It’s Sunday morning (well, half past one actually) and I have a bit of Liza time before I have to head to NOLA Gastropub. We had our first rain last night in a long time and there is something a bit serene about this particular Sunday morning. I am very much appreciating stillness these days!
It doesn’t happen often and when it does I tend to rest my feet and stare at the closest wall while I give my to-do lists the middle finger.
Lots going on in BA, where to begin….
NOLA opened its doors on July 18. Probably the heaviest day of my life. Bigger than heart break, hurricanes or ayahuasca ceremonies. It was mostly a combination of crying, anxiety, chest pains and the feeling that I could throw up at any given moment. THANK GOD Ticol kept his cool.
Then the first clients came in and then a few more. Nerves settled, I cooked, cursed the kitchen printer, and served a lot of fried chicken. Opening night was packed! Which was so incredible to see after the 4 months of construction, MetroGas headaches, and more.
People came, we described our ‘system’, they ate and drank, and eventually left with a pretty big smile on their face and a happy panza (belly). This is our service and how we’re spending 6 nights a week.
Before service we’re prepping, cleaning, running errands and doing a million other things. The work is extreme. Obviously, we just opened a restaurant (in Argentina), of course it’s going to be insanity!! We are aware of this challenge and have been since day 1. I’ve worked in the service industry since I was 15, I wasn’t going into this project blindsided. I knew it was going to be hard work, and it’s not going to ease up for quite some time.
We’re okay with that! We’re working for ourselves and believe in what we’ve created!!
It’s so entertaining to see people respond to NOLA Gastropub.
First off- what’s cajun food? Think rustic rural food heavily inspired by the French, Spanish, and Germans.
There’s no table service? ‘I have to go to the bar to order?’ says the client. ‘Yes, where it says order here, you order there!’ See how we made that easy on ya?!
We are different. We get that! We want that!!! We like standing out.
And for some clients it’s hard to grasp at the beginning. But then they get it and go back for second portions and then come back a day later! That’s so damn rewarding.
We get that NOLA isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a night out where you don’t have to lift a finger (like me for example on Tuesdays) then NOLA isn’t the answer. This is a self serve kinda joint.
Small but important details- first come first serve. No reservations, no waiting list. You see a table available, grab it before someone else does. The menu is on the chalkboard above the bar, there you’ll find everything you need to know. You’ll order at the bar where it says PIDA ACA (order here), grab your drinks, pay and return to your seat. When your food is ready you’ll hear the bell and your name called and then head to the kitchen to pick up your order. You’ll see the condiment station, flatware and anything else you might need to make your dining experience complete. Know that this isn’t fast food, y’all! Chicken takes at least 15 minutes to fry and we’re making everything to order, so be patient. It’ll be worth it, relax and enjoy the music. If you’d like another tasty beverage, head back to the bar and order another. And don’t forget to sauce it up with our spicy house made salsas that I’m freakin’ makin daily!! Indulge people, todos somos gordos, it’s ok, we don’t judge!
Most people respond well to our system. In fact, we have loads of regulars and that is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
Good beer, tasty food, affordable prices and a cool ambiance. All that Ticol and I created and our busting our asses for every damn day.
Last Monday was our one month anniversary since we opened and also my 30th birthday at midnight. A month, already!! The turnout was…. magical. Our biggest night since we opened! Literally chefs and owners of some of the top restaurants in BA, local TV personalities, press, photographers, regulars, new clients, family and friends, all stuffing their faces and throwing back beers, not caring the place is packed like a can of sardines, they embraced it and all and were beyond complimentary. This brought on a feeling of accomplishment and self gratitude that I’ll never forget.
I’m so thankful.
Thankful, tired, excited, too skinny, strong, and I’m gonna keep pushing.
This first month has been such a roller coaster. Things are settling and Ticol and I are finding our new rhythm. Momo is a bit upset, understandably so. We’re also looking for a new apartment and will most likely get a dog soon after that happens.
Go big or go home. Am I right?!
Photos courtesy of Amelia McGoldrick. Check out more of the album here!