Archive for November, 2010

Big thanks to the Ragan Family for all the good times in Wyoming! And to our families in Jersey and Australia, you were missed.

-next year we feast in our first location!

-the boys


Fortune Cookies

Posted: November 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m a big quotes guy. A good quotation can be more powerful and effective than hours of explanation. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a quote’s gotta be worth at least like 200. In fact, I’m going to use quotes to explain the rest of this paragraph.
“See, quotes are usually generic enough that if you squint hard enough, you’ll find a way to apply it to your current life situation. In times of trouble, they will provide guidance and inspiration. And when things are good, they’ll be a verbal pat on the back, confirming that what you’d doing, is right the right thing to do.”

I can even quote the word quote and make it seem official!

(see how effective that was? I might change my name to “Shaan” to give myself a little more emphasis)

If quotes were good, imagine how I feel about horoscopes. In fact, I will now take a 2 minute internet break to lookup my horoscope:


“Your pie-in-the-sky ideas will have people buzzing today — buzzing about how twisted your brain is, but at least they’re buzzing.” – Daily AstroSlam!

Whoa! Just when I was ready to write a blog post making fun of silly horoscopes…they totally redeem themselves! Look at that prediction! Pie-in-the-sky ideas? Like building the next premier fast-casual restaurant chain in the world without any money or experience to my name? Twisted brain? Absolutely! People buzzing? Can you say 10,000 blog hits…Buzz!

It’s funny that just reading my Horoscope (from Daily AstroSlam! no less) made me feel empowered. Silly as it might be, I genuinely believe that it applies to my life. So to all of my New Years Resolution making, Diet Coke drinking, knocking-on-wood believers. I’m with you.

Maybe its fake. Maybe we look silly. Maybe we get too excited for a fortune cookie. Maybe 9 times out of 10 it’s just a folded up cookie with a scrap of paper inside. But if you’re like me, then you’ll find a way to believe. And maybe that’s enough.

So I’ll leave you with a quote, from a man named Henry Ford:

“He who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are both right”

give it a try today. take something silly. something fake. believe that the words can apply to you.

Believe that today, is your day.


It’s that time of year. The time of year where every Dukie across the nation gets a little more bounce in their step. It’s COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON BABBYYYY (Dicky V Voice). In lieu of this glorious occasion we’d like to give a shout out to some of our boys back at Duke…

Last year at the Duke Start-up Challenge we decided to do something special to give back to the competition. We had already competed in the 2 minute elevator pitch competition, the executive summary competition, the business plan competition, the investor pitch competition and then the finals. This final event was a short 1 minute presentation taking place before the announcement of the 25k grand prize winners. As you probably know by now, we can talk. We can talk a lot. However,  there was no way we could say everything we wanted in 1 minute . So instead of cramming as much information into a minute as we could, we decided to do something ridiculous. We called up our boys on the Duke Basketball team Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Casey Peters and Seth Curry to help us out. We had no money at the time so we made some T-Shirts with spray paint and stencils for the players to throw out to the crowd.  When they came out they took everyone by surprise. It was awesome watching the auditorium go nuts and even better seeing the look on our competitors faces. Check out the pics below:

Our boys getting ready to take the stage

Kyle leading the charge

Sweet shirts huh? Also, notice the old school logo haha

Caseys aiming for the nosebleeds

Although we’ve moved out here to Colorado, we’ll always be Dukies at heart. Thanks again to Nolan, Kyle, Casey and Seth. We’ll work on converting some of these CU Buffs to Blue Devils. Good luck this season brothas!

do what you do


Vegas vol. 2

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

do what you do



Posted: November 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

Wow. One of the greatest trips of all time. We all made it back alive and even have a little extra money in the bank. I promise to tell all. None of this  What happens in Vegas crap the kids say these days.


Fly out of the Loveland/ Ft. Collins airport on the world renowned Allegiant Airlines. For those of you out there who don’t know about it, Allegiant is the best way to get to Vegas. $50-roundtrip to the city of lights? Done deal.


