Rather than following conventional wisdom, first-time restaurant owners Julian and Lisa Siegel have trusted their instincts all along. And contrary to what any restaurant veteran or consultant may have predicted, they have turned their market/cafe into a wildly successful operation. A hard to find, out of the way location in a tough part of town. A honor system for grabbing a cold one from their selection of 550 types of bottled beer. Couches and recliners form a lounge area smack in the middle of the restaurant and consume a large swath of the usable floor space. No marketing or advertising. Not a single TV in the place. The list of things that “shouldn’t work” but do goes on and on.
Yet Riverside has as much business than they can handle, a genuinely happy, closely knit staff, and is a word-of-mouth phenomena that manages to make everybody who walks in instantly feel at home, from billionaire business men, to tatted-out skateboarders, to city council members, to local life guard captains, to attorneys, to stay-at-home moms, to a couple of guys from N.C. who came to shoot some videos.
As Lisa told me while I marveled at what they’ve accomplished by doing things their way and ignoring any “formulas” for success, she said, “All of our restaurant friends tell us the things we should change, but those are the things that make Riverside special! We won’t be world famous by following convention. We’ll be world famous by being different from the rest.”
Amen! I just can’t properly put into words how special and inspiring this place is, but fortunately we’ll soon have some videos so you can see for yourself.