For every business leader, there comes a time when a sober assessment of one’s business is crucial in determining the next step to take. For many eating establishments in Lincoln in the last two years, that step has been to get out of the game. Gratefully for us, considering that direction is not necessary. We need to make sure we are taking steps forward, and thus, how far?

It is not a stretch for me to say that the approach we are taking to food and drink is unique not only to Lincoln but to many of our out of town guests who tell me they wished they had a place like ours in their city. And while I would like to take credit for some new and original idea, the concept of bread&cup is merely based on the outcome of this simple inquiry; what do people really want? We had a prediction, rolled the dice and are now happy that our number keeps coming up.

Which is more satisfying, to eat your dinner out of a bag that was handed to you through your driver’s side window? Or to sit down to a scratch made meal made by a face that will tell you what you are eating and that tastes far superior? And if your objection says, “But I’m in a hurry, man!” again, it reinforces my point, you want convenience over substance and you are willing to organize your lifestyle around that desire. Other companies may not, but my business plan takes the latter into consideration first.

Occasionally, when a customer likes what they see in our restaurant, I explain it this way, I tell them we are trying to shorten the distance between the kitchen and the table. This is what happens at home, and why the kitchen always becomes the most crowded room during a party. It’s why my kitchen is open, and why I try my best to come out and visit with you at the table. In shrinking that distance, it reconnects you to something that makes you human.

The metaphor of reducing the distance between the kitchen and the table is another way of saying that we believe what people really want is to reconnect the stomach with the soul. Ours has been severed by the Knife of Speed and Convenience, and we hope to sew it back together with the timeless thread of Conversation and Reflection. When I write, “We’ll set the table; you bring the conversation.” our implied meaning is that verbal human exchange over the practice of consuming simple food and drink will nourish far more than an empty stomach.

The Kitchen and the Table