Nick has been talking about a restaurant bubble for a while now. It seems like more restaurants opened in 2016 than ever before, and not just corner cafés or pizza shops, note worthy restaurants with name brand chefs and cool concepts.
So it was nice to get some validation in this thrillist article.
I highly recommend reading it if you are in or connected to the restaurant industry in anyway.
I think Atlanta’s bubble will continue for longer than the bubble in San Francisco mostly because our labor costs have not been forced higher through regulation only a tight labor market. Everyone I know is trying to find cooks, decent cooks, who will show up on time and work hard and fast when it’s busy.
We aren’t new at 8 years old, but we also are not struggling. I’d like to say we are an aspiring institution. I think we offer a unique experience and atmosphere, one that only gets better with age. We are not the hottest new concept (poke ramen cocktail bar), but that’s comforting to me. Trends change, but beer, beer will be here forever. Eventually folks will have tried all the new restaurants and it will be time for them to come back to their tried and true old favorites.
Babette’s Café where I had my first job just turned 24 and is still kicking along just fine thankyouverymuch! So I’m looking forward to at least another sixteen years, baby!
Bring on the bursting bubble!
It will make the good restaurants stronger and weed out the weaker ones that you won’t miss anyway.
So while listening to Marketplace on NPR recently I heard an advertisement for a product that allowed small business owners to “focus on growing their business” and it made me wonder, is “growing your business” always the goal for small business owners?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very specifics ways I would love to grow our business. I would love to sell more $50 dollar vintage beers to guests to who really appreciate the time and effort it takes to create a vintage list like ours.
But I am not interested in growing our business in other ways, for example, by adding catering sales or more locations.
Those things would probably help our bottom line. But there’s a formula of sorts for time vs. money. You can make almost infinite amounts of money, but time is limited.
To do more catering business would take an enormous amount of time for Nick and I, because catering is incredibly different from running a restaurant and in some ways is more difficult in our opinion. A second location adds a whole other set of headaches and also requires an entirely different skill set than running one location.
Even though it’s been almost eight years, some days I feel like we are just getting good at running The Porter.
In America I think it can be difficult to be satisfied. Our culture screams, “Bigger! Better! More! More! More!” And in business there is a certain ethos that your are either growing or shrinking, maintaining is not an option.
It is not enough to simply sit on your laurels, restaurants must evolve to stay relevant, but that doesn’t mean we need to open a new location to continue to evolve. In fact, not opening additional locations has allowed us to focus on our brand and continuing to define and refine it. With each year there are more things The Porter doesn’t do that sets us apart as well as new things we try. For example we used to do pint nights, but we found people are not really drawn to free boring shaker pint glasses. It’s not special enough for us or our guests.
A new thing this year has been our slushie machine. Nick and Chris saw Omnipollo making Slushie Beer Toppers at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration and they immediately thought ” let’s do that!” Voila! The slushie beer topper was born at The Porter, and had been a big hit this summer.
So yes, maybe we are “growing our business,” but in our own way, The Porter’s way.
Mark your calendars, September 10th we will be celebrating completing our 8th year!
That means we have survived two election cycles! Our slowest night to date was election night in 2008, everyone was on their couches watching that very close race instead out drinking beer! Hopefully come November 8th, everyone can hug it out and share a pint of something made in America and enjoyed since Benjamin Franklin’s time: beer!
But back to our birthday party….plan to get here early if you can, as always the first 100 guests get a fantastic gift!
And then of course these is an epic draft list to be drunk!
Hints: Omnipollo Nautilus Slushies, Westbrook Mexican Chocolate Cake, Wicked Weed Recurrant, Evil Twin Liquid Double Fudge and many many more!
So it began with a ice cream treat on a stick called Golden Gaytime, popular in Australia….
And then Noma Australia made their own version, the Baytime….
raw peanut milk ice-cream, finished with a caramel and freekeh glaze on a lemon-myrtle stick
And so Nick created a malt version of the Baytime…
malt ice cream, chocolate brewer’s malt shell
We should call it the Beertime!
Spoiler Alert! It was amazing!
Nick and I just returned from attending Washington DC’s beer week. DC has a vibrant craft beer scene, which is aided by Washington’s excellent pro-competition beer laws. If a beer is not represented by a distributor in DC, then it is perfectly legal for a bar or package store to purchase the beer directly from the brewery and transport it themselves into DC where they pay a small tax on the beer by volume and then are legally able to sell it.
This is why Pizza Paradiso can have Maine Beer and Grimm on their list and Churchkey can do a Shorts tap takeover. These laws also can cut down the cost to the bar and consumer. Sovereign is able to buy beer directly from the importer Shelton Brothers. So they don’t have to pay another middle man to mark up their Belgian delights like de la Senne.
So in a 3 day whirlwind we hit the following spots:
Toki Underground for Ramen (excellent base for drinking beer!)
Pizza Paradiso which was doing a Ballast Point Fruit Tap Takeover, most of the beers we have had, so we drank some bottles that we couldn’t get in Atlanta!
Church Key for Shorts and Surley 50 Tap Takeover
Meridian Pint for Wicked Weed
Jaleo for dinner (just for fun, not beer related)
Iron Works for a night cap
Churchkey for a Southern Brewery Tap Takeover (Wicked Weed, Burial, Fonta Flora, Parish)
Meridian Pint for Firestone Walker and New Belgium tap takeover (I never got pictures at Meridian Pint because there was pinball, so I was very busy playing Lethal Weapon 2.)
Black Cat for a show by Diaherrea Planet sponsored by Oskar Blues
Right Proper Brew Pub, who was featuring all their barrel aged brews
Savor! The ultimate beer and food pairing event!
Truly there is no off season for beer, but when those cooler nights that hint at fall start then folks start to feel the siren’s call of beer. Maybe it’s because there are so many delicious fall beers!
First let’s talk Pumpkin. Weyerbacher Pumpkin is my favorite, but I know lots of people think Southern Tier’s Pumpking is the jam. Dogfish Head Punkin, Terrapin’s Pumpkinfest, there are so many good ones, it just depends what you want, lots of spice? Buttery like pumpkin pie? High alcohol or easy drinking?
Then there’s Oktoberfest, the ancient German fall festival that has been absconded by frat boys. I personally like German Doppelbocks better than Oktoberfest Biers, but they have their place for drinking in the sun as brown leaves blow past.
And before you know it, it’s stout season! Old Rasputian always calls my name, but Cherry Street’s Coconut Porter has been blowing me nutty coconut kisses!
We can’t believe we made it seven years! It seems like yesterday we opened with a bunch of keg boxes and buffalo quail wings on the menu. What? I know, it was a crazy time.
Every year we try to get a little bit better. This year we started making our own burger buns, brioche, naan and pretzels!
We started cleaning our own beer lines a while ago, but this year we got serious and stopped letting anyone else do it!
But it isn’t always about change, we still have four fabulous original employees! Along with many more that have been more more than 5 years! And man do we love that.
The anniversary bash is Saturday, September 12th. We will have an epic draft list for opening at 11am. The first 100 guests get a great gift! So come early and plan to stay late!
This year we will also feature an Oatmeal Beer Brunch on the 13th after the big party. Tons of Oatmeal and brunch appropriate beers (Donut Break, anyone?)
June 10th, Green Flash Tap Takeover
June 16th, Old World vs. New World Beer
June 21st, Father’s Day Vintage Beer Class
July 17th, David Hasselhof’s Birthday
July 20th-24th, Atlanta Beer Week