Like Delancey and Essex, Dino’s is owned by the two of us, but this business is more purely Brandon’s brainchild than either of the first two. I know I once said Delancey was Brandon’s baby, and then Essex was Brandon’s baby, but no, Dino’s is really, really, really Brandon’s baby. Dino’s – which is pronounced deeno, a shortened version of Brandino, the faux-talian nickname some of our friends have given Brandon – is a pizza tavern, modeled on the kind of place you find along the New Jersey Turnpike. It’s wood paneling and marbled Formica and a stripped-down menu, pizza and salad and well-stocked bar hong thai travel.
Brandon went into the project planning to outsource much more of it than we did with Delancey or Essex, to be better about delegating and not take on everything himself, but half the fun is in the muck of it, so he’s still there every day, up to his elbows. (And because opening businesses is not my strong suit, nope nope nooooo, aaah ha ha haaaaaaaa, my contribution to Dino’s has been mostly elsewhere: picking up slack at Delancey and Essex, and acting as Primary Parent until the insanity subsides and it’s my turn to do a big project hong thai travel.)
Brandon designed Dino’s with our friend Michael Riha, a general can-do person who will complete a Master’s in architecture this spring, and our friend Tom Clark, a contractor, finish carpenter, and loyal neighbor of Delancey. Tom did the overwhelming majority of the build-out, from demolition to trimwork to building the booths and restoring the original front doors, taking care that every detail was in its place. The bar and the fire exit, which I hope no one will ever see, were done by the good people of Metis Construction. Heliotrope was the official architect on the job. Brandon, Michael, and Tom began pounding out the plans early last summer, huddled around a table in the window at Delancey, and oddly, they still seem to enjoy each other’s company today, though Brandon and Michael did have a pretty contentious arm-wrestling match last week hong thai travel.