Meet Your Merchant: Couple working out the kinks in new venture
In the five months since opening their first restaurant together, Pam and Robert Gassaway said they have gained some insight into the art of compromise.
The couple, married 11 years, took over Steamers in Dayton on Jan. 1. It sells hot dogs, but also offers a variety of menu items such as fried okra, sweet potato fries and barbecue pork sandwiches.
On the first day of business, Pam worked in the back while Robert took orders up front.
“So we’re both driving home and asking what have we done? We both hate what we’re doing,” she said.
So they agreed they would have to make some changes. She would work up front and he would prepare food in the back.
“We had to evaluate it,” Robert said. “We worked on that for two weeks, just the little things.”
Opening a restaurant was the longtime dream of Pam Gassaway, who spent most of her life working in restaurants, just like her mother and sister.
“I’ve been a waitress my whole life and I’ve always wanted a little place,” she said. “And so we found this place and it was cute so we went with it.”
They decided to keep the name Steamers, which originally opened in August 2008.
Robert Gassaway spent most of his career working in construction until last winter when he decided to take a chance in the restaurant business with his wife.
Pam said she learned plenty about the food industry from her experience waitressing. But there have been a few noteworthy moments during the past five months.
“I did learn I bought too much food at first,” she said. “Because I didn’t know what to expect.”
One week customers will order turkey croissants and the next they won’t.
“Today people wanted hot links,” she said. “Two weeks ago I couldn’t give a hot link away.”
The couple commutes to Dayton six days a week from their Fernley home. They said they’re enjoying their new life behind the counter of their small restaurant.
“We’re pretty good,” Pam Gassaway said. “Once in a while there’s a tense moment.”