The Accidental Restaurateur

how one woman found herself owning a restaurant without really wanting to

How I Hate the Restaurant Business

Is there anything worse than finding yourself in a business you never liked to begin with?

My entire adult life, in trying to select a career path, I always insisted “no restaurants and no retail.” So why is it I ended up in retail food business? Someone somewhere in this universe is having a great laugh.

At first it was fun, working with a partner to build a something with a vision. It started and grew on a quaint little corner that somehow had a void for this type of thing. Everyone in town was supportive, patient, and complimentary.

Since we knew this location was temporary – the landlord was going to develop the land, we always had an eye for a new location. One day, while driving through an up and coming part of town, we found the perfect building. It was everything we loved, brick, wood, outdoor area, pedestrian street – PERFECT!

We begged, borrowed and almost sold our first born to turn our dream into a reality. We sunk EVERYTHING into it and then some. After two and half years of agonizing construction and financial upheaval we finally opened our doors.

What do you know, people flocked to it. There was nothing like it in the area and after 2 1/2 years of anticipation, we could finally breathe.

Quickly we discovered that this new location was not our quaint little corner. People here were MEAN in a way that was petty, sarcastic, and vicious. In a town that had no decent restaurant, the expectations they had far surpassed the reality. They expected white linen service in a restaurant that was next door to a pee-ridden alley that the city councilman himself ignored. And everyone seemed ok to wade through that but when they walked through our door, they complained if their cocktail took 8 minutes instead of 5.

We finally gave up and re-branded the restaurant into a gastropub. It seems to fit the neighborhood better and perhaps their expectations even more. Give the people what they want. It made the whole thing much less interesting for us. It no longer reflected who we were or our vision. Our heart is no longer in it but we have a $2 million yoke around our necks. And we still have to contend with self-described “foodies” who troll Yelp and think their opinion matters.

I hate Yelp. I have yet to meet a restaurant owner who doesn’t despise the service. It fosters people’s inner meanness. People believe they are food critics because they’ve eaten at a few restaurants without quite understanding what it takes to MAKE a restaurant. They expect things to conform to their understanding of food with no room for someone else’s interpretation. The anonymity the site allows them lets their inner meanness run rampant without regard for the consequences to them or to others. Tell me if giving us a one star review because you didn’t get the exact kind of sauce with your fish and chips and then predicting we’ll close in 6 months is not mean and hurtful for the sake of being mean and hurtful?

What have you done in your life? WE took a chance and gambled everything so YOU can complain about the sauce on the fish and chips??? Get a life and go to hell.

Send him a message, tell him what you think.

  • Emery G.
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 17 friends
  • 5 reviews


Who sells fish & chips without having malt vinegar on hand?  This place just seems clueless in so many ways.  Recess went under and gave way to this place.  Wait a few months and see if the next owner has a clue.

tamark • December 22, 2016

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