How did Brian Canlis get into the restaurant business?
I grew up in it. I started washing dishes at 13, and then bused tables. The restaurant I own now was originally started by my grandfather, then my dad ran it; so it’s always been a family business for 62 years. Then I went away to high school and didn’t actually come back for 12 years. I went away and I lived in Europe, and I went to [college] on the East Coast, then back to Europe again.
I joined the Air Force, and I was living in Alaska and Washington, D.C., and then Kyrgyzstan for a while. I kind of had this really cool Air Force career that I was loving; I was working for Air Force One, which was pretty fun and special.
Then I get a phone call from my brother, who had already come back to work at the family restaurant, and I remember him telling me, “I think we can make Canlis really special. I think we should take a shot at pushing this restaurant into the third generation, and I can’t do it without you.” So I came home to work with my brother to see if we could make Canlis ours, and that was seven years ago.