Buying a restaurant is no small thing. If you don’t know that when you start, you certainly will when you’re in the home stretch as we are now. While the restaurant generates great excitement, the almost universal reaction from anyone I’ve told I’m doing it has been to try to talk me out of it with varying degrees of passion ranging from furrowed brows to being on the verge of calling the “men in white coats.”
The first conversation I had with Angela went something like this. “Hey, I’m going up to talk to Albert about buying his restaurant.” “Oh, okay, see you later.” “Did you hear me?” “Uhm, (Looks at me) “Sorry, huh?”
“I’m going up to talk to Albert about buying his restaurant.”
Blank stare. Long Pause. “What?” Slightly fearful expression. Reaching for cell phone to dial 911.
She’s come around and has honestly been my biggest supporter in these last critical weeks. This isn’t something I’m doing. It is something we are doing.
Mom’s initial reaction was horror. Truly. What was I thinking and why would I do a thing like this? Dad shared her view. This isn’t something we Collins’s do. Once they’d heard the story (which I will tell in another post) they understood and they’ve become huge supporters as has my sister and her husband whose enthusiasm was evident even from their home in Wisconsin, some 2000 miles away.
We told our dear friends, Richard and Kim Villa, over dinner one night at Oakmont. By now Angela and I were both gun-shy of telling people. What would these people who’ve been friends for over 25 years have to say?
Well, they were so excited for us that they jumped in and immediately became partners and have walked step by step by our sides ever since. Richard has been a huge help in fleshing out the financial plan and the menu and Kim’s genuine enthusiasm, and later that of their daughters, Stephanie and Elizabeth and their husbands, Sean and Jason, has buoyed us when we felt the clouds closing in.
Over the last four years we’ve gotten to be very close friends with Dave and Kathy Gallagher and Kate Rhymer. We told them pretty early on too and they provided this amazing combination of concerned – friend – ‘are you sure’ questions that actually helped us to solidify our own view that ‘yes, we were sure,’ and once they felt that, enthusiastic support for what we were doing in both tangible and intangible ways.
So many other friends have been helpful along the way, with just love and support to helpful suggestions and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our dear friends, Chap and Dee Clark, and Ralph and Judy Winter who we told on a weekend away for Chap’s birthday and who were all instantly enthusiastic.
In the middle of all of this, the most important people to both Angela and I are, of course, our sons. Mitchell was instantly excited and has been participating in menu design and helping out with other thoughts and ideas. Matthew, not so much, but I think the idea is growing on him as he sees the excitement of so many around him.
As the day approaches when Albert and I will meet and he will hand me the keys, and we will gather in the restaurant for the first time as owners and friends, I can say with absolute certainty that this would not have happened had it not been for the unique contribution of each of these dear friends. I can also say that Town will not succeed without their continued support and help, because of course, this is just the beginning.
And What’s Next is What’s Important.