Gunk Haus is a German gastropub located in Clintondale, NY.
We serve thoughtfully prepared comfort food made from carefully sourced ingredients. We are seasonal when we can, local when possible, and as organic as sensible. We make everything from scratch, and we like to pair the food with great beer.
"... a casual, fun spot where the beers are good, the eats are hearty, and the tabs are light." - Hudson Valley Magazine 12/2010
For the week of June 24 - 30, 2011 the edible Communities of New York are promoting the Eat Drink Local Week. The event is intended to raise awareness of the bounty of products from the region.
We were asked by edible Hudson Valley to participate, which to us is an easy and natural thing to do. After all, many of the products and produce served at Gunk Haus come from as close as the literal stone throw (watch out Debbie, Julie, and Charles, I am tempted to give this one a try ... ;-).
All our sausages and the pork chops are from Elia's Meat Market in Highland. Our meat for burgers, roast beef, and short ribs comes from the C.E Osterhoudt Farm in Stone Ridge.
Last year, on this day, we threw open the doors to Gunk Haus, not knowing what would happen.
We had not advertised at all, except for a mention on this blog. Nevertheless, we were packed the first weekend. We were scared we would get run over the first week, that I (foolishly) suggested, and later announced, that we would be open by reservation only for a week.
Well, the onslaught didn't happen, and in hindsight the whole idea was stupid, but heck, this is our first restaurant, and we are learning, every day, still.
It was an interesting time. Long days, short nights, this part actually hasn't changed. We got up to speed on a lot of things very quickly, because we had to.
Our original menu featured only five items (actually six, but we had to take the french fries off the menu, because our fryer broke the day we opened): Currywurst, Haus Burger, Weisswurst, Portobello Paprikash, and Elia's Famous Hot Dog. All of these items are still found on our menu today.
Of our original staff only one is left still working on a regular basis, which may be in part because we did not beat the drums too much, and the beginning was slow and unsteady.
Much has changed since last year, but at 12:10am on a Saturday morning I am too tired to remember everything.
I miss blogging, but I hope I will find the time again soon, because there is so much to write about, what it takes to run a restaurant, being an employer of people, and in general behind-the-scenes information.
I want to thank all of you, who have cheered us on and up, patronized our restaurant, spread the word for us, or simply read this blog.
"Hey Boss!", Julie greets me at the start of her shift. I always found it cute the way she calls me boss, but at some point it dawned on me that there is something deeper.
Julie, of Little Dog Orchard, our neighbor, and friend, whom we hang out with, go bowling, play games with deep into the night, the same Julie suddenly became my employee when we hired her as bartender.
As boss you are like a parent to your employees, and they are like children to you. You need to protect them, guide them, educate them, reward them for good behavior, and discipline them for bad behavior.
As boss you need to make sure your employees are happy, because happy employees are good employees. At the same time you need to ensure that work gets done, gets done properly and efficiently.
I was never a leader of people, never will be. I am more of a worker drone. But being an employer of people, I am forced to step up to the plate, and become a boss.
We have had a lot of requests to hang artwork, and we certainly have plenty thereof stored away. Quite regularly these requests come from people who just happen to know a great artist (i.e. friend, neighbor, or themselves) whose work would make our place look spectacular.
But the decor and ambiance of Gunk Haus is subject to the same scrutiny and thought that we put into our food. Art has to work with the look and feel, and not just fill an empty wall space.
Being on a shoestring budget, compared to art museums anyway, we opted to bring great art to Gunk Haus for little money.
Enter stage, left, our dear neighbor and artist extraordinaire Ann Haaland, who recently licensed some of her art for a calendar (available at Zazzle.com). I am particularly in love with her tree paintings. If I could afford them, she would be a rich woman, but for now her calendar has to suffice.
So we got the calendar in the mail this week and hung the paintings throughout the beer hall, to get a feeling for how it would look like.
The artwork still needs to be framed, but we are very happy with the look already.