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The short story of ZED.

My name is Dave and I am the D in ZED.  Zach and Erwin, my partners in the adventure known as the Belltown Pub, complete the name of our business, ZED Restaurants LLC.  We weren’t always ZED, in fact, we weren’t ZED until we were also the Belltown Pub just three years ago.  It was probably closer to four years ago that Z and E were beginning to discuss a possible partnership in the ‘business of restaurant’.  They had already established a working relationship in a growing chain of wood-fired pizza bars and it wasn’t until the idea started moving forward quickly that E realized he and Z needed me, D.

I had been bartending in Seattle since ’98, moving in the same circles but never really knowing Erwin, who had been in the hospitality industry here for even longer.  We had only started getting acquainted through mutual friends the last year and a half before the opening of the Pub but when he came to me with the idea I could tell he was serious.

It’s rare as a bartender to hear someone’s “next big idea” and lend it much credence given the shear number of business models we get to listen to and judge.  And as often as I was asked by my bar patrons, “what do you really want to do?” (As if making more money than most high school teachers annually on just 3 shifts a week wasn’t “doing something”) I would tell them the truth, “I want to meet a wise man with a good idea.”  Enter Erwin.  I have heard hundreds of ideas for bars and restaurants from people with just that, an idea.  So when someone not only has an idea but actually wrote a 1,3 and 5 year business prospectus that included every detail of the operations of a restaurant for this particular concept, well then, that man gets a nod.   It actually took Erwin over two weeks to convince me but when he finally did I was in completely.

There’s something surreal about meeting a business partner for the first time, especially when it’s to be an extremely close working relationship, but I could tell upon meeting Zach that he was committed.   We quickly shared our vision for the Pub and immediately respected how much each of us was willing to invest, which can be summed up in two words: practically everything.  That sentiment means even more when you realize what it takes to open up a restaurant in this financial and geographical market.  Add that to the fact that we were not even close to having enough money to do this right from the start then you realize what the word “investment” really means.

3 years later we see 3 men and a baby, whose name is the ZED.  3 talented men, if I may, each bringing real life skills to a job that requires experience first before success can be imagined.  You have Erwin, with his cooking, operations, marketing and administrative skills. Zach, whose knowledge of the front and the back of the house, as well as, his managerial skills for someone so young is impressive.  And me, Dave, who’s skills could be listed but would rather for the time being be known as the bartender that met a wise man with a good idea.

And it is a good idea.

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