Smoothest flight attendant ever chimes in with some words of wisdom: “Turn those drinks into shots, it’s time to land folks. And remember What happens in Vegas = stays …on YouTube. If you’re coming on vacation don’t wind up on probation.”


We discover a deal called the Buffet of Buffets… 40 bucks and all you eat at any buffet for 24 hours. Sounds less like a deal and more like a challenge.

6 lbs of crab legs. 5 plates of prime rib. 8 dishes of dessert leads to a massive food coma. Touche buffet.


Rolled out of the buffet and walk to the sports book. We told the bookie we were going to make a bet. Then walked away. Then came back. Then left again. Then we couldn’t decide.  Just kidding, we didn’t pull a Brett Farve…but we did bet on the Vikings…


Farve leads the Vikings to an overtime win!! We collect our winnings and stuff them into our Wranglers in honor of Farve.


Head for our favorite place in Vegas. Oshea’s Casino. It’s just a small hole in the wall located on the strip. During our last trip to Sin City we absolutely cleaned house at this amazing joint. As soon as I saw the sign I just felt happy, it was like visiting a long lost friend. We found our place on the craps table.


Leave Oshea’s with our wallets full and a craps table that’s still rockin’. Although our bets were worth less than the loose change in your couch right now, we were celebrating louder with each lucky roll of the dice than anyone else in O’Sheas. The energy was contagious, and the highlight of the night was a 45-minute roll by the one and only Scarf Man (you will never be forgotten my friend).




Alarm. Ugghhhh. Hit snooze.


Finally get up and dressed for our big day at the Restaurant Finance Conference.


We get checked in and hear an awesome panel about different ways to market a concept. There were representatives from Chipotle, Five Guys Burgers and Burger King. It was awesome hearing how a lot of our ideas go right in line with what these big time companies are trying to do. After the panel we chased down the CFO of Chipotle to have a chat. He loved what we are trying to do and was impressed with our vision. He told us that we are doing everything right, that the attention to detail, energy and enthusiasm is all there to make this thing work. He said that he would be out in Colorado later on to check out our progress. YES!  Jack Hartung, you are the man.


Amazing lunch washed down with some Red Bull. Almost got sucked into buying a Vegas timeshare for the low price of $19 a month for the next 10 years!!!


Finished up doing the mental math on the Timeshare and quickly excused ourselves from the crafty salesman.


Our friend Jen receives the best text message ever from her dad telling her to take us out to Nobu (one of the most famous sushi restaurants in the world) on him. Jen’s dad Marc has been one of the most supportive people for us throughout this adventure. He was one of the first people we bounced our idea off and, because he was in Durham a lot working on business, had the opportunity to see our concept grow throughout our years at Duke. Having such successful people offering their knowledge and advice has been one of the major keys to our success. Thanks Marc!


We walked through the doors of Nobu and it felt like we were stepping into another world. Little did we know we were about to embark on the most amazing dining experience of our lives…

Sorry people. I gotta cut this one off. Part 2 is coming tomorrow with dinner at Nobu/the Effiel Tower, more wisdom from the conference, and video footage from Vegas!





What up world,

We’ve been on our grizzy (that’s for you Wheezy) pretty hard lately, so I haven’t had much time to write. Things are going great out here in the mountains. Can’t really tell you much more, but you’ll be hearing all about it real soon.

On Sunday we’re headed to Las Vegas for an all expense paid restaurant conference…sucks, I know. While we are there we’ll get to meet some of the big dogs in the industry and hear some amazing talks. We’d like to thank John Hamburger and everyone at The Franchise Times for hooking us up with such an amazing opportunity. Last semester at Duke, Dan actually sent them an email asking about this conference. They loved our story and said as long as they could write an article about us they would let us come to the conference, free of charge…That will go down in history as not only the best deal ever, but the easiest decision we’ve ever had to make.

