People: The Daniel Twins- A Setback for the Ultimate Setup!
Wednesday, August 17th, ‘The Grill Midfield’ caught fire on Woodward Rd in the Midfield community. The family owned establishment is operated by 27 year old twins Erick and Derick Daniel, and sits right in front of the longstanding ‘Midfield Barber & Style Shop’; a 20-year city staple that is owned by Milton Daniel, the twins’ father.
Social media blazed a trail of support from Birminghamians empathetic of the loss their beloved city business owners endured, and saddened by loss of their favorite family food joint. Facebook live video’s and photo’s of the establishment in flames captioned “RIP The Grill Midfield” circulated locally, and garnered an outpour of community backing. “It was all very surreal and like a scene in a movie” said Derick Daniel. “Between discovering the smoke and the ventilation problem, and the flames breaking out, it was only a matter of minutes before things were out of control.”
“The grill pit was closed and locked for over two hours before the fire started” said Erick Daniel. “We smoke our ribs and pulled pork, so we don’t have to tend to the grill like you do a regular fire pit. But my mother noticed that the pit room had a lot more smoke than usual and asked me if it was supposed to be smoking that much. I went inside and saw that the grill was smoking profusely and that the pit lid was raised, which is not normal because the grill had already been closed”. While shaking his head at the memory, he discloses that it was a complete malfunction of the equipment.
“The ceiling and the walls started melting, the fire was breaking the glass, and we started panicking. All we could do from there was call 911 and get as much of our personal things out before the fire got too big”.
Twelve minutes can feel like an eternity when you’re watching your livelihood go up in flames. E. Daniel would agree. “We called the fire fighters and it only took 12 minutes for them to get to us, but it of course felt more like an hour. By the time they got to us, the damage was already done.”
“Uncontrollable situations are going to occur. Things are going to happen that you can’t account for, so you have to be prepared for the unexpected”, said Derick. “Because of our preparedness, we are going to be able to bounce back from this.”
“And with the support of the community, we’ll be stronger than we were before. This setback is the ultimate setup for the future”, said Eric. “You live and you learn. Now we know what we need to modify in our set up to prevent this from happening again, and we have the opportunity to grow a little from this setback. For that we are thankful”.
A learning experience and a life lesson rolled into one is how the Daniel twins see this temporary setback. “This whole venture has been a life lesson and a learning experience. When our dad started pitching us the idea of opening a small restaurant to go in front of the barber shop in 2009, Eric and I didn’t have all the answers. It took us a minute to even wrap our heads around the idea, but our college education equipped us with business etiquette, and in November, 2014, ‘The Grill Midfield’ opened its doors for business”.
“Yes, our parents were adamant about us completing our education, but the plan was always to be in control of our own livelihood”, said E. Daniel. “We are more than cooks, we are business men, we are entrepreneurs, and we have other ventures that we are devoted to. We have plans for expansion for the Grill and we will be greater because of this”.
“The support and love from the community has been humbling. The city of Midfield has come together to throw a few fundraising events for us, a go-fund me page was started, and people have been generous to us, it’s all uplifting and positive”, said D. Daniel. “We are excited about giving back to the community once we get back on our feet, and we want our story to be an example of strength and prosperity to our city”.