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Highland Rambler

Highland Rambler

Cooking Up A Career: Restaurant Randall Curtis Has The Recipe

Daisy Ray
Harbor owner Randall Curtis inside his restaurant

Thinking about the future is something every teenager does, sometimes too much, but often it can be different from what they always dreamed of doing. That was the case for the owner of Harbor Seafood and Steak, Randall Curtis.
Curtis never thought about opening his own restaurant, but in college, he loved to wait tables. He had a well-paying corporate job, but he still waited tables for fun. He quickly learned that maybe that was his path in life.
“I was talking to my friend who owns Kyoto one day,” Curtis said. “He convinced me to open my own place.”
This process of starting a restaurant is a lengthy one, though. From the time he got the idea to open a business to when it was open and running, just over three years had passed.
There are a lot of things that must be considered when opening a business, and it is a lot of work. The very base of opening a business is finding a building, which can be difficult in a city like Salt Lake. There is competition with other restaurants and who lives around it to consider. It is also hard to guarantee a price that can be matched within the first few years of owning.
When Curtis was going through this process, he had a lot to consider but ultimately found the perfect spot near neighborhoods, which meant a lot of people would be walking or driving buy. His location is on the corner of 2100 South and 2300 East, right in the heart of Highland boundaries.
“I looked at just about every type of property,” Curtis said. “I found out the business here was closing and quickly fell in love with the area.”
The process of opening a business is not one for the faint of heart. You must have a lot of discipline and work ethic and you must be a self-starter and not be scared of failure.
“My whole family are workaholics, and we love to work hard,” Curtis said. “This mentality really helped out when opening my place.”
The work doesn’t just end when the place opens though. Not only does Curtis have to go through and take care of the business side of things, but he spends many nights waiting tables and connecting with the customers alongside the staff.
To be able to open a restaurant, one needs to know how to run a business and have a business background. Curtis is not a chef and does not participate in the cooking or prep at the restaurant; he is on the floor, bar, or dealing with the business.
Being involved in the actual restaurant life is just as important as the financial and “serious” side of the business. You must be able to get along with the customers and also your staff.
“I get along really well with everyone I’ve hired and everyone who comes in,” Curtis said. “I feel like the whole restaurant is one big family.”
Knowing the skillsets employees must have and also the attitude that they need is important. Owners must establish the type of restaurant they want to own, Curtis said.
In Curtis’ case, he wanted it to be a place for customers to make themselves comfortable and feel like they could talk to anyone.
“My main goal is to make my customers feel like this is their second home,” Curtis said. “I know so many of my customers by now and I love to see them come back.”
Making a comfortable environment is very important. Harbor is a nice place with excellent food, but when you walk in, you don’t feel like you must be perfect and proper, he makes it feel like his customers can walk in and enjoy their time with their friends and family.
Curtis has built an establishment that has made everyone who goes feel at home, but also while they enjoy delicious food.
“This place is everything I ever imagined it to be,” Curtis said. “I love what it has become and what I do.”

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