Takin’ It To The Streets

For those who can’t read that headline without thinking of the Doobie Brothers, click here and you should get a little Spotify popup to listen to while you read.

It’s time, I think, to start talking about what I’ve been doing with myself for the past couple of weeks, mostly because I’m getting increasingly pumped about the progress that I’m making. For those that don’t know, I’m in the process of trying to open a whole food plant-based restaurant in Saint Paul. I could just say a vegan restaurant, but it seems that many people are scared by “vegan food“. So, when I come up with the perfect name for the place, we’ll call it a plant-based eatery and not use the scary “v” word. On that note, if anyone has any great name ideas, please pass them along!

So, I have a concept for a fast-casual plant-based eatery that serves beer, wine, coffee drinks and desserts as well. I found a location that I think is ideal not too far from where I’m now living. The place is a dump at the moment, but it has amazing potential. The owner is pretty chill and we’ve come to terms on the lease, which is currently under legal review, but looks good. I have found a construction company that specializes in urban restaurant’s and they are hot for the project. I even have an architect/design team that seems really cool and has done some great work. It would seem, then, that I need a chef!

Oh, wait, I’ve got one of those too! I found Rick Berdahl as a result of a CraigsList post I made looking for a vegan chef. It turns out that I got 18 people to respond to the ad in about a week. I interviewed 7 and Rick has a great complimentary skill set and we seem to share a vision of what this place can be. So we are working on a menu now and will pick that up over the next couple of months.

Now, however, is the daunting part. It’s the part that seems to stymie the majority of people who are interested in getting started in the restaurant business; money. Fortunately, I have two things that most of them don’t. The first is an MBA degree (from the University of St. Thomas). This taught me the importance of writing a solid business plan, which I did. Not like it’s going to win any awards, but it’s a decent piece of work. The second is a decent savings plan. I had my third meeting in almost as many days with a commercial loan banker this morning and I’m hopeful that sometime in the next week or two I’ll be able to tell you that I’m funded and moving full steam ahead. If that happens soon, I hope to be open around October 1.

Stay tuned for more and do pass on name ideas. Currently I’m favoring Cecci (chech-ee; italian for chickpea), but I’m not sold on it.

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