Perhaps you're here because you've been a follower of JPBG for the last few years. Perhaps you're a friend or family member of ours. Perhaps you went down some kind of weird rabbit hole and ended up here by mistake. Whatever the reason, welcome! And my apologies on being so incredibly awful at updating this thing. And by incredibly awful, read: THE WORST. I literally posted once, three and a half years ago, and even then had nothing to write!
So here I sit, with my tail between my legs, hoping for your forgiveness. Oh wait, the tail thing is actually Winston. And his tail isn't between his legs. It's fiercely wagging in hopes that I pay attention to him and give him snuggles.
Where to begin? A lot has happened in three and a half years. We had a wildly successful first run of pop-ups at Vee Vee. Looking back at it, I can't believe we pulled off three back-to-back weekly multi-course, beer & wine-paired meals that all practically sold out and was attended and written up in the Sunday Globe by Devra First herself. We followed those up with more casual, a la carte pop-ups with our friends at The Hawthorne, Kirkland Tap & Trotter, and Tres Gatos. Then came the series which has become the truest form of JP Beer Garden: the summer backyard series. Outside in various backyards, live music, grilling, making new friends and catching up with old ones - these truly did showcase the JPBG "vibe" and are especially reminisced about during this time of year when we're both towards the end of Sober Month and freezing our asses off.
It was hard to follow up those amazing parties. But we really outdid ourselves with the more-formal meal we put on with the one and only Terry Theise, German/Austrian wine God. I can't believe we literally sat in his living room while he scooted downstairs to his cellar to pull options for pairings. That evening was a magical one: Owen's food was on point, and Terry held court as he engaged the room in conversation.
Since then, we've snuck up at Tres Gatos here and there, slung some pretzels at various events, and our last official appearance was an industry night at Townsman, nearly a year ago.
Where the hell have we been?
Well, for one thing, 2017 brought some major game-changers: I studied my ass off to become officially certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. The first half of my year was spent studying flashcards and making maps. Which, by the way, are really great maps. We're thinking of making them into a wallpaper for our future JPBG bathrooms. Then came a summer of hitting it hard at work: Owen's role was amped up at Tres Gatos, and I was not only the beer director for The Urban Grape in Boston's Back Bay, but also slinging spritzes and pizza for Coppa's patio season. And then, it was suddenly the fall, and a possible location for JPBG came to our attention.
I won't get into the nitty gritty details of the process, but to put simply: it was a huge learning experience. We hired a lawyer and an architect for the first time ever, we became familiar with terms like LOI and TI clauses. Licensing. Permitting. Contingencies. It wasn't easy and it was hardly fun and it was definitely expensive. And right when we had a glimpse of, "Oh shit, this is really happening! This is JP Beer Garden!" ... we lost it. Well, *we* didn't lose it: the negotiations came to a stopping point. No point in continuing - it became clear that because we're the underdog without a gazillion dollars, that makes us unworthy of achieving our dream of opening our own restaurant.
IT'S MY BLOG AND I'LL VENT IF I WANT TO: It was infuriating! It was heartbreaking! It made me feel worthless! How will we ever accomplish this dream? What's the point? How can we do this without winning the lottery?
Then came the holidays and another slight shift in jobs (I'm now full time beer and spirits manager at The Urban Grape - come visit me!). And a New Year. A clean slate. Resolutions have been made and dreams re-realized. Owen and I are still in this together, and for that I couldn't be more grateful. I'm not going to lie, there are certainly still times that I feel pretty down and heartbroken about losing that first real shot at a space. But what successful restaurant owner nails it on the first shot? We've been playing the long game for a reason: to make smart choices so we don't totally screw it up right off the bat.
So, here we are. Thank you for not forgetting about us! We're going to slowly start getting back into this pop-up game, start making waves until someone who truly believes in us takes a chance on JPBG and then BAM! Your favorite restaurant in Boston will be a reality. Until then, stay tuned and I promise to get better about this blogging thing.
Cheers and puppy high fives,