My Annual European Expedition
This year I did something different, not only did my wife Suzi accompany me but my daughter Daisy and her husband, Greg, came along for the first two weeks. As I get closer to looking for some sort of exit strategy I’ve been thinking of why not blending our business with theirs. For years the English have expanded their garden centers from being just plants, pots, soils and amenities into restaurants, outdoor sporting goods like fishing tackle, wine bars and other miscellaneous shopping. So, off we went (Daisy has experienced traveling and buying with me for years), to show them a firsthand experience of what it’s like to GO AND SEE.
In many ways food and drink is different in Europe than the USA but they are not always ahead of us. Sometimes, for example with beer and coffee, it’s our opinion they are way behind. Greg made this very clear to us as we tracked down cutting edge coffee providers in the major cities we visited. As he explained “third tier” coffee and how it is different from the typical, Starbucks type coffee. I was amazed at the differences. Should Eye of the Day add a coffee machine? What about a cafe?
From world class tapas in San Sebastián to crepes in Montparnasse or simple but classic Tortellini en Brodo from Bologna, what would the impact be on EOD’s future? So many questions, so many calories so we walked and walked and looked and as you may already know, Eye of the Day is about authenticity, quality and real personal service. How would this type of expansion affect us? How would we approach such an idea? A lot of questions coupled with a lot of ideas.
Milan to Bolzano to Bologna
The number of food oriented businesses in Italian cities is extraordinary like most large cities. Density equals bars, coffee shops, take-out, pizza, burgers everywhere in Europe and restaurant on restaurant. The key to being different beyond the norm is the atmosphere and the space.Places that have exterior space as comfortable as the inside have a much better chance to succeed, just look at your typical Paris bistro with its tables on the Rue. Sausage and beers in big steins in Bolzano on a large open piazza covered with a tent let in the sunshine but the environment could have been so much more. Throughout Italy it looked as though most restaurants had nowhere to go when it warms up in the Spring.
I hope that someday soon our goals come together and we can blend our passions into one exciting, vibrant and delicious venue. Eye of the Day, Garden Design Center with the Eye of the Day Cafe. Stay tuned…