(Photos by Barry Gray)
The owner of Aperitivo restaurant at the Kanata Centrum didn’t want to jinx his business with a first or second birthday party, but he’s going all out for birthday number three.
Sean McCoy quit a job in software sales three years ago, and took over a restaurant space where none of the three previous restaurants managed to survive more than two years.
“For us it was, let’s get by the two-year mark that nobody else has,” says McCoy. “Now it’s: what can we do to give back to the community? Instead of it being a celebration about us, we wanted to get members of our community — our regulars — to come out and give back.”
The third birthday, presented in collaboration with Kichesippi Beer, takes place on Sunday, September 13 from 6:00pm-10:00pm. There’s a $20 cover charge that includes food, and all proceeds to go to Roger’s House and Tysen’s Mission to a Million.
McCoy wasn’t completely new to the restaurant industry when he switched careers. He was part of the teams that opened the Kelsey’s on Merivale, and the Chophouse in Kanata.
“I saw one success, one failure. I’d worked as a doorman in the market while doing software sales to save up money for an engagement ring,” he says.
“The biggest challlenge is trying to stay relevant and ahead of the game. Our team and our chefs strive to be different. they put out a menu almost every two months and it’s alays different, always evolving. We work with a lot of local producers. The menus reflect what’s in season. Changing a menu is terrifying every time we do it – how will people react to the change?”
McCoy stays out of the kitchen for the most part and manages the front-of house operation. He credits his staff and the support of his family for the restaurant’s success. (It’s ranked #4 of over 2,200 Ottawa restaurants on TripAdvisor.)
“I have an excellent set of chefs. The core has been there since day one: my head chef, my sous chef. They manage the food and the menus and I rarely question what they do – I question to learn, not to debate what they’re doing,” he says.