One Year Anniversary

 

We have just passed our one-year anniversary here at Harry’s and I thought I would share what I think now as a chef compared to myself a year ago.
When I think back to just one year ago, I am surprised by how naive I was with a lot of things, not just cooking but what it’s really like being the owner of a restaurant. I stop and think back to my past experiences in kitchens and seeing owners and chefs make “questionable” decisions in unique situations which, at the time I couldn’t understand, but now I do. Funny, the same phenomenon happened after I became a parent. Truth is I’m scared after one year in, not just for the survival of my restaurant but for the future of mom and pop restaurants.
I have taken on the task of running the kitchen by myself not because I think working alone is wonderful but because I can’t afford any help. In fact I love working alongside others and learning from each other. That’s how I’ve made it this far in cooking. However with the increase in wages it has made a small restaurant like mine struggle to keep up. As the only cook no matter how good I might be I still can only do so much during our service because in kitchens you’re always battling the clock. If we can do the high quality of food and service that my wife and I are doing now, imagine what we could do with an army. Sadly, however, in our current times that army would bankrupt us before we could even go into battle. So what do we sacrifice? Our quality of food in order to pay for help or, stick to our standards even if it means doing it alone? It’s a numbers game and right now I’m losing.
Last week I was in my local grocery store doing some shopping for the family when I realized as I was standing in the checkout line that there weren’t any baggers around. I watched as customers along with the cashiers bagged all the groceries. When it was my turn, I asked the nice cashier where all the baggers were and she told me that the store couldn’t really afford that position anymore and further told me that they have plans for installing more self-checkout lanes to help decrease the cashiers in order to reduce the labor cost.
It opened my eyes to how the times are really changing. These are supposed to be entry level positions with entry level pay but with the increase in wages we now are starting to force companies to figure out how to make machines do the work for them instead. When I started out in cooking about 20 years ago, you were grateful just to land a spot in a decent kitchen for minimum wage which was around $8 back then. You were taught to climb the ladder with hard work and good integrity. Today employers not only have to worry about watching the labor costs very closely but also have to really invest in who they hire now.
It’s a lot different if I were to have two entry level spots open for starting pay. Now, however, those entry level positions have to become only one position and also costing me a lot more. So, I now need someone for this entry level position with experience. I say it this way because I saw a video of a group of young adults who are choosing not to work, not to go to school or even become trained because they say that people, especially employers, only look for experience and are not willing to train. So, they say, why bother with life goals and they decide to just live off others. Is this the mentality of what’s to come? While talking to my representative of one of my purveyors they informed me that they would be increasing my order minimum by 33%. Now to a corporate kitchen that wouldn’t mean much, however, to a small operation it’s a big deal when it comes to budgeting. Of course, I asked the reason for the increase.
They explained that the bottom line was the increase in wages and a decrease in truck drivers. I understood the first one but inquired more about the truck drivers. The representative said there has been a decrease in people applying as drivers because younger adults see truck driving as a “beneath them” position. So, in order to keep enough drivers they have to increase their pay which means the products they sell will also have to increase to meet the demand.
Restaurants are a tough business and it’s all about the numbers. With the rising increase of wages, we will see a flood of changes soon and, with it, most of those hidden gem restaurants you love to visit will not survive. Why does this concern me the most? Because a year ago when I bought the restaurant all I wanted to do was cook, the biggest concern I had was having enough time to get all my prep done, and now look at the things I must concern myself with.
I worry for tomorrow’s changes, but someone once taught me to live in the now and make the best with the time given before it’s gone. That’s my discovery. Just like in my kitchen as in my life I’ll always be battling the clock. Because no matter how much I try I can never get those minutes back and I have no idea what the next minute holds for me. So, this is my time in the kitchen, and I plan on rocking out the good cooking and the excellent service in our little nook till the wheels fall off, because eventually the numbers will catch up sooner or later. So, support your local small businesses! You will always find consistency in corporate restaurants, but the love is always found in mom and pop operations.
To the restaurant owners, past and present, win or lose, in this business the respect goes to those who dare take the field. Our work is and always will be, service to others.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ T. Roosevelt

