My Early Days of Food & Beverage
My Early Days of Food and Beverage.
We in the restaurant business, for the most part, didn’t just fall into this craziness. It was in our bones and movements from an early age. These next few issues of this newsletter, I’m gonna share a few of my early urges and unknown nudges to be in the food and beverage industry.
I was born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1963. My dad worked for IBM, there were three Query boys: Mark, Mike and me, Dave. We lived in a middle class neighborhood filled with big redneck-ethnic families who all seemed to have a lot of boys. After dark in the summertime, some seriously crazy shit went down. The neighborhood was called Idle Hour and it backed up to the exclusive Idle Hour Country Club. The barbed wire fence that divided our backyard and that golf course could have been 1,000 miles wide – representing the wealth and disparity between the Mercedes driving-brightly colored golfers and the hard working wood-paneled wagon families on the other side of the fence.
We had a truly huge weeping willow tree in the back corner of the yard. In the third grade, I used to steal my dad’s cigarettes with my best friend Randy Durbin, and we would climb way up into the depths of that tree and share a smoke like two union factory workers after a 12 hour shift. That lasted for three weeks until my brother Mike ratted me out because I had told my dad that Mike had called him an asshole for throwing a golf club after a missed putt at the local par 3 that almost took our heads off. Lucky I didn’t fall out of that tree from being so buzzed off those cigarettes. I would hit those things like a convict looking over the fence. I don’t know if it was because both my parents were heavy smokers, but even at that young of an age, I liked the taste of a cigarette, playing with matches to light them – I loved the whole process. Never smoked em’ after that.
My brother Mark was 10 years older than me. Frat boy, Marine, he liked to drink and fight. He also liked to make money and asked me to help. He dragged me out of bed early and often to help him with his paper route. It was usually when he was hungover, and for some reason it was cold and always raining.
His best use of my early talent was something I can now relate to. We were on the 13th fairway of Idle Hour CC – the furthest point away from the Club House. Realizing this, Mark posted me in the backyard next to that fence on a Saturday morning when my parents weren’t home, with two cases of beer in a cooler. I was 8 or 9 years old. Considering a six pack of cheap beer was $1.25 at the time, selling those a can at a time for $2 was a winning plan. His $10 investment in two cases of beer would yield a $96 return in about an hour. Me yelling, “COLD BEER HERE” like I heard them do it at the race track with my dad a couple of times a week. And when the blue bloods got within earshot, my little redneck Hicktucky voice would shout as loud as I could. I could keep the tips and Mark would give me $5. There were a host of laws being broken around this scenario, especially by Mark. But this was at a time when you didn’t get in much trouble for drinking underage. Or driving underage. And barely much for drinking and driving underage. Times have changed.
That’s a good thing.
Happy spring-time ever-budy. Greatest season of all with the enormous anticipation of having the best summer ever straight ahead.