Nick Freshman

"The future of my restaurants is uncertain, but many restaurants have already had to abandon their futures."

Restaurateur Nick Freshman inside the space that is set to become The Freshman, a new cafe at National Landing.

Yesterday I hung the sign to my new restaurant, and yesterday I halted construction on my new restaurant.

The Crystal City job site for The Freshman is now dark. I honestly have no idea when I will be able to turn the sign on to welcome guests into the new space. Two months? Six months? Never?

Yes, never enters the mind. Has to. I won’t see it as foregone, or sit on it for long, but it is irresponsible as a business owner to not consider it. And can anyone tell me with any certainty that never won’t happen?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

So there I was, in the rain. Cold coffee in my hand instead of champagne, throngs of no one instead of a gang of supporters. And in place of a charged up team ready to take on the world, just a couple of contractors trying to make sure the sign was hung level.

And still I am lucky.

Last week, at my other restaurant, Spider Kelly’s, I had the gut-wrenching task of laying off 40 people in a moment. But I was not one of the ones being laid off. The future of my restaurants is uncertain, but many restaurants have already had to abandon their futures. My family is healthy and safe, and I am not on the front lines, like so many.

So, like I said, I am lucky.

I believe I will survive, and my business will open and be a hit. I believe the need for real connection between people will be stronger than ever before, and our industry facilitates just that.

And I believe in our people. Our business is full of some of the strongest, kindest and most resilient people in the world. In a way, we are built for this. We just have to hang on long enough to turn the signs back on.

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