excellent hospitality. Enjoy...
Aug 23, 2018
The happy, fun, passionate guys behind Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Drew Honness and Ross Cohen own Sweet Cow Ice Cream, which has six locations in Colorado. Drew had a dream to open his own shop one day, and worked with Ross in 2010 to build a plan, raise money, and open. The plan was for one location, but they are now at six locations and growing, consistently serving up a great product backed up by a great team of smiling, happy staff. This is a great story, these guys are very sharp and very informative, and this was a fun episode. Enjoy...
Aug 22, 2018
Chai Pani Bartender/Server Carmelo Pampillonio talks mind blasting customers and a team that's like family
Carmelo has been in the restaurant business since he was fifteen years old. An artist and an active non-profit volunteer, Carmelo has thrived in the family environment at Chai Pani and has learned how to make special connections with customers and provide them "wow" experiences. Enjoy...
Aug 21, 2018
A former punk rock band singer finds his home in hospitality
Marshall Davis spent ten years as the lead singer of a punk rock band in Los Angeles. When the band disbanded he made his swayback home to N.C. and wound up at Centro, under the tutelage of Angela Salamanca. Today he is the Beverage Director and Bar Manager, though we spent a lot of our time talking about the exciting and unique new project he and Angela are working on. Enjoy...
Aug 17, 2018
Owner of 70-year old drive in restaurant shares his story
Steve Davis started working at Ardy & Ed's Drive In Restaurant in Osh Kosh, WI in 1977, when the business was twenty-nine years old. Since then he's become the co-owner of the business along with his wife, Ardy, and has been named Wisconsin Restaurateur of the Year. Ardy & Ed's has been featured on too many TV shows and won too many awards to count, and it was of much fun listening to Steve talk about how much his restaurant is like it was when it first started, and what's changed over the years. Steve is a genuine, authentic, sincere guy and it was an honor to speak to somebody who has been successful in this business for so long. Enjoy...
Aug 16, 2018
Confidence, vulnerability, and reconnecting with heritage
Pepe Estrada's family is from Mexico. He grew up in the U.S. as an introvert who didn't have a strong appreciation for his heritage. After seven years at Centro in Raleigh under the tutelage of Angela Salamanca, he's found a deep appreciation for Mexico and the culture his family hails from, and has learned to trust himself and manage confidently while also knowing when to open up and ask for help. Pepe is very thoughtful, honest, and authentic and gave a fantastic interview. Enjoy...
Aug 15, 2018
Buxton Hall bartender talks entrepreneurialism and reverence for his craft
Teddy Bourgeois is a bartender for Buxton Hall BBQ in Asheville, NC. He works with intention and has tons of respect for his craft and for the team he works with, and believes in supporting not only his team but the entire hospitality community in Asheville. Bartenders and any hospitality people will love listening to what he has to say. Enjoy...
Aug 14, 2018
An overlooked aspect of hospitality
Ashley Reda manages Tarpon River Brewing in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I was thoroughly impressed with his style, his grasp of what matters and why, and his dedication to his work. When I interview somebody I always ask myself if I'd want my kids to work for the person. Such an easy "yes!" here. Enjoy...
Aug 13, 2018
Take care of your staff and customers and everything else will take care of itself
Dennis Carter owns Ryan'S Restaurant in Winston-Salem, N.C. The restaurant opened in 1977 and Dennis was the GM. Forty-one years later, he co-owns the restaurant and oversaw it's best year ever last year (and they are on track to surpass that this year). Dennis talked about the simple philosophy he learned early in his restaurant career (the title of this episode) and how he's stuck with that all along. He's found a great balance of having time to enjoy life as well as always keeping his eye on the ball. Simple stuff, executed over and over for decades, has compounded to build a institution that has long-tenured staff and tons of happy, regular customers. Enjoy...
Aug 3, 2018
Heather Miller of Riverside Market shares her story
The World Famous Riverside Market in Ft. Lauderdale, FL is one of the most memorable places I've been in my 10 years with Schedulefly. Nowhere else makes you feel more like you are literally visiting your friend's house. We've filmed there, they are in our second Restaurant Owners Uncorked book, owner Lisa Siegel has been on this podcast ... I guess we can't get enough of Riverside! Heather has been there a year and loves every minute of it. Enjoy...
Jul 31, 2018
Brothers Brent & Brad Steven have built an awesome group of restaurants in Wichita
Brad and Brent come from an entrepreneurial family. In 2003 and in their early 20's with no restaurant or bar experience, they decided to partner together and open a bar. Fifteen years and lots of trial and error later, they have four successful restaurants (Wine Dive, The Hill Bar & Grill, Wine Dive + Kitchen, Industry Old Town) and a phenomenal reputation in Wichita, KS. These are two guys who have found the right combination of a laid-back style along with clear passion for what they do. Enjoy...
Jul 30, 2018
Price Beall started Truffles Cafe in 1983 and it's still killing it
Price co-founded Truffles Cafe in Hilton Head Island, SC in 1983. Thirty-five years later, he has two Truffles locations and two Chow Daddy's locations. He treats his team like family, leads by example, and is having a lot of fun every day building a very successful group of restaurants. Price talks about his team's focus on consistency and great guess service, and it's very clear that he's an authentically great guy who would be fun to work for and who will continue to be successful as long as he's at it. Enjoy...
