5 Drinks with The Main Street Café & Pub
Author: Big Tommy Bastek
Names: John Roppelt & Aaron Glugover
Professions: Owners, Main Street Café & Pub
John’s Drink of Choice: Bombay Sapphire and tonic, tall
Aaron’s Drink of Choice: Bud Light, bottle
Tommy’s Drink of Choice: Coors Light, bottle
Location: Main Street Village, north end of Hilton Head Island
Setting: The three of us snuggle up at a high-top, just off the side bar. We start at 3 p.m. with a few regulars in the bar. By the time I leave at 6:30 the place is jammed. Here we go… drink one coming up!
Big Tommy: Okay, guys. How did two brothers-in-law get into the bar/restaurant business?
Aaron Glugover: My wife and I ran a restaurant on the south end called Legniappe. It was nouveau before nouveau was cool. John was our point-of-sale computer guy and started dating my sister Faith. The next thing I know, Legniappe is closed and we’re running the Main Street Café & Pub.
BT: And they say nepotism is dead…. This place is a lot different than a lot of cafes and pubs on the island. Why is that?
John Roppelt: This place is comfortable. We probably have the best turnover rate on the island. You come in, and you know everyone.
AG: And for most of the seven years that we’ve owned the place, the staff hasn’t changed. They care as much as we do.
BT: I want to talk about Murphy, but I don’t want to do it until we’ve had a few more drinks. Why do you think business on the north end has flourished so much in the past seven years?
AG: The Cross Island Parkway has done the north end wonders. Tourists aren’t afraid to drive 15 minutes up to the north end for a meal.
JR: Plus, we take such good care of the locals. They’ll drive from the south end or even come on the island from Bluffton.
BT: You trying to make me feel bad for not coming in lately?
JR & AG: YES!
BT: Normally I save drink three for influences, but we’re cooking right along. So who are they, or who were they?
AG: My dad. Because he worked his ass off and he was neurotic about it. That’s what makes you successful. He had more confidence in me than anyone else to start this thing.
JR: My father also, but for a different reason. He was always in the corporate world and didn’t consider food and beverage real work. So I did this to make him proud of me and, at the same time, respect me.
BT: But he still doesn’t get a discount….
JR: No, I take care of him.
BT: So what do you guys like to do on your days off?
AG: Stuff around the house. Cut the lawn….
JR: Yeah, like yard work, laundry….
AG: You know, just to have something to give you some sort of resemblance of normality.
BT: Do you guys like to go out to eat? And where?
JR: I typically don’t go to any “chain” restaurants. I want owner-operated places, like ours. I really like Monster Pizza in Bluffton.
AG: I agree. Owner-operated is great. We’re a big fan of Del Vecchio’s.
BT: Got any really good stories about this place that you want to tell me?
JR: A couple weeks back during those storms that we got, it’s about 7:30-8 at night, and the power goes out. We’re about ¾ of the way full. Nobody left. They all had a real candle-lit dinner. We got all the food out and everyone had a wonderful time.
BT: That says a lot about your place. Not only would the staff stay and work through that, but the customers still expected to be served their meals.
BT: Okay, I think we’ve had enough to drink. Let’s talk about Murph.
…. John buys a shot….
AG: He’s the bar. He knows everyone and everyone loves him! People actually come from all around the country just to seek him out.
JR: Let me tell you a funny Murphy story. When he finished up at Reilley’s, I talked to Aaron and said that we needed to scoop him up. So he came in for the interview and he basically said this, “I take two weeks off in February, I need Wednesdays off, and I drink a lot of Buca.”
BT: Now we get to the fun stuff…. What was your all-time favorite video game?
AG: Galaga. Because it’s the only game that I could do well at because a buddy of mine taught me how to cheat.
JR: You know, mine’s Galaga too, but for a totally different reason. The reason I liked it so much was because it was the first game that I played in a bar. It introduced me to the food and beverage world.
BT: All right, you guys have to answer this question together. If you could have a restaurant or bar anywhere in the world, where and what type would it be?
JR: Sports bar. But with unique food, so that Aaron wouldn’t get bored in the kitchen.
AG: Yeah, we would like to mix mainstream with uniqueness.
BT: If you could compare yourself to a dish or a type of food, what would it be and why?
JR: I’m like a cheeseburger with jalapenos. Because it’s basically relative normality up front, and then it hits ya!
AG: I would have to be a bowl of some soup that I made up. Because there’s no set plan and all of the ingredients have to go away that day.
BT: Now that you’re drunk, is there anyone that you want to say hello to?
AG: We’d like to thank the wives for putting up with everything we go through and deal with.
JR: And we have to thank the staff who is absolutely spectacular. We couldn’t do it without them.
BT: Give me three words to describe the Main Street Café & Pub.
AG: Friendly, atmosphere, always.
JR: Comfort, friends, cheers.
BT: Sounds like to me, it’s all about family, fun and the unexpected. And I want to send a special hello out to Addison Taylor, the baby-to-be. (John and Faith’s baby-to-be)