Robert B. Willumstad School of Business alumnus opens Curbside Mexican Grill in South Hempstead.
Brandon Porcasi ’17 is learning that an old rule of entrepreneurism is true: everything that you do is for the benefit of the business in one way or another. When he does get the rare day off from the South Hempstead, New York, restaurant he and his brother, Ryan Porcasi, opened at the beginning of September, he finds himself out on the streets distributing menus or doing other things to help ensure that Curbside Mexican Grill is a success.
“We’re not just hanging out at home on our downtime,” he said, expending a rare spare moment on a phone call with his alma mater.
Home for Porcasi is nearby Franklin Square, where he grew up and still lives. Attending nearby Adelphi would enable him to take classes while continuing to work.
Porcasi put himself through school working at a pizzeria on Nassau Boulevard while taking classes in the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, stacking his classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so he’d have more days open to work.
After graduating from Adelphi, he took a job as an unemployment tax analyst for Equifax, Inc., but “my roots in the restaurant industry run deep as I’ve been working at one place or another part time since I was 16 years old,” he said. “In my opinion, there is no better industry to work in during those formative years of high school and college. Through my part-time work in restaurants, I’ve learned many lessons that are helpful in the business world as well as the restaurant industry: the ability to multitask, problem solve and speak with customers are three skills that immediately come to mind.”
When it came time to think about advancing his career as a restaurateur, he turned again to Adelphi and enrolled in the MBA program. Now, with his business in full swing, he’s taking a semester off but plans to return and finish his degree, furthering his training in the nuts and bolts of business administration.
“Last year, I took a class where we had to come up with a business plan for whatever we wanted to do,” Porcasi explained. His team came up with a fast/casual-style Indian restaurant and devised financial plans and proposals for growth and development. Such projects at Adelphi put him in a good position to run his own restaurant.
“Stuff that is usually foreign to people opening a new business, I already know,” he said.
Curbside Mexican Grill opened on Long Beach Road in South Hempstead on September 4. Porcasi describes it as a “split-menu concept, divided into North of the Curb and South of the Curb.” The north side specializes in Americanized, Tex-Mex dishes, while the south side features more authentic, Mexican fare to go with the Day of the Dead decor.
Curbside also offers an array of appetizers, salads, tacos, quesadillas, burritos and a build-your-own-bowl option as well.
Asked what advice he’d have for current students looking to open their own business, Porcasi said you have to keep your eyes on the prize.
“Don’t quit if it’s something you’re really looking to do,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s there.”
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