Who is he?
Owner of Los Tios Mexican Restaurants and Skeeter's Mesquite Grill, and, co-owner (along with his son Nick and daughter Katie) of Adair Kitchen. "I used to think of myself as a general manager, but now, with three different concepts, I guess I'm more of a restaurateur," says Adair. But he's quick to add that the latest Adair venture, Adair Kitchen, is more his children's project. "Believe me, they don't need my help," he says jovially.
Why does he love it?
"What I like most about business is dealing with the public," Adair says. "Especially for Skeeter's and Los Tios -- 25 and 43 years old, respectively -- you get a sense that your customers are the restaurant. We're talking second and third generations of patrons. Now, in many ways they know more about the restaurant than I do." In terms of managing restaurants of varying concepts, Adair speaks about targeting different customer bases as well as the expectations of counter-service (Skeeter's) versus full-service (Los Tios) establishments. "It's all the same language for restaurants," he says wisely, "just different dialects depending on the place."
What inspires him?
"Not to sound trite," which seems impossible given Adair's robust sincerity, he explains: "It's really the crew members that have been with us 20 or 30 years. Their tremendous work ethic and the pride they take in where they work -- that inspires me. I carry a sense that I have to make correct decisions because I am protecting their livelihoods. What also drives me is the challenge of running the restaurants efficiently and keeping them current but at the same time managing the expectations of loyal clientele. It's a moving target and you always have to be paying attention."
Who does he admire?
"I really admire the local folks -- people born and bred in Houston, mom-and-pop figures that have built fabulous restaurants," Adair says. "Johnny Carrabba, the Mandola clan, the Pappas family, Levi and Jim Goode. Also people that are under the radar, like Eddie Hendee of Taste of Texas restaurant. All incredible success stories. I respect them for owning establishments that maintain terrific reputations in the community."
How he busts his diet:
"Frenchy's Fried Chicken," says Adair. "That's my guilty pleasure. I became a big fan when I was a student at the University of Houston. Even today I will drive on a whim across town for Frenchy's Fried Chicken."
Says Adair, "2012 was the best year we've ever had. My goal now and in the future is always to make sure our restaurants are run as well as possible, so if another opportunity comes along, we can take advantage. I want to continue to please customers, improve our in-house service and enhance the overall dining experience. I want us to be on the top of our game."
The Eating...Our Words 100:
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