Now that life has brought commitments and children, my wife and I don’t spend as much one-on–one time as we should.
When the opportunity arises for us to get away and go to dinner we look forward to the occasion.
Being a beaches resident, we have tried just about every restaurant within 20 minutes. So, in researching some new places, we decided to try a small eatery on Lomax Street named “Tapa That.”
I could tell immediately from the local decor that this was someone’s small business. When we sat down we had lots of great, locally sourced choices and ordered a few items at once. I would describe the place as eclectic, relaxing and quaint. In short, we loved it.
Afterward, Chef Arielle came to check on us and that’s when I learned that this was her restaurant. She and her mother had run it for the past four years.
Later, I reached back out to Arielle to tell me how she balances it all. Her response was so entertaining; I just had to publish it.
A day in the life, huh? My mind is always going a million miles, basically writing a prep list on the back of my eyelids while I sleep. Then it’s go go go from there.
Between creating new menu items, beer and wine tastings, coming up with new “cocktails” and sake infusions, and avoiding sales calls and loan sharks, it goes a little something like this:
“How much longer on that pork butt?
Did I remember to turn off the soup?
Don’t forget the crostini!
Post on social media.
This bread needs to go in now before it over proofs!
Gotta make mojo, sofrito, black beans … mojo, sofrito, black beans, okay, got it!
Still two hours on the pork, that’s perfect we have three hours before service. … Service!
We need linens!
Did I pay the JEA?
AHHH!!! THE SOUP!!!! …Oh thank God it’s safe!
One more hour before service. That’s good pork!”
Then I run the line, shmooze the regulars, introduce myself to newcomers, go back to the line for the second pop, repeat, then jump in the dish pit for a few hours and get ready to do it all again tomorrow! …Oh throw a glass of wine in there somewhere! 🙂
You can probably already tell, if she worked for someone else, she would have quit already. It makes me glad I’m not in the restaurant business!
I’m glad Arielle doesn’t feel the same way. She no doubt continues on because she loves it. The result is great food and Tapa That has my vote for the best-kept secret in Jacksonville. We even had the company holiday party here.
Go by and say hi, but keep it short, this woman is busy!
Congratulations on a great business.
Brian Barquilla [social-bio]