MARCUS POP FOOD: Regulars

It's been exciting to see the outpouring of support as the crowds and our special friends have filled the tables and bar at Red Rooster these last few weeks. But what will keep us going in the long run are our regulars - they will make or break us. This is true for all local businesses, restaurants especially.

Regulars are how you know things are going right and your chances of living long are good.

It's been interesting to see our group of regulars forming. They are an eclectic bunch including musicians, folks in media, schoolteachers, churchgoers, families and Harlem notables.

We already have a great few whom I expect to see in the restaurant for years to come.

My man Mark comes in a few times a week, around 6:30pm. He doesn't eat much but likes our drinks so he pulls up a stool at the bar and hangs out.

Sometimes Mark chills out with his iPad and other times, he strikes up a conversation with some of the other guests at the bar.

Thelma, my good friend and director of the Studio Museum, has become something of an ambassador for us. She holds meetings here, bring artists by and even had a birthday dinner for her dad recently.

For our team, the highest honor is when they get personal regulars, the people who always ask to sit in one server's section or refuse to come unless their favorite bartender is on schedule.

In return for their loyalty, we protect our regulars. As we designed the layout of the restaurant, we made sure to create a bar area where people could just walk in and join us for drinks and a small bite or have a full-on meal.

We also cap our reservations after a certain amount, to allow our crowd some flexibility to come in without a reservation and still have the opportunity to experience our dining room.

It's more than just business at Red Rooster; it's a personal experience for all involved. That was one of our major goals all along and I'm happy to see it coming together.