Last year, June 23 to be exact, I received a telephone call from the Traverse City Police Department informing me we were no longer allowed to let people BYOB at the restaurant anymore. That phone call began the hardest, most challenging year of my life. That one phone call almost sunk the restaurant.
I love old, Russian movies, especially the silent ones. Don't ask me why. I'm not even sure; I just do. One of my favorites is the Andrei Tarkovsky film, Andrei Rublev. In the last act, "The Bell", the Grand Prince sends out couriers to find a master bell maker to cast the main bell for a new church. They come to the hut of a renowned bell caster only to learn from his son that the man has died. His son, Boriska, lies to the couriers by telling them that his father had passed down the secretes of bell casting to him just before he had died, and he was granted the job of casting the important bell. This last act, which lasts about an hour, is tense. If the boy fails and the bell doesn't ring, he wouldbe beheaded. No pressure, right? To make things harder, the workers, the tradesmen, and everyone else who is supposed to be helping him don't make it any easier by refusing to work when they need to; by raising prices; by throwing up road blocks through every phase of the bell's construction. Finally the bell is ready to be consecrated and rung for the first time. The Grand Prince and his escorts are present along with the entire village. The time comes to ring the bell; the tension is high. The Grand Prince reveals he doesn't think the bel will ring. Young Boriska wonders around the site obviously worried. And then, BONG, BONG, BONG...ring out in a grand blagovest. The villagers cheer. The Grand Prince turns his horse around and leaves pleased with results. Boriska collapses on the ground and begins to cry. It's over. The bell sounds beautiful. He keeps his head.
On Friday of last week when the FedEx lady came to the restaurants back door and handed me an envelope that contained our long awaited liquor license. As the FedEx lady left the above scene played through my head. I felt like Boriska. No, I didn't collapse on the ground, but my hands were slightly trembling when I opened the envelope. As I pulled out the license the sense of release I felt was a bit overwhelming. It's finally over. What an epic this past year has been. We have over come obstacle after obstacle. We have jumped through hoops. We have spent more money than we have. But, we got it. If anyone ever wants to question the importance of wine in a restaurant, send them to us. The question has been answered loud and clear.
I wrote a post some time ago about waiting. I would like to suggest that you read it here because it hits the nail on the head. I hope you noticed it was written in 2009. This past year the restaurant has been in an hibernation. Now all the pieces are in place. We are through waiting.
So, we would like to thank all of you who supported us this past year. We look forward to showing you what we can do when one arm isn't tied behind our back. Expect great things from us. We welcome you to join us on this next phase of the life of The Cooks' House.