When I was in first grade, my teacher asked us to write a paragraph about what our parents did. My friends wrote that their parents were lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, engineers, you name it. As a 7 year old, I had a hard time conceptualizing that my dad was an entrepreneur, so I just wrote “My dad eats.”
I was half right. If there are two things my dad is good at, it’s eating and running a business. He has never fed me anything I haven’t liked, and he is one of the masterminds behind one of the most popular steak houses in the DC area. (Medium Rare, number 5, is one of the restaurants that my dad owns.)
Growing up in my house was definitely interesting. Between my three younger sisters and three dogs there was never a dull moment. I would come home from school to my dining table being set with seven different plate and fork combinations that my dad had to choose between. There was always something different for dinner when my dad decided to cook. His fancy chef friends would come over almost every day to help him perfect his “secret sauce.”
When my dad decided that he wanted to open up a burger joint, we had burgers for dinner pretty much everyday until he found a meat and bun combination he was happy with. The ketchup to patty ratio was a science, the sesame seeds had to be evenly spread across a perfectly toasted brioche bun. Everything had a formula, everything was scientific, everything had to be perfectly imperfect.
The steak house was a little different. With a steak and fries concept, you need the right ratio of meat to fries on the plate. You need the right shapes, the right colors, all of that good stuff. I can tell you about every kind of french fry you can find on the market. And yes, just so we’re clear, there is more than one type of french fry.
I (low key) feel like a celebrity every time I walk into one of my dad’s restaurants. It’s probably the coolest thing ever to be able to say I know so many people who own restaurants in DC. I know my way around the city not by the metro or the buses, but by the restaurants.
This lifestyle is not always as bougie or glamorous as I might make it seem. With success comes stress and it can be really hard to balance. It’s hard to see my dad come home after a long catering event or a bad dinner shift. It was even harder to see him fly back and forth from Las Vegas every week when he was first starting out. Even now that he’s home, he is always working. His phone is glued to his hand and when I say glued, I mean he should be the spokes person for super glue at this point. If one of the managers calls, he has to answer it, no matter what time it is, no matter what day of the week it is, no matter where he is.
Don’t get me wrong, family is his priority. He wouldn’t work all the time if his family wasn’t at the top of his list. I love my dad, I just have a love/hate relationship with his job. But, my family and I will always love and support him.
In the end, you can always find me at my usual table with my usual company, because family is as important as it gets and the good food is always a plus.