Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Year... wow...

We celebrated our one year anniversary last Thursday, November 15.

It seems like time has gone by so fast. So many things have happened and so many thing are different from my vision or expectation. Some things have been amazing and some have been very difficult. Most of the surprises have been pleasant, remarkably so. My favorite surprise has been how fantastic our customers are.  From our first customer, Kevin, who bought lunch for his entire staff for six week after we opened to help us get started... to Kathleen who comes in most mornings for her fat free latte, who started paying extra for her latte when she knew we were going to raise the price (in two weeks) because she didn't want us losing money. To all of the people who are willing to be first in line to try some crazy new thing (wine bar? prickly pear soup? Spanish teaching dinner?) that pops up in the creative hive mind of the Compass Star.

The downside is losing Stein to burn out and the ongoing struggle to make ends meet.

I feel more and more like I am part of the community, but still too small to really be caught up in small town politics. The past year has been crazy. My 6 year relationship with Brion ended. I went through a very crazy few post-break-up months where I fell in love with someone I shouldn't have, explored the rock star side of being a chef, made adjustments to my life, my menu, my restaurant, found love with a younger man (he is 31). Encouraged my BFF to open a wine bar in the evening hours, made adjustments necessary to sharing my kitchen (with mixed but cheerful success).

I feel like I get more comfortable in my place every day. I sing in my kitchen. I love the people I work with. Janet and Wendy are amazing women and I truly enjoy my time with them. Sean is passionate and inspired and I see him struggling with the things I struggled with in my earlier days and my heart goes out to him. Donna Mae and Mary are awesome. Ramiro saves my sanity every week. I love my workplace.

It also feels strange to see new businesses come in and not be the baby on the block any more. Barrel Aged opened a block away and is the new newest place in town. I remember when Jimmy and Creek Monkey were the new place in town. I especially love how much we all like, encourage, inspire and support one another. I love how much the local people encourage and inspire us in turn. I knew the odds were against me, the economy was against me, money was going to be super tight... I think anyone who tries to open a business in this economy must be a little crazy, and every time I hear of some small business failing I sweat a little. But I feel like we are doing ok. I feel really excited about the year to come.

I hope this blog will encourage and inspire others who might be dreaming of opening their own restaurant. I hope it will scare you, and serve to educate anyone who thinks this is easy. I hope it will prepare some for the stressful reality. But not discourage. I am here and still standing. I love what I do.

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