From clothing store to Caribbean vibes, Silverstein continues his legacy

Don’t worry about success, Dartmouth restaurateur Steve Silverstein was trained from a young age.

“Make friends today, earn money tomorrow,” he said, citing a maxim he learned many years ago. “And then tomorrow, we say, make friends today, earn money tomorrow.” “

This approach has served him well over the years, culminating in the recent opening of Cisco Breweries, a waterfront restaurant in south New Bedford that has drawn buzz – and crowds.

The restaurateur is familiar with the area: he was born and raised in Dartmouth, attended city public schools until Grade 10, then attended Tabor Academy in Grades 11 and 12.

From there, he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMass Amherst and a master’s degree in commerce from New York University.

He worked for a time for a large accounting firm in Boston, then was CFO of a company in Aspen, Colorado.

In 1993, he returned home to help with the family business, the Silverstein clothing store. And he learned something about his home region: there was a dearth of good restaurants with reasonable prices in the suburbs.

He had no restaurant experience, but understood something he considered the lifeblood of any successful restaurant: hospitality.

In 1994, he opened the first Not Your Average Joe’s at its current location on Route 6 in Dartmouth.

He expanded this restaurant to 30 locations, before selling the business, keeping only the first location, now known as Joe’s Original.

Silverstein also owns The Black Whale and The Whale’s Tail on the New Bedford waterfront and Cultivator Shoals in the city center of the city.

He attributes his success to building relationships with people and understanding how to treat them well.

Silverstein learned these lessons from three generations before him in business. His family operated the iconic Silverstein’s clothing store in New Bedford for almost 100 years.

His great-grandfather, Barnet Silverstein, an immigrant from Lithuania, founded Silverstein’s in 1900. He started selling sewing needles and fabric, first in a backpack, then in a cart.

The store grew out of the family’s front room in their South Water Street home. The iconic clothing store ultimately belonged to his grandfather Harry, and then to his three sons, Joe, Louis and Bernard.

Silverstein, his brother David and his cousin Jay eventually owned the store before it closed in 1998. The company was famous for its personalized customer service, he said.

“I learned to take care of people, to make people happy,” he said.

Based on the crowd, that’s exactly what he’s doing with his new venture, Cisco Brewers New Bedford, which opened earlier this year at the site of former Davy’s Locker, and later The Edge. , along the South End waterfront in New Bedford.

The physical location may be New Bedford, but the vibe says Caribbean Island. The site features plenty of sand, a beach, dock, and outdoor dining, as well as a restaurant with indoor and rooftop seating.

Silverstein said the restaurant has a deliberately cold vibe: dogs are welcome outside – “if you can bring your dog, that’s cool,” he said – and live music is played. every day during the summer.

“It feels like we’re on vacation,” he said during your visit.

Even little details like the color scheme and bright umbrellas add to the vibe, he said.

“It’s a very historic area that people love,” said Silverstein, noting the site’s former restaurants and the Smuggler’s Den nightclub. “We added a little imagination. It’s about tapping into a feeling. ”

He was confident that the restaurant, which is a collaboration with Cisco Brewers, would be successful in New Bedford with the support of the large New Bedford community.

“This is a poorly understood and underestimated area,” he said. “We believe in New Bedford. We believe in Dartmouth. ”

His next business will be in Dartmouth. He plans to relaunch the Sail Loft restaurant in Padanaram this winter.

“We want to keep it like a village tavern”, but with a “modern, bright” feel. “We want to take it to a new level,” he said.

As Silverstein enriches his portfolio, he attributes much of his success to a dedicated staff.

“We have our aces in place,” he said. “We are very dependent on talented people. “

Determination and hard work are the keys to success, he said, eclipsing other more traditional elements such as education or financial means.

“You don’t need money, you don’t need to be super smart, but you have to have vision, courage, persistence,” he said.

You also have to be prepared to work hard, he says.

“I worked 80 hours a week for 40 years,” said Silverstein. “If you’re going to work, you might as well work for yourself. “

By putting in the hard work, “you are building equity within yourself.”

As for future business openings, he does not close any doors.

“I am always looking for opportunities,” said Silverstein. ” I can not help it. ”

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