We’re updating our menu and literally putting meat where we think it belongs: On the Side.
Why? Because the world of vegetables is a vast and largely unexplored landscape, and while we love meat, we also believe that everyone could stand to eat less of it.
Some of you may be thinking, well of course- Cyril’s is the place I go for salads and vegetables anyway.
That’s great. We love that you think of us that way and please continue to do so! In typical self-realization fashion, it’s just taken us a bit longer than any of you to see that big picture emerge.
In the three years we’ve been open, we have been slowly making our way towards this, quietly wondering not just if we could do it, but also whether Portland would embrace us if we did.
So if Cyril’s has sort of been doing this whole vegetables-more-than-meat-thing anyway, why make this declaration, and why make it now? Great question.
About a year ago, I watched Mark Canlis (co-owner of Canlis restaurant in Seattle)give a talk about how he and his brother were addressing the brokenness of the restaurant industry (poverty, abuse, addiction). Essentially they realized that the hospitality business was severely limited in their capacity to serve others by their colossal failure to take care of their own. The idea of taking great care of your own team as a starting point not only made sense to me, it started a tiny revolution in my heart.
This other-centered (opposite of self-centered) strategy that Canlis was talking about created a practical space for this deeply held belief I have that when people feel seen and heard they do better, in fact they thrive.
We started doing some interesting work with our staff where we asked them to answer the question, “How is working at Cyril’s helping you become who you want to become?” Kind of wordy and conceptual we know, but also precisely the kind of question that we believe supports people in connecting with themselves (not just the things-job, house, money- they want) and having a sense of agency, let alone purpose in their lives.
Well, if you want people to be wiling to be seen (aka vulnerable), you have to be willing to be seen yourself. This is one part setting an example, many parts creating and demonstrating trustworthiness. So, before we posed these questions to our staff, we sat down and thought about our heroes- all the people who have inspired us and the characteristics we admire most in people; and we committed to the kind of people –and the kind of business– we hope to become: Courageous, Trustworthy, and Other-centered.
Putting meat on the side is us being courageous enough to do what we’ve always wanted to do which is commit to what we’ve secretly dreamed about becoming: a vegetable-oriented bistro. Call us ‘vegetarian-ish’.
Lest you think we’re jumping on the vegetable train because we think it’s the next big thing…that photo at the beginning was the vision board for Cyril’s before we’d even signed a lease! You can also check out this piece I wrote about five weeks before we opened our doors, where I took a moment to thank the cooks who had made me a better omnivore by introducing me to the magic and potential of vegetables.