Three couples share their secrets of running a successful business togetherBy Marisa Briggett • Photography by Betty Wiley
The term “work spouse” has entered the vernacular to describe a couple who spend so much time together at work they know each other as well as if they were married. What happens when work spouses are actual spouses, spending 24-7 together? Meet some couples who share two kitchens, one at home and one at work. They are the restaurateurs behind some of the Cape’s most successful restaurants (and marriages).
It’s practically hidden behind wisteria so if you’re not careful, you’ll overlook it. You can’t make reservations, so if you’re not there on the early side, you may not get one of the 12 tables until 9 p.m. But – and this is the important thing – once you’ve planted yourself at a table at Peddler’s Bistro, you are in for a treat.
Unlike other restaurateurs who seek high turnover of their dinner tables to maximize guests, Alain and Beth Hasson want each customer to feel like a member of the Peddler’s family. They won’t rush you because they don’t want to be rushed themselves. Alain says, “I’m a perfectionist. So is my wife. We want to make sure that the food is right, that everything is right. Our regulars will come at 5:30. That table is their table for the evening.”
A native of France, Alain learned to cook there. Then, he had experience owning a restaurant and working for hotels all over the United States. Throughout those years, Alain and Beth spent their summer vacations on Cape Cod, just as Beth had done when she was a little girl growing up in upstate New York. When it came time to semi-retire, Alain asked Beth to “find him a little place on Cape Cod.”
She found the charming property just off Route 6A in Brewster. They moved in – the restaurant in front, the home in back – and began transforming the space to resemble a little French bistro with an old Cape Cod vibe. Beth brought in lace curtains, plants and candles to create a cozy space where you’ll want to spend the evening. French music plays in the background. Customers tell the Hassons they feel like they’re in France.
Fifteen years later, they are achieving exactly what they hoped to do. Except for occasional help with dishes in the summer, they run the restaurant entirely on their own. It’s open just three nights a week in the summer, two nights a week in the off season. The food is purchased every day so that everything is as fresh as it can be to create customer favorites, like sole meunière and chicken bistro. And they know most of their customers. Beth says, “I usually know who’s going to show up each night just by figuring out what day it is.”
They’ve settled on a division of labor that works for them, both as business partners and as a couple. Alain runs the kitchen, Beth runs the dining room. Alain says, “Beth has her department and I have mine. But we have input into each other’s departments.” Are there disagreements? Compromises? Sure. But their goal is the same. Alain says, “The most important thing is to satisfy our customers.”
67 Thad Ellis Road, Brewster • 508 896 9300 • www.peddlersrestaurant.com