Why We Are RE-Defining Fine Dining

A restaurant is a space of constant change.

Who’s scheduled? Did the produce show up? Was the menu updated? What day is linen pick-up? Was the wine delivered? How many reservations do we have?

Some days - most days - I live in a world of chaos and frustration. I’m looking for new ways to move our space forward; new ideas to make the experience better. I thrive in an environment of change. However, it’s exhausting and can cause me lose sight of why I started this whole endeavour in the first place.

And then I meet Nadya.

Nadya has food allergies. And like many in similar situations, it can be paralyzing to eat anywhere but home. While most institutions mean well, they don’t truly understand how a single crumb can cause abdominal pain, nasal congestion, hives, anaphylactic shock or worse. So, instead of risking days (or even weeks) of potential pain and sickness, we just decide to stay home.

I say “we” because I am like Nadya. I have Celiac disease and the mere presence gluten can turn my world upside down. Seriously, that spatula sitting near that bowl of flour (but never touched it) is about to turn my insides out. Legit. Too much info (TMI)? That’s the problem - it’s TMI for so many people and, therefore, they don’t truly understand the world we live in.

This is Nadya’s world. This was my world, and it’s my kids’ world. A world of not being able to enjoy ice cream with the soccer team after winning a game… or pizza with friends after the movies…

In an effort to still provide these experience, I would have everyone over to my house instead - a place where I had complete control over the ingredients and environment. And you know what? It really wasn’t that hard to make delicious meals with “normal” ingredients. I could eat. My kids could eat. And our friends couldn’t tell the difference.

This wasn’t hard. But it wasn’t mainstream either. And that’s when a little, tiny dream planted roots... what if I could provide this exact environment, just on a larger scale?

When the opportunity arose in 2016 to purchase 1776, there was no hesitation. Okay, there was some - this was a big undertaking - but that hesitation was only around logistics and not around the vision. The vision that everyone deserves good food. And they deserve to experience it in a safe environment without worry.

So when Nadya walked through that door, my heart exploded. Here was a little girl that had feared eating. Let me say it louder for those of you in the back who didn’t hear… SHE FEARED EATING! Is that anyway to live?

Yet, here she was. She had put her fears aside and ventured into our little restaurant. She and her family put their trust is us - a responsibility we do not take lightly.

The staff took excellent care of her and I made sure to check in as the food arrived and as they neared the end of their meal. And the the smile on her face...the words “yummy food” on her chalkboard...they brought us to tears. It’s all we needed - all we will ever need - to know it’s all worth it.

THIS is why we endure a life of chaos, why we challenge the status quo; why good enough is never enough.

You are our why.