Whether you are a long-time industry veteran, or new to the scene but full of big ideas and dreams – you’ve decided to open a restaurant! Restaurant owners all across the city were once in your shoes; they started with a dream to own the swankiest cafe in Astoria, or most savory pizza selection in Brooklyn. Whatever your dream, everyone starts in the same place - the beginning.
Opening a new restaurant can be overwhelming. Whether you’re a neighborhood bar or a five-star restaurant, in NYC restaurant owners strive for nothing less than the best. We recently had the opportunity to chat with two of New York’s finest to gain some insight into what makes their restaurant such a success. Read on to get the scoop and be sure to add these stops to your Restaurant Week checklist.
Faun Restaurant (faun.nyc) is an Italian inspired bistro nestled in Brooklyn, New York. It offers a small menu with incredible attention to flavor and ingredient choices. Don’t take our word for it, there are more than 110 current Yelp reviews for Faun with a 4.0 rating. Needless to say, they are doing something right. We spoke to David Stockwell, owner, and asked if he had any advice for aspiring restaurateurs out there.
I came into this from outside the industry entirely. So I wish I knew something, anything, about running a restaurant. One "typical" thing I should have done is hire a great bookkeeper right from the start - that person is worth their weight in gold. - David Stockwell, Owner Faun Restaurant
Stockwell is giving sound advice. Most restaurants are open every day for several hours. Having someone on your staff to help account for cash flow, inventory and income statements will relieve you of these burdens on the day-to-day and allow you to focus on what matters most, your customers.
If you desire a great atmosphere with a dining experience like no other, Grand Banks (grandbanks.nyc) is the place for you. Alongside the docks of the Hudson River resides a sailboat from the 1940’s. Owners Alexander and Miles Pincus, idea around Grand Banks, stemmed from a genuine interest in the history of local oysters in NYC. Offering a variety of refreshing cocktails and oyster dishes packed full of flavor, Grand Banks provides more than just a beautiful view. Attracting hundreds of people every day, the concept was not the easiest to unfold.
We spent months renovating a beautiful historic ship, designing and building a restaurant on board, creating a new menu, hiring and training staff. We have to do all the boat stuff right, so it has no interference with any of the other things that need to go right.” – Alexander Pincus, Owner Grand Banks
Alexander and Miles Pincus’ hard work and determination is a testament to the fact that nothing brings success better than good old-fashioned dedication. Investing more than $200,000 a year to keeping the boat in its best shape, they will do whatever it takes to provide the most memorable dining experience for their guests. Even more impressive is an ongoing partnership they have with a local nonprofit to promote aquatic sustainability. Grand Banks is invested not only in the success of their business but the local neighborhood. Take a trip to Grand Banks and soak in an experience truly like no other.
Another stop we highly recommend on your culinary expedition is Fine & Rare (fineandrare.nyc). Fine & Rare is a fine dining restaurant that offers its patrons a unique menu with seasonal features sourced from local farms. An Old New York style vibe with live jazz music nightly, dinner here will have you sampling cocktails like the, Choose Your Own Smoke old-fashioned, and snacking on tuna sashimi with pickled sea beans and watermelon radish.
When talking about his success, owner, Tommie Tardie credits the people in his life and the good old hustle of hard work and persistence.
Positive thinking is so important and just surrounding yourself with good, positive people. You can get anything you want from life, you just have to work hard, you have to believe it.” – Tommie Tardie, Owner Fine & Rare
When you visit Tommie’s establishment, his beliefs and passion resonate through the entire restaurant from the exquisite food selection, to the variety of cocktails and spirits they offer.
Although there is no official handbook on opening a successful restaurant in the Big Apple, take heart knowing thousands of others have started in your very same shoes. From having a clear business plan to keeping a positive attitude, these restaurant owners took their dream and turned it into a huge New York City success.