You might think this is a bit strange, but I take more than a passing interest in my local restaurants. It’s like a personal weekly hobby.
I don’t know about where you live but my high street turns over a few restaurants. There are the national companies like Pizza Express or Prezzo ((now departed from here) but also local ventures. These are the ones I like to keep an eye on.
Before the pandemic we had a favourite Italian place that produced the most fantastic, tasty pizza. There was something about the combination of the dough and the way the ingredients blended together. That chef had got it exactly right and like all good things you know it when you see it – or taste it. I’m getting hungry thinking about it. When the pandemic started to happen we said to the owner, “You need to start a delivery service. We’d order from you” But they didn’t and later when everyone went back they never reopened. I was sorry for them, but they could have made it work I’m sure.
I’m interested in the people who make these local restaurants tick – the owners. Our Prezzo was taken over by a team who must have very deep pockets. They turned it into a boutique hotel (it was a big old pub) and the interior is now very classy – and so are the prices.
Next door to it a brave man has opened yet another Italian restaurant, it’s okish but whenever I pass by there never seem many people in there.
Our favourite is the local Turkish Grill. It’s family run and they take time to serve you. It’s been done up nicely if a little over the top but importantly we think the food is spectacular. These people really know how to grill, and they give you plenty of it. They have almost become family friends. They no longer need to ask us what we are having.
When I pass through the high street in the evening I notice how the different places are doing. I take a personal interest in their success. I notice the little things they do to try and attract more customers. I think it’s similar to what I see in Theatretrain. People who are passionate about what they do create an environment that you enjoy being part of and at the end of the day what matters is the quality of the product. That’s what I buy into.