Thanks for the compliments guys!
In a way ben says, I couldnt be more pleased with the fact that you only know me as a person on metrojacksonville.com. For a couple of years after I closed Boomtown, people kept treating me like one of the Dixie Chicks---you know, "shut up and sing" because so many people primarily knew me in a restaurant and theatre context.
Im older than I seem, ben and Ive had an extremely active life, often pursuing more than one career at a time.
Ive owned restaurants in Jacksonville, Seattle, Atlanta, and Indiana. Did corporate consulting in San Francisco, San Jose, Atlanta, Seattle and here in Jax. Worked for the most respected Sourdough Bread Bakery and Cafe in the country, and at corporate for the largest American coffee retailer in the world.
My first time owning a cafe in Jax was in 1991, I think. Here is a link to an interview I gave about the Fusion. http://www.billectric.com/StephenDareInterview.html
It was the first legitimate coffeehouse in Jax since the closing of the Golden Buddha in the 70s. Got a lot of attention for that, and was part of the transformation of Five Points into an alternative district. It was also the first time that I was an active participant in an urbanist district creation.
There is a lot of information out there about the Fusion. I followed it immediately with a place next door called 'oppenheimer's', and then after we closed, I went across the street and worked for my landlords at the Fusion (Cliff and John Schultz) and helped them create a place called The Abyss. I built a 75 foor recreation of the caves of Lascaux as the entrance for it. It was a pretty cool project.
Some of my places were successes, some of them were failures, and a couple were outright debacles. But you learn equally from all three kinds of experiences. I don't ever have plans of going back into the restaurant business. Its a younger man's game for people who have a real passion for food which I do, and Ive done almost everything I wanted to do in the food industry.
I'm doing what I am passionate about now at MetroJacksonville. But Im more than qualified to discuss food and the administration of restaurants.