Even the most inexperienced and blasé diner can appreciate the beauty of the location of the Top of the Bay restaurant. This, along with the historical significance, is what attracted Elias Farhat and his partner, Sam Khouri, to this site. They came in 2008. Before that time they owned One Bay Avenue restaurant in Oakland Beach. They were very impressed with the D. Russell Brown-Carrolo House with its fantastic view.
In our recent interview with Eli Farhat, Terry and I got a glimpse of what it takes to make a successful venture such as Top of the Bay. Location, obviously, is very important. Other restaurants on the site, however, have not always been successful. Along with keen intelligence, which he possesses, Eli, who is part owner and full-time manager, has a wealth of experience. Some of this has been received from his family, who has been in the restaurant business for many years, and from working in Boston restaurants. In addition, Eli has rounded off his experience with four years of study at Johnson & Wales University. Both Eli’s father and grandfather were in the restaurant business, and Eli feels that the time spent at Johnson & Wales gave him a great degree of knowledge of various facets of the food industry.
A very important ingredient is Eli’s enthusiasm. He enjoys restaurant work, he loves being with people and received a great deal of fulfillment from the work he does. Of course, all of this without good food would not have the success Top of the Bay enjoys.
It became obvious to us as well that Eli has a keen sense of history as well as a good eye for location, which of course is very important. We found out that he and his partner Sam had their eye on this place for quite a while, and when it went up for sale they decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Before Eli and Sam purchased the restaurant the enterprise had had several owners; some were successful and some were not.
During the summer months, especially, Top of the Bay is very busy and employs about 45 people, and Eli as manager does whatever job that has to be done whenever necessary. Top of the Bay also has a full-time chef, Kevin Naylor, who has been with Eli since the opening of the restaurant in 2008.
We asked if there had been any expansion of the building, and he told us there has been more renovation than expanding. The facility can accommodate about 150 people, and in the summer the upper deck is open also. While the restaurant is mainly known for its seafood, it also offers a menu that includes Italian cuisine and traditional New England fare. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and they feature special lunch and dinner package deals.
This concludes the update of the D. Russell Brown house. In the following weeks this column will be dedicated to the John Waterman house on Old Homestead Road.