Spring Time

 

 

I started an earlier version of my blog around the beginning of April, however, I decided to finish it after our planned family trip to San Diego for Easter. I am happy I waited.  I do need  to apologize for such a long time in between the blogs, but I am not the type that can write about day to day stuff, much less month to month. It’s hard enough keeping up with Facebook. I am what you would call old school when it comes to those things. I’m more of a over time type of guy. Gather and reflect. So just a heads up it might be another two months until the next one but I’ll do my best.

I would first like to give a huge shout out to my former Chef that I  studied under just before coming to Cornville, Nick LaRosa, of Nook Kitchen in Phoenix for being the winner of the TV show “Chopped”. His episode recently aired and he did a wonderful job of using his knowledge, skills and experience to win $10,000. I mean who knows what to do with octopus balls! Genuine, funny as hell, understanding, just a great Chef and a even better family man. Congrats Chef, Saluti.

It’s funny what a little break from your routine can teach you. While in California with my family, far away from my kitchen, I was given some time to reflect on how I was feeling since taking over this restaurant and putting my cooking on the line. Cooking in general is a hard profession. Kitchens are a tough environment to survive in. It might be hard for those to understand if they’ve never worked in one what it’s like with flames burning your arms, ticket machines that never seem to end, shouting, cursing, sweat, tears and all for what? You!! Kitchens were hard before I took over this restaurant, now that I do it all by myself in the kitchen makes it a mountain that I must climb daily.

But why do I sacrifice everyday, everything I have, the answer is still, You!!  From prepping, cooking, plating, shopping, ordering, cleaning the dishes you name it – I do it with the highest level I can. Why? Because that’s what you deserve when you dine with us.
I invite you back in my kitchen to see how clean it is, how organized I have it, because I don’t just practice cooking I practice everything. That’s my passion.

Cooking is easy. Like they said in Ratatouille, everyone can cook! All cooking is, is technique and product. To be good however, only takes two things: Integrity with Thought. There might be a lot of different restaurants out there but show me one that only has one cook doing the type of food we’re doing in the way we’re doing it. There are none. I love what I do and I love when I see people enjoy our restaurant.

There is one thing however that needs a change. The name. We have had nothing but great customers since we took over, a lot who have become regulars who we love very much but there has been a couple times when we have run into trouble with some who haven’t realized yet that we have taken over and are not Harry and Adele. One said they were very dear fans of theirs yet didn’t realize we were the new owners until they sat down at our table and refused to even try our food and got up and left. This happened a week ago. I mean, I certainly understand but, at least give us a try.

Yes – I am not Harry and No – I don’t cook like him. There’s a review on Yelp from a lady who gave us one star just because we were new owners with a new menu without even coming in and trying us. Really?  We are going to make this place our own. We are going to be renaming our restaurant by the beginning of August just in time for Season and we want your help.

Help us come up with a interesting name for our restaurant.  If you win – we will celebrate your winning with a free dessert every time you come in for dinner – for a whole year!!

Send me an email with your suggestion – look at our contact page.

Thank you for all of your support and love. Be sure to stop by and say Hi!
Chef Michael, Kristy, & Bella Papa

Valentine’s Day

Celebrate your love at Harry’s Hideaway with a candlelight dinner. The menu price is $85 for two.  Reservations are required. 928-639-2222

Starters:

Roasted Beet & Whipped Goat Cheese Salad with Rose Vinaigrette

Crab Rangoon with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Entrees:

Ahi Poke Bowl with Steamed Brown Rice, Pickled Ginger, Edamame, Sprouts, Cucumbers & Scallions

Braised Short Ribs with Champ Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Rich Brown Gravy

Share Dessert:

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

One bottle of either Pinot Grigio or Cabernet Sauvignon wine

January 2019

I’d like to welcome everyone to the new year. It’s always an exciting time when one year ends and another begins. With this new year I’d like to start off strong with some of my favorite comfort foods, with a couple twists thrown in of course.

