Rod Coligado

Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The grip Aussies currently have on the coffee scene is unparalleled. At the top of the food (and bev) chain sits Butler Bakeshop, a mainstay in major hubs of NYC, and for good reason. Butler has hooked Williamsburg, Dumbo, and Lower Manhattan with their amazing coffee program, fresh food menu, and soundtrack that consistently hits. They were one of our favorite firsts on the scene, making avocado toast and açaí bowls before it became a cafe prerequisite. We visited co-founder Rod Coligado at his Lafayette Street location to chat about all things coffee, the guest experience, and tequila (if you read to the end). As expected, the air was buzzing with energy and there was already a line of what seemed like both regulars and new patrons.
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Was food a big part of your upbringing?

Absolutely. Both of my parents had a passion and love for cooking traditional Filipino food. Most weekends they'd host a dinner with family and friends. I started cooking at an early age with both my Mom and Dad and they passed on their love for cooking and hosting to me.


What are your earliest memories of dining out?

Our family loved going to restaurants - we'd go for lunch every Sunday. It was the 80's - so our favorites were the local Chinese restaurants.  I started working in restaurants when I was 16 - bussing tables at Milestone’s Restaurant in Victoria BC, Canada. I loved the energy and all the people that I worked with on the team. 


If you could give a piece of advice to someone who wanted to pursue your career, what would it be? 

Find which part of hospitality you're passionate about most and follow that. It's a challenging industry - so you have to love what you do. Pay attention to trends - what customers want in food and experience, be ahead of it.

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What do you think working in this industry has taught you?

It’s all about the guest experience so focus on making it the best experience possible. If you want the best experience you need the best team - finding great people is harder now than ever. But the same principles apply - share your company vision and values, reward hard work, keep training/keep learning, hear people out, map out a career path, give autonomy and celebrate the wins. Be open to feedback and listen to your customers.


What's your favorite dish/drink on the menu?

Breakfast Empanada- scrambled egg, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, arugula in puffed pastry.. YUM. Hibiscus/lemongrass iced tea.

What is your favorite place to go out and eat at and what are you ordering?

Chinese Tuxedo- Everything on the menu is amazing!!


You’re on a desert island, what are the 5 kitchen items you need to run your business?

1- Chef’s knife

2- Fishing Rod and reel

3- Blender/food processor

4-Sonos speaker for music

5- Tequila

Photography by Hannah Elijah

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