The last time the three of us were together on a gambling expedition tears were shed and lives were nearly lost. Grab a cold drink and maybe even a snack, it’s story time…

It was Sophomore year of College and we had just got done watching the movie 21. By the time the credits were over we had already schemed out our own elaborate plan to make millions counting cards just like the famous MIT students. That night we stayed up Googling “how to count cards” and “closest casino to Durham, NC.” By 5am we thought we pretty much had it down and had located our target, a small riverboat casino in South Carolina.

Might as well call it the Titanic cause we were going to sink that bad boy

The plan was rock solid. I was the counter. My job was to sit at the table, place a minimum bet and keep track of the count. If the count ever got to minus 8 I was supposed to signal Shaan. By then I had a week of practice under my belt so I felt pretty damn confident about my skills. I channeled my inner Rainman… “plus two, plus three, minus one, minus four, minus eight, oh shit! minus eleven!!” It was time to signal in the high roller, Mr. Certner, himself.

Blog Cameo from Shaan:

My job was to be the supervisor of the operation. I had to keep track of Trevor at the Table, the pit boss lurking around, and Dan, who was pretending to drink alcohol as part of his High Roller act (his drink of choice was an Appletini, as you might have guessed, he was the Brad Pitt of our Ocean’s 3 routine).

I saw the signal from Trev (a super exaggerated yawn, even though it was 2pm) and knew that meant the deck was hot. Dan strolled over to the table and got ready to whip out our full big bankroll of $200. Unfortunately, while he was making a big show of it (licking his thumb before separating the two hundred dollar bills from a few Denny’s recipts in his wallet) and in the mean time, a guy at the end of the table kept hitting and ended up using up all of our “hot” cards.

Dan was too far in the High Roller zone to see our frantic attempts to signal him to stop betting, and put the full two hundo in the betting circle for the next hand…

Back to Trev:

We had two different sayings that basically meant “Dan get the hell out of here the count is horrible”: “Whats that smell?” and “Dan, go play craps.” Dan laid the $200 bet down. My heart sank. I looked at him one more time and said “Dan GO PLAY CRAPS.” He just kind of looked at me and nodded. I still have no idea what he was thinking, but there is nothing that we could of done to stop him. The first round of cards came out, sure enough, we had a 6 (aka one of the worst starting cards you can have). I felt like knocking Dan out. But, our next card was a 5, giving us 11 (aka one of the best positions you can be in). The dealer was showing a 5. We were in the drivers seat. I knew from my week of studying the odds of blackjack, this hand was in the bag.

We didn’t have enough money to double down on our eleven, so we just hit. Got a 9, which brought our total to 20. YES DAN! The dealer flipped over his second card showing a 7. Ok, ok. We were one 10 or face card away from being rich. I was already dividing up the profits in my head. My heart was beating faster in anticipation of our amazing victory. I love this feeling.

The dealer flipped over a 9. The only card in the deck that could beat us. ahhhhhhhhh… All the blood drained from my head and I started to shake. We had just lost $200. I felt sick. I looked up at Shaan and over at Dan and just shook my head. I cashed in the whopping $15 I had in my stack and stormed away. The only thought in my head was whether I should go port or starboard to throw Dan overboard…

Later on we regrouped. Talked it out. And 5 minutes later we were laughing and joking about how stupid we had been and were even planning out how we could get our revenge by playing some craps.

You know what? That might be the best thing about our team. I honestly think there is nothing that can be thrown at us that could knock us off track. Sure, there have been, and will be many obstacles in this mission we are on. Sure, we’ll make mistakes and some bad decisions. But, if we can keep our unwavering persistence and stay true to who we are, I see no reason we won’t find success one way or the other.

That’s all for today. Vegas, be warned, we are on the way…Oh wait! Also, while we’re in Vegas Shaan and I are going to continue The Duel. Click right here to post your suggestions for some Vegas challenges!