September 16th, 2015 by ~

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 »

August 24th, 2015 by ~

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 »

August 2nd, 2015 by ~

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 »

July 24th, 2015 by ~

Why Lincoln could become the next great food city.


In nearly eight years of being open, I’ve never heard the story go like this…

“Yeah, I was hungry and I wandered into your place and ate, got fully and left. Thanks!”

Instead, the story usually goes more like this…

“My son and I stop in your place before every home football game and get a cinnamon roll together.  We’ve been doing it for years and he moves off to college next year and we both say how we will miss that tradition.”


“My wife and I had our first date at your place four years ago and

more »
June 16th, 2015 by ~ 11 Comments

Why Get Back On The Horse?

Why get back on the horse?

Now that the announcement has been made, I can freely talk about our new restaurant project, The Piedmont Bistro, slated to open this fall in the Piedmont Shopping Center at the intersection of Cotner and A Streets.  It’s been a long time in the works, but patience has paid off and we are excited about moving it to completion in the following months.

piedmont doorway

The most critical question we had to answer as we evaluated the decision was, why do it?  Why take the risk again?  Why go through all the labor and stress … more »

May 15th, 2015 by ~ 2 Comments

History and Pain

About 9 years ago friends of mine encouraged me to start a web log, which we now refer to as blogging.    It was a growing trend at the time, but I didn’t start writing in order to be in fashion.  I did it so it would help me remember.

It can be painful to go back and read what you wrote years ago, not because your writing may have improved over the years, but because your thoughts, ideas and opinions have most likely morphed along the way.  This is why I will never get a tattoo.  I don’t want a … more »

March 27th, 2015 by ~

How To See Better.

reading glasses

Years ago, a mentor said to me, “Shinn, you seem to possess a natural sense of vision.” As a college freshman of 18 years of age, I had no idea what he was talking about.  Having poor eyesight all my life, I thought maybe he was trying to help me feel better about my Coke bottle glasses, of which I was always very self-conscious.

He went on to explain to me his meaning of vision wasn’t so much about trusting in a set of physical eyes, but instead as the ability to imagine the better future, and a willingness to … more »

March 2nd, 2015 by ~ 2 Comments

The Future of Food




While we can’t live in the future, we certainly like to try and predict it.  Sports books make their money off of this basic human impulse.  But the only way of benefitting from future outcome is to lay down a researched bet and hope that your number comes up.  Regardless of how much you think you have a sure thing, betting on the future is still a gamble.

My wife and I have placed a bet on the future of food.  This bet involves a belief that our general culture will eventually shift in how it views food … more »

December 29th, 2014 by ~

Top 5 Books for 2014


The importance of consistent reading was drilled into me at a young age and it still proves to be the best source of self-development in my middle age season. Here are five books that stand out and my reason for recommending them. A couple of them were mentioned in a post last February.


Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

Every entrepreneur needs to read this book, especially when coming to a decision point about growing the business. Bo Burlingham tells the story of several companies that faced this decision and chose to grow according to their philosophy and values, and not … more »

December 18th, 2014 by ~

What we are learning

wreath and ampersand

One thing I like about the holiday season is the natural opportunity it provides for reflection and self-evaluation.  I use the time to look back over the books I’ve read and the goals that I set for the year. Since I’m inclined to this kind of analysis, I find it enlightening, sometime discouraging, but mostly invigorating as I look toward the future and make sure I’m doing what I can to ensure that it’s better than the past.

We recently completed an online survey with over 300 people responding with extremely helpful feedback about our business.  People can be more … more »