Know and understand your neighborhood
Soft spoken and unassuming yet always thinking, Sherman has many layers. One alter ego is hinted at with his 1976 straight-pipe shovel head Harley Davidson that once served in the Secret Service. Before committing to the space for Thally, he spent hours observing the neighborhood by just watching people from his parked car across the street like a stakeout. He came at all times of the day and stayed for hours. He visited Azis' Coffee shop, talked to people and took the temperature of the neighborhood in terms of readiness for his new venture. I suppose one could make an analogy to cooking where the right timing, the right ingredients and the right temperature are critical. Danny Meyer the successful NYC restauranteur describes a similar strategy whenever he contemplated opening a new restaurant. (see the wonderful interview with Charlie Rose)
Have a sense of timing
Sherman also realizes the value of creating a restaurant business that is invested in the long term. He is interested in providing a single high quality restaurant experience and not the least tempted by suggestions of expanding. Geographic over-expansion has proven fatal to a number of restaurants that were comfortable with 70 seats and out of depth with 300. Sherman's idea of expansion is within the business itself through gradually expanding hours and offerings. He is a firm believer in organic growth and consistency. Foot traffic and drop-in customers will grow along the 9th Street Corridor as will Thally.
Thally is probably the only restaurant in the city that offers cider and mead (7 types) as part of the beverage menu.
Once a bartender, Sherman understands how to talk to people but even more importantly how to listen. Today he has made the transition "across to the other side of the bar" but still knows how to roll up his sleeves. During our conversation he paused to graciously accept a phone booking and another time to accommodate a walk-in request to cater an evening for a local political candidate and their supporters.