Jul 27, 2018
Markting Coordinator Katharine Warner shares her story
Katharine works for Three Brothers Wineries & Estates in Geneva, NY (https://www.3brotherswinery.com). She wears many hats at this unique place, and it was really fun to hear the progression of her career over the years, what caused her to leave to try something different, and why she came back. She loves what she does, and her professionalism and commitment to being an important part of a growing, thriving business are very clear. Katharine is the type of person we all want in our businesses. Enjoy...
Jul 25, 2018
Father-Daughter Keith & Tabby Wren share the story of The Cone
The Cone is a landmark location in West Chester, OH, that opened in 1995 with a 30-foot tall ice cream cone building, and it has been creating smiles with it's fresh, high quality soft serve ice cream ever since. Keith and his wife Peggy bought the business from Keith's father, and they run it today with their daughter, Tabby. Hard work, lots of hours, and lots of passion go into this business every day, and it draws people from all over the surrounding areas to enjoy great ice cream, great service, and unique, memorable building, and a family that loves what they do for their community. Enjoy...
Jul 25, 2018
Wil's thoughts on why he wants his kids to work for independent restaurants
I wrote a blog post last year discussing why I want my kids to work for independent restaurants when they are old enough to work. After listening to nearly every owner I speak to tell me how hard it is to find good people these days, I am even more excited for them to hopefully pursue this opportunity one day. I decided to read my post to share my thoughts on why it's such a great opportunity. Enjoy...
Jul 24, 2018
Brewery Bhavana manager Luisa Jaramillo shares her story
Luisa manages one of the most unique, memorable, inspiring places you'll ever visit, Brewery Bhavana. Part brewery, part restaurant, part flower shop, part bookstore and fully amazing in design and experience, Brewery Bhavana was named in "One of the 10 Coolest Places to Eat in the World" by Forbes Magazine and was also nominated as one of Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the U.S by the James Beard Foundation, both in 2018. Luisa gets deep into the foundational philosophies she and her team have built Brewery Bhavana upon, and the amount of thought, intention, and care they put into this amazing place are staggering. Enjoy...
Jul 23, 2018
Comida GM Dameda Finney shares her story
Dameda has been in the restaurant business off and on for many years, and last year became the GM of Comida (www.eatcomida.com) in Denver, her first time as a GM. It was fun talking to Dameda about her goals, as well as what she's learned in the last nine months and how she's made adjustments along the way. Dameda is all about learning and growing, and has a wonderful, uplifting perspective about the restaurant business. Enjoy...
Jul 18, 2018
Owner of an 84-year old ice cream shop tells his story
Doug and Peggy Warren took over Four Seas Ice Cream in Cape Cod, MA from Doug's father, Dick, in 2001. The business was started in 1934, making it the third oldest ice cream shop in New England. It's won dozens of awards, including many Top 10 Ice Creams in the U.S. designations. Doug absolutely loves this business and his a tremendous amount of pride for it, as his father did before him. I so thoroughly enjoyed hearing his story and the stories of his customers, and you will too...
Jul 17, 2018
Diana Underhill, the philanthropy/sustainability queen of Big Red F
Diana has been working for Big Red F since she started as a server in 2000. Eighteen years later, she manages the group's philanthropy and sustainability efforts, owns an yoga studio, and still serves at Zolo one night per week. She loves the restaurant business and the group of people she works with, and if you want to hear the story of somebody who found a really inspiring path in the restaurant business, Diana is your lady. So authentic, so thoughtful, so fun to talk to. Enjoy...
Jul 16, 2018
Chester Kroeger reflects on 36 years as a restaurant owner
Chester owns Fudpucker's (www.fudpucker.com) in Destin FL. He started it in 1982 as a snack bar in a nightclub, and today it's a destination in Destin, an institution that has over 300 employees and everything from a retail store to a live alligator park with over 100 gators. I've been to Fudpucker's. It's amazing, and there's no there place like it. Having said that, Chester has to deal with all of the same challenges and hurdles of making an independent restaurant work, and he was kind to share the ups and downs he's faced over early four decades. Enjoy...
1 hr 2 min
Jul 12, 2018
"We went from $2,200,000 to $3,000,00 in revenue in one year."
Jeremiah Higgins is president of HJL Hospitality and has been in the business for thirty years, starting as a dishwashing teenager who worked his way up to GM in just over a year. Ever since, he's had a knack for finding opportunities for restaurants to grow revenue with creative ideas to turn around slow days, great training, and putting in systems and efficiencies that keep the restaurant running smooth and enable the team to focus on excellent guest experiences. Jeremiah is a high energy guy who loves the restaurant business. He was in our first Restaurant Owners Uncorked book in 2011, and it was great to find out what he's been up to since then. Enjoy...
Jul 10, 2018
Head Brewer Nick Tedeschi of The Post in Boulder, CO.
Nick is the head brewer at The Post Brewing Company ihttps://www.postbrewing.com/boulder/. His passion for his craft and for his team is palpable, and you'll enjoy hearing from a non-owner talk about what it's like to work for a phenomenal owner and a team that is one big ole extended family at Big Red F. I was so fired up after talking to Nick! Enjoy...