Before I get to the January features I first would like to say thank you to all of our wonderful guests that have come to dine with us since taking over. Everyone has been so wonderful and kind that it makes my 12 hour days well worth it. It is always my pleasure to cook for someone but when I see how happy people are after dining with us gives me the drive to keep evolving our service to match our appreciation. Thank you.

As for January, it is full of some interesting features. To start is our Santa Fe Potato Skins. Made with fire roasted New Mexico green chiles, cheddar jack cheese, some of our house made guacamole and citrus crema. Another simple but very delicious starter feature is our Italian French Dip Sliders. Toasted Hawaiian sweet rolls, shaved roast beef, agrodolce onions, melted mozzarella with hot Italian au jus. As for our entrée features we’re going to be starting off with our Sweet & Sour Seafood. House made sweet & sour sauce, various stir fry vegetables such as onions, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and pineapple. Along with our mixed seafood tempura served with white rice and fresh scallions. The star feature this month is the LaRosa Burger and fried pickles. Named after my latest chef, Chef Nick LaRosa of Nook Kitchen. Great chef, great restaurant with one of the best burger combinations I have ever come across. When I testest it the other day we ended up selling 4 in one night so get in quick and give it a try. Potato bun, Calabrian aioli, spinach, tomato, sausage patty, flame grilled burger, pulled mozzarella and 3 way onion (raw, agrodolce and crispy) served with fried pickles. Don’t forget also to try some our signature desserts such as the Bella’s Brownie with Rocky Road ice cream and the Apple Dumpling with Dulce de Leche ice cream and caramel.

Before we know it February will be here so I’d like to inform everyone now of our Red & White dinner we will be hosting on Valentine’s Day. Call now to make reservations before we fill up. We love big days such as this and go all out in order to make your experience exceptional. Stay tuned on our facebook page for the Valentine’s Day menu, coming soon.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Chef Mike, Kristy & Bella

December Blog

K.I.S.S. your food
This is a saying I have heard in the culinary profession since day one, and it still creeps up on me from time to time to this day. I have a story to tell that I’d like you to hear through my food. I have traveled through many kitchens and have picked up bits and pieces from each one. My chefs have been as diverse as my dishes. With the New Year right around the bend I believe it’s time to start getting back to my roots of “Keeping It Simple Stupid.”

Harry’s Hideaway is moving towards more focus work and will be open for Dinner Tuesday through Saturday 4pm-8pm and Sunday Brunch 10am-2pm. Our focus is giving our customers the experience they deserve. Cozy inviting atmosphere, good tasting food made with care and of most important a positive memory of their time with us. Our vision is not just to practice cooking and serving but practice everything involved with great detail. From recycling to help keep us going green, connecting with local farms and wineries for more options to networking with neighboring businesses for support and growth. My future plan is not to become a wealthy chef through Harrys but instead an experienced teacher. I wish to give back someday through teaching from all my experiences I’m gathering in this journey. I’d love for you to come experience our concept and help teach me along the way.

December is finally here and is filled with excitement. Our new menu is up and going with all of our local’s favorites such as the King’s Chicken made with grilled baby Portobello mushrooms with a smooth sherry cream sauce and the Dal Mare made with lobster and shrimp ravioli, tomato basil sauce and seared sea scallops. Some of the focus work has come into play with our new vegan and gluten free dish the Garden Grove. Daikon salad with carrots, onions, jalapeno tossed in a carrot and ginger dressing made with agave, cucumber ribbons and our Asian marinated firm tofu with sesame seeds and is served with white rice. At Harry’s you will find twist and turns in all of our dishes. Like our cilantro risotto with cheese stuffed rellenos or our fresh guacamole with fried wonton shells. Here our December features:

