Friday, October 18, 2013

Ordinary on the hunt for Brooks Reitz's replacement

Jack Rudy breaking out on his own

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

click to enlarge More than just a great personality,  Brooks is dapper enough to star in a Johnston & Murphy ad photographed by Charleston-based Squire Fox - ©SQUIRE FOX
  • ©Squire Fox
  • More than just a great personality, Brooks is dapper enough to star in a Johnston & Murphy ad photographed by Charleston-based Squire Fox
Brooks Reitz has a good relationship with his bosses at the Ordinary. So much so that the general manager has given Adam Nemirow and Mike Lata months to find a replacement for him. Of course, that doesn't make him any easier to replace.

Reitz has worked for Lata and Nemirow for five years, starting out at FIG as the beverage manager before taking over as general manager. When the Ordinary opened last year, they moved Reitz over to manage the new seafood restaurant, which came with lots of hype and high expectations. But Reitz rose to the challenge and helped make the Ordinary's first year in business a smooth one.

"The one dominant personality in town is Mickey Bakst [at Charleston Grill]," says Nemirow. "And no one does it like him anywhere else. You think of a maitre'd and general manager and you think of him. Brooks is the same way. His identity is associated with FIG and the Ordinary."

Nemirow says that Reitz is leaving with plenty of goodwill. "There's no begrudging him leaving. I told him I'd be upset if he didn't move on. ... His star is shining bright right now and he should take advantage of it."   

That star includes occasional modeling gigs (Local Palate, Johnston & Murphy) and a side business called Jack Rudy, which makes and bottles small-batch tonic and grenadine. He also does restaurant consulting work with Bonadies Hospitality.

We're pretty sure Reitz is not moving to New York to become a supermodel, but he wasn't keen on sharing too much information about future plans considering he is still working for Lata and Nemirow. Suffice to say, his future will be in Charleston, and he will remain in the restaurant industry.

As for the Ordinary, the search for a replacement has been underway for months. Nemirow says he has interviewed 10 to 15 candidates, including a few current employees interested in moving up.  

"I've always hired everyone, from hosts to manager, based on whether they can work with me and Mike and the team," says Nemirow. "People skills is the most important and those people are out there, but obviously we're looking for that dynamic 'it' factor. With the attention and the newness of the place, someone needs to be able to step away from the pack a little bit and have a personality." 

Nemirow feels fortunate to have Sara Vinesett in place as the dining room manager. "It's tough to be second in command, but she's an incredible rock," says Nemirow, who adds that she is not currently gunning for the job.

As the Ordinary heads into its second year of existence, Nemirow sees a need for someone who can "hunker down and establish strong systems to take it to the next phase." He also hopes to find someone with wine knowledge to help expand the wine program at the Ordinary and do with it something similar to what David McCarus has done over at FIG. 

Add up all those requirements and it's a pretty tall order to replace Brooks Reitz. We just hope they get someone with Johnston Murphy looks to maintain their reputation for hiring the beautiful people. 

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