Chris Gannon, Josh Cohen Chat About The New Bolay Restaurants Over Beers
Who: Chris Gannon, 2001 U.S. Open Polo champion and Bolay co-founder and president
What: Funky Buddha Brewery’s Floridian Hefeweizen 5.2-percent paired with the Bolay Aspen Bol and the Bolay Thai Bol.
Where: Bolay, 3333 Northlake Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens / 561.612.2859 / eatbolay.com / @eatbolay
About the beer: Funky Buddha “Floridian Hefeweizen”
1) Growing up with a father who was the inventor of the “Bloomin’ Onion” and the co-founder of Outback Steakhouse is: humbling and a source of great pride. I’m honored to have a father who created something that never previously existed. It’s goal-setting for both my sister and [me] as something to aspire for. My dad is the true essence of hard work and passion, and a great example to follow.
2) Becoming the youngest person to ever win the polo U.S. Open at the age of 16 was: one of the crowning moments of my life and a true display of how important teamwork is in all of life—both personally and professionally. Like I always say, it takes a village. I incorporate that same concept of teamwork into building a team here at Bolay.
3) Being chosen to portray the honorable Chief Osceola my senior year at Florida State and ride Renegade onto sold-out college football fields in front of 90,000 people was: humbling because of how difficult it was just to receive that honor and then to actually do the job. The pressure was enormous each and every game to execute and to not ruin a then 30-year tradition while properly and respectfully representing the culture of the unconquered Seminole Tribe. It’s adrenaline times a thousand. I could make the entire football stadium erupt by pumping my spear into the air. You actually get addicted to that. I couldn’t get enough of that high, and I did it with such passion that I actually wound up ripping muscles in my scapula.
4) The idea for Bolay first came to me when: I noticed that everyday people were starting to realize the value of putting clean food into their bodies, and that good food was actually good fuel. I realized that great, bold flavor, chef-inspired clean food just wasn’t being done in a fast-paced environment as it could and should have been.
5) The actual name of Bolay comes from: combining the word “bowl” with the word “play.” Bolay means to have fun creating your own unique bowl of fresh, nutrient-rich, bold-flavor foods that were selected and gathered from all around the world.
6) If I hadn’t followed in my father’s footsteps and become a restaurateur, I probably would have become: a Formula One race car driver. For me, it’s about the competition; it’s about winning. It’s all about beating the next guy. The only thing I don’t love as much about racing is that it doesn’t look or feel as much like a total team effort. It can be lonely at the top all by yourself.
Growing up in New Orleans, Chris Gannon developed a strong appreciation and passion for flavors, food and entertaining. Gannon would travel the world as a professional polo player before returning to Florida State University to study finance. The Bolay concept came to life in February 2016 with the opening of the first location in Wellington. The company received more than 200 ratings of five stars on Yelp in just four months. Controlled growth of Bolay is currently in the works with plans for several locations in major markets nationwide. A first-time father in 2016, Gannon, his wife, Jacqui, and the couple’s daughter, Piper Quinn, currently reside in Jupiter.