Jul 9, 2018
"Follow your 4:00am voice"
Joanne Dragonowski owns several restaurants in Wisconsin with her brother and sister. The story started in 1951 when their parents opened their first place, and it continues today with four of the seven children still in the restaurant business. Joanne is very sharp, understands the business in and out, and has a clear love for the restaurant industry. We had a very enjoyable conversation, and you'll learn a lot from her during this episode. Enjoy...
Jul 9, 2018
Weekly summary from Wil
A quick summary of the three episodes we have coming up this week.
Jun 29, 2018
Eric Cacciatore of the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast
Eric hosts Restaurant Unstoppable, a great podcast featuring interviews with nearly 500 restaurant owners. I loved talking to him about why he does his podcast, which he does as his full-time gig, what he's learned, and more. He's high energy and has tons of passion for independent restaurants. Enjoy...
Jun 29, 2018
Update from Wil
I had a couple of quick items to share. Y'all have a great July 4th week!
Jun 12, 2018
Wil's take from the Marcus Guiliano episode
I'm going to start offering my thoughts on something an owner said during an interview that struck and chord with me and stood out the next day as my biggest takeaway. These will be short, concise episodes. Enjoy...
Jun 11, 2018
A man on a mission: Marcus Guiliano of Aroma Thyme Bistro
Wow! Marcus has an absolutely amazing story, a bold philosophy, and a very authentic, intentional, passionate approach to his restaurant and the restaurant business in general. There is no room for doubt about what Marcus believes and why he believes it, an because of that there's no surprise that he and his wife Jamie have been very successful building an institution in their small town of Ellenville, NY. You can find Marcus at Aroma Thyme Bistro (http://www.aromathymebistro.com) and at Chef On a Mission (http://www.chefonamission.com). This is a MUST-listen episode if you are interested in learning from successful restaurant owners. Enjoy...
Jun 4, 2018
Cody Wilderman of Grassburger
Cody is Director of Operations and co-owner of Grassburger (https://www.eatgrassburger.com), which has locations in Durango, CO and Albuquerque, NM. Cody has tremendous passion for learning and growing as manager and leads his team by example. You can't help but be inspire when listening to Cody share his philosophy for working in and running a restaurant. Great specific ideas as well as general life philosophies abound. Enjoy...
May 22, 2018
Another quick summary from Wil
Update on new recording equipment and a new idea we have for our content. Quick and to the point...
May 21, 2018
Micheál Mallie and the story of Jack's Prime and Maverick Jack's
Micheál started Jack's Prime (https://www.jacksprime.com) in 2008 and Maverick Jack's (http://www.maverickjacks.com) in 2016, and has a second Maverick Jack's opening soon. We talked about having investors and how to find the right people to be a part of your dream, finding and keeping good people in a very competitive environment in the Bay Area, business growth enabling opportunities for great team members to grow with the business, the potential pitfalls of lease negotiations, and the advantages independent restaurants have over large chains. Micheál loves what he does, and he articulates what it takes to be a restaurant owner incredibly well. Enjoy...
May 10, 2018
A few quick thoughts from Wil
After eight years of interviewing restaurant owners, I have a few thoughts I wanted to share. Also, some news on where we are going with this podcast.
May 3, 2018
David Halpern and the story of 4EG
David and Ben Klopp got started in the restaurant business right out of college in 1996, opening aliveOne in Chicago. In 22 years they've grown to running a restaurant group with two other partners, operating 20 locations between Chicago and Cincinnati. aliveOne is still thriving today, and David shares his thoughts on what it takes to be successful in the restaurant business, what he loves about it, what's changed, and more. It's worth paying attention to anybody who has been able to accomplish what he has in the competitive city of Chicago for as long as he has. Enjoy...
May 2, 2018
3rd Generation Owner Ashley Padget shares the story of Alisson's
Ashley's grandparents started the restaurant in 1973, and 45 years later it's thriving as much as ever. Ashley shares what's made them successful, what she loves about independent restaurants, and how she's able to be very selective of who she hires. Enjoy...
Apr 12, 2018
Gina Stefani of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants shares her awesome story
Phil Stefani opened his first restaurant 35 years ago in Chicago. Today the Stafani family owns 17 restaurants, and Phil's grown children, Gina and Anthony, are part of the very successful business. Gin shares the lessons and philosophies she learned from her father over the years, and the challenges she faces as she attempts to continue providing the legendary customer service the Stefani restaurants are known for, while also opening new locations and growing the business. This is a very educational, informative conversation if you are interested in how a group of restaurants can keep growing while not losing a hold on the core values that go them where they are today. Enjoy...
Apr 12, 2018
Doug Schantz and the story of D.C.'s #1 Sports Bar, Nellie's
Doug opened Nellie's Sports Bar & Grill in Washington, D.C. in 2007. Eleven years later is is an iconic, very popular sports bar that annually wins a slew of "Best of..." awards in our nation's capital. Doug came from corporate America, where he worked in advertising. When he opened Nellie's, he had never worked in, run, or owned a restaurant. The perfect recipe for success? Enjoy...
