David O. Selznick, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert Evans…
Rick Rubin, Sir George Martin, Tony Visconti, Brian Eno…
As a general rule I select the movies I want to watch by the director—no matter what the plot or cast. With music I tend to follow songs of particular artists, rather than those spoon fed to us by radio stations and mass media. These guides work for me, and usually insure high quality experiences.
With restaurants I usually follow the chef, not the restaurant. When a creative chef leaves, most restaurants suffer, whilst scrambling to find a replacement.
Yet all rules are made to be broken, and these particulars rules have a very small exception: the “producer corollary”. Rarely, there exists such strong producers that the directors, actors, plot, musicians, and chefs become almost irrelevant in comparison with their strong vision, and oblique, yet overwhelming direction.
In the Buffalo restaurant scene this “producer corollary” is best embodied by Billy Club. In 8 years, the kitchen line-up has changed over many times, with quality never faltering, maintaining its position as one of our City’s very finest eateries. While one can easily heap praise on newest chef Kyle Thompsett, which would be clearly well deserved after our recent feast, I truly believe at Billy Club the secret of their continued success is deeper.
Billy Club clearly represents producer derived success embodied in the guise of proprietors Jake Strawser and Dan Hagen. I can only assume that it was Jake and Dan’s strong vision that kept creative output in both the bar and kitchen at peak levels despite turnover.
Perhaps it is their insistence on quality sourcing of produce and meat? Perhaps it is their stubborn belief that quality cocktails not only still matter, but make all the difference? Perhaps it is the curated wine list, with pin point service? Maybe it is just a common vision that they are on Allen and want to class up the street a bit?
I do not know the answers to these questions, but what I do know is that Billy Club is clearly one of Buffalo’s very best, and I truly believe this one success is thanks to the producers.