I have been working in the food business for close on 25 years. We started with a tiny coffee shop in Dun Laoghaire "The Coffee Bean. With the help of my wife Cathy, we made it a success and today we operate two restaurants "Ouzos Bar & Grill" in Dalkey & Blackrock. We have been through thick & thin and somehow we have survived. This time next year, we’ll all be millionaires, again!
This blog is all about running restaurants in Ireland. The ups, the downs, the challenges, the serious stuff, the laughs, the good times, the bad times, the red tape, the lack of any tape, the good people, the bad people, the customers, the government, the suppliers, the critics, the chefs, the waiters and above all, the craic.
Running a restaurant is just like making a movie. Opening the door is the same as the shout "Lights, Camera, Action" and then everything better be in its place and working. The organization and the level of personal commitment involved is beyond most normal people’s comprehension. Trust me when I tell you, you have to be a little bet insane to work in a restaurant. Being a restaurateur is defiantly not a job, it’s a way of life and being married to a saint is a must. I love what I do with a passion and the good times far outweigh the bad.
Let me start by telling you about my two favorite complaints.
It’s a Wednesday night in Ouzos Baggot Street 1998 is the year. I am summoned to the table by a very irate guest who pushes his chair back, points with both hands to his dessert and shouts “what sort of a kip is this? My dessert is frozen in the middle” To which I replied “but sir, its Baked Alaska!” “I don’t give a shit what it is, it’s dangerous and I’m not eating it” Now, there are two ways I could have handled this, the first idea flashed through my mind and like an out-of-body experience I was looking down at myself. I grabbed him by the back of the head and stuck his face into the Baked Alaska while calling him an imbecile. I decided to go with the second option, I apologized and offered to get him something else. He left the restaurant happy and I was happy in the knowledge that it would not be long before one of his friends explained to him just how stupid he actually was. In fairness we laughed for a month about this one.