Hello Readers! This is the blog for De La Tierra (from the earth...), a Vegan Restaurant founded by me, Melinda Abbott and my partner Julio Gutierrez. We are a start up company with a vision of bringing Vegan food to Washington Heights, NYC. Until we have the financing to open a location, we grow our business step by step, documenting it all right here and on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/delatierranyc
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Read our previous post (See right side of screen: De La Tierra, Blog Style!) for details about our history and background.
Since our last post we have been foraging ahead with our efforts to gain experience and exposure in the restaurant industry. Melinda is apprenticing at a restaurant twice per week (experience: check!) De La Tierra had a table at the 2013 Vegetarian Food Festival (exposure: check!)
Melinda works at Left Bank, continued…(Yes I am still a Yoga teacher! Teaching Yoga @ Equinox is going really well, actually. Grateful!) Below you will see me ready to work at Left Bank, the hottest spot for dinner in the West Village. For the past few weeks I have been a Food Runner: bringing food to the table! And although it can be stressful especially when customers remember they are allergic to things (yikes!) or suddenly go on a diet that very moment, mostly its a happy job, met with smiles and gratitude. More than that, the runner can also be the eyes and ears of the Chef. Picture it: the wait staff graciously attends to the overall satisfaction of multiple tables and customer personalities; the kitchen tends to the fluid execution of multiple orders and last minute changes. The runner can easily slip by and help make sure things are happening as they should: delicious food coming on time=happy customer. There is an entire synchronized team orchestrating your meal! In a well run restaurant like Left Bank, Chef Laurence Edelman, Manager Micheline Gaulin and the whole crew spend time and energy making sure the food is excellent and their customers are not only extremely happy, but that they return again and again. You just cant learn that in a book! You have to be absorbed in that standard of work to appreciate just how crucial it is that every piece of the puzzle fit together.
De La Tierra debuts at the 2013 NYC Vegetarian Food Festival! To the left you see me, Melinda Abbott and Rynn Berry, the author of the Vegan Guide to NYC. Rynn has authored this book since forever, and was kind enough not only to autograph my copy but to sign Julio’s 2013 copy as well. A gracious and knowledgeable man! For those of you who have written a business plan (or tried to), having data about your specific industry is like a Christmas present! The Vegan Guide is just that: the good, the bad and the beautiful in vegan and vegetarian NYC eating.
The good news! We sold out of all our food: Chef Oscar’s vegan mac n’ cheese and vegan tuna were major hits with the crowd. We sold out of mac and cheese so fast, we considered somehow airlifting Oscar back home to the Bronx so he could make more, but the Festival was so crowded we actually didn’t take a break for about 10 hours, except to pose (Julio, Oscar and myself to your right). Additionally VeganBakingMama (aka Kim Lipstein) and NothingChocolate (aka Donna Joseph) made such delicious cookies and cupcakes that our table was mobbed at times. We walked away with an updated mailing list, lots fewer business cards and a sense of pride that only a successful venture will bring you. Most importantly, we know what our customers like and don’t-like-as-much. Congrats team! Thanks to everyone for such hard work, delicious food and good spirits. Special thanks to those friends, colleagues, family members and yoga students who braved the crowd and made an effort to come say hi, lend support and buy some food. Cant wait till next year!
Whats next? Licenses to get, more apprenticing to be done, more edits of the business plan and then a push towards a commercial loan or investor pitch. We will strike up our Kick-starter page soon for some additional funding, and be that much closer towards opening day! Stay tuned and see you there!
Cant wait? Email melinda at firstname.lastname@example.org for any special orders, parties, or other reason for amazing vegan food! We will bring it to you customized and can always prepare gluten free versions.