FOUNDER INTRODUCTION LETTER
Our Unique Restaurant Concept was originally developed in 1996 by two friends from college Robert Rickwell, Jr. and me, Steven Weronik. With the love for sports and great food we wanted to combine that into something beyond the typical sports bar which generally focuses on the 21 to 35 year old demographic, while showcasing a favorite team or players throughout its décor. Upon embarking on our business collaborative we thought about Name, Location, Ambiance and Food. Since we were both in our early 30’s and had knowledge of dealing with the younger bar crowd we had decided to focus our menu and ambiance toward a more refined sports clientele. As we began to develop the business strategy our demographic research led us to the center of the state, along the I-95 corridor, surrounded by sports friendly entertainment venues. There we found a great opportunity to renovate an old building with charm, in a unique location we believed this historic building would become the corner stone of a Yale-Coop Development called “Ninth Square” in New Haven, CT just across the street from the New Haven Coliseum.
As we started to think through ideas on how we could differentiate ourselves from the typical sports bar we thought about the different sports we enjoyed watching, our favorite teams and players. For myself I had always found it interesting watching local Athletes make it to the professional level. In high school I played against some future professional athletes and knowing a little bit about who they were and where they came from attracted me to continue to follow them throughout their careers. Even though they weren’t on my favorite teams, I always routed for them because our connection was at a deeper level, we were from the same state and they were renowned as local Sports Heroes! In expressing my interest to showcase local sports celebrities with Rob it had occurred to us that throughout all of our dining experiences and travels we had never seen or heard of a sports restaurant that only showcased Locally Raised Professional Athletes. At that instance we knew we had found an idea that we could fully develop into a Theme which would be unique in the sports restaurant market.
Now that we had found our theme to develop we were challenged with the task of implementing that idea to reflect the interior restaurant design and ambiance. We decided to showcase local current sports figures in the sports bar area on the 1st floor and feature local retired sports legends throughout our more upscale dining area on the 2nd floor. As the interior design started coming together we were able to extend the 2nd floor off the back of the building with a balcony that would carry additional seating and overlook an open kitchen design.
We then focused our attention on designing a menu that would entice the hard core sports enthusiast with an upscale flare and since Rob and I both loved steak and seafood it would be crazy for us not to carry that food passion forward into our own restaurant menu. While designing the menu we also had to make sure our kitchen was built to handle the type of food we planned on serving, so together along with the guidance of our friend and Architect Carmelo Rosa and the kitchen equipment representatives we agreed on making the focal point of the kitchen a large grill area with an expansive exhaust hood that extended up through the 2nd floor roof. That combination of our menu featuring grilled meats and seafood with an ambiance showcasing Local Legendary Athletes was how our name came to life, Legends Grill.
20 years has passed since our Legends Grill concept was originally developed and came close to opening but never happened for two close friends. 4 years of our lives where exhausted working full time jobs while developing a sports restaurant concept never seen before, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on purchasing an old historic building, performing the demolition work and then beginning the renovation process. Blood and Sweat where poured out by two men who knew their idea was much bigger than any unknown circumstances which could derail their dream but in the end when you have depleted all of your financial resources, everything around you literally implodes “see New Haven Coliseum Implosion” and in my case “your heart breaks to a point where you cry out uncontrollably”, it was time to close the doors on our dream with the hope someday of making it a reality.
“We don’t stop playing because we get old;
We get old because we stop playing”
Author George Bernard Shaw
As time moved forward for both me and Robert we continued along our original career paths and although we had taken slightly different directions we still remain close friends to this day. For 15 years of my life after the decision was made to pull the plug on our restaurant project I had carried the burden like a Monday morning quarterback “who had put his team in position to win but came up short on our last drive”, knowing what we had developed in theory and on paper then was monumental. Then roughly 5 years ago I made a life changing decision that I would dedicate every possible free minute outside of working to pay my bills to revive the dream I once had and bring Legends Grill back to life!
