So I heard from a fellow blogger that you guys are opening a burger joint outside of Boston. Congratulations. Though I used to enjoy your "Good Vibrations" video when I was in fifth grade (and by "enjoy" I mean I waited a couple seconds before changing the channel), I can't quite picture you arm-in-arm with Anthony Ambrose and Ming Tsai. I mean, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve with Chef Paul Wahlberg, your older brother and the head chef at Alma Nove, the upscale Italian joint right next door—"a big supporter of the locavore movement." And I can see you guys got the right stuff and are taking it step by step, and I'm really sorry that I just made that joke, but hey, I’m honestly trying to help here. Before leaping in the shark tank, you may wish to see how your musical forefathers fared in their restaurant attempts and, you know, make a check list. Take...
Moby's affordable vegan cafe restaurant in the LES which features sprout-heavy salads, vegan quiche, chicken salad, and an exhaustive tea menu (teas with "characteristics" like “biscuity” and “flowery fruity”). Lesson 1: Make sure your restaurant name is a bad play on words, maybe even on your own name. (Wahlburger: Check)
The up-market Southern and West Indian restaurant founded by Sean (a part of me dies every time I write "P. Diddy") Combs, has two locations, one in Atlanta, one in New York, and organizes its menu of assorted fried dishes and curries by seafood, poultry, meat, and vegetarian. Lesson 2: Make food that people like, a.k.a. comfort food, a.k.a. the culinary equivalent of pop music, a.k.a. fuck cholesterol.
The successful ATL soul food spot founded by one legendary R&B singer (Knight) and another not-so-legendary one (Winans), features a signature entree called the "Midnight Train," which is "four southern fried jumbo chicken wings and one Original waffle." Not hard to imagine why Winans suffered from a heart attack the same year his restaurant opened or why his ticker shut down altogether eight years later. R.I.P. Lesson 3: Never get high on your own supply.
Flav's Fried Chicken
The first restaurant in a planned chain opened in January 2011 in the randomest and, pardon me, bumblest-fuck locale of Clinton, Iowa (pop. 27,000). At the Grand Opening, employees were already complaining about paychecks bouncing, and within four months, the restaurant waskaput. Lesson 4: Don't serve potato salad that's over a month old. Don't do business with an unctuous ingratiating restaurant manager who wears a tee shirt with your face on it. Bascially, don't do anything Flav's Fried Chicken did.
This wood-fired rotisserie chicken chain, founded in 1991 by the country music legend, exploded in the early 90s (350 locations in the US), then after seven years, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now there's only one Roasters left in America, at a mall outside of LA. In other parts of the world though, Roasters are still going strong—in Malaysia especially, where the menu currently offers “Pasta Dishes” like Chicken Macaroni and Cheese with a side of "Kenny's Home-Made Muffin.” Be sure to make a woefully alliterative "Roasters Ramadhan Reservation.” Lesson 5: Know when to hold vs. fold 'em.