Owner and Chef, HighBrow Inc.: Age 37
When asked what he likes about the restaurant business, Andrew Brow gave a quick, resounding answer: ‘everything.’
“I love the hustle and bustle; I love creating beautiful food; I love building relationships with farmers, butchers, and seafood people, and finding cool things I’ve never worked with before,” he explained. “And I like to learn and bring new ideas to reality.”
Brow is doing a lot of all this as …. the term would be ‘serial restaurateur.’ He owns, operates, and cooks at HighBrow Wood Fired Kitchen and Bar in Northampton, as well as Jackalope Restaurant and the Kitchen by HighBrow at White Lion Brewing Co., both in Springfield. And soon, there will be another location at White Lion’s new brewery in Amherst.
This is the growing enterprise that Brow has created and now nurtures. His is an inspiring story of determination and entrepreneurship that begins “in the projects in Northampton,” as he put it, where he grew up with his mother, a single parent, and became determined to find work so he could buy better clothes.
He found it at Dunkin’ Donuts when he was only 15. Meanwhile, after a tour of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, he became intrigued by its culinary-arts program, took that course of study, and, upon graduation, started working at restaurants within the Spoleto Group.
Eventually, he wanted to have his own eatery, and in the fall of 2019, he opened HighBrow in Northampton — just four months before the start of the pandemic, which forced all restaurants to close for some time, then reopen for takeout and delivery, and, essentially, reinvent themselves.
“It was quite frightening,” he recalled. “I was at a point where I was going to board up the windows and lock all the liquor away — there was a lot of fear.”
But he persevered, and has not only added more restaurants, but become heavily involved in the community, serving as an advisor to both the Smith and Holyoke Community College culinary-arts programs, while also supporting nonprofits such as Ronald McDonald House, the Treehouse Foundation and its Stir Up the Love fundraising event, and many others.
As he talked about those perilous early days, Brow used words and phrases that capture his intensity, drive to succeed, and considerable entrepreneurial spirit.
“I finally got the opportunity to open my business and work for myself, and I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to lose it.’ I put my head down, and I just started busting my butt.”