How does Michael Voltaggio come up with his menus?

When we first opened, we did that, kind of, “We’re not making any changes to the food.” We tried to say all that stuff, and I still believe in that to some extent because I do believe that there’s a certain aspect of our industry that is art. But at the same time, people are coming in to eat a meal, and everyone knows what they like to eat and don’t like to eat.

I like having options for everyone. When we write a menu, we look at the basics: Do you have meat options? Do you have vegetable options? Do you have shellfish options? Do you have not-shellfish options? Can anyone come into this restaurant and have a meal?

So when we write our menus, I think that’s how we write them. And if they can’t read the menu and feel like the can come in and have a meal, is it easy to adapt to anyone’s needs? You know, menu mix is really important. Even if there’s two or three dishes, there’s something on there to connect with everyone.

We’ve probably cooked for 12 kids since we’ve been open here; but we’ve got dishes that are built into the ordering system where the servers don’t have to come up to the restaurant kitchen and say, “There’s a kid at table 11, what are we going to cook for him?” They know that we have options because that kid’s as important to us as everyone else in the restaurant.

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