Dan Gasby and B. Smith (B for Barbara) have been residents of Sag Harbor’s Azurest African American community for the last 25 years. They built a bay front house there. And they ran the B. Smith’s restaurant on Long Wharf.
Dan is a former football player who became a television media sales executive and television producer. B. Smith is a lifestyle celebrity, has had her own national magazine and was the co-owner, with her husband, not only of the B. Smith’s restaurant on Long Wharf, but also the B. Smith’s restaurants in Washington D.C. and in the Theater District of Manhattan.
Now they’ve sold everything. The reason? Alzheimer’s. B. Smith told her doctor of symptoms in 2010, and set off on the slow and terrifying process of seeing her personality shut down. The restaurants closed, the appearances ended. And Dan had a new job: Alzheimer’s caregiver.
Dan and B. have held fundraisers for Alzheimer’s. They wrote a book about their experience. There was the occasion when B. disappeared somewhere in Manhattan, only showing up days later after a hunt for her that was the topic of articles in all of the New York City newspapers.
Now Dan has opened a new food line, its first offering a medium roast coffee called B. Smith’s—Barbara’s Breakfast Blend and B. Smith’s Sweetie’s Original.
“The intention is to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s,” Dan told me. “And we hope to expand the line to other grocery products.”
It’s a goal that the late actor Paul Newman, who donated profits to charity with his firm, Newman’s Own, would have been proud to see.