A Feast Of Fate

Jorgie Ramos started in the restaurant business out of necessity. He was in commercial real estate with his father when the banks collapsed and they were left with nothing. When a friend reached out with the possibility of opening a restaurant, they scraped and hustled to buy-in and the results have been delicious.
Text by Sandy Lindsey Photo by Pro Image Inc. | May 12, 2018 | People

Jorgie Ramos truly enjoys the creative part of coming up with new dishes and the adrenaline rush of the kitchen. “It reminds me of my previous life as an athlete and the mindset of no matter how busy we get, we will overcome and win at the end of the night,” says the Chef & Co-Owner of Barley: An American Brasserie in Downtown Dadeland. “It’s about looking at the person next to you and thinking ‘How did we just get this done?!’ It really brings us all a great amount of pride.”
Best of all, he lives by the mantra: If you do what you love, it’s not work. “I easily work 80 hours a week; 90% of those hours are filled with one type of disaster or another,” he says. “Even with all of that, I wouldn’t change a thing.” An excellent example of his work ethic was the week leading up to the opening of Barley, just over 3 years ago when The Heat were in the playoffs and the restaurant was doing soft openings for friends and family during the games. “I had never run a kitchen or really worked in a kitchen my whole life and no matter what we tried, it wasn’t working,” he says. “The food came out tasting great but every other aspect of the kitchen was a mess. We couldn’t delay the opening another week because we were already negative in the bank account.”
And so it came that the night before the opening he sat his father down and pleaded with him to not open; and instead sell the restaurant space so they could recoup some of the money they’d put in. “He told me to relax and everything would work out,” he says. On opening day, they had 180 reservations in a 60-seat restaurant and everyone at the helm was convinced it would be the end of them. The doors opened up, 60 people sat down at the same time and started ordering food, and suddenly it all just clicked. “Five minutes into service, we figured it out and it was the greatest night of my life,” he says. “It shows you if something is meant to be, then it’s meant to be — and I was meant to be part of this crazy-houred, grinding, sweaty, cuts & burns kind of life!”;