CHESHIRE -- Holly Drosehn had opened a lot of restaurants for other people before she finally bought a former restaurant in Cheshire to open the Cobble View for herself.
She described a long history of working in the restaurant business at places like Lica Roni's, Chi-Chi's, and the Italian American Club, going back to when she was 17. More recently, she had been helping people to open restaurants.
"I was just good at what I did when I worked," said Drosehn. "It's been so many years, I know so many people, especially from bartending the Italian American club and bartending stags for 13 years. So I met a lot of businessmen. I've had an interesting life."
Using these connections, Drosehn had her hand in numerous restaurant launches.
"I opened Basil's Forum, the North End, the Brewery, Pasta's ... I opened Taylor's in North Adams for Colleen and Sean Taylor. I trained people. You have to tell the waitresses what they should do -- a lot of people are inexperienced, or it's their first time as a bartender. You show them how to measure it out -- this is how you close, make drinks, have to wipe down things. I have a list of chores people have to do every other day -- Tuesdays we do this, Wednesdays this. I'd set up a schedule on how to follow it, train them on how to carry trays and all that stuff, and help set up the menu."
With a background in opening restaurants for other people, Drosehn decided to open her own place
"I thought it'd be a good business investment to do," explained Drosehn. "I bought a bar, got a liquor license, took out the booths, put in hi-top and low-top tables. I wanted a pub, not fine dining. I wanted people to come in and relax and find it friendly. I try to base the menu on what was here before, because it seemed like [the former owner] knew what she was doing. The pizza oven was here so I was definitely going to do pizzas. I just put together a pub menu because I wasn't going to get rid of the pizza machine."
In addition to standard pub fare, Drosehn occasionally does specials that range from lasagnas and kebabs to galumpkis.
"I like to do things outside my realm to where it's more than just pizza," she said.
After half a decade, Drosehn continues to enjoy running her own place.
"They say if you last over three years in the restaurant business you got a good thing," she said. "I've been here five and a half years, we're busy, and we have a lot of repeat customers that come in."
Drosehn believes that her hard work has helped keep the restaurant afloat, by putting in more effort than any of her previous endeavors.
"Now I'm working much harder for myself. When you work for someone, you get paid for what you do, but this is mine, so I make sure everyone does what they're supposed to do. So I put 110 percent into it instead of 100," she explained. "I cook too. When they're busy, I hop back and cook, I do dishes, I do pizza, make the dough. I do everything: bartend, waitress ... It's my place, so I should know how to do everything. That's the way I look at it."
Due to the restaurant's location, Drosehn says she will sometimes get hikers coming in off the Appalachian Trail.
"We get a mix of many different types of people who come in here," she said. "We're just a comforting place to come to."