‘Don’t be cocky; be confident. There’s a really big difference in that.’
Sal DiBenedetto, Babylon
“At 14, I got into the restaurant business. I started as a dishwasher, moved my way to a busboy, and eventually became a waiter. I fell in love with the industry and guiding people through the dining experience. That was the inspiration for my blog, @TheGrubfather. Instagram gave me an opportunity to be a waiter to the world. It’s the most followed food blog on Long Island. I present people with unique dishes and tell them about them. It feels like I am continuing with that spirit of the industry in a way that evolved with the times.
“There’s something beautiful about the dining experience and coming together for food. Now, I am a content creator, an entrepreneur, a writer and a photographer. I’m always looking for dishes that have a ‘Wow!’ factor, that make people excited and evoke feelings. Food is the ultimate storyteller, whether it’s about someone’s heritage or a crazy idea they had when they were drunk. I try to bring that to life with the blog. It has shaped a lot about who I am, and now I’ve opened a restaurant called The Grub Shop in Huntington Village. It takes the different things I’ve learned about the world, businesses, restaurants and the Long Island community, and it brings it into one hub.
There’s something beautiful about the dining experience and coming together for food.
“I was inspired by Anthony Bourdain. I stumbled onto his show, Parts Unknown, and it changed my life. I booked a flight to Thailand, Paris and Hawaii right after I finished the third episode. It kickstarted my blog and everything that I have now. At the Grub Shop, I am honoring his legacy with a huge mural done by Andaluz, a local artist. I’ve started to invest in the idea that I can do anything I put my mind to, especially the things I am passionate about.
“Many people have fantastic ideas and everybody has what it takes to see them through. People get lost due to a lack in confidence. You’ll be successful once you get that inner desire to chase your dreams and turn them into goals. You have to look on the inside of yourself and use that to shape how the world sees you. Don’t be cocky; be confident. There’s a really big difference in that. It’s all about your attitude, humbleness, and appreciation for the people who get you where you are.”
Interviewed by Iris Wiener