September 13, 2016

Hmm… So, here I am.

Hmm… So, here I am.

But who am I, you wonder?

blackbird Jeff, contemplating heavy lifting

Contemplating heavy lifting…

Well, simply put, I’m the over-sized, slightly clumsy oaf you may have spied hauling heavy and broken equipment out of what was the Bear Creek Restaurant. Or perhaps you saw me carrying loads of hardwood and the newer, working coolers into our new and enduring project. Come to think of it, if there’s heavy lifting involved, it’s sure that I’m involved. A more accurate description is that I am Jeff, and I am the general manager at what is soon to be the Blackbird Cafe and Tavern.

Now, how on Earth did I end up here?

Good question. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t asked myself that question a hundred times over the last couple months.

One minute, I’m bartending nightly at a regular Fort Collins hotspot. Steady income, surrounded by all the comforts one can only enjoy after calling the same place home for a couple decades. The next minute, I’m uprooting and moving to a town that I know nothing about, to dive headlong into a reconstruction of a restaurant and essentially a new life.

It all started with a fairly late-in-the-evening phone call… I don’t usually even look twice at my phone while working. But this call was coming from an old friend that, to be honest, I had sort of lost contact with over the last couple years. Our friendship dates back — time spent behind a bar together, while her now husband was working the kitchen. The suddenness and surprise of the call urged me duck out the door of the bar and answer.

“Hey,” Terry said. “How’s it going?”

A few minutes of awkward small talk followed. What the heck was going on? I had to get back to work. I was about to ask if I could return her call over the weekend or maybe the following week.

“Dave and I bought a restaurant.”

“Oh yeah?… That’s… That’s something… Huh!”

Over the next few minutes the conversation blurred past me. What I know is that by the end of it I had agreed to come up and check the place out, share my years of experience and advice, in getting the place open. Terry had other ideas.

blackbird Jeff

Relaxing after a lot of heavy lifting…

You see, Terry has a way of deciding on something and then making it happen. If, for instance, she decides (hypothetically) to buy a restaurant and (hypothetically) hire you as her manager, it’s pretty much a done deal. And so was the case with me. During my first walk-through the Bear Creek Restaurant, I noticed the questions slowly shifted from “What do you think I should do with…” to “What are we going to do about…”  It didn’t take long to realize I’d been caught. But in a way it made sense: Over the last two decades working in, and running restaurants in Fort Collins, perhaps it was time for a change. So with nothing tying me down, I decided to throw caution to the wind  I will miss that town and I will miss the friends, partnerships, and family I made there. Fortunately, I don’t live too far away, so I can always visit.

And so once again, here I am. In my new home.

I look forward to meeting new people and forming new relationships within this community. And hopefully learning more about who I am through this journey.

blackbird Jeff, General manager

Getting the bar up and running!


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