We sat down with Amanda Nall from Bogue’s Alley to talk about her experience running a business at a young age. Several years ago, at 25, Nall purchased Bogue’s Alley from her former employers. She had worked there for eight years and couldn’t picture herself working for anyone else- so when it went up for sale she bought it. She had always joked about owning it so when she went off to Johnson & Wales she did so with the goal being to come back and run this business.
Having taken culinary classes at Westerly High School with Chef Finklestein, Nall admits she got into a bit of trouble with him. She became serious about cooking at 21 and says her education at Johnson & Wales somewhat prepared her for what she took on by teaching her the basics, but that owning a business is a day to day learning experience. Her advice to current seniors at Westerly High School going off to study in culinary programs is to take it all in. Ask questions. Be motivated and take advantage of all the extra curricular experiences that come your way.
While in culinary school she was the sole recipient from her class to earn a scholarship to spend two days with Boston’s legendary Relais & Chateaux restauranteur and Chef Barbara Lynch. She was picked up from the train, given money for taxis and food and most incredibly, given the opportunity to work at both No. 9 Park and Menton for the two days she was there. The first night she spent the evening in Lynch’s Boston apartment where Lynch couch surfed to give up her room for Nall. That weekend she walked away with two key pieces of knowledge; use fresh ingredients and running a business takes everything you have.
Each day Nall arrives at Bogue’s at six o’clock in the morning. She sets up the registers, types up the specials, does her ordering and sets up for lunch. If they have any parties that day those trays get set up first. She goes through the breakfast and lunch rushes and spends her afternoons ordering, prepping and cleaning up.
I have had two opportunities to be “behind the scenes” at Bogue’s recently and can tell you this- if you regularly eat at Bogue’s you become part of a local family. You won’t meet nicer people. There is banter, there is laughing, they know what you want before you get to the counter and they make your food quicker than you would think possible. With a tiny kitchen space and two bodies behind the counter, this team has working together down to a science. Everyone is friendly and everyone helps out.
With summer here Bogue’s is a great place to pick up a sandwich to bring to the beach or to any of Westerly’s fantastic evening events. If you have a big order call ahead- that way you will have zero wait time when you arrive to pick it up. Closed Sundays, Bogue’s is open Monday – Friday 6am until 5pm and Saturday 7-3. Located right over the bridge in Pawcatuck there is both street parking and a parking lot around back. They accept major credit cards and offer delivery. Check their Facebook page daily to see a list of specials. We can’t wait to stop back in and see the newly decorated counter space offering more in house seating.