What attracted you to the food industry?
HUNGRY FOR MORE? HERE’S A MENU OF JOSH MILES’ UPCOMING PROJECTS, WHERE YOU CAN SOON TAKE IN NEW STYLES OF CUISINE, DRINKS AND, OF COURSE, THAT OLD-FASHIONED HOSPITALITY.
I’ve been in it since I was a child. My father was a paper salesman to the local restaurants in my hometown, and when I was off school during the summer he would take me with him. He worked very closely with a lot of the restaurant operators, and I fell in love with the social, family and communal aspect of it: people getting together over one common thing. So, the moment that South Carolina would allow me to work, I went to work in a restaurant.
COMMISSARY AND BIERGARTEN To control consistency across all the restaurants, a new commissary will create the fresh ingredients going into all the food: pastas, breads and cheeses made from scratch, dry-aged meats, ground burgers and more. “In the same building, we will have a biergarten that will focus on local and German beers and authentic Bavarian cuisine, such as pretzels the size of your head, mustards, sausages and schnitzels,” says Miles. Scheduled to open at Railroad Street near the Rochester Public Market in May or June.
What excites you most about being a restaurateur? I feel like I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do. The relationships, the community of it, all the people we work with... and I love entertaining.
You’ve attracted a loyal following in such a short time. What is your secret to success? Location and the need of the community are huge, but above all else, it’s finding the people and giving them the love and the interaction they need. We also spend a lot of time in our restaurants, which I think is very important. Every night (Thursday to Saturday), I’m at all of our restaurants in Rochester at one point. We are very human-driven, and I think that says a lot about loyalty. People love to know people at restaurants—they love to have a server or a bartender that they go to— and we try to create that. Listening to our guests about what they love to eat and drink, and ultimately going back to just taking care of them in a genuine nature.
What kind of impact would you say you’ve made on the local food and craft cocktail scene? I have to give homage to Good Luck. They were the first restaurant, I believe, in Rochester to make a difference and step outside of the box and do things people weren’t really doing. When we came along, I had been working on the Revelry restaurant project for years, and it just happened to be the right time in Rochester. Our bar program, I think, initially, was one of the biggest changing factors at the Revelry, coupled with local ingredients and southern-style cuisine that didn’t exist, and just having a good time. There’s a certain amount of bravado that comes about in restaurants when they are successful. We just want to do things really, really, really great and for people to feel that. Our loyalty from our client base and our staff has proved we have a good recipe and we put a lot of focus on that.
A CASUAL BRANCA AT TOWER 280 AT MIDTOWN The restaurant will feature a full Italian coffee bar, meeting space and bar that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Scheduled to open at 280 East Broad Street in July.
BITTER HONEY An authentic, fresh approach to Mexican cuisine. “My wife and I are uberpassionate about Mexican food,” Miles explains, “and we’ll be able to do different things that aren’t being done here, like making our own tortillas in house and tacos al pastor.” Scheduled to open at 186 Atlantic Avenue (behind Three Heads Brewing) in August.
What do you do in your down time? I try to spend as much time as I can with my daughter. I love to exercise (running and snow skiing). We love to travel and to eat and drink. When we aren’t at one of our restaurants, we are home eating or drinking. Jenna is a phenomenal cook and I pick the good wine. Or, we are at one of our favorite restaurants… we eat a lot at Rocco.
What is your favorite thing about living in Rochester?
Expect a Carolina/Georgia style of vinegar-based BBQ, focused on pulled pork. Miles tells us that his chef will travel to St. Simons Island in Georgia to participate in a hands-on internship (the industry refers to this as “staging”) with the renowned Southern Soul Barbeque joint (accolades on the Food Network and in Southern Living magazine), in order to learn and perfect specific techniques that can be applied to his establishment. Scheduled to open at Pinnacle North in Canandaigua in winter 2016.
The family that we’ve created. Not just personally, but our web of all our employees, physical family and friends. I’m 35 years old and never once in my life have I felt like I’ve had such great people to surround me; I get very excited about that. I’ve made life-long friends and that’s the most attractive thing about being here. Adena Miller is a Rochester freelance writer and public relations specialist.
The Magazine of Life's Celebrations