Serving up Super Seasonal Fare
Local restauranteur Brannon Florie’s career started with humble beginnings.
He broke into the business by washing dishes with the dream of owning his own restaurant.
Twenty-five years later, with long hours and focused dedication, he’s now chef and owner of three; The Granary, On Forty-One and Pier 41. Interestingly, becoming a chef was never his goal.
“I kind of learned things the backwards way…the business first and then the cooking,” Florie says.
Growing up, Florie’s family always had a garden. His grandmother was a chef and his mother’s relatives were farmers. His interest in the food business was inevitable.
At age 20, he got a cooking job at Disney and was introduced to the food side of things from chefs all over the world. He refers to this as his “culinary college.”
The next decade was spent doing corporate work and honing his skills by working alongside bar cooks, who Florie notes would never call themselves chefs. After a back injury while in Dallas, he returned to Mount Pleasant and assisted in opening several restaurants including Rarebit, Big John’s and King St. Public House. He met his wife, Renee, while doing so and decided to focus on his own projects. His efforts yielded incredible results–three very popular restaurants.
Florie thinks the term “farm to table” is overused. “I’ve honestly never liked that term. I feel like that’s how all food should be, right?”
When asked to describe his style, Florie believes “super-seasonal” is a better description, referring to his food as regional instead of local.
“A lot of people misconstrue what local means. For us, regional means we get our products from as close as we can get them, whether it’s Boone Hall or Georgetown,” he says.
With 100-hour work weeks being the norm for the past 12 years, Florie recently decided to step back, turn over a new leaf and focus on family.
“The goal is for restaurants to run the way we want them to without us being there. One of my mentor chefs once said, “If it can’t run without you then you’re not a good chef,” so I’ve always strived for that,” he says.
Florie decided to focus more on the managerial side of things, rather than the day-to-day operations, giving him more time with his wife and three children–two girls, five and two and his four-month-old son.
“We just bought a golf-cart, so we’ve been enjoying that. It’s nice to be able to hang out with friends in the neighborhood and drink a beer in the front yard without always being at work,” Florie laughs.
Florie also plans to use some of his new-found time to focus more on his catering company, Florie’s Events, as well as his artisan product line, FloKing Artisan Products.
It’s safe to say Florie has achieved his dream—and then some.