Seriously Catherine – Taking a Risk with Ryan McFadden | Episode 16 – Palette
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Seriously Catherine – Taking a Risk with Ryan McFadden | Episode 16

From uncertainty to success, Ryan McFadden shares the highs and lows of opening a restaurant in Saratoga Springs. Explore the moment when Ryan and his wife took the leap, the trials of building a business, and the dynamics of working with a spouse.

Delve into the impact of confidence on business decisions, Saratoga Springs’ evolution, and the balance of competition among local businesses. Discover how parenthood transformed restaurant management for Ryan, prompting a reevaluation of priorities and the pursuit of a delicate equilibrium between work and family.

HOT TAKES: Britney Spears’ apology to Justin Timberlake, and his overtaking on Saturday Night Live… wise choice or not?!

SARATOGA: Delis and cats, everyone is talking about it.

FACE PALM MOM: We want to hear YOUR Face Palm Mom moments! DM Catherine Hover herself on Instagram with your stories.

More about our guest Ryan –

Don’t forget to check out Saratoga Living’s After Hours for what’s new and happening in Saratoga!

Shoutout to Hoffman’s Car Wash!

⇩ Find Catherine ⇩


Palette Co-Work Community:

Paint and Sip:



*This Transcript is Autogenerated*

Ryan McFadden 0:02
You know you’re on your feet a lot. You got it. You got to be very careful about your shoes. I always tell myself that was I see him like what do you wear it? No shoes for your bartending. When you get some padding down there, you’re gonna be there for 12 hours your joints are gonna need this later

Catherine Hover 0:23
Welcome to seriously Catherine a podcast about taking your business seriously, but not yourself. So this week’s Hot take is all about my girl Britney Spears. And you know people have opinions of her like she’s going a little cray cray. I think she’s always been crazy, which is why I love her. But this is like let me see if I can take it home here. So Justin Timberlake, I guess just came out with some new music or he’s recording something new. I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to him. But he was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. So Dakota Johnson was the host. And it just sort of irritated me and you know, the world that you know, even though Justin Timberlake wasn’t the host, he still stood up next to Dakota like during her monologue. And I feel like you know, didn’t have to say that he’s hosted five times didn’t have to like be there anyway, like he was just the musical guests like be the musical death guests guy. Like why you gotta like steal somebody else’s show. And then today, there was an article came out on TMZ I think that Britney Spears is apologizing for you know what she wrote about Justin Timberlake in the book and I am like not for this like why is she apologizing she has nothing to apologize for. Like I doubt that Justin Timberlake is even thinking about Britney Spears anymore like he’s on this other like, you know, path in life, but it just like kills me that like why? Why is she apologizing if she’s somebody put her up to this? I don’t think she should be sorry. You don’t have to support this guy. You can just like forget about him. Like I’m sure he’s forgotten about you. But I do like Justin Timberlake music, so I’m a little conflicted. But I just I don’t know Justin Timberlake doesn’t need another fan. He’s good. He’s fine. He’s married to Jessica Biel. She’s a badass like, let them just do their thing. Okay, and let Brittany do her thing which is dancing on Instagram and I love it. If you are living in Saratoga and you haven’t been living under a rock last couple of weeks, you have seen the stories of the cat nabbing in Saratoga. The first one that came on my radar is the owner of Saratoga Broadway delis whose cat kept getting stolen. Essentially, the daily Gazette reported on Dan’s cat, his name’s Phil, they would witness their neighbors trying to take their cat out of their yard. And that is just like ballsy of those neighbors. And then it’s just like, it’s awkward, right? Because like, they’re your neighbors. And now you know, they’re out to get your cat after the story broke. Like all the comments on social media were like some people on the fence about like, he’s a bad cat owner, because he doesn’t bring his cat in, when it’s cold outside. And then there are other people who are like, Oh, my God, the neighbors are stealing cats. That’s not cool. They have these like survival instincts. If it’s cold outside, and they have a place to go, they go inside, Phil has a collar on his neck. So it’s like, if any neighbor was concerned about the cat, they should probably call the name of the caller. And then you know, bring the cat to the doorstep. But I mean, it sounds like this cat was getting grabbed from the yard. But then, like a week later, there’s this other story that comes out about another deli owner in Saratoga, who I think was getting sort of fed up with the neighbor’s cat always coming to their Deli. And I guess the deli employees would talk to this cat and the cat would come into the deli and everything and I suspect that maybe the health department was involved and like maybe gave the deli owner like a warning like you got to stop letting this cat come into your deli because it’s a health issue. Issue wasn’t resolved. And so he took it upon himself to bring this cat who he knows the owner, he brought the cat to the shelter when the shelter was closed, and he left it there and then the cat like went missing. Now some people say that that he’s on camera throwing this cat over a fence, which I just, I can’t even imagine like what kind of person would take a cat and toss it over a fence like into the woods. These cats have kept me up like kind of thinking and contemplating like, What the hell is wrong with people, but I do feel strongly like I have a very strong faith in karma. And any body that would throw a defenseless cat and a very cold night over a fence into the woods to die is gonna come in form. Just to reiterate and recap these are two different cats. These are two different delis all in Saratoga I just implore you not to get these places confused. And you know guys just be nice to cats in your neighborhood. This is Saratoga Springs okay, this is not what we want to be known for a full recap and the full story is on Saratoga living after hours so go and read that thing but man on this week’s episode of seriously Catherine I am joined by my friend Ryan McFadden. So Ryan and his wife Sonya own hundreds you tap room and kindred both on Henry Street and right next to my other business Saratoga Payton’s And you know, we opened these businesses the same year, we also have two little girls that are the best of friends. And we talked all about starting a business moving to Saratoga, having kids working with your spouse, and, you know, it took a bunch of twists and turns. It’s a great conversation and I cannot wait for you to listen to it. So let’s get started with like, where who are you? What do you do? Like your perspective? Only I knew about this on like this morning, because it’s like God, there’s so many things we could talk about and dig into. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 5:29
my wife and I own Henry Street. Taproom near Saratoga. Local, you may be aware of that establishment, and also recently opened kindred which is right next door and used to be flatbread social. We moved up here about 12 years ago, to open tap room thinking it might last six months. And then it’d be back to Philadelphia. I used to be a lawyer. So when he was a teacher, and now 12 years later, we have two kids and two restaurants. So for kids we like to say and, and BOW and BOW and my dog who’s the bet the easiest of everything. She’s great. So yeah, that’s like a basic summary of who I am, I guess.

