I developed an enquiring and adventurous palate in my early teens. My first "real" job was at Michael Anthony's Creative Cuisine, located on the cusp of the Hamptons in East Moriches, Long Island. Here I learned the differences between creminis and shiitakes and entered a parallel universe of food I was unaware of and which most of my peers had no interest in. Even though I had my heart set on working in the music business as soon as I was old enough to fly the coop, I knew further down, in that same pulsing organ, food was in my future. I had a few scores to settle with other interests before then, I just didn't know how long it would take. So I put in a good decade being a mouthpiece and manager for bands, got to work with nearly all of my recorded heroes, then finally bowed out, or rather escaped, the music biz when the rock and roll lifestyle was threatening to simply kill me.
Shortly after fleeing Manhattan and moving to Red Hook, I found myself manning the neighborhood's nerve center, The Bait and Tackle Bar. I was able to get close with a chunk of the local population and being the social creature I am, gained insight as to what they desired and what their hopes were for the neighborhood. Food.
It's been a few years since I woke up with this idea to build a restaurant- and I have been building it ever since. It hasn't been easy. As a matter of fact its been an uphill battle every step of the way but Grindhaus was JUST about there. It would have been open by now if that Sandy botch hadn't appeared and gutted both myself and the fully outfitted space. But enough about that- let's just move forward.
I've manage to restore the dining room, salvage the floors, replace walls and remove and reinstall all of the electrical workings to comply with post disaster remediation. That was painful considering the job had recently been completed before the flood. I had the entire kitchen in place and was about to begin testing menu items when, yeah, we know what happened. Right now, Grindhaus needs to replace the entire kitchen in order to get open. Buying a spare, back up kitchen was not something budgeted for! This is where you can be a huge help as Grindhaus's status of not being in operation yet has cut the project out of nearly every form of emergency assistance. Ouch.
Grindhaus would like to be in operation by this summer and what I'm trying to raise will absolutely cover getting fully up and running. Should it be so lucky as to raise more, the backyard will be completed for your al fresco dining pleasure until old man winter strikes again.
But the food! What shall this Grindhaus serve? Ahhhh! Cast aside the notion of a complete sausage parlor, for space cannot provide. Harken back to a time, if you can, when a street-water dog was your sustenance, when a St Mark's patty of soy with viscous orange adornment equated weekend success, and ALL you knew about noodles came from Italians. . . or out of a cup. Pretend it laid the groundwork for future creature comfort; take-five, senses; watch, listen, feel, inhale and taste real soon. Trust your memory but be open to accruing the new.
(no tweezers allowed on the premises, along with Billy Joel, murder rap or reggaeton. )
Risks and challenges
I could write a whole chapter about the risks and challenges I've faced- and overcome since I signed the lease so many years ago. My parents risked everything in order to get this project rolling and all I do is empty my pockets to keep it going. Indeed there were plenty of times I wanted to throw myself in front of a bus but impulse and the B61's arrival, thankfully, never coincide. Giving up is not an option as I truly believe I was born to do this.
Feel free to stop by as I am usually in the space doing something before working the floor at the much loved Littleneck restaurant (another Kickstarter success story), ask me anything. I thank you in advance.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (36 days)