We will miss you, Dustin

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

We discovered we lost a dear team member last night, Dustin Niemeyer.  I wrote this to my staff to help them process the loss.


It’s the natural human experience we all undergo as a result of loss.

It’s a process as well as a feeling.

It’s coming to terms that life won’t be the same anymore.

It’s an adjustment to never being able to see, listen or simply enjoy their presence.

It’s the regret of wanting to try and help, but not having that chance.

It’s the permission to cry your eyes out.

It’s the … more »

Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Seasons change whether we like it or not.  Winter brings its darkness along with its bone-deep cold.  Summer begets its searing heat and humidity.  But both of these seasons carry anticipated activity, like snow skiing and trips to the lake.  Every season has its two sides; either half full or half empty.  It all depends on perspective.


A season is turning at bread&cup as we sadly say goodbye to our long time chef, Matt, and empower him toward new opportunities for growth and development.  Thus we begin our search for the next generation chef that can carry us into … more »

Act Your Age


It’s a tiny little thing, less than an eighth inch in diameter, orange in color, with a crease across the face of one side.  It can easily be lost if dropped, so I guard it carefully because it has made a significant impact on my well-being in a short period of time

The thing to which I am referring is my dosage of hydrochlorothiazide, the medication I take to lower my blood pressure.  What it really does is reduce sodium in the blood stream and lower shortness of breath.  The domino effect from there has led to improved sleep, which … more »

August 02, 2005

kevin and dad

My dad passed away 11 years ago today, and I still feel the loss of the man who had a huge part of shaping my life and my character.  My first thought when I found out the news was that he would never see my restaurant that I was about to open, and that I would never see the look of delight on his face as he sat at my bar and let me slide a cold one his way.  Grief is important to experience and express, because the pain say the life mattered.  It wouldn’t hurt if it didn’t … more »

What are we learning?

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No business plan survives its first customer.

This is important business advice, regardless the business or industry in which you start your company.  You study. You research. You plan. You execute. And then…

You adapt.

I would guess there are those that got it right on the first attempt, but I would also guess that most successful businesses have had to adjust and tweak their original plan.  The assumptions made on paper didn’t match the needs and demands of the market.

Does this miscalculation imply failure?  Only if the entrepreneur fails to change.


Six months in at The Piedmont Bistro, … more »

In defense of lines and boxes


I’ve noticed a trend lately, most obviously in my local Barnes and Noble, but also in my home.  It’s the practice of adult coloring.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s not the same as adding the prefix “adult” to beverages and bookstores.  Adult coloring is an activity that is typically associated with children, but is now being taken up by adults everywhere.  The concept is simple. Take a page with an outline of a picture, grab a handful of pens, crayons or markers and go to town.

Why this sudden trend?  I think it’s pretty clear. Let me explain my thought.… more »

So, what’s it like opening a restaurant?

So how does it feel now that you’re open?

Its a familiar question asked, to which I answer some, “you got a few minutes to listen?”


As any entrepreneur can attest, there are certain moments in the creative process that very few people get the opportunity to experience.  We are creators, and creators must create, which sounds redundant and obvious, but redundancy is a necessary part of the job.  We have to remind ourselves over and over and over again why we do what we do.  We carry the dream daily, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.  But no one … more »

Now Hiring Risk Takers


Of all the tasks on the pre-opening timeline, the most challenging is assembling our team.  Finding great people and connecting them with a job that they find fulfilling and rewarding is central to our hiring philosophy.  That’s why our first consideration of a potential employee is not experience.  Having previous industry experience is defintely always welcome, but some of our best employees would have been overlooked because they had never worked in a restaurant before.  Instead, we look for attributes that transcend teachable skills.  We can teach the mechanics of food and drink; we just can’t teach a person the … more »

The Downbeat

How was your summer?

It’s a benign question that easily comes up in conversation now that school has started back, as routines change and schedules are readjusted.  Memories of travel, or summer sports activities or family gatherings come to mind. We remember fondly times that were fleeting and yet satisfying, like the burst of an aerial firework display on the 4th of July; beautiful, then gone in an instant.

Mine was what I call The Downbeat.

One beat of one measure, one moment in time I hope I never forget.

In June, my daughter surprised me with a trip … more »

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, my dad passed away. I lost a father, but most importantly, I lost a man that believed in me, was deeply proud of me and made me believe I could accomplish whatever my mind set out to create.  These are the words I read at his funeral, and I re-post them as a tribute to the man that made me who I am today. I hope they inspire you as they have me these many years after his departure.


Dad in uniform

It took a while, as it does for most youth, to realize that the vistas of … more »