Many people driving down Central Avenue merely months ago became intrigued by the modern-style restaurant near the corner of Hawthorne waiting to make its debut in the Charlotte culinary scene. Perhaps the Savannah, Ga., upbringing and personable behavior of Common Houses general manager, Ryan Looney, is one of the winning factors for the restaurant, along with its upscale comfort foods and wallet-friendly prices.
Creative Loafing: What inspired you to get into the restaurant business?
Ryan Looney: I was always working for people in the restaurant business and being able to see them work with the business end of everything, I just wanted to fall into that type of role. So working in restaurants and bars, it just became something that I thought I would want to do someday. Michael Fisher (co-owner) and I worked together at Tyber Creek about 10 years ago, and one of our partners at the time was looking for people to help him open up a new bar downtown, so Mike and I jumped in on that opportunity. Then about two and half years ago, we started trying to get this put together, and thats where we are now.
Do each of you have specialties?
Everybody definitely brings their own thing to the table. Andrew (Robinson, co-owner) is really good with food presentation, décor, all the cosmetic stuff. Hes very good with the customers, very personable. Mike is also very personable and brings a certain repertoire to us. I guess you could say Im the organized one of the bunch. I take care of the accounting stuff, the books, the less fun stuff. Weve pretty much got all angles covered. We got together and said Andrew would take care of the kitchen, Mike would take care of the front of the house, and I would handle the office. So all three of us just meld together and its alright.
What is your favorite part of the restaurant business?
Definitely how everything changes and its always different. We constantly have new people come in, and we can show up to work one day and we can think its going to go one way but it could not necessarily be like that. Ive never worked a shift that turned out exactly the way that I predicted, or exactly the same as the one before. And seeing these people that come in on a daily basis, and bringing new people. Its just the constant change.