Ceviche General Manager John Brewer on Sex and the City and the Restaurant Industry
In cities like New York and L.A., half of the restaurant staff are looking to make it big. Whether it be in acting, modeling, journalism, or whatever other field, the restaurant biz is ideal for those looking to book auditions or interviews during the day.
Ceviche general manager John Brewer knows that better than most. He lived the actor's life in New York. He worked late nights in dive bars and then would get up early to take classes, audition, and play parts.
Obviously, we wanted to know more.
We decided to chat with Brewer in a Q&A to find out more about the acting lifestyle, South Florida, and what it was like to appear in the hugely popular Sex and the City.
Clean Plate Charlie: How long have you been in South Florida?
Brewer: I graduated from Old Pomosa High School (now Atlantic) in Delray Beach in '83. I hadn't been back in 30 years, but came to Miami a few years ago for vacation while working in Vegas as a nightclub manager. I fell back in love with the area and decided to come back. I moved back about a year ago and worked at the Breakers before opening Ceviche.
It sounds like quite a jump moving from Vegas clubs to the Breakers. What was it like switching from nightclubs to a high-end Palm Beach hotel?
Night clubs aren't very personal. It's very loud. As you get older, the music starts to suck more [he laughs] and it kind of drove me away. The Breakers couldn't have been a better boot camp: it helped me to hone my game, but I still wanted to come back to Delray. When I found the opportunity at Ceviche, I took it.
What brought you out to Vegas in the first place?
A friend of mine made me an offer. I was in my late '30's and decided to go for it. I had become a career service industry person by default. I took advantage of the opportunity to open a nightclub; luckily, it was the ideal time. Vegas was on the upswing. There were only about three nightclubs at the time. I learned a lot about everything: the nuts and bolts.
Moon in the Palms. It was owned by the Maloof family.
We heard you were an actor in New York. How was that?
I did a lot of soap opera work. I was on a show called Tour of Duty. I had a bit part on Sex and the City. I think the episode was called "Bay of Pigs." I was the boyfriend to one of the main characters. One of the girls was talking about how great it is that she doesn't have to be on the single scene anymore. I'm the vapid boyfriend holding her hand.
We could imagine the actor's lifestyle could be pretty hard. How did you make it work?
I would bartend until two or three in the morning at dive bars in the Lower East Side. I'd wake up early and go to auditions, go to work, and take classes. It was hard work, but it was fun to be in New York during that period with Sex and the City and the Sopranos filming.
You've obviously led an interesting life. What's next?
I've been with Ceviche for seven months. I like their style. It's not like a chain, it's growing very organically. We're always looking fro a unique spot with architecturally interesting buildings. The idea is to get this up and running, making it thrive, and moving north or south.
If the company moved out of state, would you consider going somewhere else?
I've lived in so many different places: New York, L.A., Vegas, Florida. I love Delray; there's no reason to leave. This is my home, but you never know.
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant is located at116 NE 6th Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-894-8599, or visit ceviche.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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