Indian Road Cafe
I love throwing dinner parties -- though since I've opened this place, not so much! -- and when I came across some of my mother's old cookbooks, I started thinking about a different career path. I was working in television and knew my show was about to wrap. I had lived in northern Manhattan for 18 years and felt that Inwood needed a nice cafe. Then this particular property became available, and I jumped on it.
The city is pretty strict about building codes and health regulations. This place was a poorly kept-up grocery store, and we had to go through an enormous amount of red tape to transform it into a restaurant. The public advocate's office was really helpful when we were having trouble with the city -- they completely turned it around and made everything happen.
We're on such a fringe, geographically. We're not in the center of the city, so we can't pull staff or customers from the whole city. When we put an ad up on Craigslist for waitstaff, we get people applying from Coney Island, but you can't possibly commute up here from there. That makes it hard to find good, experienced staff. We've gone through maybe 75 employees in a year.
I've experienced more strife and hurt feelings and negativity in one year in this business than in all 20 in television and film. It's really a rough business, very difficult. But when I enjoy it, I really, really enjoy it. -Rose Fox
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