For Healy’s Corner owner Ryan Healy, the responsibility of owning a restaurant starts in the kitchen, moves behind the bar, and never seems to end.
“They say you can make your own hours, but I haven’t seen that yet,” Healy joked. “I wear a lot of hats—you have to, especially in the beginning.”
The soon-to-be 27-year-old opened his restaurant in Kent just five months ago. Since then, Healy has been proactive, whether it’s cooking food or dealing with vendors, in developing a successful, growing business.
“It’s been interesting to look back on all the progress,” Healy said. “I’ve realized the amount of work it takes to open the doors and run a business every day.”
A 2003 Carmel High School graduate, Healy’s interest in cooking inspired him to pursue a degree in restaurant management and marketing at Westchester Community College. After he graduated in 2006, he went through the process of trial and error to develop a vision of an American-style restaurant with a focus on fresh, local produce.
Healy used a variety of resources to help him research different ideas for his menu. By reading magazines and watching cooking shows, he was able to learn which food would work and ultimately finalize what he wanted—fresh ingredients at manageable prices.
After a year of developing the menu, as well as securing a post at 474 Route 52, Healy’s Corner was able to open in March 2011.
“The opportunity to start a restaurant just came about and I jumped on it,” Healy said. “The location became available at the right time and the right place.”
Since then, Healy has relied on support from his family to help fill in the cracks at his restaurant. From updating his website to working as waiters and bartenders, each family member has played a significant role in getting Healy’s Corner off the ground.
“My whole family has played a very direct role in helping me to get going,” Healy said. “They’ve really stepped and they’ve been helping me while I’m helping them.”
Healy said his former job at his parent’s beer distributor in South Salem influenced his interest in managing his own business and would later help him transform the dynamic of his beverage menu. Because Healy held significant power over ordering at Vista Beer & Beverage, he developed a strong knowledge of microbrewers and other small commercial breweries.
Though he still features domestics and imports like Budweiser and Guinness, Healy’s drink menu consists of different varieties of local, less common beer. Because of his willingness to promote beer other than large, commercial brands, he’s able to rotate his 13-draft lineup from week to week.
“I wanted to offer something totally, totally different,” Healy said. “I wanted to try something else.”
Healy carries this local emphasis into the food he creates. By purchasing produce from local farmers and vendors, he’s been able to steer clear of most processed, frozen foods. Much of his menu consists of gluten-free products, which was inspired by immediate family members who have a gluten allergy.
“It’s actually a big process to go gluten-free—you have to understand what you can and cannot do,” Healy said. “I have a fryer in the kitchen that’s totally dedicated to no gluten at all.”
As his business heads into this coming fall, Healy will continue to perform a balancing act of waiting, bartending and managing. He expects the end of the summer season lull and the start of professional football to boost business and attract community members looking to get away without having to go too far.
“Family-owned and family-operated is the backbone of America,” Healy said. “Everything at Healy’s Corner is inspired by the community.”