Mar 19, 2018
Emmy Kaplan and the cool story of Emmy's Spaghetti Shack
Emmy had been working in restaurants in San Francisco for a few years and felt like the only options were stuffy, fine dining places that she and her friends and fellow restaurant workers couldn't afford to go to themselves and didn't want to hang out at even if they could. The city needed a fun, laid back, affordable place. So she opened it, and called it Emmy's Spaghetti Shack. That was in 2001. Emmy's is still going strong today, and it was fun and inspiring to hear Emmy's story of the ups and downs along the way. Enjoy...
Mar 12, 2018
Keith Paul - Focus on what's happening inside your four walls
I first interviewed Keith Paul in 2010 for our book Restaurant Owners Uncorked. Keith and his wife, Heather, own A Good Egg Dining Group in Oklahoma City. They have been at it for 18 years now, and have 8 concepts and twelve total locations. One of the lessons I learned from Keith eight years ago was to not worry about what's happening around you, and to stay focused on what's happening within the walls of your restaurant. It was great to hear him talk now about how they lost a little bit of that focus a couple of years ago, realized it, and successfully resolved to return to it. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Keith, and I'm sure in another few years we'll cache up again. Enjoy...
Mar 12, 2018
The inspiring, awesome Erica Paolicelli shares her story
Erica has been involved with the hospitality business for twenty years, and she's so fun to listen to and so full of energy and passion for what she does that I could have talked to her all day. Grit, determination, passion, leadership, constantly learning - Erica embodies these characteristics. Enjoy...
Mar 1, 2018
Karen Hoskin and the story of Montanya Distillers
Karen had her own graphic design and web design business for twelve years. One day in 2008 she was sitting on a beach in Belize with her husband, and realized she was tired of helping build other people's entrepreneurial dream. She wanted to use her skills and energy for something of her own. She wanted to start ... a rum distillery. Four months later, Montanya Distillers opened it's doors. Today it's thriving and very successful, shipping rum to 44 states and 7 foreign countries. A very inspiring story. Enjoy...
Feb 27, 2018
Tom Siciliano and the story of Siciliano's Pizzaria
Tom started his pizzaria in 1983, and thirty-five years late it's still thriving in the small town of Ravenna, OH. His passion for his business is contagious, and you'll learn how his single-location restaurant has withstood the test of time. Enjoy...
Feb 26, 2018
Parker Kennedy and the story of Caffe Luna
Parker started his dream Italian restaurant in downtown Raleigh, NC in 1996 when there weren't many restaurants downtown. Twenty-two years later, Caffe Luna is an institution in a town now full of successful independent restaurants. Parker has owned and operated his single location all of these years, and as you'll here in this conversation, he hasn't lost an ounce of the enthusiasm and pride for what he does. Enjoy...
Aug 8, 2017
Chick Evans and the story of Maxie's
This conversation was so much fun! Chick and I got into all sorts of topics from Chick living in Chicago while Maxie's is hundreds of miles away in Ithica, NY, to restaurant technology, to meditation. We spoke for over and hour and I could have talked to him twice that long. Enjoy...
1 hr 8 min
Mar 16, 2017
Jon Seelbinder of The Local Icon shares his story
Jon owns The Local Icon (www.thelocalicon.com) a very successful hospitality in Raleigh, N.C. Since 2012 he and his team have opened six concepts, and all of them are very popular and admired. This is a long and GREAT interview. We talk about very wide range of topics, and I would have asked more questions but I wanted to respect his time. We may even need to do a part II for this interviews! You'll be inspired by Jon's palpable entrepreneurial drive and appreciate his authenticity. Enjoy...
Mar 15, 2017
Paul Holder shares his story
Paul left Georgetown University in the early 2000's with degrees in marketing and international business and a different plan than his friends who were heading to NYC to get into investment banking. He started bar tending and that led to a successful career in the restaurant business that has spanned 15 years, including the last 12 as owner. Paul co-owns both Town Hall and Sixth Engine, successful restaurants in the competitive restaurant scene in our nation's capital. He and his partners have a third restaurant on the way, and in this interview Paul shares advice and lessons learned over the years. He's an extremely sharp guy and if you are interested in what it takes to be a successful restaurant owner, you don't want to miss this interview!
Feb 13, 2017
Andrew Rasizer of B2 Bistro + Bar shares his story
Andrew co-owns B2 Bistro + Bar in Red Bank, NJ (http://www.b2bistro.com). He grew up around the restaurant business and started working in it when he was fourteen. After attending the Culinary Institute of America and running restaurants for nine years, he had an opportunity to join his partner Cesare "Chez" De Chellis and start his own restaurant. Andrew shares what he loves about the business, lessons learned over the years, and plans for the future. A great interview! Enjoy...
Jan 30, 2017
Charlie Barone shares his story
Charlie started washing dishes at age 14 in Buffalo, NY and soon fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the restaurant world. After leaving Buffalo for what he thought was for good many years ago and finding success in the highly competitive Chicago restaurant and bar scene, he returned home in 2013 and owns to successful restaurants with more on the way. Charlie talks about loyalty, hard work, passion for the business and mistakes to avoid if you want to pursue "the beast." Enjoy...
Jan 24, 2017
The story of Provision Concepts
Aaron Soward tells the story of going from a school to a chain to co-founding Provision Concepts with his long-time friend and colleague, Jeff Dixon. Today they own three very successful concepts in Oklahoma City, each with one location and two of them with a second location coming soon. As always, this is a great story from a bold entrepreneur in the independent restaurant world. Enjoy...
