Tonight was no different. Shelves were wiped clean and dismantled, equipment stored away, and refrigerators were unceremoniously emptied. On this night , the staff is usually excitedly chatting about trips, plans, and next fall being around the corner. But tonight there was a stillness to the air. An unusually crisp summer evening and heavy stillness.
On a night exactly like so many other nights at Romeo's: with no fanfare, no accolades, and no acknowledgments, Brian Smith performed his final duties. And this unmarked departure was fitting. We had kept a mental count this week of his "last dough", "last opening," etc. And just like that, it was over. If you have been to Romeo's, you know Brian. Everyone knows Brian. Romeo's is Brian.
He stands in many ways as a man from an era gone by, and solidly against modern day trappings and attitudes. A Jack of All Trades, his quick intellect diagnosed and solved unlimited issues through the years. The depth and complexity of his insight never ceased to impress. Brian is unflinchingly loyal, unapologetic ally focused, and undeniable irreplaceable. And yet Romeo's will somehow open in the fall without him in the helm. Somehow the stillness of the shop will be filled without Brian's steadfast presence.
As we drove away from the heaviness, we were overwhelmed with gratitude for the generous spirit, loyalty and incredible hard work of Brian over the years. How fortunate our family is to have a man like Brian as part of it.