We had the good fortune of connecting with Corrie Scully and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Corrie, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
When the Pandemic hit, almost all of our clientele were wiped out, along with our entire business model. In an instant, there were no more bars, no more restaurants, no stadiums, concert halls, airplanes, airports, cruises. Gone. These days, the phrase “chop wood, carry water” comes up a lot. The full Zen quote is something like “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” This is really helping us each day to focus just on the smallest task in front of us– forget about “enlightenment” in Covid, or “making it” or really anything going your way and just chop wood, carry water. Building a business requires a little monasticism, a little discipline, a little faith, and a lot of practice, Cheers to all the small business owners out there, chopping wood, carrying water.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
MiddleBar began in the middle room of our shotgun style apartment, back in 2009. We designed the space for cooking, cocktailing, and Gathering. It was 100% a creative space, a creative expression, and 0% business model. And it stayed that way for a few years. But we kept hearing “you guys should do this” and “omg you should be selling this!” So, after swatting that away for a couple years, we decided to try it out. Corrie was a producer at the time, and Renie was (and still is) a shrink. So we tried our hand and catered and cocktail catered a few events for friends, and got an overwhelmingly positive response. This gave way to bottling our mocktails and selling at the farmers markets. Over the years, we evolved our “art”, our love of music, food, cocktailing from the middle room of our shotgun style apartment to farmers markets, foodie conventions, and even opened up our commercial kitchen space to host weekend jazz brunch, a New Orleanian tradition which fit beautifully into the Inglewood neighborhood we were so proud to be a part. Bringing the Vision to life has been exhilarating. High highs which included awards, recognition, meeting amazing people, getting to bask in foodie culture and be a part of peoples lives and rituals. The lows were real low– getting burglarized multiple times, losing irreplaceable items and computers, running out of money and energy and burning out, threatening our marriage as well as our business. It’s good to have a shrink on board the MIddleBar express who reminds us about purpose, about optimism, about finding solutions, rather than harping on problems. How have we overcome the challenges? By making a decision, to not die on any hill. It’s hard to bring your art to market, to evolve from a Craft into a Business. But we believe in our mission to help people Gather with their loved ones, Relax, and Enjoy some precious time here on Earth.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
These days, in coronavirus, there’s literally nowhere to go, nothing to do. All the best restaurants, bars, shops are closed down or boarded up. There’s a few places keeping us sane and grounded: 1) El Cholo on Western, established in 1923, is now offering a partially tented parking lot to enjoy a margarita and some legendary guac. They also have a cool app to view the menu so as not to share menus during Covid. 2) Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills is a staple of our diet for decades. This strong family has truncated their delicious menu and is offering take out only– which totally works due to reduced traffic during pandemic. 3) Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey lets you rent paddle boards and kayaks and make your way out to sea– open air, socially distant, it is the freest we’ve felt in Covid. Getting into nature, seeing friends in socially safe way, supporting local businesses and overtipping the brave staff is by far the best thing to do in LA these days.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout out to Susan Feniger for being a constant source of inspiration and class. She’s a pioneer in the culinary world and we look up to her and Mary Sue Milliken as strong, brilliant women who came before us!