Past. Present. Future. Thank You.
Ten years ago I had a horrible Idea. I was going to move to Columbus, Ohio to open a restaurant. Why not open a business with the lowest percentage of success in a new city where you know no one. What could go wrong? To add another variable to this equation, I am a white boy from Indiana trying to sell cajun food in Ohio. Obviously no bank in their right mind would give me a loan. I was only able to start my business with a lease co-signer and a personal loan. Thankfully I had two people in my life that believed in me. My boss at the time co-signed my lease and my mother loaned me initial capital. I was all in, the lease was signed, no turning back. I was moving to a new city with no family, no friends, and very little capital, to open a restaurant, in the Short North. What the hell was I thinking?
Beating all odds, I am still here ten years later. I can’t thank all of my supporters enough from over this past decade. I started this crazy path as a cajun restaurant. You may remember Da Levee. It grew from serving one person on our first day open to serving over five hundred people per day before closing the doors in 2018. I wish I could thank and hug every one of you individually. You all had a deep impact on my life. Besides meeting great people, I also had the chance to work with some amazing people. I feel very lucky and fortunate to have had the team that I had. I seriously had some rock stars on my team that have now moved on to bigger and better things. I then had what I had been dreaming of all along, a successful restaurant with a great team. Now what? In 2018 I made the difficult decision to shut down operations of Da Levee. I no longer felt the challenge or the passion that drove me to wake up everyday. At this point I had been cooking, managing, and operating a cajun restaurant in some shape or form for fifteen years. I needed a change. I needed a mental break from the exhausting life of a restaurateur.
I came up with a plan to cut my hours and overhead and still make a living. I also would have the chance to memorialize my grandpa and all other heroes of the Armed Forces. The plan was to open a neighborhood bar named after my grandfather and in honor of all members of the United States Military. We named the bar Eugene’s Canteen and was a passion project created by me and my wife. Although Eugene’s has only been open for a little less than two years, this time has been the most rewarding for myself and my professional career. But it is time to head in a new direction, I need a new challenge.
I have decided to step down as CEO and take a break from day to day operations. I have partnered with a great management group that will take 765 North High Street into the next decade. My new role will be Senior Advisor. I will be heading back to school to further my education and to take on new challenges.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you Columbus. It truly has been an honor serving you.