June 29, 2015

Don’t Come Here?


Imlay City, why the hell would you go there? That is the message I heard when I began my journey of building The Mulefoot Gastropub. It didn’t matter where I was or who I talked to, their response was always the same. Why Imlay City? Are you crazy? Well, as a matter of fact, yes I am! I am crazy and everyone on my team will tell you that!

I’m crazy because I believe in something that is not visible to most people. I have a vision of the future where our community prospers from our QUALITY not our QUANTITY. I’m crazy because I don’t need someone else to go before me to make sure the path is safe. I am not afraid to fail! I BELIEVE IN MYSELF AND MY TEAM! I believe in my town even when they didn’t believe in themselves!

I will never forget the day I put in my two weeks at Roberts Restaurant Group. I sat in the basement office of Town Tavern (Royal Oak, MI) with Chef Pat and told him I was leaving. I had just gotten full custody of my daughter and I was going home to be with my family and open a farm-to-table restaurant. You should have seen the look on his face when he heard I was going to open a place like The Mulefoot in Imlay City! He was so skeptical, maybe not because of my ability, but from the ability of the community to support a place such as The Mulefoot. He was worried about the price point, the ingredients, the philosophy and whether or not it would be financially viable. I can’t say I blame him as someone on the outside looking in!

Last week, I saw Chef Pat for the first time since our chat in the basement. Chef Matt(my twin brother) and I were at Motor City Casino representing The Mulefoot as the winner of Hour Detroit’s Best of the Best Restaurant for General Excellence award. I was proud because my dream, that few believed in, was not only succeeding but performing at the highest level of excellence in ALL OF METRO DETROIT! Out of literally THOUSANDS of restaurants in the booming food culture of Detroit, we were chosen. We are an HOUR (60 miles) drive away! That, to me, is EXCITING!

{I have tremendous respect for Bill Roberts and his team. I find them to be men of great character and integrity, so I was incredibly pleased to be congratulated by them.}

If I would have listened to everyones concerns about Imlay City, would The Mulefoot even exist? Is it Imlay City that is bad for business, or is it a lack of vision and drive that is bad for business? That thought brings me to my next point. DON’T COME HERE. If you are scared, don’t come here. If you lack faith in your ability and the skills of others, don’t come here. If you have are devoid of passion, please do not come here. Our town is full of OPPORTUNITY and we don’t want haters to stand in our way! If you have a skill and believe in a brighter tomorrow, please come here! Our town is ripe for the picking and ready for growth! All it takes is one more person to say I CAN DO IT. If The Mulefoot can succeed here, so can you!

The Mulefoot brings thousands of people from all over the Midwest to Imlay City on a weekly basis. You, as an entrepreneur, do not need to find customers! All you have to do is capture the attention of the people that are already coming here! Our guests are incredible people who care about quality, fun, and happiness! They are the QUALITY customer that every good business wants and they are already coming here! The question shouldn’t be “Why Imlay City” but rather WHY NOT?!

Imlay City was recently chosen as a semi-finalist in a competition called America’s Best Communities. We were chosen because we ARE the best and we will continue to be. Imlay City will support you in every way, believe me! I personally will support every dreamer who wants to call Imlay City home.

Who will join me?

I love you all!

Michael Romine
Executive Chef and Owner
The Mulefoot Gastropub


About theJake Romine
Jake is The Marking Guy and Older Brother to Chef Mike and Chef Matt.

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