"What did I find out when I interviewed restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer for this week's podcast? Quite a lot, actually, which is remarkable given that we've known each other for more than 20 years. For starters, I learned that Meyer's hospitality instincts were formed at a young age, when this middle child of three was growing up in St. Louis. 'Our dinner table was all about the arguing,' Meyer says. 'I just wanted everyone to get along'—something much easier said than done, considering the inevitable clashes that arose between his staunch Republican father and equally staunch Democratic mother. And then there was the comfort and inspiration Meyer found in his family's longtime housekeeper, Mary Smith. Smith's ability to listen while cooking her Southern specialties, like fried chicken and mac and cheese, showed an adolescent Meyer the unbreakable link between food and love.
In this week's episode of Special Sauce—the first of two parts—we talk about how Meyer came to see the pursuit of restaurant-experience perfection as anathema to his own business, and take a look at his five founding principles of hospitality. I could tell you what they are here, but then you might not listen to this extraordinary episode."