The Long Island Ale House officially welcomed members of the community through its doors Wednesday afternoon, over two months after the restaurant opened.
For Joff Sahin, a 20-year Medford resident who also owns the , it was well worth the wait.
“The first month we didn’t even tell anybody,” Sahin said. “Whoever saw us walked in. The reason we didn’t do a grand opening until now is because this industry is really hard. You need to hire the right people. If you do your best from the initial hiring you’ll only keep 30% of them.”
Sahin said that his staff now sits at about 15 people.
“It takes about three or four months to build,” he said. “I think we are 80 percent of the way there.”
From his quiet yet strong demeanor it is apparent that Sahin demands the very best for his restaurants. He spoke of his desire to build a restaurant that made all of its food from scratch.
“We don’t work with microwaves and freezers,” he said. “We have people who are skillful, not simply taking things out of the frozen box and putting it in the microwave and sending it out.”
His disapproval of the way chain restaurants serve their customers is obvious. Beyond just the food industry Sahin spoke about supporting local businesses and keeping the “corporate bastards” from taking over. He knows the only way to do that is by providing a quality product.
“People will respond to something good,” he said. “And along the way we need to show people our ideas, tell customers that we’re using local products. Whenever we can we hire local people and real chefs that get paid a lot of money and we also have local beers and local wine. So far people are responding to it.”
Two months into this new endeavor Sahin spoke with a smile on his face when recalling a compliment he received from a local resident who had just visited the Ale House.
“One person came in who lives three houses down and he said to me, ‘thank you for bringing Manhattan to our neighborhood,” he said. “I almost wanted to get out of my car and hug the guy. That says people appreciate us.”
The Medford Pita House has grown over the past 20 years and Sahin has similar goals for the Long Island Ale House. He knows that providing his customers with quality and value is the key to continued success.
“Bottom line is people will come once or twice just because you’re a good guy,” he said. “People need to remember you and say, ‘I’m going to eat good food and I’ll get my money’s worth.’ It’s very important.”
Long Island Ale House is located at 2016 Route 112 in Medford.