Catherine Hover 6:05
Yeah. And then before you were an attorney, you worked for ESPN. I

Ryan McFadden 6:09
worked for ESPN. I technically won an Emmy me and about 5000 other people for working on sports center. But it sounds cooler if you’d say Ryan McFadden Emmy award winning Brian McFadden. But yeah, so there was that before I originally wanted to be a sportscaster out of college. At some point at ESPN, I decided I should go to law school because I wanted to work for myself. I did that. And then I was a lawyer for four years. And then a bunch of personal circumstances sort of led us up here. And now I do this so

Catherine Hover 6:39
and so so when you went to Skidmore, that was like the Saratoga connection, otherwise, like did you ever you know, like there’s a lot of Jersey people come up here during the tax season to like, had you ever been to Saratoga?

Ryan McFadden 6:49
Yeah, I mean, I’d been here just like with her friends for like reunions or like to meet up with her friends to hang out. I actually have cousins in town also. But really, that was the connection, we’d come up here and hang out a lot. You know, she grew up going to Lake George. So we’d stop here. And we were like, there’s not really a bar here that we really like. We were trying to open a bar really in Philadelphia, New Jersey at first but it’s extraordinarily expensive and difficult to deal with liquor licensing and things like that.

Catherine Hover 7:12
That’s how it is in Louisiana to you have to like buy the license. You don’t just right try and get it you have to like acquire it from another license owner. It’s so stupid. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 7:20
it makes it really someone’s gotta go out of business. There’s like a bidding war and, and

Catherine Hover 7:25
that’s why so many restaurants in those cities are like, you know, multigenerational, right? It’s just like yes, downs are different. They hang

Ryan McFadden 7:30
on to it. They’re not let that go. So hard to get one. So yeah, here you can just apply for one. I think they were cracking down and a lot more now than they were 12 years ago. You know, we were looking at spaces on Broadway for about a year. It was like a casual thing. They’re like us pipe dream. We’ll see if it ever actually happens. And then the spot where tapper ms came open. And nobody really wanted it because they thought it was too far away from Broadway, we a kind of wanted something off the beaten path. And B didn’t really know any better when we got here, because we were coming from a big city we’re like, you know, being a block from somewhere. It’s not a big deal. Saratoga is very used to driving and parking in front of wherever they hang out. Yeah, I think that’s changed a little bit now. But a little bit. That’s it, then we expanded it and still going. So we actually just had our best year ever this past year, which is great.

Catherine Hover 8:15
Yeah, well, you know, it’s like, that’s something you you say often, you know, whenever, like, we’re talking like, how’s the restaurant doing? First? I hate that question. When people are like, Oh, how’s the business doing? Like, it’s like, do you which part of it? Do you want me to really tell you how it’s going? Because I’m like on the verge of like blowing the place?

Ryan McFadden 8:28
I’m gonna hear about the stress or the good parts. Yeah, I usually stick to the good parts. Yeah, well,

Catherine Hover 8:33
you have to I don’t actually think they care. They’re just like, they don’t know what to talk to you about. They just write

Ryan McFadden 8:37
and they say that if you have a business, a small town, if you have a business people note the business like, Oh, how’s it going? So it’s just like there’s making conversation. Yeah. So I just keep it light. Yeah,

Catherine Hover 8:46
everything’s great. Everything’s great. Like for what for? For the tap room? Everything is really great. Everything’s

Ryan McFadden 8:51
great. We have a great we’ve always had a great staff, you know, businesses has been great. Adding the patio in summer has been a huge boon for us. Yeah. Which was a COVID thing, which was very necessary at the time. And now it just gives us some outdoor space in the summer, which really helps. So

Catherine Hover 9:06
you didn’t have the patio before. We had that little patio. I know you’re talking about your time, like the outdoor eating and drinking stuff that we had to like fight tooth and nail to get so stupid. Yes. And prior to COVID we always wanted to share that ally remember, like, Yes, I don’t like fatties does. Yeah. And I remember we got an attorney to kind of like help us sort of figure out navigate how to do that. And it was sort of like the ultimate decision was like this is never gonna happen. Yeah, and then COVID happened and then we got got that okay, I’m

Ryan McFadden 9:31
gonna have it. Yes. Awesome. No, it’s great. I love that ally. No, but yeah, so that’s been huge for us and playing on decking that ally out a little bit this summer to like, make it a cooler place to hang out. But this is good. And you know, we’ve got enough years now under our belt where our names more out there. I mean, I used to go to beer events all the time, even after we open for 678 years and people wouldn’t Saratoga would be like, where’s Henry Street? Where’s Henry Street? I’ve never heard of it. I don’t even know where that is like it’s right off Caroline it’s right off Lake it’s a couple blocks from Broadway. They’re like no, lived your mind. Oh life no idea. So another way to get the word out Yeah, another

Catherine Hover 10:03
statement that is just so infuriating. You know, like just a complete unawareness of like, even just like being nice about it. I’ve never heard of that. It’s where the library is. This is my whole fucking life. If you could just acknowledge my existence or at least be polite about it. That would be great.

