There has been silence in my blog spot lately and allow me to explain why. Over the past eight weeks a series of ¬†truly singular human resource issues arose. I lost almost 90 man-hours on my kitchen schedule,at a time when we were realizing record sales, and had to put myself into a gear that I have not used in decades. I had to cover not only my chef duties, but produce the day-to day bulk prep, and at times was pressed into line production. I would like to think that a younger man would have been brought to his knees, but I am sure I am only engaging in a bit of self-admiration. Now that I have publicly and obnoxiously patted myself on the back, let me flesh out the entire story. Yes, I did do double duty, but the success REPUBLIC realized during this period had as much to do with the larger group as it did with my efforts.
Many of you come to REPUBLIC for specific reasons. It may be the morning service and the breads. It may be the wine and half-price antipasti. There are those patrons who just come for lunch, while others only patronize us for breakfast or weekday dinners. When you are here you usually see the same faces on the floor, at the door, behind the bar and behind the line. Those faces have names, and the faces you do not see are as much a part of your experience as the barista, bartender or cook that is serving you.
While I was down in the sub-basement, Claudia’s influence kept us on a straight course. She also kept me sane. Monica is the lovely face in the front and her oversight of the floor staff keeps the room buzzing. Brandon seems to be everywhere. Up in¬†the crow’s nest, the room looking down on us all, is tiny Tricia (who handles a job that would make someone four feet taller bend at the knees). She keeps¬†lights on and gas flowing both here and at the MILLTOWNE GRILLE, and has a tendency to provide comic relief at just the right moment.
Emily, Holly and Molly in the mornings behind the Marble Bar are just the ¬†faces I want to see handing me my espresso, and at night its Josh, Kate (pulling double duty as pastry chef), Neal, Sean, and “Red” ( you can’t miss him), filling my glass and yours with a distinctly different beverage. Andrew is the man who seems to fill every need and came with tools.
Speaking of breads, there is our baker Ryan, whose spectral photo on the display shelves is the only contact he has with most of our guests, but his experience and expertise have been immeasurable to our success.
Chris, Kelly, Eric, Jessica, little Emily (of lesser stature but with wonderful handwriting), Matt the server and Matt the host, along with Hannah and Kaitlyn ¬†offer you hospitality and are the liaisons between you and I. They now know more about ocean perch, harissa and beluga lentils then they ever could have imagined.
Shawn, Ricky, Keith, Bill, Paul, Peter and now Sous Chef Jen are the faces on the other side of the wall. They put my intentions on your plates. Fernando, and now Chris, are my subterranean partners and extensions of my hands. Then there is Brenda & Patricia, who, if they ever stop smiling, I know the world will end, and Ron, who is the only maintenance man I have ever met who has read Macbeth. I thank you all.
Claudia and I created REPUBLIC, but all the names above ¬†are REPUBLIC . We all bought into the message and philosophy, and we are trying hard to pull it off. We are in fact human, and at times come up short, but our attention and focus is on the guest and delivering to all of you a unique and locally-driven product as creatively presented as we know how to produce. I want to thank the entire staff for the support they have shown in the past two months. I hope you who are reading this can get to know some of these wonderful people.
Good luck to Emma in Maine. Claudia, forever, thank you. Monica, my blog is better for your effort, thank you
P.S. For those of you who sweltered in our dining room last year, a gift … 7 tons of air conditioning was just installed .
See you soon,