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Appetites on Main is a family-owned restaurant and bar that’s been serving delicious food since 2002. With a welcoming atmosphere and pet-friendly patio, the restaurant is a go-to spot for families, puppies, sports fans, and night owls looking for classic American eats in Exton, Pennsylvania.
Founded by the late David Weinstein, Appetites on Main is now run by his son, Brad, and the Weinstein family recently celebrated the business’s twentieth anniversary! To mark the occasion, we sat down with Brad to learn more about his experience inheriting the business from his dad, his introduction to the industry, the ever-evolving restaurant landscape, and Appetites on Main’s famous Reuben sandwich. As a long-time Otter user, Brad also shared how our Order Management solutions help power his delivery business. Keep reading for our full conversation with Brad.
I was blessed. My father owned a restaurant from when I was four years old–a different restaurant than the one we have now. I always visited it, loved it, thought it was cool. When I went to college, I would work there on the weekends.
When I graduated college, I worked at a mutual fund company for five years. Then, my dad opened up Appetites on Main. He was like, “Hey, I'm gonna open up a restaurant in Exton. Do you want to come help me run it?” So it’s been in my blood for most of my life. I started running it when I was about 26 years old.
Oh my god. Well, I'd love to tell you that I had the foresight when I was a kid working at restaurants that someday I might do this for a living. Maybe I should have paid more attention. (laughs) When you run a restaurant, you understand the financial pressures and staffing difficulties of it. It’s all huge and eye-opening–you learn so much.
I just renewed our lease, so we'll be here for another 20 years. And I have two children. So, part of me wants to keep them away from this business because it's really hard. But if they were ever passionate about something they wanted to do here, and I knew they were serious about it, I would welcome them.
First things first is that we are a late-night place. Our kitchens are open till at least midnight, seven days a week. We’re known for our patio, and we have a doggy menu! We try to make it a fun place with a relaxed atmosphere. A local, neighborhood vibe. That’s what we’re all about: providing great value. We’re not the cheapest or most expensive place, but our customers are generally happy with what they pay for the quality of our and portion sizes of our food.
It’s such a long answer. In certain ways, it benefited us. I hate to say that because going into March 2020 was the scariest time period—so much uncertainty and stress. But since the pandemic forced us to embrace takeout, it forced us to become better at things we weren’t good at before. We improved our system’s efficiency and order accuracy. We made sure we had all the modifiers set-up online.
People loved our patio long before the pandemic. So when everyone was allowed to go back to restaurants but could only sit outside, they thought of us. We were so busy! Even at three o'clock in the afternoon on, like, a Tuesday, people were drinking like they were on vacation. So we had to re-learn how to staff the restaurant. Unlike many other places, we didn't close early or shrink our menu, and I think people appreciated that. We still feel blessed to have adapted well during such a challenging time.
After the pandemic, I knew that at some point we were going to plateau. I also knew I could always bring back entertainment. So after the first year, when things returned to their baseline and we saw slower evenings, we brought back Trivia night and Karaoke night.
I try to stay away from singing except at our holiday party. I'll sing some Blues Traveler or Stevie Wonder songs – “Boogie On”, “Reggae Woman,” those are some of my go-tos. But I usually try not to sing my customers’ requests… (laughs)
Listen, you have three or four tablets, and you're sitting there, and you're managing it, but you're like, there's got to be a better way. And then my staff is like, “Why didn't we hear this tablet go off? We missed an order.” And l remember thinking, Oh my god, couldn’t all of this come to me in a single tablet?
It was like Otter read my mind – especially once I learned you could integrate with ChowNow. Otter has allowed me to manage and maintain my delivery business better. I recommend Otter if I see a place with a bunch of tablets. I might say, “Hey, just so you know, there’s a better way than this. There’s a way to consolidate your entire delivery business into one place.”
Well, my number one recommendation is our Reuben. We have great pastrami and corned beef. People always tell me that ours is like if they visited New York. Ours are messy. We mix the Kraut, the Russian, and the corned beef on the grill together. We mix all the cheese, everything, so it's sloppy and delicious. People love our cheesesteaks and our wings, too.
At my dad's first restaurant, we didn't have Caesar salads on the menu. But we started offering them here at Appetites on Main. So, on the first or second day we were open, this lady comes in and orders a Caesar salad at the bar, and my dad comes back to the kitchen all frantic, and he's like, “We don't have croutons!” He decides to cut up an Italian roll, throw it in the fryer, create croutons, put them on the salad, and bring it out to the lady. We’re like, okay, phew.
Later, my dad goes over to the table, and what does the lady say? She goes “The salad was really good, but I have to tell you, those were the best croutons I've ever had.” That was literally day one that we were open! It’s still one of my favorite funny stories.
Take a bite out of Weinstein family history and support Appetite on Main via their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.