Ryan McFadden 10:21
Nope, your street doesn’t exist. Sorry. It does though. Man. Tell people come on. That’s true.

Catherine Hover 10:26
Um, so pain zip open first, just for the record. I know. I know the record. You were the first one down there. Scallions, I guess was the first Virgil’s and then paint and stuff and the bead store actually. Oh, gee, the bead store. I

Ryan McFadden 10:39
forgot about the bead store. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 10:40
I tried to buy the bead store. She went and sell it to me. She was like, No, really? Yeah, she’s like, I’m literally just closing and it’s not for sale. But just so sort of like what I don’t understand. I mean, being a business owner now. Like if somebody showed up to you and were like, I want to buy your business. I would consider it. Yes, I would sit down.

Ryan McFadden 11:00
Always listen, I always tell our staff like everything’s for sale. someone’s like, sponsored by this water bottle. I’m like, how much? Yeah, 20 bucks. Yes. So tell me water for two.

Catherine Hover 11:07
Yeah, yeah. And it’s where it’s always like worth what someone will pay. Yeah. All right. So talk to us about closing flatbread social. Yeah. So we closed flatbread to go back in time and serve it was Mary monk. It was TOS now it was

Ryan McFadden 11:23
on we opened Tapper and then it was Mary monk, and they closed and you know, we either kind of had our eye in the space for a while, and we opened flatbread, and we got it going, and then COVID happened. And it was doing all right. And it COVID Just sort of destroyed the labor force and made everything super expensive. And when it came down to it, so you can only sell a pizza for so much money, right? So like, no one’s gonna pay $40 for a pizza. It’s just not gonna happen. And usually people are coming in splitting pizzas, having one beer and leaving. So the profit margins just weren’t there. You know, we were busy in the summer, which was great. But then as soon as it got cold out, the sales would just drop. Until the next spring. It was just too much work for what we were getting out of it is basically what it was.

Catherine Hover 12:07
Yeah, I mean, and this fortunately cuz I missed the pizza. Yeah, it was it was the pizza was really good. And the vibe was awesome. Like you felt like I always just like felt that was on vacation like a tropical vacation when I was in there. Yeah. So

Ryan McFadden 12:18
we wanted it to feel opposite from Taproom. So it’s not to compete with taprooms. So that was like the intentional choices where it looked like Southern California in there. But what we found also is that in the Adirondacks, people don’t want Southern California January and February, March. So that was a mistake. learn that lesson. Yeah, but you’re right. It did have like a different vibe to it. Right.

Catherine Hover 12:39
So then so now we have Kindred, which I was one of those people that was just like this may not work. I’m sort of like digging my heels in and I was like kind of upset because flatbread was such a vibe and it was great for the kids. It was like you wouldn’t feel bad if the kids were like running around like Banshees, and so I was concerned about that. But Kindred is frickin awesome and I love it and it’s like a vibe to it’s a different vibe but in vibe Yeah, totally different vibe. Um, I remember Mark sent me a picture I must have been out of town or somebody sent me a picture you brought Zia there for like a date and I don’t know if it’s like girl kid kind of hanging out, but she liked it. She liked to

Ryan McFadden 13:13
bring kids but it’s not like flatbread. Yeah, yeah. The goal wasn’t to have people bring six kids in there. And yeah, yeah, there’s

Catherine Hover 13:18
no shuffleboard. No, that’s in my basement. And that’s there. You still want to tap on though. We still have one of Taproom Yeah, so

Ryan McFadden 13:25
if you if you want that you can go there. Still have it? Yeah, yeah. And kids do a lot of people that I used to see that flatbread I see them at both now. They’re just always a Taproom playing shop.

Catherine Hover 13:33
Yeah, cuz it’s just it’s more it’s it’s louder in Taproom. I feel like if people are getting rowdy, it’s like acceptable.

Ryan McFadden 13:40
Yeah, totally. Absolutely. It’s just more casual. It’s more of a vibes more of a bar. Kind of feel a tap room. Yeah. Kindred a little more sophisticated feeling and you know, so it doesn’t fancy. You feel fancy. I don’t want people to think it’s too fancy. Or too fancy. But you do feel fancy. Yeah. So I’ve had to like tight wear this when I wear whatever you want in here. Yeah, that’s that’s that wasn’t a goal. But yeah,

Catherine Hover 14:01
um, okay, so what are you working on these days? What’s new? I mean, do you feel like you passed COVID? You can breathe? Um, or is it just like?

Ryan McFadden 14:11
Yeah, it’s much better. I mean, there’s no question about that. As far as like the labor force goes, it’s way different than it was been finding people before was I couldn’t find bartenders at Taproom and bartenders a tap or make like a lot of money. Yeah. And I couldn’t even find that it was unbelievable as much unless finding kitchen staff and food runners and things like that. Now, it’s different. It’s definitely opened up a lot. Now. A lot of people are back in the industry. You know, kitchen help is always hard, but it’s way better than it was. There’s no question about that. For sure.

