Issue 12 Winter 2003
If I had listened to my wife who has 20 years more experience in this business than I, all in creating eclectic and successful restaurants, we would have never ventured down to the Lake.
To be sure, our old location was flooding with every rain and we were unable to persuade our landlord to upgrade the facilities to accommodate the growth of our business. We had to move. The location on the lake, as many of our long-time customers know, was not the answer.
Who are these people?
We should have known that when over 1,600 people showed up for our Grand Opening that something was amiss. There was a line to China Kitchen to get in the door.
Things didn’t get any better when we had to begin closing early on Friday and Saturday nights as well as 2 hours on Sunday afternoon just to keep up with the food prep and provide a rest for an exhausted staff. This was not the type of business we wanted or were good at handling.
Jane’s brother, our first Chef, told me that most everyone in the restaurant industry exaggerates about the business and if someone had told me they were serving over 900 full-service meals in a day in Marble Falls, I would have knowingly shook my head. To this day I don’t know where they all came from.
More important than the volume and attendant stress which ensued, Jane and I were unable to control the quality of service and cuisine that our customers came into our restaurant to enjoy. But what could we do?
The final straw
In the Fall of last year, we took a short vacation to I'm not sure where and returned to discover that one of our staff, who we were training to be a manager, had become involved in drugs and had enlisted several other staff to embezzle funds while we were away. Our computer system provided the evidence and coincidentally our surveillance system taped several employees walking out with beer, steaks and just about anything else they wanted. It was then that Jane and I decided to sell the restaurant.
What did they buy?
That’s the question many of our customers have asked since we are still in business with the same name, TABC licenses, signs and interior accoutrements as our old location. They bought our lease. The purchasers have extensive experience in handling this type of high-volume business and know it is a great location. After a few glitches and a small fire, the sale was complete. We wish them well.
Why this old house?
Those of you who have been in our new restaurant know that answer. It is small, intimate and conducive to the type of dining experience we want to offer. Take a gander at the many paintings hanging on our walls of homes in the Caribbean and you will recognize the similarities in architecture to that of 617 Broadway.
As for our location off the beaten path, refer to our remarks as to “Who are these people?” We spent our first 7 years in a nondescript strip mall with a leaky roof and creaky air conditioner and built our business by “word of mouth”. We will do so again.
In June, 2003, the Marble Falls City Council passed an Ordinance which allowed for the establishment of “Neighborhood Restaurants” which essentially allows for the sale of alcoholic beverages in properly zoned neighborhoods with the proviso that there will be no loud music. Our regular customers enjoy the ambiance of the area and we hope you do too. We thank Mayor Nona Fox and the City Council as well as Brian Hicks, their Legal counsel for allowing us to come into this neighborhood.