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Dan Butler -- Toscana Kitchen & Bar and Deep Blue Bar & Grill, Wilmington, DE

Dan ButlerRR: What irritates you as it relates to the restaurant business?

Butler: There is a big center right outside of Wilmington that is basically all chain restaurants. Every time I drive by and see all those cars and all those people, it makes me nuts. I just don't understand it. I'm bothered when I go to another city and see how the restaurants mark-up their wines. It's like they don't want people to enjoy a bottle of wine with their meal. I also hate to try one of those glitzy new restaurants that run those beautiful ads and they do everything well except for the food. Restaurants like this hurt our industry, unless of course, they are near one of my places.

RR: How much does ego play in your world of the restaurant business?

Butler: It's something that we don't necessarily talk about, but the ego factor is huge. My restaurants have open kitchens and I think open kitchens are popular because chefs enjoy people watching them cook. It's that simple.

RR: You began as a chef/owner and now you have executive chefs. Have you become more of an owner and less of a chef?

Butler: I see myself as a cook and not a businessman. I have had success as a businessman but my true love takes place in the kitchen and that's where you will find me. I split my time rather evenly, and I am almost always in one kitchen or another. The real fun takes place in the kitchen, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Dan Butler is Chef/Owner of Toscana Kitchen & Bar and Deep Blue Bar & Grill in Wilmington, DE

This was an interview excerpt -- click here for the full interview...

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