Catherine Hover 14:40
Yeah, payments of soda. It’s like a well oiled machine that just keeps rolling. And, you know, originally we thought that would just be a six month like trendy business, right? I mean, I do vividly remember everyone saying that everyone’s saying like you better have a plan B, you better figure something else out because this is this is not going to last forever. Ever Well,

Ryan McFadden 15:00
that’s what everybody says about everything and nobody, nobody knows anything. I feel like it’s just like, everyone’s like, well, this is just gonna happen. That’s gonna happen. Like, nobody knows what’s gonna happen. You certainly don’t know. Yeah, and especially like with business as people always have very strong opinions. I mean, I’ll hear people talk about a certain business in town very negatively. And then a month later, someone will tell them, it was cool. They’re like, Oh, I love that place. I’m like, okay, all right. Oh, my God, we’ll change their mind real quick, especially if a play starts at something starts to take off. And yeah, like I’ve always loved it. I’m like, you were a hater in the beginning, but so it goes. Yeah,

Catherine Hover 15:33
I wanted to ask you about like confidence, like, where do you get your sure confidence. And then you also work with Sonia, like, you got, like a legit partnership. You know, Mark, and I started out that way, but very quickly realized that, you know, we weren’t going to stay married if we continued to work together like that. Yeah. Tell us about like, the conversation between the two of you like, okay, yeah, we’re gonna move ourselves to Saratoga Springs. This is again, this predates kids. So it was easier conversation, but it’s like, yeah, yeah, we want to move to Saratoga Springs to open a restaurant and give it a go.

Ryan McFadden 16:03
Yeah, I do think that if we had had kids, it would never have happened. I’m positive, it wouldn’t have actually part of the reason we moved up here is because we didn’t think we could have kids. So we were just like, you know, what, if we’re just doing like, our slow march to the suburbs, let’s at least go try something fun first. So like that was kind of like the idea and we always had this like hobby of like, beer and cheese and going out and taking classes and things like that. You know, we had like a book of like, a pipe dream of like, what our bar would look like, which is what tapper means. It’s like what we wanted a bar to look like. It was scary. To be honest with you. It was it was just like, you know, there’s a big risk. There’s a lot of money being risked here. You’ve moved to mean you can always move back, right, but you’re gambling

Catherine Hover 16:41
a lot of money. It sucks. back I was like a failure. Yeah, it didn’t work. Anyway, I quit my job. Like, if I ever move back to New Orleans, it’s gonna be because I want to open up a business there not because like, I didn’t work it didn’t work out. Yeah. Saratoga. Yeah. So

Ryan McFadden 16:57
I don’t know, confidence. We just were kind of like, let’s just try it and see what happens. And it was it was very scary. There’s no question about it. I was real nervous, especially when you get here and people start saying things like, Oh, if you’re not on Caroline, you’re in trouble. If you’re not here, you’re in trouble. And you’re like, I think we’re gonna be okay. But are you making me a little nervous? Yeah. But then when we opened, I mean, honestly, it was it was successful immediately. And I, you know, very, the community has always been great to us. We’ve always had a really solid staff since day one. And it’s just like, I remember the first night we were open. We didn’t know what to expect for like, like six people gonna come in, or we didn’t really know anybody in town, either. And it was mobbed. And it just kept going. And we were shocked. Yeah, really, to be honest with you, in a good way.

Catherine Hover 17:40
Well, it’s just like it’s a it’s you put a lot you could tell you put a lot of thought into it. And, and also, you and Sonia, were there every every night, every single night. You went in there, you were there, or she was there, shaking hands kissing babies. And I think a lot of that has to do with the success of it early on is like people really want to see that they’re supporting, like, where the money with their support. Yeah. And you’re working your ass off. You know, that goes a long way. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 18:05
that’s true. And we were there. Yeah, every night. I didn’t even give anyone a key until we were open for six months. So I would wait there with the bartenders till 430 In the morning, come back at 11 it was it was a lot like I definitely couldn’t do that now. Now. Especially even if I didn’t have kids. I couldn’t do it now. I’m too old.

Catherine Hover 18:22
But was it 1312 is 12 years ago.

Ryan McFadden 18:25
We’re in? We’re in our 12th year. Yeah, we just had our 12 New Years or whatever.

Catherine Hover 18:30
Yeah. And you can tell the loyalty that you have, like, because you have a big celebration on on the anniversary every year. Yes, you get T shirts

Ryan McFadden 18:38
made October 12. Yeah. And people show up, which is I love and I like to remind our staff that I’m like, people don’t have to give a shit about this business. They really don’t. There’s a million restaurants in town. And people do show up. All of our old employees show up like friends show up customers that have been coming in for years show up. And that ends up being like one of our best sales days of the year. And it’s just, it’s fun. It’s fun to see everybody. And yeah, it is really cool. But it’s really humbling that that many people care and show up. It really means a lot, actually, where