Jan 16, 2017
The Story of Liberty Market
Kiersten Traina is co-owns the very popular and successful Liberty Market in Gilbert, AZ. Started at the height of recession in 2008, Liberty Market was built on the guiding principles of having a passion for the food and serving with a servant's heart. Kiersten shares how those unchanging principles, along with the willingness to hold nothing else sacred, has helped her and her team building a single location business that is admired by her peers and has amazing staff loyalty. Enjoy...
Nov 29, 2016
Michael Chernow shares his story
Michael and Daniel Holzman started The Meatball shop in NYC in 2010 and it quickly grew to six locations and gained national attention. Now he's back at it with Seamore's in Brooklyn, and he was kind enough to take some time to share his story. Michael is a passionate, hard working guy who absolutely loves the restaurant business. Find out why...
Nov 29, 2016
Successful and admired owner Shawn Wilfong shares his story
Shawn owns Leroy Fox, Mortimer's, and Cowbell in Charlotte, N.C. He is one of the most respected and successful restaurant owners in the city, and he is a genuinely great guy. He shares his story of a life in the restart business and what philosophies and and his team operate with to ensure success for their restaurants. Enjoy...
Nov 18, 2016
Lisa Siegel and the story of Riverside Market
Lisa and her husband Julian started The Riverside Market & Cafe in 2010 with no restaurant experience. They ignored conventional wisdom, and trusted their instincts, doing things such as implementing a honor system bottled beer and having no TVs in a place you would expect to have TVs. Riverside quickly became one of the most popular and highly rated restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, precisely because they did things differently. The couple has since opened Craft Beer Cartel and a second Riverside, with a third Riverside on the way. Lisa shares the journey here. Enjoy...
Nov 15, 2016
Steve Palmer tells his story
Steve started working in a restaurant when he was 13 and has been at at for almost 35 years. Today he owns The Indigo Road Restaurant Group in Charleston, S.C. with seven concepts and 13 locations. Here's his story...
Sep 27, 2016
Marilyn Schlossbach tells her story
Marilyn Schlossbach owns restaurants in Asbury Park, NJ. She is a self-taught chef, a passionate woman who devotes herself fully to her family, her business, and her community, and a creative person who works hard and inspires everybody around her. Here's her story. Don't miss this one...
Sep 20, 2016
The Story of Ocean Odyssey
Travis Todd's grandparents started a small crab factory in 1947 to produce some of the finest Blue Crab meet on the eastern shore. Nearly 70 years later, the business has evolved into a beloved destination restaurant run by third generation family members. Travis Todd grew up around the family business and has been a part of it for most of his life. My opinion from listening to Travis talk about a lifetime spent in the business is that he's a down-to-earth, hard worker who is a great leader for his team and has a genuine passion for his family's business. This interview was both fun and inspiring for me. I hope you'll take time to enjoy it...
Aug 4, 2016
The Story of Grassburger
Jess Killeen and her husband Ed own Grassburger, with locations in Durango, CO, and Albuquerque, NM. What started as a transition to grass fed beef for they family of five led to the the couple opening the first restaurant they had ever opened. This is an inspiring story about opening a restaurant with no experience in the business, as well as a very educational discussion of the health benefits of grass fed beef.
Jun 28, 2016
Scott Youkilis riffs on his years in the restaurant business
Scott owns Hog & Rocks, a highly successful restaurant in San Francisco. He's also opening Loma Brewing Company in Los Gatos, CA in just a few weeks. He took time to speak with us about his nearly 20 years in the business, and discussed everything from culinary school, to raising money for a restaurant, to business partners, to finding and keeping good talent, to staying focused on the things you can control. Scott is very good at communicating and articulating his thoughts on the business. Don't miss this interview if you are considering getting into the restaurant business.
Feb 4, 2016
"Necessity is where creativity thrives"
Angela Salamanca came to the U.S. from Colombia, South America in 1993 as a 17-year-old rent high school graduate. She went to work for her uncle, who owned a popular Mexican restaurant in Raleigh, N.C. By 2007, she was planning the opening of a new restaurant with that same uncle, when he suddenly left the country to get married. He told Angela, who had a young child and a baby on the way, "You don't need me, I know you can do it on your own." Angela now calls his unplanned departure the biggest gift he could have given her. Rather than crumble under the stress and pressure, she rose to the occasion and used the situation to her advantage. With necessity, her creativity thrived and Angela wound up building the restaurant of her dreams while bucking conventional wisdom and trusting her vision and her instincts. This is a highly inspiring interview with a wonderful person. Enjoy...
