Questions for a Restaurateur - Flight Deck Restaurant
Bio: Flight Deck Restaurant & Lounge was known as Roscoe's Landing until July of 2005 when the new owners Barry Bowers and Natalie Frajola began their second restaurant venture. " We envision Flight Deck being a small resort in Salem; a great place for our customers to get away from the hectic everyday lifestyle and relax with friends, good food and drinks."
Barry and Natalie, a husband and wife team, are longtime Salem residents with family in the Willamette Valley. They bring a wealth of experience with them; Barry obtained a degree in Culinary Arts in 2000 from Western Culinary in Portland after 20 years with the Oregon Cherry Growers and 5 years in his own construction business. Natalie brings her degree in business Management from Linfield College and adds her 20 plus years experience in finance and procurement with Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.
First food memory: Natalie’s first memory: sitting in my Italian grandmother’s dining room with all the family around the her huge table with my grandmother bringing out of the kitchen one delicious dish after another. Typical of many Italians, the food was simple but flavorful, focusing on different tastes and textures and included fresh fruits and vegetables from her garden. Barry’s first memory: Holidays at my grandparents house where my grandmother was an awesome cook, and I think I picked up a lot of her home cooking styles and tastes.
What are your greatest joys of owning a restaurant? The customers. We have so many wonderful regular customers and others who come in and enjoy what we do. It gives both of us great pleasure to see them enjoy the food, drinks and atmosphere.
What are your biggest challenges? Our greatest benefit and our greatest challenge is our location. It’s a benefit because it offers us a spectacular view and a unique setting, and a challenge because we are off the beaten path which means people don’t drive by our location every day, and tend to forget we are here. We work to overcome that challenge by communicating daily with our customers in various forms (email, EatSalem Daily Dish, Facebook, Twitter, and our webpage).
Anyone you would like to thank (and why) for helping with your dream of running a restaurant? Yes! First is Sylvia Dixon who has mentored us from the beginning. Second is Leah Frajola and the Frajola family for stellar support of our business. And third is Food Services of American who have gone above and beyond to support our business by providing great products with excellent service.
What's your favorite kitchen tool? Good sharp knives and the Immersion Blender.
Any advice for someone who's thinking about starting their own business? If it’s your dream, go for it and don’t second guess yourself. Make sure you triple check the finances. Work hard, plan and keep moving, even though you want to quit.
What do we see as the future for Flight Deck Restaurant & Lounge? We look forward to continued exposure in the Salem area through recommendations from satisfied customers. We are currently working on revamping our menus, and look forward to their release in the next month or so with some new exciting items. Our banquet and catering business have been growing steadily over the last two years, and we feel we have additional potential in that area. With two banquet rooms to offer our customers and about 2 years of experience now, we feel confident we can offer an awesome event to our banquet customers. And then we want to continue to offer local ingredients from local providers, supporting community businesses.