Catherine Hover 19:06
else can you go? I mean, there is really no, I’m trying to think I’m not trying to like Bash anywhere else. But it’s like, it really is such a great neighbor. It’s a neighborhood bar. No thanks. Yeah. And you don’t where else can you go? I’m gonna use other good spots and towns like you don’t count because you know, everybody. Yeah. Where does one go? If they’re not you? Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 19:25
I mean, I’m happy to promote other businesses. But I mean, it’s like, you know what I mean? Like other spots in town, like the local was like on the west side data, you know, kind of a similar vibe, I think. And there’s some other spots. So for us, the way that we look at it is we want to see what’s going on in the city. So like what works in the city, both of our restaurants, we want the vibe to be like you’re in New York City or Philadelphia or Boston or some other major city like that. That’s sort of what we go for. It’s like places we’ve seen there like tap rooms and mix of like the blind Tiger, which is my favorite bar in Manhattan and a bunch of other places that we used to go to and And Kindred is basically a mix of all these really cool wine bars that we were going to in Brooklyn. And the idea is that like, just bringing like a little bit of different sophistication to Saratoga in a way that I think not now, I think now it’s it’s caught up a lot, but it used to be sort of behind whereas every kind of bar here was the same and restaurant was the same. And we like to bring in like a cooler factor. You know, that’s the goal anyway, that you might see in a city to hear. So when Taproom is evolved now made, it’s very you know, it’s wood. It’s cozy, it’s the wood burning fireplaces are super popular. But that was all just based off of, you know, really cool places that we’d seen in the city. And that’s where it came from. The neighborhood he part of it just sort of happened naturally. You know, you don’t really I know the community a lot better now, obviously, than we did. We moved here. We didn’t know anybody. So I didn’t really know. I mean, we knew what it looked like. And, you know, I had some family here, but otherwise, we didn’t really know much. Now it’s sort of very clear what how small the town is. It’s so small, and it gets smaller by the day, you go out, you know, everybody, which is can be a great thing, or a bad thing, depending but I think I have a different view of what the town is now after being here for 12 years then when we just showed up and we’re like, oh, this is a cool little town. Let’s put a cool little barrier. Yeah, it happens. So

Catherine Hover 21:14
yeah, I mean, I’m What do you think about like the evolution of Saratoga, like based on the like, I can’t sometimes can’t even remember but like when we open paint and sip and you open type of like, I think druthers was not even open yet. So

Ryan McFadden 21:26
the same year that we opened, druthers opened, Boca opened one more that I think has since closed but there were like, there was sort of like everybody likes it seemed like saw Saratoga for what it was at the same time and opened all these businesses like it was like everything sort of had this massive changeover in 2012 druthers open two months before us both open two months before us. It was just sort of like everything started to flip and new places kept Elizabeth’s table that I remember that place. Oh

Catherine Hover 21:54
yeah. Do you remember that? That that was the was that in this building? Or the Algonquin? I think the old guard it was an Algonquin building. I went there once with Gretchen. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 22:03
I think I went there wants to but yeah, there were, there was a lot of happening at that time. So as far as evolution of the town, even since I’ve, you know, we’ve been here, buildings have gone up a million more restaurants have opened the style of restaurants have changed a lot. I know that some of the people that grew up here don’t like it. They sort of like hate that. It’s not the old Saratoga.

Catherine Hover 22:22
Yeah, I mean, change is hard for a lot of people. Yeah, they want to be able to just keep everything status quo. And I’m not that person. I get so bored. Like keep growing, keep evolving, developing,

Ryan McFadden 22:33
and why not? It just makes it a cool place to live. I will say that one thing I don’t like though, is that after COVID All the money that came out here that’s making it impossible to live in town for people I don’t like. Like I know it sucks. It’s really personally

Catherine Hover 22:49
you are forehand, but beforehand, it’s

Ryan McFadden 22:52
it is it’s too bad because I play my old Avery House Street, which was like I still missed that house. I missed that house. Yeah, that neighborhood was like perfect for young families. And now they sold my house recently for twice what we bought it for.

Catherine Hover 23:06
It’s crazy. It is crazy. And then y’all bought a house on North Street two that y’all did rent, right?

Ryan McFadden 23:11
With somebody’s mom. Yes. And then we Airbnb that out half the time, which the neighbors didn’t like, really didn’t like I kind of get but they were very, very aggressively against it. They were very nasty to us. So we sold it Sony’s mom got a smaller place. And then we bought the house that we’re in now. So

Catherine Hover 23:29
yeah, but also, like, it’s just sort of a testament of the people who live here like they give a shit what’s going on on their street, and they will show up at a public hearing. Oh, yeah. Talk about it, though.

Ryan McFadden 23:40
They will voice their opinion loudly. I mean, those public hearings, I don’t know how many of them you’ve been to, but they’re they’re interesting. They’re fresh. Everybody’s got a thought about something, man. Some of the people just show up there every week like the same like five people and just like and I have an opinion on lot 75 I’m like, Oh, you don’t? Why? Who cares? Get out of here go. You care. Come on, man. Get Netflix, use my Netflix subscriptions, go home and find something else to do.

Catherine Hover 24:06
I have the last one that I went to revolves around short term rentals. Yes. At the time we had an Airbnb and I was sort of like on both sides of it. Because we had a home that we were renting on Airbnb, so we were like the host. And then we were also renting our like home home. Right. And so that was like the big argument. Like if we keep allowing Airbnb ease, and we’re gonna, you know, people are not gonna be able to afford to live here or whatnot. So it was like a huge debate. And I’ll never forget this woman came from the town of Greenfield to complain about short term rentals. And I’m like, you don’t even live in the city lady here. Yeah, here. Mine is like two hours long and she stands up after after so many people were speaking Yeah. Everything irrelevant. And like she walks up and she’s like, well, I’m from out of Greenfield and I’m like, I wanted to throw you know, why are you here? Are the table off I beat it it was bad it was bad so anyway we’ve sold that house but the house the housing stuff is so stressful like the house we have right now under contract which just eventually will will happen. But it’s the fourth house we put an offer on and the first house that we actually got under contract because these how to city people like transplants, you know, which I’m sort of the sound like a hypocrite because I hear that, but you know, they’re just like dropping cash. They’re moving from really big cities like Boston and New York City, and they can afford to just like drop 500 grand and cash on a shithole. Yeah, that’s like walking distance to downtown,