Over the past 5 years I have further developed the original Legends Grill Concept into a national family sports restaurant model. Continuing along the same path of showcasing past and present professional athletes raised from the state where each restaurant is located, I expanded upon that idea to also include student athletes and athletes who have made it to their respective sport’s “Hall of Fame”. Unbeknownst to me in doing so I have created the perfect circle of perpetual athlete evolution in the sports restaurant market, one which automatically regenerates itself every year as new athletes grow giving our concept the natural ability to continue year after year for eternity, something never achieved in the Restaurant Industry, period!
The new building design has expanded from 6,000 sf to 12,000 sf and within that expansion we have designed (4) distinct dining rooms showcasing Past, Present, Future and Hall of Fame Athletes independently, serviced by a kitchen on each floor. On the first floor the ALL-STATE Sports Bar “showcases current Professional Athletes” and the FUTURES Room “highlight’s the achievements of Student Athletes” along with its own interactive XBOX/EA SPORTS Mezzanine Theater. The second floor houses LEGENDS Lounge “celebrating Retired Athletes” who have reached a specific merit of achievement in their sport and the HALL of FAME Dining and Banquet Room honoring “Hall of Fame Inductee’s”. The new marketing strategy also puts emphasis on our Trademark Sports Seasonal Menu, designed from locally sourced farm fresh foods and beverages around the (4) specific harvest seasons in Connecticut.
Legends Grill will not just be a restaurant but a Destination location, the Disney World of Sports Restaurants!
Recently, I was speaking to a prominent CT business leader that has known all of my family for over 35 years and as we finished the conversation paraphrasing him, he said “Steven you know it’s your time now, through all your hard work, failure’s and successes, sacrifices and rewards, your perseverance and principles are second to none, your steadfast commitment will lead you to foster the type of business culture needed to bring you uncompromising success”. Though I never sought recognition or praise it dawned on me that over the years of constantly doing what was morally and ethically right, always helping those in need or who had reached out, maybe he was right, maybe it is my time. Just maybe what happened to my dream 20 years ago was part of a bigger plan set before me beyond my control and that the journey I would travel over the last 20 years was a conditioning of sort, the likes in which would now allow me to become the person who will lead in the development of a national restaurant brand.
From the Empowering speech made by Jim Valvano upon receiving the Arthur Ashe Award at the ESPYS months before his passing from cancer, Jim said,
“What’s Important in life are 3 things;
Where you started, where you are and where you’re gonna be”!
I started out dedicating the early years of my life as a builder and in business, building businesses isn’t a job it’s a passion, which has never been dictated by punching into a time clock at 9am and punching out at 5pm. That ambition has led me to where I am now, a time in my life where I have put in the work to have positioned myself to get to a place where less than 1% of the world’s population makes it too but it won’t come easy. I fully understand and am committed to outwork everyone along my path (something I have done all my life) along with growing a team of visionaries who also believe that destiny is in our own hands. Teammates who understand the struggles they themselves have endured in making their own dreams a reality. Teammates who understand;
“we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”
Teammates who can be trusted to understand that only 1 person can champion this amazing business model going forward and have the right amount of humility to become part of its manifestation, not control it. A Championship Team that understands you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I’m ready for that challenge, are you?
In closing, I want to thank everyone for taking time out of your busy life to curiously look into what I believe is an amazing Business Opportunity. Each one of you has been specifically chosen to carefully read through this Business Plan because you possess a specific set of skills. I am hoping your intrigue will foster comments and/or suggestions that will make this idea even more enjoyable for our future patrons. I have spent the better part of 5 years redeveloping this business model with the hope of attracting like-minded individuals interested in becoming part of what will be a National Restaurant Brand. If after reading through this business plan you believe you have the vision, ambition and passion to be part of building something spectacular in the Sports Entertainment Industry, I welcome you to take destiny into your own hands and join our team as an investor.
“We have no way of knowing what lies ahead of us in our future, all we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible!”