So, where in the hell have you been?
It has been almost ten months since I sent out a blog post and yet it seems like just yesterday. Once I realized how long it’s been, I started to feel uncomfortable about writing another. You know how it feels when you get out of touch with a friend for no good reason, and all of a sudden, and after so much time, you run into each other? That awkward minute when you are asked, “So what have you been up to?” Where to start and what to say? So much time has passed and so much has happened that you are speechless with this friend with whom you shared so much. Well here goes.
Since I last spoke to you REPUBLIC sales have increased to a point where for a time we found ourselves at the limit of some of our vendors’ ability to deliver product. It’s great that we are realizing a good top line, but it was a first for us to be at the end of our distribution capacity. A great deal of time was spent identifying new vendors and waiting for our vendor-partners to catch up; very frustrating and time consuming, but new partners and great products were the end result. It just took a while.
Hiring, staffing and training became a huge focus because of our increased volume, but we now have a larger family of committed Repub-Lykins; wonderful people that we are fortunate to be associated with. Please get to know them, as they have some good life stories to tell, especially those on the other side of the line whose face and shoulders are the only body parts you see. Say hello on your way past as cooks love the attention.
There were personal issues with family and health, and even a magical getaway to Provence in July. Dear friends rented a house outside the walls of Avignon late in the summer and invited us to be their guests. The only caveat was the duty to cook on this amazing outside kitchen with a view of the castle walls of the city, as well as leading a pack of bike riders up the hills of the Luberon. I volunteered eagerly.
And my new knee made this possible! The old one that held up over uncountable miles of morning runs and distance racing as well as decades of aggressive tennis was replaced by a titanium apparatus. Although the running and tennis are gone, the stairs from my prep kitchen to the dining room are now bounded pain free. Yay me!!!!! Whatever you are told about knee replacements, believe less than 50% of it. The one truth is the 48 hours of post -op pain. It is medieval!
During the past 10 months, Claud and I found ourselves in the public eye as well, a less comfortable place for my dear wife than for me. We were nominated by the James Beard Foundation and advanced to the national semi finals in the category of Restaurateurs of the Year. This is the Oscars in our industry. We were also invited to speak at the TED-x Amoskeag Millyard Talks at UNH Manchester (check out their site to hear the lecture), along with an array of extraordinary people that made it hard to fathom being amongst their company. Claud was the star of the show, but after much angst and practice.
Claudia also somehow found time to resume her teaching at the New Hampshire Art Institute’s Photographic Department. How she found that time is indeed a treasure hunt.
So, now I believe we are caught up and again I apologize for my lack of communication over the past months.
Where are we now? There is a new menu at Republic. Wonderful, and, we believe, unique Mediterranean entrees and small plates are featured. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will be pleased (check the web site for menus). The seafood I’m featuring on the blackboard is the finest I’ve seen since the day we opened the doors. Both of our vendors are sourcing from local day boats and the product is amazing. The days that we feature whole roasted fish are becoming an event. (Watch Facebook for details.)
We will be open on New Year’s Eve until ten serving our regular menu and a great blackboard of specials. (Don’t know the fish yet, and won’t until that day.) Stop by to see your friends before you go to a movie or a party or just home to watch the ball drop.
I promise that going forward there will be “less air in our conversation.” I wanted to get back in touch and I missed the late-night typing.
Claudia and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and very peaceful New Year. Stop by, I’ll be here…
See you soon,