Welcome back to On the House, a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to open a restaurant — or several. In 2013, Steve “Nookie” Postal shared weekly glimpses into his experience opening Commonwealth in Cambridge, and now he’s back as he works to open two cafes (Revival) and a beer hall (Mothership), all while keeping Commonwealth up and running. Keep an eye out for new installments of On the House on alternate Fridays.
I’ve been dreading writing this, so much so that I procrastinated until right now, sitting in an open field in Montana while my wife kicks it at Spa Town, Paws Up-style. I can already hear people saying, “Wow, Nookie, you just opened a cafe, and now you’re in Montana. You must have a great team back home.”
Well, I’d say only half is true. The other bit? Fake news. I do have a great team, so, bingo: didn’t open yet.
“But Nookie, you said last time that through hell or high water, you are opening.”
Sometimes you gotta just put your foot down and push...yeah, well that was some stupid-ass bullshit I read in some self-help book I read to psych myself up.
Revival Alewife didn’t open yet, and honestly, I don’t really feel like going into it. It was a lot of people’s faults, but at the end of the day, it’s my fault, ‘cause it’s all my fault. You want fame and fortune and all the glory that comes with this? Then you need to take the responsibility. It’s hard. I need to do a better job of keeping people accountable; it’s a hard lesson that I learned.
There are three types of people in this world: dumb people, who don’t learn from their mistakes; smart people, who learn from their mistakes; and wise people, who learn from others. You guys can be wise; learn from me. I just need to be smarter. Valuable lessons are important in life, and we need them, but it doesn’t make them any easier to swallow — like an oyster that’s just a bit too large.
Revival will open, that I will tell you. I got fly-ass t-shirts and hats made, so it has to. When? Well, lesson learned. It will be open when it opens. How ‘bout that? When are you opening? When it opens. Period. Next question.
So what else is going on? Revival Davis is cruising along. Ripped out the side of the building and the front. Putting in a new glass storefront and side patio running along it. It’s gonna be awesome. Thinking about AstroTurf for the flooring because, well, AstroTurf is kinda fun, and it’s better than the literal rug over cement that I used to play on. It feels weird to say this surrounded by hundreds of thousands of gorgeous acres of Montana’s finest grass and wildlife, but AstroTurf has come a long way, and I like it.
What else? Usually when I write this, I get to this point and pick up my phone and look at my pictures to jog my memory of all the shit that is swirling around me, but the pictures are all of Montana: my amazing s’mores with dark chocolate, marshmallow, and huckleberry; riding ATVs with my wife; tomahawk rib eyes as large as my arm. You know, this trip was perfect timing. I needed the break. I’d never admit it, although I guess I just did, but I was tired. Tired of everything. Life, restaurants, kids, recitals, soccer games, construction meetings, conference calls...I needed a break.
I do feel rejuvenated. I do feel ready to crank when I get back and learn from the challenges that I’ve overcome in the past to get where I need/want to be: holding people accountable and holding myself accountable as well. Staying focused and keeping climbing until, well, I’m done climbing. Learning, adapting, growing.
Alright, I’m done here. I’m gonna go hop on this horse over yonder and ride off into the sunset. Ha! Those who really know me know there’s no way in hell I’m getting on a horse. Too big, too scary. Signing off.