Saturday, October 13, 2012

Two Weeks +

I can't believe its been 2 weeks since we've been open!  SO much has happened and I've been working round the clock, no time to write.  What a roller coaster ride!  We've had almost everything thrown at us, and yet we've been busy, the reviews have been great, we're seeing repeat customers, everyone is gelling as a team and I'm happy.  I've never worked as hard in my life, but I'm happy, proud and fulfilled.  I'm so proud of our staff who've really all risen to the task at hand, and are working so hard to make the vision real.  WOW, I have to stop and pinch myself!

So in the first two weeks we've had a couple food and timing issues, our Internet music system went down, the power went out on our second Friday night (at 6:45 till God knows when), we had to shut down.  We spent the entire next Saturday trying to rebuild the financials and manually enter all the data.  I got called by the San Anselmo Police Department at 1am because our back door was unlocked (seemed the maintenance guys put a lock on our door without telling us or giving us the key!).  Oh yeah, had to deal with a horrible insect problem due to our neighbors dumpster being infested and located right behind our back door..... really?

But..... people are showing up and raving.  Kids are giving me hugs and claiming my pizza to be the "Best Pizza in the Whole Word".  Kids are drawing us pictures with notes of thanks and I even got a soccer tattoo from one admirer.  People are booking large parties, sending in their friends, buying gift certificates. and we already have "regulars".  I'm blown away at how well we are being embraced by the community and I'm overjoyed because this is just what I was hoping to create, an oasis of food, friends, people, and pizza, in our sleepy little town.  No one should have to get in their cars and drive to the city to have good food in a nice atmosphere.  You should be able to walk, bike, stroll and see all your neighbors and friends and kid's friends, and that's what's happening!

So is it worth it?  You betcha.  I've never felt more fulfilled.  I'm enjoying working this hard, I don't want to leave, this is my life, being a part of my community.  I look forward to each day to come back and work at this amazing place in the making.  I love working the pizza oven, making the dough, helping the servers, busing tables, listening to customers feedback, and when I close up shop at the end of the night, there's a little part of me that feels like I'm tucking in my baby to sleep for the night.

I remember watching the Steve Martin movie, Shop Girl years ago and thinking, "I want to be a shop girl!"  I think the movie, and that thought has stayed with me all these years.  Funny how that little seed planted in my mind, over the years, watered and tilled with experiences and time, has now come into full season.    I left the restaurant the other night thinking to myself, I am a shop girl.......

good night shop girl............

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blast Off

Hold on to your hats!  Pizzalina is open!  OMG..... what a week this has been!  I don't even know where to begin and its so late I really should be asleep (something I'm not getting much of these days).
Tuesday we had our Friends & Family (and those who worked tireless on the project) Party and then turned around and opened Wednesday for lunch.  I don't think I've ever been so stressed out in my life.  So many little things to coordinate and then my chef who had announced to me of his health problems the week before called me at noon the day of and informed me he wouldn't be able to make it to the party, or the opening!  PANIC ATTACK!  Luckily I had been putting out my feelers and called two chefs who I had been talking to to see if they could fill in.  Chefs to the rescue, literally!  I felt like the Calvary rode in when they got here at two pm.  I had deliveries stacked in the back door, cooks waiting for direction, looking at me like, what do we do?!  Oh, and that morning when I walked in the place wreaked of gas, I had to call my contractor in a panic.  Luckily they sent someone right over.  Seems the cleaners had turned off the pilots to clean but forgot to turn them back on.  Then the wine taps started acting up again.  Another call to the installer,  bad regulator.  Fixed in the nick of time.  Restaurant opening drama, its all part of the story you'll tell your grand kids, or any, hopefully kindhearted, sympathetic soul, you can weep on their shoulder over! 
So.... the party went off smashingly.  I actually really enjoyed myself, I started drinking champagne early which is the key to enjoying anything!  It was fun and casual and the staff did a fantastic job both the "front of the house" and the kitchen.  Everyone loved the food, the pizzas were awesome, and picture perfect, they all said the dough was a dream and we had a fantastic photographer who documented the entire night.  So I'll get those up as soon as I get them.  One chef did shine and he is my new chef for Pizzalina.  His name is Robbie Starr and he comes from Pizzeria Boca.  He is young, enthusiastic, creative, hard working, calm, and considerate.  Everyone on the staff has fallen in love with him so I'm grateful.  I kept praying, "Lord, send me the right person".  I guess it was destined.  Oh, there's more plenty more drama....... "the book".

Wednesday we opened with a bang and its been busy ever since.  Not too crazy busy, but just enough to give us all a little work out, test the systems, test us, test the food.  We've got a lot of kinks to work out, but I'm so happy, for the most part its going really well.  I actually got to cook on the line last night and tonight and I felt better than I've felt in days.  All the business part was driving me crazy!  The cooking was fun.

I thank you to all who've followed along on this journey.  There's still more to tell on the birthing of a restaurant.  There's the first year growing pains, post par tum depression, terrible twos...... Everyone said its like childbirth, you'll forget all about the pain when its over.  Not sure yet. 

I'll let you know.......