Sunday, January 10, 2010
Running a restaurant
Damn I'm tired! I've been workin 9am to 2am shifts, but it's what everyone else in the biz does I guess. I will say this, its different being tired doing something you love. A lot of people have stopped in recently after reading the blog and tell me they are thinking about opening a restaurant and want to talk. I think it's dope. I probably am not the best guy to ask since I just opened mine, but I guess I'm accessible so that's cool. I'm like the hooker who gets no johns so she's always available for q&a, testing bad pick-up lines, and $5 hand jobs PAUSE lol.
BUT, in my spare time, I read the momofuku book. If anyone read my hoodman blog, they know I hate this restaurant. When I first went 5 years ago, I was really excited to see they had steamed pork buns on the menu. But when I got them, I was disappointed cause they had hoisin sauce all over. Long story short, it was part of the inspiration for doing my own buns, but I have to say. After reading the guy's book, I like the man behind the madness.
At first, I had no intention of reading the book. Then, my friend Sparkz sent me this interview of Chang . It's pretty damn funny. He hit up my favorite chicken spot, bonchon, he got stupid wasted, he big upped Chinese food, how can you not like this dude? So, I bought the book. If you are thinking about opening a restaurant, buy this book. What I liked is that he didn't sugar coat the experience. I think anyone that owns a restaurant will tell you its hard, its stressful, but if you REALLY love it and have an honest product, you have to do it.
I had a professor at Rollins, Dr. O'Sullivan, tell me years ago that I needed to find something that I just "had" to do. I have too many interests: hip hop, journalism, fantasy sports, streetwear, politics, stand-up comedy, law school, etc. I was doing all these things, but there wasn't one thing that I loved more than anything, but in the end, it was right in front of me 3 times a day: food. I've always cooked, I've traveled up to 2 hours for food ON A WEEKLY BASIS(chinese breakfast place in Maryland when we lived in VA). The reason why I didn't do it was because my dad owned restaurants and I wanted to do something that was "me". I didn't want to just follow my dad or take over his places. I hate people that just inherit shit so I wanted to do it myself.
After the whole food network thing, I decided I had to do it cause I wanted to freak out gua bao and see how far the rabbit hole could go. I always liked places like puka dog or dumpling spots in beijing with 30 some different fillings, and I wanted to specialize in gua bao before some idiot like rickshaw dumplings did it with a bullshit watered down menu targeted for midtown-transplants who don't know any better cause they spent their lives eating at Shoney's in bum-fuck nowhere.
But, even after having the idea and the drive to open Baohaus, I was staying up late at night questioning myself once or twice a week. I was confident in the concept and my work ethic, but you never know what's going to happen. Yet, when I bugged out, I read the momofuku book. It is a great story about how if you work hard, have genuine intentions, people will support you. I think the genius of Momofuku is that he serves chef-quality, michellin star, type food, but outside your parents' restaurant. It looks like it could be some shoe nerd boutique, they play dope music, they don't have uniforms, it easily could be Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop Deux and the staff is equally friendly, but they serve shit you'd see at the super restaurants. It's not my cup of tea, but for a lot of people, this is what they want, and they don't have to go above 14th st. He deserves every bit of credit he gets and if you haven't read the book, you should. Just be prepared that Chang drops PBR references every five pages. I don't know if they sponsored the book or if he has some hipster baby mama he needs to impress, but that is literally the only flaw in the book haha.