Welcome to the first installment of The Ne Timeas Nine. In this series, we’ll spotlight members of the NTRG team by asking them nine questions about food, work, life, and everything in between. Here to help kick things off…
DAVID STEELE, founding partner
You’ve got a lot on your plate. In addition to being a founding partner of NTRG, you’re also a managing partner of Noise Pop; you founded your own wealth management firm, One Wealth Advisors; and you’re a cofounder and owner of Moxie Yoga. What is your trick to doing it all? If I’m forced to explain how I’ve been able to create and operate so many seemingly unrelated businesses, the answer lies in that I’ve been able to put together amazing partnerships at each.
Look back to when you were opening flour + water. Is NTRG what you expected it to become? We had aspired to have a truly great neighborhood Italian restaurant. The instantaneous success of flour + water gave us the opportunity to build an organization, but that wasn’t the original intention. We just wanted to create a humble, excellent neighborhood restaurant.
What is your favorite memory or experience at Ne Timeas thus far? When we were a finalist in the James Beard Awards for the best new restaurant in the country, and we felt like interlopers in what is the Academy Awards of our industry.
What’s your happiest food moment? Oh god, that’s easy. Salt and pepper lobster at Liho Liho Yacht Club. And the chicken wings at Mission Chinese.
What’s your dream day off? A long mountain bike ride in Marin. A big lunch right after, a nap and then a late dinner with too much wine.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A chef. My dad talked me out of it.
You oversee the music at all of the restaurants. Is there a record that is your hands-down-all-time favorite? It needs to be a Modest Mouse album. Modest Mouse, The Moon and the Antarctica.
What is the worst job you have ever had? Dishwasher in South Jersey, coincidentally about fifteen minutes away from where Tom [McNaughton] was raised.
In your opinion, what is a food trend that needs to die? Technique-driven chefs covering proteins with supporting actors. You take these magical proteins and cover it with leaves and avocado. I don’t like that technique. Supporting actors should be supporting actors.