Ten years ago, George W. was president, Arnold was governor and we had a crazy idea to open a restaurant as the next logical step in the evolution of Carpe Vino. It took a year to segue from a modest bar food program to a full-on kitchen and service staff. . .we took baby steps just to make sure. When we finally opened, I was scared to death that it was the dumbest move of my life (just one of a litany of blunders).
Yet, when your gut tells you what the numbers don’t, you dive in, work hard and don’t look back.
After a decade, though, it is clearly time to peer through rose-colored glasses and celebrate what has happened, thanks to the dedication of a core group of stalwarts and an ever-changing cadre of fine-dining pros who have alighted temporarily in the Friendly Confines and then moved on. It’s the nature of the business, and we’ve had some great ones on the payroll. . .many of whom I miss dearly.
And, of course, there has been and ever-changing tableau of customers, though many have been coming back since the beginning. Inevitably, life gets in the way and people move on for whatever reason. . .opportunities elsewhere, retirement and, sadly, even divorce and death.
Whatever we have accomplished here can be traced back essentially to two people: Eric Alexander, our executive chef who has been with us from the very beginning; and my son, Drew, who has been our key business driver and innovator. For a restaurant to thrive like ours has, it starts with excellence in the kitchen and ends with competent management. When you add an exceptional place and a talented staff, magic results.
If we had a staff Hall of Fame, it would feature Courtney McDonald who toiled alone in our makeshift kitchen as we ramped up in 2005 and continues to serve as our pastry chef. And, of course, there is Paul Roosen, the last member of our opening service crew who will celebrate his marriage to Molly with a reception at Carpe Vino in June.
gary, Drew & the CV Crew