missed you

I can’t believe I’ve not been here since mid-October. It wasn’t intentional. For days, then weeks and eventually months, I scolded myself for not, at least, letting you know I was still among the living. Although, some days, only by a breath. Long story short, the restaurant’s open. Like most tough life journeys, it would have been interesting to document. Like most tough life journeys, there was no time.

When Ralph and I returned from Italy, little to no progress had been made at the restaurant. I went away thinking we’d be ready to start installing the ‘fun stuff’ as soon as I got back. A twenty second site visit made things painfully clear. In order to be open for the holiday season, my partners and I needed to be on-site, present and ready to do whatever it took to get the doors open. We hired my brother and his wife, Paul and Rena Chase as our generals, figured out our game plan then worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week for eight weeks. Liz, Gord and I touched every inch of our space; from floor to ceiling we crawled, climbed, painted, sawed, hammered, drilled, carried, moved, covered and organized.

Beyond the physical pressure, we had had the additional pressure of designing the restaurant. We are not designers, we have very different taste and we had a very limited budget which added up to hours of discussion, negotiations, arguments, hurt feelings and eventually decisions. A business relationship is no different than a romantic relationship. It requires clear, kind, respectful and patient communication. Stress, lack of sleep and way too much coffee was the perfect cocktail to make us unclear, unkind, disrespectful and crazy impatient with one another. The only thing that kept us on the rails was our shared want to do our best. Understanding that our differences were coming from what we believed to be the best idea let us move forward. We lived by George Elliot Shaw’s words, “Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” And so on December 2, 2016, Italian by Night welcomed our first full house. No time to work out last minute details, test the equipment, ease the staff into their new space or even take a breath. That morning I still had my work boots on, at 5 pm I was in my chef’s coat.

The month of December was a blur. Our wonderful, kind, welcoming community has embraced us beyond our wildest dreams. There were definitely some missteps: our phone rang approximately every ninety seconds with guests wanting to make reservations. With heads down, a fantastic team of chefs and servers we did our best.

missed you l bitebymichelle.com

The bitter cold of January has settled in. Time to pause, breathe deep and smile.

Thanks for reading.

photos by Mallory Walker

  • Congratulations! Can’t wait to come up and see what all the fuss is about 🙂 Happy New Year! 2017 is a year for new beginnings.

  • Nathalie Godbout

    Welcome back! We have missed you, and can’t wait to read what 2017 has in store. 🙂

  • Kimberly Legge

    Hi Michelle. On November 21 while showing a home I fell and broke my ankle. One of the biggest disappointments for me was that I couldn’t get to your restaurant till last week. I could see through Facebook the progress and journey that was happening and how the community embraced and filled your restaurant over the holiday season. I finally got there last week with my husband and son and had the most enjoyable evening. The atmosphere was spectacular, the waitress was extremely knowledgable and helpful, the decor was absolutely stunning and the food was top notch. I am so happy for you and your partners and we are so lucky to have this beautiful restaurant in our city. Congratulations!

    • Hi Kim, I’m so sorry to hear about your ankle. Hopefully you are almost mended! Delighted that you’ve been in but sorry that I missed you. Hope to see you soon. XO

  • Donna Peters

    Congratulations on the restaurant opening and success. I live in N.S. so I am not sure if I will ever get there, but I have been anxiously waiting to see updates on your blog and was just a tad worried.. thank you for updating and good luck with everything. Maybe the winds will blow me in your direction this summer!

    • If they do, please come and introduce yourself. I’d love to say hello!