July 17th, 2014 by ~

Help Wanted

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You’ve obviously noticed the amount of new restaurants cropping up downtown and surrounding the arena.  This is an exciting season in Lincoln’s culinary scene. It’s good to see people willing to put their chips on the table and get in on the action.  Competition is good for everyone involved.  It’s good for the consumer by providing more choices.  But it’s also good for me as the business owner.  It forces me to stay on my game, remind myself why I am in the business and constantly push me to ensure my guest is receiving the best food and hospitality they … more »

July 4th, 2014 by ~

Free to fail = Free to succeed

Dear Entrepreneur,

If you’re at the point in your journey where you find yourself sitting in front of a banker and you hear these words, “the restaurant business is the hardest for a startup…”, it’s likely a prelude to saying why they don’t want to lend you the money.  At which point you will be faced with a choice; listen, agree and give up, or dig a little deeper to find your resolve and keep pressing toward your dream.

I’ve sat across from that desk.

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When you set out to own your own business, there are certain things you stop … more »

June 17th, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

Why I love this band

We had the privilege of hosting and hearing my favorite band on the planet, The Elders, last Thursday. They played a show at Vega, just a block away from the restaurant, and man, was it ever a blast. Surrounded by family and friends, we danced and sang like crazy people should. If I seem overly enthusiastic and hyperbolic, here’s why.

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Four years ago I was providing care for my wife who had undergone surgery to remove a tumor attached to her right ovary. It was malignant and yes it would require extensive treatment. It was hard to wrap my head … more »

June 5th, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

Why you should hear this band.

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It’s no revelation to say that music has the power to speak to the soul in ways much more effectively than mere words alone.  Every culture has its songs, hymns and anthems it relies on in times of celebration and mourning; for the sake of tradition as well as for the future. And there may arguably be no better example of this than the enduring and endearing music of the Irish.

What is the one overarching quality attached to the Irish? It would have to be the word, luck.  Yet if you know anything of Irish history, they are a … more »

June 1st, 2014 by ~ 3 Comments

The Little Restaurant That Could

First off, let me make it clear that I am not anti-arena

kev overlooking PBA

I am referring to the story that appeared in INC magazine last week that describes the effects that the Pinnacle Bank Arena has had on our business in the last nine months.  If you have not read it, here is the link to the article, else the rest of this post may not have context.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201406/bo-burlingham/you-can-keep-your-regular-customers-amid-change.html

As described in the story, the opening of the arena brought about some very sudden changes in the Haymarket, most of which had to do with infrastructure and parking.  Guests can recall … more »

May 5th, 2014 by ~ 1 Comment

What if….?

I make this point in presentations I give about the role the restaurant plays in the 21st century:

“Food is a final human experience that cannot be digitized. Both must be physically present to enjoy its pleasures and benefits.”

If you let that sink in a bit, you will find that in spite all our technological advancements, food is the one experience that cannot be converted into 1’s and 0’s.  We’ve coded music, art, film, communication, business transactions, and banking into digital forms of convenience and efficiency.  We’ve even reduced “friendship” to a click of a button on a … more »

April 29th, 2014 by ~

A Picture of Remembrance

I lived on a rural acreage as a boy, one with plenty of room to explore and let the imagination run wild.  One of the places I played on this property was at the site of an old homestead.  We didn’t have much information on the house other than the small clues we discovered by visual examination of relics and artifacts left over from the previous landowner.  All that was left of the home as I remember was the outline of its stone and concrete foundation.  It was a very small dwelling.  There were old Mason jars still intact and … more »

April 11th, 2014 by ~

The Sustained Chef

A couple of years ago I title my blog, The Sustained Chef, primarily out of the irony that chefs are engaged in.  There is an inordinate amount of talk about sustainable food, sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy and environmental practices, but when it comes to living sustainable lifestyle as a chef, we give it a blind eye and continue to brag about how many hours we put in last week.  So I made a conscious commitment to try to change that in my own day to day habits and practices.

Since that choice, it seems like I’ve been challenged daily on … more »

April 3rd, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

How to find a good restaurant

As an avid reader, I have had to develop an unnatural impulse when it comes to collecting reading material.  The amount of books, magazines, articles, catalogs, reviews, and cookbooks that catch my attention is enormous. And it took me several years to realize that there is no way I would possibly have time to explore every one of them.  The stack just kept getting higher and higher as did my frustration level with each added resource.  I have to religiously cull through them or else get accused of being a hoarder because the pile gets too high.

Now add the … more »

March 28th, 2014 by ~ 2 Comments

Sunny Skies, Moderate Temperatures and a Bloody Mary

Every year we complain about the winter, but there does actually seem like something is different about this one.  Maybe it’s the extra dreary weather, or the deep cold temperatures we’ve experienced.  I wish I knew. If I could predict it, I’d design an app, sell it for a gazillion dollars and retire on the beach.  But that’s not likely to happen, so I should just stick to things I can observe and understand and make those work.

Business has been unusually slow this winter.  The common talk in our city is that the market has become oversaturated with new … more »