Wednesday night, Diana, Tse Wei, and I sat around my dining table and toasted to Journeyman’s first birthday; Thursday marked one year since we opened our doors to the public. We talked about what our goals had been for year one (at its simplest: run a restaurant), and what we wanted for the following year (at its simplest: run a better restaurant). We talked about triumphs and trials we’d faced, and what we hoped we could achieve in the years to come. I woke up Thursday morning to find Robert Nadeau, whose review of Journeyman coincidentally appeared online the morning of our anniversary, assuring us that we had reached our primary goal:
â€œThere are no journeymen at the Journeyman. The trio behind this restaurant are clearly master craftspeople[.]â€
When we designed Journeyman, simply running a restaurant seemed like the height of hubris: we were neophytes making it up as we went along. We didn’t hire seasoned professionals who’d grown up in front of the stove or carrying plates; we hired by personality and feel, finding the people who felt the same passion, dedication â€“ and yes, insanity — as us. We invented systems as we needed them, made up our own language and symbols to communicate, and reinvented those systems and languages just as often. When we opened last year, our questions were about whether there were enough people in Boston who wanted to eat the food we made, sit in the dining room we’d built, drink the wines we wanted to sell, or walk down the lonely alley that dead-ended in a park we love to find us. Our questions were about how to get our staff home at 2am after the buses stopped running, and about which cleaner to use when we mopped the floors. They were simple conundrums, about learning new tasks, new rhythms, and new necessities.
Thursday night, we toasted with our friends and family to Journeyman’s first year, and set ourselves the next set of goals. Our questions are more complex now, they’re about how to better support the community around us, how to open a cocktail bar, how to keep improving our food, service, and beverages, how to embrace and empower the new people who join our company, and how we communicate what we want to be next to everyone who walks in our door. We want, very much, to become a restaurant of unparalleled caliber; if simply running a restaurant was an attainable form of hubris, we feel the need to up the ante: we’d like to strive toward becoming the best restaurant we’re capable of being, and to be able to hold ourselves up next to the restaurants that have inspired, fed, and guided us in Boston, and all over the world. Even if we find ourselves lacking in the comparison, having the ambition to improve ourselves seems the best form of respect and acknowledgment we can offer everyone who has supported us so far.
These are incredibly lucky challenges to have, and we’re glad to have them. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to so many people who have helped us survive this first year, from advisers, to customers, to staff. Below is an incomplete list of the people without whom last year would not have been possible; we offer our sincere thanks and love to all of them:
Ben Dryer, Nick Branigan, Seth Hill, Len Rothenberg, Georg Lauer, Ed Rapacki, Mike Ellman, Kevin Gold, Dan Bradley, Jim + Sharon Ermilio, Peter + Viva Lajoie, Eric Klotch, Scott Abrahamson, Jared Rudnick, Dan Hanken, Jenny Hong, Dora Sanchez, Amber Lee, Andrew Ferrell, Bradford Yates, Sasha Wachtel, Christine Oliver, Maggie Kaiser, Catherine Owens, Andrea Hasselbacher, Ry Strohm-Herman, Vaughn Tan, Dennis Clark, Kevin + Rose Martin, Shelley Barandes, Mimi Graney, Trisha McCauley, Gordon Carlson, Campbell Ellsworth, Smita Sihag, Henry Patterson, etc.