Sep 24, 2015
"We believe in people more than we do in things"
Meherwan Irani got an MBA and spent 15 years in corporate America, working for other people. He was not unhappy, but never jumped out of bed in the morning excited to head to work. So in 2009 as the economy was collapsing, he and his wife Molly took a leap of faith and decided to start a restaurant. Meherwan was a self-taught chef with a 150-page business plan and in need of $70,000 to get started. All the banks turned the Irani's down for a loan, as did the SBA. But they raised the money, convinced the landlord of a prime location in downtown Asheville, NC to lease them his space, and opened Chai Pani on day one with customers lined up around the block while having spent $0 on advertising and having only $250 in the cash register (and $0 in the bank), knowing they needed to sell a lot of food in the first three days or they'd have nothing left. But they were so busy the first day they had to close at 2pm because they ran out of food. Just five years later (2014), Meherwan was nominate…
Sep 21, 2015
"It takes discipline to stay simple"
Cris Eddings co-owns Chuck's Fish (two locations) and Five Restaurant (five locations). He and his team follow their own compasses and don't pay attention to conventional wisdom when it doesn't align with what they believe. So they do things like raising the minimum wage for non-tipped employees to $10.25/hour well before the idea became a national topic, opening a concept (Five) with only five of each category on the menu (five entrees, five appetizers, etc.), forsaking advertising and instead investing into higher wages for staff and funding their non-profit organization, which sends food trucks out several days per week to feed homeless people where they are. This is a very refreshing and inspiring interview. Enjoy...
Sep 4, 2015
"I opened for $70,000 after starting with a $1,000,000 business plan"
Mic Heynekamp of Eddyline Brewery was in our book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked, and told me one of the most interesting stories I've ever heard about opening a restaurant. He and his wife, Molley, drew up a $1,000,000 business plan to open their first restaurant. It included new equipment, a build-out, and everything conventional wisdom says you need to do to get started. After getting declined for the financing they needed, they began to whittle away at the plan, learning that creativity and common sense helped more than a big pile of money. They wound up opening for $70,000, just 7% of what they had originally anticipated they needed. In this interview, Mic tells how they did it, as well as how they built their second location for $750,000 when an architect had told them it would cost $5,000,000. This interview offers tons of practical, repeatable pieces of advice on getting started with your first restaurant, why small towns are a great place to operate, and how you can run your bus…
Aug 26, 2015
The most important question to ask all interviewees
Kimberly Shingledecker started Pies & Pints along with partner David Bailey in Fayetteville, WV in 2003 in the basement of a house. By 2005 they had two-hour waits and needed to buy a building with more space. The growth hasn't slowed down much since, and today there are eight locations with a ninth opening soon. Kimberly and I talked about consistency being critical, never closing earlier than the time posted on your door, the challenge of educating your market - and your staff - when you are doing something new, the importance of finding a way to say "yes" to customers, being kid-friendly, and the most important question to ask people interviewing for jobs. Enjoy...
Aug 24, 2015
"My lack of experience helped"
Rob Ward and his three business partners started Cantina 76 in Columbia, S.C. in November, 2009. They had no experience owning restaurants, and not much experience in the restaurant business at all. They now have two locations and recently opened Za's Brickoven Pizza. Their restaurants are successful and well-liked in Columbia, and it was fun learning how Rob approached owning and running restaurant when he had never even managed one. Tune in to hear an inspiring story of how Rob learned on the job, made some mistakes, drew in crowds without a marketing budget, and benefited from a lack of experience.
Aug 14, 2015
"Do something common uncommonly well"
Dave Query started Big Red F Restaurant Group in 1993 and has turned it into a highly successful business with five concepts and soon-to-be thirteen total locations. In the five years I've been interviewing restaurant owners, Dave has always been one of my favorites. He's transparent, honest, wise, and able to articulate his beliefs and philosophies as well as anybody I've come across in the business. In this interview, Dave and I discussed everything from choosing the right types of investors, to growth, to humility, to competition. Enjoy...
Aug 5, 2015
"If you jump in with both feet, doors will open"
Rayme Rossello is a very positive and inspiring person, who first co-owned a restaurant in 1999. That restaurant was very successful and grew to 5 locations, but Rayme sold her share of the business to her partner to try something different. After an unsuccessful partnership in a french bistro, she questioned herself and what was next, even considering going back to waiting tables. Tune in to hear her inspiring story of starting Comida with her pink taco truck in Boulder in 2010 and growing that to two successful restaurant locations and a third on the way.
May 20, 2015
"I never thought I'd open a restaurant"
Van Nolintha began applying for jobs at the height of the recession after finishing both undergraduate school and graduate school. After being turned down nearly 300 times, he and his younger sister, Vanvisa, returned to his home country, Laos, to reconnect with their roots. Much of his early life centered around food, so when he returned to the U.S. to Raleigh, N.C., he decided to start a restaurant. He bought a copy of "How to Open a Restaurant for Dummies" and sent heartfelt emails to several of the most highly regarded restaurant owners in Raleigh, asking for advice and mentoring. They all agreed to help. In 2012, with little capital and lots of sweat, donations, and help from friends, Van and Vanvisa opened Bida Manda, and today it's one of the most loved restaurants in Raleigh. Of all of the stories I've heard from 5 years of interviewing restaurant owners, this is the most memorable...
