“The 803 Restaurant Group was founded in the humble abode of a cubicle-like dorm room. An underground dive, that, night after night, served its ten piece eclectic omakase tasting menu to droves of satiated coeds, and was booked until vacating from the dorms at the conclusion of last semester. At capacity, and armed with only a single electric burner, pan, blender, and sieve, the restaurant did four covers per seating, with a total of seven turns, accommodating each of its clientele in a thirty-minute duration. Despite its founding though, and thanks to no lack of effort, The 803 quickly surpassed its dorm room fad, and graduated from serving what many may assume, the obtuse palates of the college indifferent, to battling high society’s opulent affinities into submission. Surprising more so, was the lack of gentrification, qualification, or creativity amended in order to do so.
Armed with three summer menus of sixteen intricately crafted pieces and a pitch-deck to convey the vision, we returned home with the hopes of opening a seasonal restaurant in the Hamptons, but quickly realized that with little time and no proof of legitimacy it was unfeasible to seek out investors to back us.
In effort to salvage our prospects we began inquiring about a professional Japanese chef to prep fish, piece nigiri, and gift us with the illusion of experience. From dry-calling to scouring the lower east side with impromptu drop ins, we had quickly amassed absolutely no one. Miraculously though, we found a needle in a haystack, and although not used to his full potential, Pecko assuaged many a conflict and question and has become an invaluable asset to our team. Although he stressed quality above all else, he required the food be of our creation, and if we lacked the tools to get there, was by my side to guide the way.
We had our first pop-up in June, and immediately crashed and burned. Fighting to attain the targeted number of guests, was near impossible with none of the necessary funds to perform the marketing and the apparent emptiness of the city. However, after a round of intense campaigning on social, and mass emailing lists, we were over booked. The second seating fell into the third, and by the end of the night, there was talk of refunding a majority of the guests.
Learning from our mistakes, and the importance of crisis management, we set out to do it again. Successful in our catering events, we finished the summer with a pop-up spanning three nights, and have since been covered by over 20 publications that span two continents including the New York Post, Boston Globe, and Vogue, even securing a segment on Good Day New York, and a joke on Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
803 Founder’s Ethan Cole and Jarrett Deutsch