Being a woman in the hospitality industry is not always easy.
“But I believe it is a worthwhile challenge. Each day when I go into work, I am representing a very small number of women in the restaurant business,” says Teara Caudle.
From humble beginnings as servers, she and Rani Singh are now at the helm of No Way Rose’s management team.
They spoke to Baltimore Style about their newest undertaking at the French bistro—an opportunity born from over a decade in the industry—and how their management style is well suited to its nontraditional dining experience.
The vision behind the restaurant is from Ashish Alfred, award-winning chef of the Alfred Restaurant Group, which spawned three iterations of Duck Duck Goose—one of which is in Baltimore.
Singh and Caudle met Alfred separately—Singh in 2018 as a bartender for the Baltimore location, and Caudle in 2015 as a server for the Bethesda location.
“Between these two young ladies, they’ve helped my career and life in huge ways,” Alfred says. “I think that I’ve been able to build this brand because of the hard work of people like Rani and Teara.”
The hardest thing to do isn’t the cooking, it’s menus or the finances—it’s building a culture, he says.
No Way Rose recently opened in March—inspired by Alfred’s time in France and Spain. The café culture Alfred noticed there did not really translate to the United States, he says.
“The café culture is something that I think is really, really missing here, especially here in Baltimore,” he says.
Combining a fine dining atmosphere with the fluidity of a come-and-go eatery, “the bistro-style fare plays into his idea of having a casual ‘dishes come out when ready’ service,” Caudle says.
A menu of primarily sharable items is also uncategorized by appetizer, entrees or desserts so guests are not pigeon-holed into ordering based on type of dish—they can order what strikes them.
Those choices help create an environment that is not exclusive, Caudle says. “No matter the occasion, you’re welcome to come in and celebrate the ordinary or extraordinary,” she says.
Caudle says early menu standouts for customers were the Fried Chicken Pain Perdu for brunch, and for dinner, the beef tartare (which comes as an appetizer or an entree) and is paired with a crispy potato cake as a twist on a more traditional crostini.
“I personally love the Sockeye Salmon served with mustard greens—it has a bit of Indian flavor to it. The Burgundy Escargot Vol-Au-Vent is excellent and the chicken, like any French restaurant, is incredible,” Singh adds.
Although people can come and go easily, Alfred also wanted to create an environment where guests would linger.
That’s why he was intentional about creating an aesthetic atmosphere with bright pink booths, murals and flowers, and Singh was heavily involved in that process. He wanted No Way Rose to be more about the experience than the menu.
Alfred knew he could trust both women to deliver on that experience.
“The service we provide at Alfred Restaurant Group is what makes dining with us so special,” Singh says. “We believe the fine details and the finishing touches go a long way. We remember our guests, and we treat them as if they’re entering our home.”
Caudle says that’s the difference between hospitality and merely meeting expectations. That extra mile also isn’t possible without trusting relationships in back of house, she says.
“When as a staff we are united and feel good, the experience we give our clients will match that energy,” Singh says.
As part of their experience, No Way Rose guests can expect lively entertainment (as with stilt performers for Cirque du Sunday brunch) and accessibility.
“The zero-proof cocktail experience began at (Duck Duck Goose), a menu that is a staple now,” Caudle says. “(They) offer the same beautiful garnishes and drinkware as our traditional cocktails—so people can choose to blend in while still celebrating a moment.”
With a location next to PALM (Pretty Awesome Live Music) and across the street from the historic Cross Street Market, Singh and Caudle feel No Way Rose will fit in well.
Alfred agrees. “There were lots of naysayers for Duck Duck Goose. People said, ‘You know there’s no way a fine dining French restaurant is gonna do well in Fells Point,'” he says.
But things are changing, he says. With two of this year’s James Beard nominations having come from Baltimore, it says a lot about the city’s food scene.
“I think Baltimore is a lot more than just Old Bay,” Alfred says.
Stop by No Way Rose on June 11, National Rosé Day, for half priced rosé bottles at dinner. Rosé Flights are now on the menu. Open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; now accepting reservations for all services.