  • Appetizer:  Potato Munchskins –  with Bourbon & Bleu Cheese Sauce | Bacon | Monterey Jack Cheese | Sour Cream | Green Onions
  • Soup:  New England Clam Chowder – with Saltine Crackers
  • Salad:  Bibb with Blue Cheese Dressing & Crumbles | Bacon | Red Onions | Tomatoes | Balsamic Reduction
  • Entrees: 1. Pumpkin & Mascarpone Ravioli with Roasted Butternut Cream Sauce & Fried Sage   2.  Bacon Wrapped Apple Stuffed Duck Roulade with Carrot Puree | Fingerling Potatoes & Korean BBQ Sauce    3. Ahi Tacos with Asian Slaw | Guacamole & Pickled Ginger

Spread the word and help a small business.

Happy Holidays!

Chef Mike, Kristy, and Bella

 

October Happenings At Harry’s

Welcome to October… Great News – We have posted our new updated Menu.  Check it out on “The Food” page.

We have our new features ready that we are offering as specials today thru October 20th.  Our first is the traditional Bangers and Mash and the other is Cashew Chicken with Shrimp Fried Rice.  We are also preparing some special Bread Pudding.   Stay Tuned because Dunkeroos are coming……look for more on that later this week….. you won’t believe the taste!!!

Better Than Mama’s Meatloaf with Grilled Veggies

Grilled Sea Scallops with Grilled Veggies

Savory Lobster Mac & Cheese

Sorry For The Delay……

Wow – I did not realize it has been so long since we posted – sorry but we have been very busy.  We have now opened for  Lunch from Wednesday thru Saturday and also opened for Sunday Brunch from 10am to 2pm.  We have had some wonderful features over the last few weeks with our Grandma’s Bourbon Glazed Meatloaf, Bangkok Sweet & Sour Shrimp, Chicken Marsala and our  Potato Jack Stuffed Rellenos leading the pack.

I just procured some excellent Pork Belly and made this wonderful Caramel Glazed Pork Belly meal with Celery Rice.  I decided to plate it in a friendly way with it spilling out of a Chinese To-Go box.  So if you haven’t been in for a while, give us a call at 928-639-2222 – make a reservation for Dinner or Brunch, or just stop by for Lunch.

I am working on some fantastic Bacon Wrapped Duck Breasts and hope to have a great Chef Shot for you to see soon…. Remember at the Hideaway – The Secret is on Your Plate , It’s  Good Food ~ Prepared Well….

Our Newest Creation –
Caramel Glazed Pork Belly with Celery Rice

Thank You Cornville!

Chef Mike here – Thank you so much for such a great and warm welcoming for my family to the community.  I am very honored and humble to take over such a well established restaurant  such as Harry’s.  We’ve been crazy busy getting things ready and want to do things right from the start.  It’s been very rewarding to see such a strong and positive response to lunch service and the idea also of a breakfast concept.

Because we want to get things right for everyone we’re making a few changes to the schedule.  We will be closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of next week for additional training due the expected volume for lunch service.  Therefore, we will only be open for dinner service Wednesday August 8th to Saturday, August 11th.

Lunch service will then start from 11am to 2pm and dinner service from 4pm to 8pm regularly Tuesday to Saturday starting August 14th. with plans for breakfast to follow in mid -September.

Thank you again from my family and I.  Please stop in and say hello, I would love to get to know my community better.  Remember – I am YOUR local Chef here to cook for you.

Chef Michael and Kristy Welcome You to Harry’s Hideaway Restaurant

Chef Michael and Kristy Papa welcome you to Harry’s Hideaway Restaurant. We are open for service starting today. Our initial menu will be a small introduction of the new with a little bit of the old. We want to thank you for your understanding in this transition period as we create our new menu. Our hours this week will be from 5pm to 8pm. Next week we plan to open for Lunch from 11am to 2pm and Dinner from 4pm to 8pm. See you at Harry’s!