May 12, 2015
"You aren't ready until you've made all of the mistakes"
Brent Bushong and his partners recently opened The Velveteen Habit, a quaint farmhouse on four acres of land, tucked into a small clearing in the woods two miles from the Maine coastline. This is not your typical restaurant. The group has a Head Gardener, and plans to source most of its produce from the one-acre garden. They may eventually have their own livestock. They have a bee hive. They are very committed to providing the freshest, local food prepare simply, with a modern interpretation of the food you'd have eaten in the same farm house in 1765. Added to that, after his time as a Marine, Brent has spent the majority of his working career in restaurants, working nearly every position and learning tons of wisdom along the way. We talked about the need to marry both passion and a strong work ethic, summoning significant self confidence in the face of obstacles and doubters, the value of humility, and the importance of taking the time to make all of the mistakes you can make before y…
May 8, 2015
"Be ready to get out of your comfort zone"
Aaron Siegel opened the first Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ in Charleston, SC in 2006. He opened the second location in 2009. Now, six years later, Aaron and his team are opening their third location. Aaron and I talked about everything from the national exposure Fiery Ron's has received (Esquire, The Food Network, etc.) from effective use of Instagram and other social media tools, to being forced out of his comfort zone when he went from chef to owner, to the romanticization of the restaurant business, to bridging the divide between FOH and BOH, to using mistakes made by staff as training moments. Aaron is a humble guy who has built a highly popular and successful business over the last six years, and he's worth paying attention to if you plan to start your own restaurant one day...
May 5, 2015
"Stand for something"
Seth Gross has been in the restaurant business for 27 years. He currently owns Bull City Burgers & Brewery as well as Pompieri Pizza, both in Durham, NC. One thing that's clear when you speak to Seth: he believes in standing for something. For instance, he only uses grass-fed beef for his burgers, and has vowed that if he ever has to resort to corn-fed beef, he will close his restaurant. He also won't use tomatoes on his burgers or pizzas during the winter months, because he can't get fresh, local tomatoes then. More examples abound in this really fun, inspiring conversation. And you'll also learn how he's been able to get customers to tattoo themselves with his logo. Enjoy....
May 4, 2015
"Getting customers vs. keeping customers"
Daniel Holzman co-owns The Meatball Shop in New York. Five years in, he and partner Michael Chernow have built a wildly successful 6-location business. Daniel has been featured on ountless broadcast segments including ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s TODAY Show, Chelsea Lately, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and VH1’s Big Morning Buzz. Additionally, he has been featured in an array of widely reaching local and national publications such as The New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur, People, Food Network Magazine and GQ. But after all of that, one of the issues Daniel wanted to discuss was the difference between getting a customer to walk in your door because they have heard about you, and keeping that customer for life. We talked about all sorts of topics, but I focused a lot on the challenges of growth, remaining authentic as you expand, and why Daniel and Michael recently decided to devote 80% of their time to operations. Growth is great, but you have to solidify your foundation…
May 4, 2015
"Hubris will lead to failure"
Sean Degnan co-owns the very popular restaurant bu•ku in Raleigh, N.C. Five years into it, and Sean and his team are still paying close attention to their customers and flexibly making changes as they go. We discussed a wide variety of topics from finding the right business partner to finding the right landlord, but what really sticks out is Sean's humility and focus on learning from others. He has the right mindset to succeed long term in the tough restaurant business, and while he's only been an owner for five years, the wisdom he conveys is similar to what I often hear from owners who've been at it for decades. Enjoy...
May 1, 2015
"Live in fear, or live in love"
Kristian Cosentino is opening Dirty Water, a highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. For the first time in the Restaurant Owners Uncorked podcast series, we spoke to an owner who hasn't opened his doors yet. But if you are interested in what it takes to start a restaurant, don't miss this conversation. Kristian has been planning Dirty Water for two years, and we discussed everything from overcoming doubters (and self-doubt), to why he decided to stop fulfilling other people's dreams and focus on fulfilling his own dreams, to finding the right type of landlord, to finding the right type of investors, to refining your business plan, to why it's always important to listen to your gut. This is a highly educational, fun conversation...
Mar 31, 2015
"You've got to anticipate problems"
What do a rock band member, a bar owner, a music venue owner, and a restaurant owner have in common? Cheetie Kumar, that's what. Cheetie balances all of those things, and somehow does a great job all the way around. We spoke specifically about Garland, her restaurant, and also her newest venture. She's learned a ton in a little over a year since it opened, and we talked about everything from the difference between being a food lover (and cook) to being a restaurant owner, to the importance of good lease negotiation, to why it's crucial to be observant and anticipate problems before the arise. Cheetie is a very inspiring person, and you can't help but be inspired by her. Enjoy...
Mar 30, 2015
"You need good systems and processes to grow"
Paul Wise's father left his construction business in 1996 to start Christianos Pizza, and nearly twenty years later Paul and his siblings have grown and run the successful three-location business. Paul talks about always wanting to learn about the restaurant business, even though he's been involved with it since he was eleven years old. He offers great advice on learning not to grow too fast, how to ensure you have the right systems and processes in place before you grow, why it's so critical to invest into hiring the right kind of people, owing your building vs. leasing, great books for people interested in the restaurant business, and more. Paul is both a student of the game and a successful player, and this interview is chock full of good advice. Enjoy...
Mar 30, 2015
Trust, humility and passion
Woody Lockwood and his partners run three successful restaurants in Raleigh, N.C. and they are working on a second location for one of the three concepts. They value trusting each other and their team members, humbly working hard towards their goals, and only doing things they are passionate about. This is a refreshing, enjoyable interview with a guy who has had a tremendous amount of success, but finds a way to redirect attention and never shines the spotlight onto himself. He's easy-going, yet has a deep passion for his restaurants. You can't help but soak up wisdom and perspective when listening to Woody. Enjoy...
