The Mountain Times

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Paul Olson improves upon a tradition of excellence at Sam’s Steakhouse

Reprinted with permissions from The Vermont Journal
LUDLOW - Good things are happening at Sam's Steakhouse in Ludlow, Vermont! Purchased in August by Paul Olson, Sam's Steakhouse is still Sam's Steakhouse plus more. Paul has not closed to make renovations. He has stayed open throughout the renovations. He is keeping the name of the popular icon, the menu is basically the same with more nightly specials; you can now have mashed potatoes and fries in the dining room instead of just in "The Lounge," which has undergone a face lift.
Previous to purchasing the restaurant, Paul, 47, of Tyson, Vt., had built a paint empire from working in the store, to managing the store, to owning and sitting in the corporate offices, but realized he did not want to be the guy behind the desk dealing with lawyers and corporate paperwork and "losing his values."
"Hospitality has always been my dream. I started parking cars at Greek Peak Ski resort when I was in high school. I worked every aspect of hospitality at the resort. I loved it," Paul said. "I went to RIT, Hotel school and worked 50 hours per week in the industry to put myself through school. Then I met someone who escorted me into the retail business and I spent 22 years in the paint business," Paul continued, "but my dream, my goal, was to own and operate a restaurant in a ski town and ski every day. After the 22 year detour I'm back to my roots and I've divested my interests in paint."
Paul has a family of four: his wife of 18 years, Wendy, who manages their Olson's Bridgewater Country Store; daughter Holly, 16, who attends Woodstock Union High School and skies with the Killington and Woodstock Ski teams School and son Stewart, 13, who attends, Stratton Mountain School. Both are avid skiers as is Olson.
When asked why Sam's, Paul responded, "Why Sam's? I realized I was a small business guy. I want to be engaged with the guests and the staff. I had been a long time customer of Sam's when this opportunity presented itself."  Paul continued, "I have a lot of respect for the former owner of Sam's and the staff. I have nothing but gratitude and fondness for Chef Pat Norton."
Paul is all about the guest experience. He asks his guests and his staff about the service, the food, and the ambiance, anything that might affect his business. He listens, and he acts when needed. He wants to be at the top of the list for a great dining experience or a great lounge experience.
"I have the drive, the passion, for excellence. Credit at Sam's goes to the staff for their dedication and their exceptional service. I want to nurture and enhance what we have here," commented Paul, "We will change, but change not just for the sake of change. The world is constantly changing. I want to be more of a draw for the area - a destination."
"My challenge is to grow the business. I like to grow," laughs Paul. Then in all seriousness states, "Sam's delivers the highest quality steaks and seafood with the most impeccable service at an affordable price in an upscale family friendly environment."
"We want to dovetail with the Bridgewater Store - to peel back the onion to find out what will completely delight the customer/guest. Whatever it takes to create the best guest experience," states Paul. "We are just caretakers, the stewards of the brand," he smiles.
The Lounge will be seeing some new space renovations and new menu items, TV for sports, a kind of speakeasy with a planned new fireplace where one can play chess or checkers and have a light fare menu item.
Keep an eye on Paul and his brand. Sam's Steakhouse in Ludlow will grow and you will like what you see and taste. Come in to meet Paul and his wait staff. Enjoy the highest quality steaks and seafood with the most impeccable service at an affordable price in an upscale family friendly environment.