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We dish on current events, recipes, the seasonal bounty, industry isssues and of course, great wines!

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Night Out Update

Time flies! Our night out seems in some ways like it was just yesterday and in others, like it was 4 years ago... My husband Gary and I rarely get out. The restaurant and our three little kids keep us busy. So when we do - we go all out! There were so mamny places we watned to try - so we set out on a mission and tried a bunch!

I will recount our afternoon / evening. I am not a food critic, so will touch on all the positive experiences we had. I'd say with the exception of one place's indifferent service - it was 100% positive!

Lunch was at Chez Joly. A cute place, the food was good! Duck breast salad was really nice.
Davis St Grill - stopped in for a drink - the food menu looks fabulous - they have a very nice happy hour. Definitey on the list of placves to return to.
Metro Vino - our pal Doug works here - so we've been meaning to stop in. Great ambiance - an amazing selection of wines. Had a lovely sunchoke soup and the duck rilette was outstanding. Owner Todd was friendly - great to talk with other industry folks / owners!
Tear Drop Lounge - drinks only - such a great selection of cocktails. Really creative. Bartender knew his stuff!
Toro Bravo - finally we went here. Great service. Food was delicious. Had their braised lamb with squash dumplings. So much flavor. Fantastic Steak and a nice slow braised chicken. Was busy and everything was absolutely fantastic. The wine we chose (a petite syrah) was too young in the bottle for us - not the restaurant's fault - so we just ordered a different bottle and took the first one home.
Secret Society - highlight of the evening and we have been back since. What a cool space. Wonderful service and drinks. Not a ton of food - but intersting selections. Women's bathroom is very cool. You could have a party in there!

All of this and we were home by 10 pm!

Hopefuly we'll get out again soon. I get so inspired by visiting other restaurants.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

We made it through 2009!
Highs: Great customers! New recipes and additions to the menu like Ahi Tuna, Chili, sliders / slider trio, gourmet pizza; The additons of cocktails  / spirits to our menu. Lots of Parties in the River Room!
Lows: Customers still not eating out as much - but we had our best December ever by nearly 100%

Going into our 5th year! We are so grateful for our customers, especially our regular customers who have supported Thirst for more than 4 years. On New Years Eve - some customers (who are regulars) told me that it is their 4th New Years Eve at Thirst. Another customer pulled me aside that evening and told me that she was proud of Gary and me for how we handled terminating our 'back of house' staff and jumping in. She thinks the food is the best it has ever been - that makes me feel very good. Another customer comes in at least once a week for my French Onion soup and Chili. He has traveled around the World and thinks that our food is some of the best he has ever had. We are not trying to brag - but are proud that we are still in business (will be 5 years in March) and our product is the best it has ever been. We have our customers to thank and our hard-working staff.

Industry insight: We were so proud to have fully booked reservations on New Years. We had a table or two for 'walk ins'. But learned some VERY important lessons that evening. 25% of our reservations NEVER showed up. Rude. We staffed and prepped for the number we had. When you 'no show' - it effects a restaurant's food cost, staffing and more. We had turned away a few reservations that evening - so a loss of sales x 2! We had staff cancel plans to work that evening - then not make as much as they should. Hard when rent was due the next day. So the lessons learned - 1. There aren't walk ins on New Years and 2. Next year we are forced to overbook or take credit cards to secure reservations. I heard that many people book 3-4 places and then decide where they feel like going that evening. Hmmmmm...not cool. The people that did show up had a great meal at a fantastic value 4 courses for $40! We plan to replicate this next year. It was fun!

Date Night!! Gary and I are going out tonight for a date night. It's been way too long. We really enjoy visiting friend's places and also checking out restaurants we've been too busy to go do. Toro Bravo here we come!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ok, finally...a blog for Thirst!

It has been a long time coming! As a former high tech manager  - you'd think I'd have grabbed onto blogging before. Just too busy I guess, and didn't think I had much to write about, but I do! Ah, and there's the three kids under 6...

I love Fall  / Winter and the food we have to select from. Just made a fabulous warm Brussels sprout, bacon, prosciutto and hazelnut salad. I used to HATE Brussels sprouts then discovered and manipulated a few recipes to perfect a great brown butter, maple, and roasted Brussels sprout recipe. Even my super picky 6 year old LOVES these! So inspired by the love of this - I have set out to create more Brussels sprout recipes at Thirst.  If you HATE them, but want to try a "No Thank You" helping, I'll give them to you!

OK - now the restaurant owner is me has to dish a bit. My goal is to teach by example and experinece - so either patrons of Thirst or or even patrons of other businesses can have more intimate insight into the day to day workings of a restaurant. People tell me all the time "I'd LOVE to own a restaurant!" We love it too - but like every job it has its joy, pitfalls and challenges.

So here's the deal... I can be WAY too trusting. I'll start by saying that luckily we have been blessed this holiday season with tons of booked parties! Thank you everyone for booking at Thirst after nearly 2 years with our party room - we have become a very popular place. However... I booked a party for a local business who 'bought out' our place, but then dragged their feet making a deposit. These folks canceled THREE days before their party! We had already turned away reservations for the Christmas Ships, other parties etc. So this was a bit devastating. We'll certainly survive - but here are my lesson(s):
1. I need to get more strict with bookings and deposits!
2. I as a patron, if you are ever booking a party at a small business keep in mind that you canceling can have severe ramifications on their business and their staff's paychecks!

'Til next time!