How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? We opened our first restaurant in Westport, LeFarm, in 2009. Since then, The Whelk opened in 2012, Kawa Ni in 2014, Jesup Hall in 2019, and Don Memo in 2020.
What is the biggest challenge of your current job? The restaurant industry is facing many challenging issues right now, including the cost of goods being higher than ever and staffing has been a challenge for most, but fortunately for us, we have a great team. There has been a necessary culture shift in the hospitality industry. We are working hard to find a manageable work-life balance that previously didn’t exist.
What do you enjoy most about your current job? I appreciate creating the concepts, finding and solving problems, and mentoring our younger staff. I take great pride in passing on the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years.
What is the most unique thing about Westport – and the community here – compared to other places where you have worked? It has been an honor to serve the people of the Westport community for over 12 years. They are passionate about their community and have very high expectations, which we thrive on. Westport has all the amenities to be a great town, and I’m thrilled to be a part of its growth.
What has been the hardest thing about raising kids and working full time with long hours? I barely knew my children before they were 4 and 6 years old. I worked long, hard hours, and it wasn’t until I started coaching them in tee-ball that I got a chance to spend true quality time with them. I made it a priority to be involved in the sports they played. This allowed me to get to know my children and their friends. I am grateful for that time invested in them and in the Weston community, and am fortunate to have many great relationships and memories from that time.
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns when you have free time? (if that ever happens=)) We enjoy The Westport Library, The Farmers Market, Compo beach (in the evenings when the crowds are gone), and Winslow Park and Green Acres with the dogs. Westport has so much to offer, and I especially enjoy its green space.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? A few years ago, the four of us went to Costa Rica as a gift for my son Oliver’s Bar Mitzvah. We hit all corners of the island— it was an unbelievable experience for us as a family. Previously, we hadn’t taken many trips together because of my work—so this one was special.
What is your proudest dad moment? I keep having them. My boys are just good people. Caeden just finished his sophomore year at the University of Alabama, and Oliver is ready to graduate high school and head off to UC-Boulder in the fall. They continue to make me proud every day. They both have very bright futures 🙂
Parenting in these times is challenging to say the least. Any personal tips you can share on how you have managed parenting – and your job – during Covid, with all the school violence, and the day to day of pandemic life? Not sure I’m any more of an expert than the next. I try hard every day to be aware of my children and what’s happening in their lives. I help them when they need it, but I also let them stumble when the time is right. Life is not like it was when I was growing up. They are facing challenges none of us could have imagined. I want them to be good people. I encourage them to be a part of their community. I always tell them, don’t wait for things to happen; make them happen.
What’s your favorite sport to play and/or watch (who do you root for?) I’m a consistently gullible New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys fan. I am also an avid skier. Skiing has been a great stress reliever for me, and it gives me something to look forward to in the colder months when life typically heads inside. I need the fresh air to calm my anxieties.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I am an introvert. I struggle with small talk, being in social settings. I’d much rather be home with my dogs. Funny coming from a guy who builds social experiences.
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? I would force my family on a long hike with our dogs (oddly enough, they don’t love it as much as I do). We’d have a picnic in the woods while watching Boone and Goose run around chasing whatever moved.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other dads OR what do you wish you could tell your younger self about being a father? It goes fast. Enjoy and appreciate every single moment you have. It seems like my boys were in middle school just yesterday, and now, by the end of the summer, I will be an empty nester. It’s starting to hit me.