Mar 13, 2015
"Coffee is definitely trial and error"
Sean Scott owns Subculture Coffee, with locations in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach in Florida. Sean and I spoke about everything from the trust and relationships formed between coffee buyers and the farmers they source their beans from, to the risks of bad weather harming coffee bean crops, to the trial and error of the craft of roasting great coffee, to the importance of having six or more months of working capital when you open your doors, to how everything takes longer than you plan and costs more than you plan when you are starting your first location. This is a very wide-ranging conversation, and Sean offers tons of wisdom and advice for anybody interested not just in coffee, but in the mentality it takes to succeed in the restaurant business. Enjoy...
Mar 12, 2015
"I run my restaurant like I would run Apple"
Bret Oliverio took over Sup Dogs in Greenville, NC in 2011 after his brother, who started the restaurant, tragically passed away. Bret had no restaurant experience and had to learn everything from how to tap a keg, how to manage his staff, how to implement portion controls, how to generate consistent profits, how to ... well, how to do EVERYTHING it takes to run a successful restaurant. Four years later, SUP Dogs is doing extremely well, and opened it's second location two hours away in Chapel Hill, NC nine months ago. Bret shares his story and the lessons he's learned along the way, as well as discusses how he only has four years of experience and still has a lot to learn. This is an absolutely fantastic interview with a guy who has overcome a lot of hurdles. Bret is a hard-working, sharp guy who expects a lot of himself, but has no ego about his success. Enjoy...
1 hr 18 min
Feb 24, 2015
"Every good restaurateur is a student of the game"
Kenneth Cribb is one of the owners of Willy Taco in Spartanburg, S.C. and he's one of the hardest working owners I've ever come across. I had the honor filming him for our video series, and he worked his tail off all day, from bussing tables to filling water glasses to running food to coaching his team members to a dozen other things, and he did it with genuine passion and enthusiasm. In this interview, we talk about his leadership style, working in the business and on the business, why being closed on Mondays is important to Willy Taco's success, the market research he and his four partners did, the balance of veteran wisdom and youthful energy he and his partners share, and why he views snow days as a win for his restaurant. Enjoy...
Feb 24, 2015
"And then I got the phone call of a lifetime"
Keith Santangelo moved to NYC when he was 18 years old and started waiting tables. He had worked his way up to being a very successful GM at Bourbon Street Bar & Grill starting in 2009, and last year his owners called to see if he'd like to buy the restaurant. His dream came true, and now he and a partner are doing a phenomenal job with a New Orleans-themed restaurant near near the theater district and Times Square in NYC. Keith talks about that phone call, the transition from GM to owner and how that changes things, why he hires on character vs. on technical skills, why restaurants have to spend time finding their identity, the "cornerstones of success" in the restaurant business, and more. Keith is a great guy and a successful restaurateur. Enjoy...
Feb 20, 2015
How to raise money for your restaurant and approach success with the right mindset
Scott Maitland has owned Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery in Chapel Hill, NC for nearly twenty years. He's an incredibly sharp businessman and entrepreneur, and this interview turned into what amounted to a full-on class session on the mindset you need to have when opening a restaurant and how to raise money for it. 95% of the advice would apply to any entrepreneur, and you simply don't want to miss this conversation if you have any interest in raising money and starting a successful restaurant.
Feb 11, 2015
Julien Siegel - The Riverside Market/Craft Beer Cartel - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Julien and his wife Lisa started the wildly successful Riverside Market & Cafe without a business plan and bucked conventional wisdom from day one. It's one of the most memorable restaurants I've ever visited, from the honor system for bottled beers, to the couches and wing back chairs located in the middle of the restaurant, to their absolute trust in organic, word-of-mouth growth and relying on team members from all walks of life. On any given day, you'll run into anybody from a billionaire to a misguided skateboarder to a life guard to an out of work poet, all hanging out and enjoying the relaxed, inviting atmosphere and the delicious food. Don't miss this episode - you'll most likely never hear any other owner share the same philosophies as Julien.
Feb 10, 2015
Jake Wolf - Capital Club 16 - Raleigh, NC
Jake and his wife Shannon own Capital Club 16, one of the best and most respected restaurants in Raleigh, N.C. Jake talks about his restaurant being an extension of his home, leading by example, transitioning from being a chef to being an owner, treating his staff like family, and other ways he and Shannon have built an impressive following of loyal customers and long-term, happy staff. You can find them at www.capitalclub16.com.
Feb 3, 2015
Tad Peelen - Joe's Real BBQ, Joe's Farm Grill - Gilbert, AZ
Tad discusses why he and his partners set out to create institutions in their communities where the single unit economics work on their own, why Joe's Real BBQ gives away 6,000 free meals one day each year, why they offer aggressive employee benefits, and more.
Feb 3, 2015
Matt Frey - Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream, Bub's Cafe - Carmel, IN
Matt discusses why he hires sales people for every position in his restaurants, paying back his initial 5-year bank loan in two years, his three biggest challenges (labor, labor, and labor), why it's important to keep your concept simple, he and his wife decide to create the "Big Ugly Burger," and more.