Working in a Boston restaurant during the summer means two things: patio shifts and no (ok, less) college kids. It also means there is often some time to reset and recharge. We think one of the best (and most fun) ways to do that is with a field trip to a producer, farmer or distributor.
We’re all familiar with the term ‘field trip’. In elementary, middle and high school it was a glorious day when you escaped the walls of your classroom and travelled with your peers and teachers to a different location- with your parents’ permission of course. Just as school field trips are important for children because they educate and provide a new perspective, so is taking a field trip as an adult.
Perspective and a deeper understanding of a product, producer or distributor make talking to guests about and selling that product a lot easier. We’ve all been asked by a guest what something tastes like or what it’s similar to or where it’s from. In the back of the house you can better manipulate products when you know and understand them better. In our last issue of The Industry Press, Zach, general manager of Sycamore in Newton, wrote about his trip to France and meeting natural winemakers. When he returned from his trip do you think he was able to teach his staff and tell his guests more about natural wine from France? You bet. Learning about a product and gaining a deeper understanding enables you to be able to talk about it much more easily and help the guest make a more informed decision; not only are you able to sell more, but you can offer a deeper level of hospitality.
That deeper level of hospitality is also extended to your coworkers. Leaving the restaurant and going on a trip with your restaurant team gives you the time to get to know the people that work with you in your restaurant. The entire team gets to connect and catch up without the pressure of a dinner shift hanging over them. This team building creates a better environment for everyone when the team comes back to work.
Earlier this month, The Industry Press took a field trip to Boston Harbor Distillery to learn about the process of distilling and learn more about how the project came about. BHD is located on Quincy Harbor and opened two months ago. Corey Bunnewith, co-founder, proprietor and former bartender, showed our group around the gorgeous, converted warehouse on the harbor and gave us a little history lesson as well.
The warehouse that BHD sits in has been many businesses. First, a nail factory during the Civil War, then a warehouse for ship parts and then a storage facility for Seymour’s Ice Cream Company, who created the beloved ‘nutty buddy’. As Corey explained, he and his team are very committed to preserving that history and have incorporated some of it into their line of products. The Lawley’s line of spirits are named after George Lawley, the shipbuilder who inhabited the warehouse until 1945, and is made with molasses and maple syrup, a nod to two of New England’s most beloved flavors. BHD also makes a coffee liqueur called “Seymours” made with maple syrup, whiskey and locally roasted coffee. (Any bartenders that may be reading this- a dessert cocktail called “The Nutty Buddy” made with a coffee liqueur named after the local ice cream company that created the nutty buddy bar? It practically sells itself! Someone needs to do it.)
We left the distillery knowing a lot more about BHD products and the distillation process, but also more about Boston’s history. By learning more about locally made products you invariably end up learning about the culture of the area that the product is produced in and the people who make it.
In New England, we’re very lucky to be surrounded by passionate food, beer and spirit producers; most of whom are more than happy to share their craft and talk about its history. We gave a few of these producers a call and asked if restaurant groups are welcome and all of them said yes. Below are a few options for a field trip for you and the staff of your restaurant.
Boston Harbor Distillery
Reservations necessary for parties of 10+
Taza Chocolate Factory
(617) 623- 0804
Can be booked for 10 to 20 people.
Tours are available on Saturdays at 2:30pm and 4:30pm. Private tours can be scheduled by calling the tap room.
Kimball’s Fruit Farm
Tours must be scheduled in advance by calling the farm. Small groups preferred.