Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"The Thing" is...

Have you ever noticed that the minute you think you have solved a “thing,” everything changes and the solution you thought brilliant just moments ago, is now not only insufficient, but sometimes downright dumb.  The “thing” can be anything really, an operational challenge, a financial problem, an employee conflict, a customer concern.  No matter what the “thing” is, it always seems to be a moving target and the harder you aim, the farther off target you get.   We're firm believers in policies and procedures, but you can policy and procedure yourself into oblivion only to have a new challenge you had not considered rise up and throw you for a loop.  Not to argue that this is a case for anarchy, certainly some framework is better than none. But why do the parameters have to keep changing?  I suppose from a metaphysical standpoint it’s what allows us to “evolve,” i.e. how we react to the challenges in life is a reflection of who we are as a person.  But damn it’s frustrating!  Wouldn’t it be nice to solve a thing and let it stay solved for evermore? Wishful thinking I guess.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bragging Rights

Ok, all humility aside, we have some of the best food in San Diego and NO we are NOT a restaurant.  

We are a lounge/entertainment venue with killer eats!  Our food menu is limited…on purpose.  Our biggest pet peeve is going to a restaurant with the “Cheese Cake Factory syndrome,” you know what I’m talking about, a menu that goes on forever!  It takes 20 minutes just to read the damn thing and another 45 to decide what you want.  And a part of you wonders who could possibly master that many dishes and just how fresh can anything be when there is an ingredient list of 3,000 items! 

So our food menu is limited – on purpose - but it is down right delicious!  Everything is seasonal and farm to table (no bullshit, we have a freezer the size of a postage stamp so all ingredients have to be fresh). Tonight after savoring every delicious morsel of the winter flatbread (roasted sweet potato, home-made peanut butter, fennel, white cheddar, mozzarella, balsamic reduction & fresh cut sage) and the Winter Market Salad (roasted beets, fresh sage, goat cheese, cucumber, fennel and vanilla balsamic reduction) I couldn’t help but puff my chest out a bit with pride.  From the very beginning the food side of the business has been the most frustrating the most expensive and the hardest to handle.  But, all of that effort has been well worth it.  So hats off to you Sergio – you are the master!

We’re getting ready to start serving lunch a couple of days a week soon and I can’t wait to see what Sergio comes up with.  I know ahi tuna bowls will be on the menu, steak/rice bowls too.  The man even makes his own kimchi.  He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk when it comes to using seasonal, fresh ingredients.  So if you think you can’t go to a bar to get fresh and healthy food, think again.  I’m telling you, next time you stop by for a beer or glass of wine don’t go to dinner first, give the 98 Bottles menu a try.  You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

98 Candles

We’re not sure why but 98 Bottles has become THE place for birthday parties.  Last Saturday night we had three!  Not a week goes by that we don’t host at least one or two.  We’ve even had people book birthday parties before they’ve ever even been to 98 Bottles.  The other day I got a phone call that we had a delivery and could I come and open the door. I went to the front door, saw the delivery truck and two men standing there so I opened the door and asked if they wanted to deliver through the front door or the side. With perplexed looks on their faces they said “We’re here to book a birthday party.”  (Turns out the deliveryman was already at the side door).

We’re not sure the cause of this wonderful phenomenon but we’re very grateful for it. After all there are approximately 1.3 million residents in the city of San Diego and 2.1 in the county.  Every single one of them have birthdays every single year.  So, ok not all of them are over 21 years of age…but still there's a lot of potential!

Mainly what’s nice is that people want to celebrate with us.  We can’t imagine a nicer compliment.  So don’t be depressed that you’re turning 30 (or 40 or any other orty) just come on down to 98 Bottles and have your birthday with us.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Birthing the Baby

Some people compare opening a new business to giving birth.  Well, there certainly are similarities. We’ve been open about three months now and we’re tired, sore, exhausted, exhilarated, scared and deliriously happy.  That’s about par with having given birth 12 weeks ago.  There may not be bleary-eyed midnight feedings but there certainly are bleary-eyed midnight meetings.  We’ve had to turn our full attention to this new “child” of ours leaving little time for anything else. Like any newborn, it’s most definitely challenging and demanding at times, but so amazingly worthwhile. There are days we question what the hell we could have been thinking to take such a huge step, but there are others when the place is filled with customers having a great time that we know we made the right choice.  Either way, there’s no going back now!  We try to remind ourselves that our “baby” won’t always be in diapers, that there will come a time when it will have grown into the mature “adult” we always knew it would be.  So we focus on enjoying watching our “baby” grow no matter how tired we may be, or how frustrated. We celebrate each little milestone and try not to worry…at least not TOO much.