Ryan McFadden 25:36
we have to totally knock it down and put up a you know,

Catherine Hover 25:38
that’s our house. There are there are like, you know, things in place to sort of their work that right like Saratoga preservation historic system. What is it? It’s Saratoga Springs study sort of like, well, good put the kibosh on some development, if they don’t believe that it should go there. Well, just

Ryan McFadden 25:57
demo houses now, which they’re trying to prevent from happening. So like, I think there’s 1000 houses in Saratoga that are owned by corporations, which is ridiculous, that crazy 1000 houses that are owned by like, just as a money making vehicle from like big corporations that have no intention of ever living there. That will ruin the town.

Catherine Hover 26:15
Do you feel like from a business standpoint that that’s a good investment?

Ryan McFadden 26:20
Yeah, I do think it’s a good investment. People want to be up here. Now. I think a lot of places people discovered it during COVID minutes, a quick drive from New York, Boston, wherever, but it does kind of ruin the charm of the town and the character of the town, I think, especially if you live here, obviously. But if the whole town becomes a rental town, it’s it’s not cool. I think it’s fun to come visit but it’s not it will make it less fun to live here for the neighborhood with your friends. And like you know, things like that.

Catherine Hover 26:45
I just I just don’t think that’s gonna happen though. Like, you go like our kids go to school, right downtown. It’s like, it’s not hurting. You know, like, there’s kids that go to school there.

Ryan McFadden 26:54
Yeah, you’re right. And people that have houses now we’re not going to sell them, especially if they have families. Because where are you gonna go? Yeah, right, right. Yeah, you’re gonna go if you’re like, Oh, you could get so much money for your house like and then what? You’re gonna move somewhere else and kind of have the same problem and not worry.

Catherine Hover 27:08
Yeah, you would literally have to, you’d have to move to Clifton Park.

Ryan McFadden 27:12
And even there, Clifton Park has a lot of cash.

Unknown Speaker 27:15
I think it’s I think so too.

Ryan McFadden 27:16
I mean, it’s the park. I’m sorry, Clifton Park.

Catherine Hover 27:20
There’s a Chick fil A narrow there now I would

Ryan McFadden 27:23
never know. Because if I can avoid it, I do. I do know that there’s one there. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 27:26
Well, I wanted to sort of ask you about when you first. You know, it’s hard. And I experienced this too, like when we when we first opened paint and sip, like, like six months in, there was like rumors that there was going to be another paintings of opening in the area. And it got like a little, you know, a little anxious. We’re like, Okay, wait a minute, is this market big enough to support another studio? And where’s that going to be? And and that is really what dictated me opening in Latham. And I know that you are aware of other things opening, take that as like, oh shit moments where you gotta like up your game, or it’s like, oh, this is very validating. This is legit, you know. And so I should just keep going like, I want you to sort of like dig into that experience, because it can be hard to not get frustrated. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 28:10
definitely. So I would say that when we first opened, when I heard that new restaurants were opening, it would bother me. I’d be like, Oh, now there’s new places open. And they are going to do this, this and that. And it’s going to take some of our customer base away and competition competition. But now I don’t feel like that as much. I just don’t. Because one, you can only worry about what you’re doing something like I’ve seen enough restaurants open since we’ve been here that it no longer is like something that really bothers me when it happens. And also, while it is competitive, we’re all competing against each other. Everyone knows each other, too. And everyone’s like, cordial with each other. No one’s like that guy or fractus business. Like it’s not like that. It’s

Catherine Hover 28:48
a small community. All the business owners know each other, respect each other, and want each other to do well.

Ryan McFadden 28:55
Yeah. And the bottom line is one you can’t control it anyway. So if you’re gonna get mad about somebody opening a business, they’re still gonna open the business suck, it doesn’t help you to get upset about it. You really just root for everybody. I root for everybody. That’s my thing. I’m just like, I root for everybody. I hope that I’m successful. I hope that that new place is successful. I hope that we share customer base. It’s fine. You know, it’s it’s just it is what it is. You can’t control it. You know, like we said, everybody knows each other anyway, to sort of nice to each other. And it’s like, on slow nights, you like asking people that you’re closer with like, Hey, how are you guys doing? You guys? Okay, I know. So last week, right? Okay. Yeah, all right. It wasn’t just us. So like, everybody’s sort of on the same page. Everyone’s in the same game. Everyone knows how hard it is with restaurants. It’s late nights and you know, all the time and weekends. And so everybody’s kind of in the same boat. Whereas I feel like if you’re just someone that goes to restaurants, you don’t really know how hard it is. So like, it’s like when you’re in like that little community. Everyone sort of realizes how difficult it is and mostly supports each other. Yeah, obviously, there’s exceptions, but for the most part, I haven’t seen much of that since I’ve been here. Yeah, everyone’s pretty supportive.

