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Entrepreneurial Flair

By: Sharp Staff|April 29, 2015




Sometimes I don’t have time to breathe. I start my day at 7 o’ clock in the morning, and I manage to squeeze in maybe a workout before things get started, but the moment they get started, it never, never, never stops. It’s very exhilarating.


I knew that I wanted to have the freedom to go after what my dreams were, and really go after a vision. I had the need to create something that was my own. That was really important for me.


I have a very high tolerance for risk. I’m not somebody who second-guesses himself too often. When I’ve made up my mind, I’ve made up my mind. I never look back.


There’s definitely a balance. Everybody has a different threshold—a little bit like pain. Some people will tell you they work a lot. And others might tell you they don’t really work that much. The feeling of how much you work is very personal, so it’s a very hard thing to gauge. I try to have at least an hour of physical activity in a day. Then I try to spend some time over breakfast with my family and my two boys. That’s an important moment. After that, the day starts and I don’t really look back.


I have a problem. I get passionate about things very easily. So I tend to change my interests very fast—and I guess that comes from my daring business sense. So I don’t really get attached too much to material things…I have a few nice guns, though. They’re something I really appreciate shooting with, obviously, but also contemplating and cleaning.


When I like a brand, I’ll usually stick with it and just keep buying it. There’s a style of deconstructed jacket that BOSS does, and I think I own seven or eight of them. Just because I know they fit me all the time and they look great for the style I want, and they allow me not to have to think about it too much. That’s why I loved Loding so much. It’s the same idea: high quality, priced extremely well and you don’t have to think about it. I like convenient style, if that makes sense.



I think if there is one message I’d send, it’s to not allow people to take down your ideas and dreams. My newest restaurant concept, which will open at Union Station, is called Union Chicken. It’s an extremely simple concept based on rotisserie chicken. And the simplicity of it has led some people to question it. And I think to myself, ‘There we go again.’ And yet, when they see the finished product, they think, ‘Oh my God, this is genius! Why didn’t I think of that?’ Don’t let people break your dreams or your visions. Don’t let them tell you your idea is wrong or bad. Just go for it.


The restaurants I’ve built with my partners have always been incredible dining venues. First of all, there’s a huge financial risk in opening a restaurant. And then you never know if it’s going to work until you actually open the doors and give a chance for the guests to come and enjoy it, and for the reviewers to give their opinions on the restaurant….It’s extremely hard to readjust and change it once people have a certain understanding of what type of restaurant you are. It’s very daring.


Today we have so many choices for how we could spend an evening out, that if you are going to choose a restaurant, you need to feel the experience was exceptional. That doesn’t just mean the service, but the entire thing needs to be exceptional. Everything at the end has to have felt right: that the food was good, it was fun and the ambiance was great.


Nobody touches my weekends. I spend them with my family.


I don’t really think about what the future might be. I just know that the idea is going to be great. And I just grab it and go for it.


The biggest mistake I’ve made was on a restaurant I used to own. We decided to keep the name when we took over the existing business because it already had a great reputation in the city. I thought it would help our cause, that people would just say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to Splendido,’ and then let people find out that the concept had evolved or changed. We played it safe. And I think it played against us, because it took an incredible amount of energy and resources to actually show our customers, old and new, that it was a completely different restaurant.



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