James Young’s earliest memories are cracking eggs in a large mixing bowl at his family’s restaurant in suburban Chicago.
Forty years and a lifetime of food service and hospitality industry jobs later, Young has brought his experiences to Dickinson as he takes over as the general manager of Players Sports Bar and Grill.
His biggest challenge, he said, is establishing a consistency throughout the food and customer service aspects of the business.
“In my opinion, there are three things that are going to make a restaurant successful … good food, reasonable prices, excellent customer service,” Young said.
That, he said, and reasons for people to keep coming back.
Starting Wednesday, Players will being hosting a weekly open mic night in its bar.
“Coming out here, I don’t notice any other venue doing anything similar,” Young said. “I’ve come across a number of musicians who don’t have a place to play.”
Other ideas on the horizon are special nights where hospitality and service industry workers qualify for specials — a deal Young said is aimed at the 20-somethings in Dickinson who tend to work in those industries — as well as Monday video game tournament nights in the bar.
“Give them somewhere they can go and enjoy themselves in an environment that’s welcoming and safe,” he said.
Young started as the bar and grill’s GM on June 8. He spent several years at Max’s Sports Bar and Restaurant in Glendale, Ariz. — which has the claim of being the nation’s first sports bar and grill — and has worked in Illinois, Colorado and at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
“I needed a new challenge,” Young said. “Definitely wasn’t looking in the direction of North Dakota until the Fisher Group started to recruit me. … As fate would have it, I came up here, I liked the area and was looking for some place to bring my family that was a little less urban, if you will. We wanted to get more involved in the community, the church. Being in such a large metropolitan area, it’s hard to make an impact.”
Young and his wife, Lucy, have re-located to Dickinson with their two sons.
The Fisher Group provides management services for Players.