Catherine Hover 29:55
Yeah. Okay. So now talk about I think a big turning point for Me in the recognition that I was going to need help and support to sort of like, keep going on this track of like entrepreneurship and opening businesses and pouring on more and bringing more into my plate and stuff, having kids and like, how did that impact? You know, the business and the management of the business? Like for me as soon as we found out we were pregnant at Posey, that’s when we started to like, elevate our team to take on more responsibility. That’s when we put like Gretchen and Marcel in like, sort of like the driver’s seat to carry on in the event that I just like, I had a fear, like, what if I just don’t want to work anymore after this? Yeah, that’s not what happened. If anything I mark wished Mark quit his job and get home with Posey,

Ryan McFadden 30:38
yeah, having kids changed it completely. I mean, like you said earlier, we were there every night. So you know, four o’clock in the morning. And now that’s just not possible. Kids are a lot of work. As everyone knows, we all have kids, it’s stressful, and they’re up early, they don’t care that you were up late. And it’s also if you me, I work with my spouse too. So it’s you have all the home life pressure. And then all of the work pressures always there all the time. We didn’t have managers for the first five years, we were open. And then we started having to like hire people to do other stuff, and eventually having managers and now we’ve great GM, Adam does a great job that sort of helps out both places, does a lot for both places. And then we have like some assistant managers too, which is something that we’ve never had before, but it’s necessary because what I don’t want and what Sonia doesn’t want is for my kids to hate me or grow up without me, which is like what happens a lot in the restaurant game. I remember growing up, I had a friend whose dad owned a restaurant. And of course, he was never home because he was at work until midnight every night and I was just like, oh, this is becoming me. Like I’m not, you know, and it’s just not good. It’s not like a healthy lifestyle if you have children, so you can do it. And you can work nights, you know, sometimes, but you can’t do that every night and also maintain any kind of healthier, normal family life unless your spouse is totally cool with that. And which Sony’s not so right. She,

Catherine Hover 31:53
she wants you around. She likes you. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 31:55
I hope so. So yeah, she wants me home. And it’s a conflicting feeling. I mean, our staff does a great job where I don’t really need to be there a lot of the times at night, but I still feel compelled, like I have like a should be there something else. And then I’m like, I’m at home. And I’m like, What’s happening with it? I’m checking the numbers. And I’m like, some sort of always mentally there, which is something I’m working on. But yeah, having kids definitely changes it. Like I want to coach my kids sports teams, which are doing or go to their games and like, you know, have that kind of like routine normalcy, that if I was just at the bar every night from four till midnight couldn’t happen.

Catherine Hover 32:27
Yeah. So it’s tough to let go. It’s tough to delegate. I mean, I think that’s like a skill set that is good to work on. And then sort of like giving them the autonomy like, like, even a lot of times, you know, Mandy doesn’t even tell me when shit hits the fan, because she knows I will drop everything and show up and it’s like, unnecessary. You know, it’s like the first time you sort of recognize that somebody else can do this. It’s sort of like, you want to take the ego out of it. And it’s like, you know, I’m not the all and all knowing answer of everything, right? Like somebody else can figure this shit out. Yeah.

Ryan McFadden 33:00
And some people can do it better. And I’m like, oh, yeah, no, could you

Catherine Hover 33:03
i Boy, keep doing it. If

Ryan McFadden 33:05
you have someone that wants to be in charge to which we have now like, not all managers want to be in charge, like, they kind of want the job done. They’re like, they just keep asking you what to do. Every time there’s like an issue and you’re like, well, I’ll just go down there then if that’s what it’s gonna be like. But we have great managers now that really embrace taking care of problems when they show up. And it really makes everyone’s life easier. So very thankful for that.

Catherine Hover 33:25
Do you feel like that became more evident during COVID COVID was

Ryan McFadden 33:29
just so I mean, I almost have like PTSD from it. It was awful. It was like, trying to like hold everything together, like stringing glue. And like you didn’t have enough staff and trying to keep people happy, but you couldn’t lose people. And it was just like, it was such a fine line to walk because you couldn’t replace anyone because there was nobody out there. Nobody was working a Taproom we’ve had people that have been there forever, like, you know, 789 years and a lot of them during COVID Not a lot. This couple of them, you know, decided they they aged out of the business, which happens people turn about 40 they start thinking about like their knees and things like that.

Catherine Hover 34:06
You know, Are your knees

Ryan McFadden 34:07
they switched up. My knees hurt. Yeah, I heard from what I don’t know. I’m getting old playing sports. I’m always like, I have like no mental stretch. Now before I like play any kind of athletic when I get hurt. What is the last sport you played? I played pickup basketball recently with a bunch of 25 year olds. Oh, it was humbling. I got dumped on twice this kid. You know, when he caught a rebound did a windmill dunk on me. I was like, Yeah, this is not what I signed up for.

Catherine Hover 34:34
No doubt.

Ryan McFadden 34:34
He was like some like college superstar. Like, I felt better afterwards. I was like, oh shit, I was like, wow.

Catherine Hover 34:40
So do you just show up? Like, tell me how this goes. You just show up at the wind. You’re like, hey, hey, man, let me like Deal me in pretty much. Yeah.

Ryan McFadden 34:47
So a bunch of friends were like, oh, you know, we should go out and like play basketball and try to do something athletic. Everyone’s in their, you know, early to mid 40s. None of us have played in a long time. I actually I ripped both my shoes and a half just to play I think it was like, I got home and I was like, Oh my God, it was it was very humbling experience we just showed up at the gym. And everyone there was 25. And we’re like, you know, it was almost like, like a movie joke like all these like dads come out that are like slightly overweight and not in great shape. Like, we ought to run. We won one game, but they let you I was so sore the next day. Oh my god. But yeah, you know, you’re on your feet a lot. You got it. You got to be very careful about your shoes. I always tell myself that was I see him like what do you wear it? No shoes for your bartending. When you get some padding down there, he gonna be there for 12 hours. Your joints are gonna need this later. So I’m very particular about comfortable shoes. Good support.

