The Great Big Why: Ross B. Martin

We do what we love because we must.

Ognyan Chobanov ©

Ross B. Martin, owner of the National in Telluride, reflects on the endurance of memories and their ability to help us through tough times.

You ask why we are here? Yes, the restaurant world and bar business is in a crazy, unsure place right now, but we wake up every day and do what we love because we must. We do it not only to pay the bills but because hospitality, serving, cooking, socializing, celebrating, comforting, and taking care of people is in our blood and in our soul. It’s what makes us whole.

The memories around a table, with all the smells, taste, conversation, laughter, and sometimes tears, are some of the most ingrained memories we have. There are the ones we have to celebrate, the ones we have to be warmed and nourished [by], the ones we have to come together with friends and family, the ones [we use] to decompress. We need these moments as humans.

Gathering around for a meal is one of the oldest traditions of mankind; it will never die, never disappear, never cease to exist. We will wake up every day and do what we love to make sure it never does. We make memories and experiences—food, drink, and service are our tools.

What is your “why”? Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to


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