If only I had listened to my brother.
Instead of Joey’s Brickhouse, the name of our first restaurant should have been Joey’s Diner. I would have avoided the restaurant’s biggest flaw: identity.
My food is De-Constructed American. My brother likes to call it American Yum. It’s his way of being Dr. Seussy (AKA Dorky).
I’ve always wanted a diner – as a guiding idea – not just for the identity, but for the menu. Check it out…
Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. Tomato Soup with Challah Grilled Cheese. Skirt Steak with a Twice-Baked Potato. Cheesy Noodles. Israeli Couscous Succotash. Jambalaya. Fried Green Tomatoes. Gumbo. Fruity Pebbles Crusted French Toast. Pecan Pie.
My favorite TV Show is “Happy Days.” Not only because they hung out at a perfectly named restaurant, Arnold’s Diner. But for the most important lesson of all: Jumping The Shark.
In the 5th season, the writers of “Happy Days” put Fonzie in swim trunks and a leather jacket. On waterskis, they literally had Fonzie jump over a shark.
It’s a lesson in trying too hard. We tried too hard with Joey’s Brickhouse.
Since we had “brick” in the name, people were constantly asking if we were a pizza joint. In the beginning, we refused to make pizzas, which confused people. Eventually, we agreed to make pizzas, which also confused people.
We didn’t do brunch. Then we did Thelonious Brunch, live jazz and eggs. This sounded like a good idea, but never caught on.
So my brother came up with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink concept…for $15. We got a write-up in Time Out Chicago. Overnight, brunch was packed.
Wanting to take it even further, my brother filled the bathrooms with toys from Uncle Fun. He might as well have put me in swim trunks and a leather jacket. We went from packed to beyond packed. It was fun being busy. But it was no fun at all watching the shark eat all of our profits.
To quote Fonzie, “Heyyyyy!”