Washington Lawyer - September 2016 - 24

CAREER 2.0 WHENIS FOOD YOUR OTHER CALLING until he partnered with his son Steven to start the restaurant. "I had to open the restaurant for one reason in the end. I had told too many people I was going to do it, and I would have been humiliated if I hadn't done it." Klores says he finds enormous satisfaction today doing things that others might consider grunt work, such as bussing tables, washing dishes, and watching his son come up with his latest grilled cheese concoction. "When I was looking at starting the business, I realized I was too old for a food truck, and I'm not serious enough for fine dining," Klores says. "The idea of a place where you could find a great grilled cheese just made sense." Lawyer Bruce Klores, Owner of GCDC CHEESY, BUT IN A GOOD WAY "We have a lot of lawyers who come into the restaurant," says Bruce Klores, who closed out a 30-year career in the law to make a go of Grilled Cheese DC (GCDC). "People know I'm a lawyer, and they see opening a restaurant as a dream job, particularly for young lawyers working in stifling environments. I was fortunate because I really liked what I did, but sometimes people just need to do different things to find happiness." GCDC is a fast-casual restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House. And, not surprisingly, the menu's focus is on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches along with an eclectic offering of Americanized poutine, the Canadian delicacy made with French fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. "I tell people I was a lawyer for 30 years, but I'm doing my penance now," jokes Klores, who worked full-time at his medical malpractice firm Bruce A. Klores & Associates 24 WASHINGTON LAWYER * SEPTEMBER 2016 * Klores says his background in law has been a major benefit, given the paperwork and regulatory hoops restaurants jump through in the District of Columbia. He believes the lessons learned running a law practice, such as managing income and expenditures, have been helpful, too. "A lot of us are very obsessive and detail-oriented in our practices," Klores says. "I have a commitment to the customer experience today the same way I had with my law client's satisfaction. Those are things that work exactly the same." EGGS, FLOUR, MILK - CONTRACT For Warren Brown, owner of CakeLove in a Jar, the fulfillment found in baking cakes and pies convinced him to leave his job as an attorney with the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Brown had gone into law to get credentialed and to find a bigger stage to talk about the importance of sex education for teens, but his initial work had taken him into regulatory enforcement and Medicare fraud. It was a New Year's Resolution to try new things that prompted a self-improvement kick that brought him to baking - changing forever his personal and professional fortunes. "I was looking for my passion," says Brown, who has written four cookbooks and appeared as a celebrity chef on TV shows such as Oprah and the Today Show. "That wasn't in my vocabulary at all up to that point. It didn't register with me, including having passion in one's professional life. Baking changed that." Before Brown opened his first bakery on U Street in 2002, he hosted a series of cake parties where he shared samples of his cakes with friends and family to get their feedback. Ultimately, CakeLove proved to be a pioneer in the cupcake wars that put Washington, D.C., into a sugar coma for most of that decade, and Brown opened more bakeries to satisfy the frosting-lathered dreams of his patrons. But as he considered his future, Brown realized he wouldn't be able to scale up the company if he stayed connected to bricks-and-mortar bakeries. Eventually, he shuttered them, closing the original CakeLove in December 2015 to concentrate on his thriving jarred cakes business. The jarred cakes - cakes and frosting snugly packed into 2-ounce and 4-ounce glass jars - allowed him to respond to consumer needs and increase his operation to serve national chains such as Whole Foods and Balducci's. "My appreciation for the law has really developed since I left," Brown says. "I think the thing I respect the most is its procedure and creativity. You have to create a system that everyone understands and agrees to operate under. It is a system that people can turn to and use. Having been in the business world, and seeing how crazy it is and how many unknowns there are, I appreciate that in the legal world you know what the procedure is going to be." In April 2016 Brown took another offbeat twist when he and two partners announced the creation of DC Taste Buds, the District's first marijuana edibles company. Its sweet and savory products laced with locally sourced marijuana are sold at medical marijuana dispensaries. http://www.dcbar.org/

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