The Gang Buys a Restaurant Right Before a Pandemic
February 25, 2020 was the day a lifelong dream came true. It was the culmination of a year’s worth of searching, meetings, letdowns, anxiety and elation. Being in our realtor’s office that morning was almost surreal. But as the three of us had been sitting across from Gary, our realtor, the excitement was not easy to contain. I’m pretty sure the pen was shaking a little in my hand as we continued to sign and initial copies of paper one after the other. And once those papers were signed, we rushed over to 589 Bank street with the keys in our hands and celebrated what is only the beginning of an incredible journey.
Even being in the space was amazing that first day. Talking about our plans and what we wanted to do with the building. Our goals with the food, drink and atmosphere. Where we see this business going and knowing the hard work has only just begone.
Splitting time between my (then current) job as Chef de Cuisine at Sidedoor and being at Thr33’s Co. wasn’t the easiest as my focus had to be in two very important places, but I knew it was important to give my best to each commitment. Leaving Sidedoor after 6 years wasn’t easy, but I always knew it was such a special place to me that I wouldn’t have left for any opportunity that was less than what I had wanted for myself.
There was lots of work to be done at Thr33’s Co. but we had a very good foundation to start with. Things were moving at a very good pace as we had been setting up for an early to mid-April opening. My final day at Sidedoor was slated for March 21st, I was going to take maybe 3 or 4 days off to recharge my batteries and then hit the ground running day and night to ensure we were on pace for our scheduled opening timeline.
As we all know, things were starting to surface about Covid-19 at the start of March and I needed to dive into what the hell this thing was and why it was about to creep up on us and change the world. On the weekend of March 14/15, I could see the concern many were having about what was to come and it shocked the hell out of me. What the fuck is going to happen in the coming days and weeks? I guess I didn’t need to wait too long for my answer, on March 16th I came into what was essentially my last day of work at Sidedoor. Figuring out with the owners and managers in our restaurant group a safe and effective strategy to ensure our staffs safety.
But with all of that happening, I still was left to wonder what the future of the restaurant was I just fucking bought?! Honestly, what fucking timing!
We’ve still had lots to do at Thr33’s Co. during this time and have absolutely been busy working our asses off to make sure we are ready for everyone when we’re able to open our doors. As I’ve said, the foundation of the place was great, but it takes a lot of work to make it our own. It has been crazy to think as we are currently in the middle of May, we should be working right this moment slinging snacks to your table and pouring gin into your glasses. But the world has had other plans.
This pandemic has not been easy for anyone. With places closing down and thousands of restaurants living in uncertainty, it’s sickening to imagine the toll this pandemic has taken on the restaurant industry worldwide. There has been much written about it, and all I will say here, I truly feel for everyone suffering because of circumstances beyond their control. Not going to lie, I know it’s hard on some days to think positive when you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, or the light is so faint you’re not sure how long it’s going to take to get there. Covid-19 has taken a lot from us, but just like one of my favourite movies, Batman Begins, I’ll quote the late-great Thomas Wayne and repeated by the ever-loyal Alfred Pennyworth,
“Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up.”
And that’s the kind of resilience I know this industry has. I can’t thank Ian, Tam, Jack and Sean enough for how we’ve been working together during this incredibly difficult time. I knew early on these were the type of people I wanted to go on this ride with. As we’ve been working through this and continuing to be positive, resilient and hungry only solidifies the fact of how important this means to all of us, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people around me.
Thr33’s Co. Snack Bar is going to be special because of the people behind it. It’s not lost on us the opportunity we have and how special it is to share with everyone who walks through our doors. We are going to bring something fun and exciting to the city of Ottawa because we love it so much and are honoured to be a part of the culinary community. We’re going to come out of this ok. We’ll drink, share laughs (and some tears) over tables full of food. We’ll take shots of Jameson soon and stuff our faces. It’ll be last call as we hope to stay out as late as we can even though there’s a double waiting for us the next morning.
I cannot wait for the day I get to come to your table, dropping off food and sharing an experience with you. Seeing familiar faces while getting to know new ones. Sharing a drink at last call. The amount of support so far has really been special, and I can’t thank everyone enough.
This journey has only begun, the time will come soon enough to share incredible moments with everyone because when you knock on our door, we’ll be waiting for you.