Midnights Restaurant

Growing the Dream in Brooklyn and Beyond

We took some time to chat with the team behind Midnights

They shared a little about the ups and downs of running their business here in Williamsburg and how Dime is helping them grow.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

We are the team behind Midnights, a new American restaurant here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Collectively we are co-founders, Devin Schuck and Raffaello Van Couten; head chef, Joshua Cormier and creative/marketing director, Paul Kolbe.
We came to this business through different paths. Devin studied business in Colorado working his way through school as a bartender. Raffaello graduated from law school but grew up in his grandmother’s catering kitchen. Josh grew up making pizza in his grandparents pizzeria in upstate NY and Paul brings his background in fashion and publishing.
Midnights is a rare restaurant that offers happy hour, dinner, and then a bar scene. Midnights can be a date place, a group party place, or a place where you can just come in and have a great drink at the bar. We think of it as a “new American” restaurant. It represents the diversity of our neighborhood and the energy of the tourists from around the world who visit Brooklyn.

What led you to open Midnights?

All of us love food and hospitality—and Devin and Raffaello especially—have an entrepreneurial spirit, even since we were kids. After a few years in the business, we all knew we wanted something of our own, where our vision could come to life. When we started, we saw a bit of a hole in the marketplace and believed there was an opportunity to create a restaurant that offered a great food and drink program with Manhattan-level service.  We are always learning and adapting, but our core concepts are always to be clean, inviting and non-pretentious.

Would you say this is your dream business?

Midnights is a dream for both today and tomorrow. We believe you start off with a solid idea and as years go by, you continue to evolve and grow. Midnights serves, in a way, as our gateway dream.
Working with food and spirits is fun in and of itself. And the lifestyle is flexible with great perks. But nothing is more rewarding than looking across the dining room and seeing people enjoying the food and experience you have planned and created. We know all the moving parts that need to come together to make that happen and seeing people having a wonderful time is really fun for us.

What are some challenges you’ve faced?

Well the holiday party season is really busy and an exercise in sleep deprivation. There are so many everyday details, you just have to be prepared for anything. It helps if you trust the process and believe in yourself.

Someone once said a good restaurant is like a swan. Outward appearance is all graceful but below water, it is peddling like mad. There are a million things, processes and people that have to come together to make a restaurant successful. We just want our customers to have a wonderful experience with their friends, enjoying the food and drink we have created for them. 

What have you learned from your experiences that you can share with other entrepreneurs?

Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Build your endurance and fortitude to keep pushing and believe in your dream. Be adaptable and don’t be afraid to fail. There is always a learning curve and you have to believe you are strong enough to resolve it. And make sure you count your little victories along the way.

You’ve been a loyal Dime customer. Why did you choose us?

A local bank has the same commitment to the neighborhood and community that we do. For us working with a local bank gives us a partner that truly understands us, and they don't lump us together with everyone else.

What excites you about the future?

While we are living the restaurant dream everyday, more and more doors open to us. We have already added coffee shops and another bar to our brand. We have a big project developing in Detroit and have a long-term goal of expanding to things like boutique hotels. We like to work hard and believe that working hard helps you enjoy life more.

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