Our Inspiration for 2018 (and Beyond)

(We’ve not blogged for awhile, but as we get ready to embark on a year of new beginnings, our owner, Adam, wanted to highlight one of his greatest inspirations in this week’s blog.)

I often get asked the question, “What made you come up with the concept of Quarks?” And while I might change a word or two, I often give the same speech to the questioner.  But to me that’s not the real question. The real question that nobody asks, which might be the better question, is this: “What made you keep the idea alive long enough to see it happen?” The reason this is the REAL question is because the life-changing, community-changing concept (known as Quarks) has actually been growing and developing in my thoughts for over two decades – even though many things in life often side-lined or covered up that passion and desire for bringing this concept into reality.

Today, I am wanting to say goodbye to a dear friend of mine.  Someone I haven’t physically met, but who is as much a part of my soul as anyone out there today.  At the end of 2017, we will be without the great Lynne Rossetto Kasper from the Splendid Table on APM, (MPR) radio.  If you have never heard of her before, let me enlighten you just a bit.  She has been the voice and personality of a show that talks about life’s appetites and is in our backyard residing in St. Paul, MN.  She has the voice, the delivery, the enduring qualities of a trusted friend, and a passion for all things food.
(Image credit:  https://www.splendidtable.org/bio/lynne-rossetto-kasper)
She is an incredible person whom I admire greatly. And while I want to congratulate her on her retirement, she’ll be greatly missed. See, Lynne is one of the hidden people who kept alive in me the thought and passion for making Quarks become a reality over these last 20 years.  Many weekends I would listen to her seductive and passionate delivery on the Splendid Table and dream. Then I’d go right to Lisa and talk about what Lynne said that day on the show.  I mostly listened to her on the radio while driving, which made driving by myself like driving with a good friend. You know the type – one who can make the miles disappear. One who can engage you in conversation and inspiration that goes on and on until you’ve driven for hours without even realizing it.
So back to the question that I know you’re asking in your mind. “How did Lynne, who you’ve never physically met, keep the concept of Quarks alive all these years for you, Adam?”
 Are you familiar with the girl next door concept? Bear with me for a moment. You know, the idea of a thing that’s there, that’s easy to take for granted, until you’re aware of the value it really holds. For me, that was food. The concept of good food. The idea and appeal of simple food that tastes great.  Real food, with real ingredients.  That’s what Lynne and the Splendid Table was all about.  And she constantly reminded me of the need and desire for good, simple, real food.  And that’s EXACTLY what Quarks is all about.
After Lisa and I opened Quarks, the bright shininess of being new entrepreneurs wore off. Long hours of running our own small business, a one-of-a-kind concept restaurant in the land of cheap burgers, subs, and pizza, took a dramatic toll on our emotions and energy. But it was always Lynne Rosetto Kasper and the Splendid Table on Saturday mornings that helped keep the fire and passion fueled.
If you’re someone who knows a thing or two about running a restaurant, you’ll understand that Saturdays are a long time coming at the end of an exhausting 90 plus hour work week. The idea of putting in another 12 hour day can be overwhelming. And yet, I couldn’t wait to get to the car in the dark early hours of the morning, (yes, even after opening and closing Friday) on Saturday to have a great drive into work, listening to Lynne. She kept our vision going, our dreams alive, and this past Saturday, I may have listened to her for the last time. Saturdays aren’t going to be the same anymore for me without her presence on the radio. But, I’ve made myself a promise, and now I’m making it to you.
The passion for simple, good, real food – will still be there. It’ll be here at Quarks – in everything new item we add, in all the ways we invest in our community, in our desire to see Quarks become not just a one-location concept, but a franchise that brings simple, healthy, clean eating options to many communities.
 I owe it to her as much as I owe it to all of those who have helped our passion and vision growing & flowing.  Lynne, thank you, my friend.  Quarks exists in many ways because of you.  And Lynne, if you are ever in St. Cloud, stop in and sit at one of our Splendid Tables – we’d be honored to serve you. Enjoy your retirement. May you remain healthy and well.
With gratitude,

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