This is the tale about how, my life got changed and upside down….wait a minute, that’s a different story. I’m going to tell my stories of life at the Old Salty Dog – the ups, downs, twists and turns.
I began my career at the Old Salty Dog as a prep boy at City Island. It was January 2000, shortly after the remodel that took place in late 1999 when the “old dog” was knocked down and rebuilt. My friend Rick had been working here since high school. I was just coming back into town after completing two years at USF in Tampa and realizing that living on your own isn’t as great as it sounds! I came in and met the general manager, Amy, one evening and filled out my “application” (it was a post it note with my name and phone number). Within my first 5 minutes of being shown around by one of the cooks, I was met in the walk-in by one of the owners, Judy, “Young man! This cooler is all wrong!” She informed me that I needed to make sure that I kept things cleaned and organized and that one of the items was misplaced and I needed to correct it. “Young man!” is an everyday thing now when I need to show someone something that is out of place. Looking back, I don’t know if it was this moment or it was always in me from the get go, but still to this day, I am meticulous about organizing and keeping the shelves rotated, cleaned and organized.
I learned my recipes, watched the other cooks and did what I needed to make sure things were done to expectations. I have fond memories of working with Phil (the other owner), Speicher and Minksy – they sang, they cursed, they blamed each other for errors and they yelled at me to go get them backups. Everyday was entertaining to say the least.
I worked my way through the ranks and was offered an assistant managers position the same year I completed my Bachelors degree in hospitality management in 2004. I began my journey from the kitchen to the dining room where I was faced with a whole new set of challenges – the public! I returned to school to pursue my Masters degree and found myself back in the kitchen most of the time due to increased business and need for some structure (Young Man!!!). Now, here I am, seventeen years later, two degrees, experiences from both sides of the restaurant and an ever greater than ever urge to learn and continue growing. Food costing, menu design, scheduling, P&L’s, social media, websites, human resources, product sourcing among many other hats (electrician, plumber, garbage man and dishwasher) – I can honestly say I’ve done it all here and now I’d like to share some of these stories with you!