Off the beaten path in Sandy Springs, sits Brooklyn Café – a restaurant serving up “contemporary neighborhood cuisine.” Owned by Jeff Trump and Mike Horosh, with Trump frequently in the kitchen, the charming restaurant has something frequently overlooked by many: the chef is also a dad. Being a dad is a full time job, but for chef’s it’s a particularly unique station. With long and grueling workdays spent in a hot kitchen there can be an additional strain put on chefs with families at home.
But Trump is lucky because his dad-life overlaps with his chef-life. His three sons, Jack, Sam and Michael, are each involved with the restaurant. So, while he still has the long work days that come with being a chef and co-owning a restaurant, he also has the benefit of working alongside his sons and can watch them grow up in more ways than one.
Spending time with his sons is very important to Trump, but it wasn’t always possible. Before opening Brooklyn Café, he worked for a major restaurant group forcing him to be a road warrior often away from his family. “I’ve certainly missed my share of ball games,” he says, reflecting on the way things used to be. Now that the restaurant has found its groove he says, “We finally closed on Sundays so we could regroup with our families.”
It’s always been important to Trump that his kids work at the restaurant for a bit. Not only does this give him a chance to spend time with them, but he feels the life lessons they learn working in the restaurant industry are “invaluable.” Jack, 21, waited on tables all throughout high school and still helps out on extended breaks when he’s home from college. The middle child, Sam, is 18 and helps out wherever he’s needed. The youngest boy, Michael is only 9 and has a ways to go before he can work with dad. “Michael thinks he’s the manager, the truth is he’s in charge of the coloring books,” Trump says with a chuckle.
The oldest of the trio, Jack, shared his perspective of practically growing up in a restaurant. What started out as a way to see his dad after his parents split up turned into a career track. Jack reminisced that like all teenagers, he loved making some cash but, “ultimately, I grew closer to my dad.” He still has a year left at the University of Arizona, but would love to work with his dad “in some capacity” when he’s finished. He explained that this could mean consulting, or expanding his dad’s current business.
As much as he loves working with his sons, Trump does make sure to have some fun with them outside of the restaurant, too. “We love to cook, we like to go experience new foods and travel together.” Their favorite things to cook? “Sandwiches, we love sandwiches.”
Being a chef and father isn’t easy thanks to long days with odd hours. For Trump, though, it’s eased by the fact that he gets to work with his sons and not only be a dad to them, but mold them into young men. Striking a balance between his demanding job and the needs of sons allow him to be a successful chef dad.