How does Ford Fry come up with his menus?
When we’re about the open a restaurant, I’ll go to the chef and talk about the food. We go eat around and start talking about what we really like and what we feel like Atlanta really needs, as well as what we’re really passionate about cooking. I’ll have the chef write a menu, and I’ll write a menu. Typically the menu ends up leaning toward the one that I wrote. Over time, really rapidly after we open, it starts to become their version of my vision of the restaurant. It enables them to run with it and make it their own, but it’s kind of a good way to get them on board with the identity of the restaurant. A lot of times, restaurants get kind of lost. I think that’s important. A lot of it is me spending time with them and talking about the ideas and simplicity. I try to also keep them grounded and say, “Remember, you’re not writing a menu to impress other chefs; you’re writing a menu to impress the diner, as well as writing a menu to cook what you’re passionate about cooking.” I think a lot of people try to do things to impress a chef or outdo other chefs in some way, and it may not make sense. The food will taste better or be better if it’s done in a more classic way.