Denver’ Second Home Kitchen & Bar is welcoming big city Brandon Wilson as the new senior restaurant manager. Wilson hails from New York City and talk to us about the Denver dining scene is missing compared to the big apple. And also what he is enjoying most about life in the Mile High City.
Plus: Read my review of the restaurant here. If chicken and waffles served with Stranahan’s whiskey maple syrup isn’t enough to entice you, I don’t know is.
Take it away, Brandon!
Q: How did you get into the restaurant business?
A: I got into the restaurant business 12 year ago when I applied to be a bar back/doorman for this restaurant and bar at The University of Iowa. From there I worked my way up to bartender/server and then onto management, and that was all she wrote.
Q: What is the most challenging part of the job? And most rewarding?
A: The most challenging part of the job in my opinion is becoming complacent. Now I don’t mean complacent on the job, I’m referring to becoming complacent outside of the job. It’s easy after you’ve been in the same industry to feel like you have all the knowledge and skills you need, but it’s extremely difficult to constantly put in the work day in and day out to make yourself a better professional. I try to always read a new food & beverage magazine each month, as well as attend tastings, and other restaurants so I can have a better understand of how they are doing things.
The most rewarding part of my job, is working on/with a team. At some point it becomes like a big family, and for me growing up playing so many different sports, I learned at an early age that teamwork and overall team chemistry is so crucial to the overall success of any operation. We have an amazing team here at Second Home both Front of House and Back of House, and that is why I love being at such a great restaurant and with such a great company.
Q: What is the Denver restaurant scene missing compare to New York?
A: I think the one thing that is missing compared to New York is the notoriety. Denver is doing some incredible things when it comes to both food and beverage, but all you here about is New York, Chicago, and LA. That’s ok though, because pretty soon everyone will catch on and Denver will be known as one of the World’s greatest culinary cities.
Q: What are you digging most about the Denver scene?
A: I love how much the food scene here and Denver is expanding. I feel like a new restaurant opens up every day, which is amazing because it forces creativity and it makes everyone in the industry want to be better and more innovative so that you can keep up with everyone else. In my opinion, this is only the beginning to how great Denver’s food scene is going to become.
Q: Who has been your most memorable customer?
A: There is this couple that had a large dinner here right when I first started and I got to interact with them a good deal throughout the night. By the end of the night they both had nothing but wonderful things to say and they kept promising that they would be in more often. Well sure enough they now come in about once every week and a half or so. Needless to say, we’ve gotten to know each other over the past few months, and one night I let them know that my wife and I were expecting our first child. The next time this couple came in, they brought a gift for the baby with them. I was floored by the nice gesture, the fact that they were thoughtful enough to bring a gift in with them for our baby to be. However, I was even more astonished that one amazing guest interaction could leave such an impression, that we’ve now gained two loyal regulars for life, and they have already referred numerous of their friends and family to Second Home. Genuine guest interactions is how we build longevity in our business.
Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
A: Hmm probably that I watch trashy reality t.v. shows on Bravo and VH1 religiously.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
A: My number one hobby outside of work is going to the movies with my wife Brigid. We try to go at least once every two weeks. I also have a rule that we go out to one new restaurant every week, not only because we’re both big food fanatics, but it also helps me stay on top of my game by seeing how everyone else is running their operations and what they are doing that makes them successful in our industry. I love playing sports and being active as well. Everyone is so active in Denver, I constantly feel like I have to keep up.
Q: How many Golden Sombrero cocktails is too many Golden Sombrero Cocktails? (Made with Mezcal, chartreuse, Lemon Juice, Simply Syrup, Egg Whites, Lemon Twist and Angostura Drops)
A: Me personally, 5 is my limit and I only know this because a few months ago I was making them at home and I went for 6 Golden Sombrero’s. I woke up the next morning lying in bed fully clothed, shoes and everything. From that moment forward, I set a strict limit of 5 for myself. They are delicious though, the way the smokiness of the Mezcal plays off the sweetness of the lemon and honey. Only at Second Home Kitchen + Bar.