Catherine Hover 35:39
You’re not threading needles these days? No, I

Ryan McFadden 35:42
have not threaded the needle since I broke my foot needle all those years ago. Oh, my big parlor trick. This is a funny story. So I used to thread the needle, which to people that I don’t know, if you’re aware of kitten play.

Catherine Hover 35:55
I don’t know if that might be over everyone’s head that’s over my head. That a person.

Ryan McFadden 35:59
It was like a rap duo from like the 80s and 90s. They the movie house party? Anybody know? So this is when you’re out there knows you’re standing in jump through your jump through your leg? Yeah. And you landed like a jump rope. Like your leg is a jump rope. Or you

Catherine Hover 36:14
are threading the needle late night on Henry Street. Yeah,

Ryan McFadden 36:17
somebody challenged me to a needle threading contest. And I accepted because this was like you guys to do it at weddings. I was like, I can thread the needle. And this This guy was good. He was good. He was he was someone that worked for us his cousin, I think and he was doing it frontwards and backwards. And I was like, Oh, I don’t know if I can do it backwards. I kept hitting my shoe coming back. So I took my shoe off. This was a big mistake. So I thread the needle. I’ve landed it for the record. But when I did so the middle of my bone on my foot collapse. I had to wear a boot for two months. And then I had to walk around the restaurant and be like, what? Have you heard of kitten play? No. Threading the needle. Eventually just started like making something up because it was like too long of a story. Like I dropped a bowl on my foot, whatever. But yeah, no, I have not done it since then. Nor will I ask though, even if it was 11 years ago, so I’m definitely not doing it now. Even if someone dares you to do it. Yeah, no, there will not be I will pass on that challenge. I will bow out.

Catherine Hover 37:15
I don’t know if you remember this. I think that there is a video somewhere of us doing cartwheels at Caroline Street. I

Ryan McFadden 37:23
vaguely remember that I was doing we’re doing round offs, which also used to be a parlor trick of mine that I no longer do. But yeah, I know exactly what you need. If

Catherine Hover 37:32
you had to do it all over again. Would you do it the same way? Or were there? Were there things that you would have avoided? That’s

Ryan McFadden 37:39
a great question. So outside of like logistical equipment, stuff, and layouts, there’s some stuff there. But I would try to keep things as simple as possible. I used to want to have this idea of wanting to expand and own like seven restaurants and all this other stuff. And now that is not as appealing to me at all, I do think it’s important to you have to hire good people. It’s just you can’t run any company, especially a restaurant by yourself. So finding good people and then try to take care of them is really the the main thing that I found that is important. And that works. Because if you’re invested in them, they’re invested in you and they helped make you make each other’s lives easier. So it’s really just finding good people to work with. And you know, kind of just trying to treat people like human beings like if you know, like we’re closed Christmas Eve and Christmas day and like if people need off or something we don’t say no, like, you have to have a life, which is really hard in the restaurant industry. So we try to make it feel as normal as we can for people so that they can still have a life outside of the restaurant.

Catherine Hover 38:35
Remember you and Tony were always so serious about like interviews and meetings. And I’m just like, don’t you just need somebody in there? Like get somebody in there? You know, it’s something but it’s like you really do, you have always really taken the time to bring people in. And that’s probably why you keep them for so long. Well, it’s

Ryan McFadden 38:50
also they’re the they’re the face of your business at the end of the day. So you know, you’ve got to have someone that you trust to actually be representing you. And you’re in Yeah, so. And we’ve had, like awesome employees. We’ve been super lucky that way and something I’m super thankful about. So yeah,

Catherine Hover 39:02
and feedback is so valuable. It is in the restaurant business. It really is. And if it’s negative feedback, you can email me directly. But if it’s positive feedback you should do. Yeah, people don’t really I don’t think people realize how valuable that is like it helps so much to have a good review on Google.

Ryan McFadden 39:19
Yeah. Kyndra I think our reviews are 4.9 stars out of five awesome, and I’m just like, but I’m like we need just more like Yeah, tell your friends. Tell your friends get online write us a review.

Catherine Hover 39:28
Um, okay. Well, thank you so much for being here, Ryan. Thanks for having me. Always a pleasure. All right. Look, one episode wasn’t enough. We need a bonus episode. So we’re coming back on Friday with a bonus episode with Ryan McFadden from henrici, Taproom and kindred and we’re talking all the things what’s on the table for Ryan and then the next weekend and the coming weekend? Beer chili chowder football. You don’t want to miss this one. All right, moms and dads, I got a parenting hack for you and it called the Hoffman carwash. If you are a member of the unlimited Car Wash club, you’re in for a real treat because you can go for free essentially, if you’re paying the monthly fee I don’t know if we’re doing any girl math or mom math here, but you pay the fee and you can go get a car wash as many times as you want. And it’s one of those things that’s like a multifaceted experience. If I’m with the kids, they love to ask the car guy like if you can draw a little design on the window, they always play ball. They always do something fun. And then we go on through the carwash and it’s almost like this thing comes over my kids like they’re not psychopaths. When we leave the carwash. It’s like some sense of like therapy for them also a form of therapy when I’m by myself and I need to go to the carwash because it’s the only place that can scream out loud with no judgment. So if you are not already a member of the unlimited carwash club at Hoffman, you are missing out on a treat. Thank you for listening to this podcast and if you want to connect with me slide into my DMs on Instagram. My handle is Catherine hoever

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