My First Restaurant

My First Restaurant

The My First Restaurant podcast aims to teach restaurateurs how to start, run, and grow a successful restaurant business. We interview successful restaurant owners about the nitty gritty details behind opening a restaurant, and what it takes to succeed. Past guests include Charles Bililies of Souvla, Ike Shehadeh from Ike's Love & Sandwiches, and Leo Kremer from Dos Toros Taqueria. Hosted by Bryan Tublin, Co-Founder & CEO of Kitava, a multi-unit clean casual restaurant brand based in the Bay Area. Available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Episodes

August 17, 2023 43 mins

Akash Mirchandani is a Partner at Kitchen Fund, a leading investment firm focused on the emerging restaurant space. Kitchen Fund aims to fuel the brands that are changing how we eat, including investments in some popular restaurants you may have heard of such as sweetgreen, CAVA, and Curry Up Now.

Prior to Kitchen Fund Akash worked in Blackstone’s Private Equity Group, graduated from Harvard where he was captain of the gol...

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Host Bryan Tublin shares his top 10 lessons learned from Season 1 of My First Restaurant.

Top 10 Lessons Learned:

  1. Know why you’re getting into the business
  2. Test your concept first!
  3. Timing and momentum matters
  4. Raise enough capital – Things always cost more and take longer than you think
  5. Choose the right contractor for your buildout
  6. Centralized Commissary vs. Store-Level Production? There’s no right answer
  7. Do, Delegate, or Deprioritize
  8. Ta...
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“I work really hard, and my staff works really hard, so I have to be in love with that city and that community to do the work that I do.”



Dominica Rice-Cisneros is the Chef & Owner of Bombera in Oakland, California. 

During her long career as a line cook, Dominica worked her way up in fine dining establishments such as Chez Panisse and The Four Seasons, before opening her first restaurant Cosecha to...

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“You want more happy employees that are gonna turn to happy guests, and in order to do that you don’t want your team to feel overwhelmed.”



Mistie Boulton is the CEO of Oren’s Hummus, and the President and Founder of EyeSpy Critiquing & Consulting, a mystery shopping and operations improvement business for the service industry. 

Mistie brings 20+ years of restaurant industry experience to this conversation, wh...

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“Don’t ever even consider opening a restaurant unless you have worked in and ideally managed one.”

This week’s guest is Gabriel Baldinucci, co-founder of Baldinucci Pizza Romana, a “fast premium” pizza restaurant based in Austin, Texas.

In this interview we discuss the origins of the concept, as well as:

  • Why Gabriel believes the market for “fast premium” concepts is increasing as consumer palates become more sophisticat...
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“The people that are super successful have their operations on lock.”



James Deng is the Founder & CEO of Poké House, a poké chain based in Northern California with 9 locations and counting.

James opened Poké House’s first location in 2015, and has since grown the concept to 5 company-owned locations and 4 franchise operated units, with big plans to scale beyond those numbers in the coming years. 

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“Lean into your network, don’t be afraid to grow it, and don’t be afraid to ask people for help and reach out to people who have done it before. You never know what you’ll get back, you just have to ask.”



Marc Schechter is the Co-Founder of Square Pie Guys, a Detroit style fast casual pizza chain based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

With three locations between San Francisco and Oakland, Marc has grown ...

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“The least understood thing about opening a public facing business is the feeling of it, the emotional journey you have to go on”



Manny Yekutiel is the owner of Manny’s, a civic and political event space with a bookshop, coffee shop, bar, and restaurant, located in San Francisco.

As you’ll quickly find out, Manny is not your traditional business owner, and this is far from a traditional interview. Havin...

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“Don’t pick the cheapest person, don’t pick the person who says they’re going to do it fast… pick the person that is the most responsible.”



In this episode we’re joined by David Murphy & Kayla Abe, co-owners of Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine, a climate solutions restaurant highlighting upcycled ingredients, where they take all kinds of things left over from the food system and make them the stars of ...

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“Whatever you think it’s gonna cost double it, whatever you think you need for working capital triple”



This week’s guest is Todd Parent, Co-Founder & CEO of Extreme Pizza, a Bay Area-born chain with over 30 locations from coast to coast.

Todd had a unique journey to restaurant ownership, starting in the dish pit of a friend’s restaurant in New Jersey, honing his management skills in Aspen, then eventually mak...

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“At some point you have to say, ‘I’m not going to make a bad business decision to get my dream space.’”



Today our guest is Roberta Economidis, co-founder and partner of Georgopoulos & Economidis, a boutique business law firm based in San Francisco, with a specialty in the hospitality industry. Roberta has helped restaurants and hospitality businesses throughout California and the US with everything from corp...

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“I wanted to close the gap between who I was and what I did.”



Jennifer Peters is the Founder & Foodie of Just BE Kitchen, a two-unit fast casual concept in Colorado, with an allergen friendly menu focused on serving “mindful mouthfuls from a conscious kitchen” through meals that are gluten, grain, refined sugar, and dairy-free.

As you’ll hear in our conversation, Jen’s mettle was tested several times along th...

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This week we’re flipping the script. 

Guest host Sam Oches, Editorial Director of Informa’s Restaurant & Food Group, interviews Bryan about his journey to start and grow Kitava.

Sam and Bryan discuss Kitava’s origin story, including the path from pop-ups and farmers markets to opening a brick-and-mortar location inside an old McDonald’s.

Other topics covered include:

- How Bryan merged his business with his eventual co-founder’s to...

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“The guest experience will never rise above the level of the team experience”

Leo Kremer is the Co-Founder of Dos Toros Taqueria.

As a Berkeley, CA native, Leo and his brother Oliver grew up eating Mission-style burritos from local taquerias throughout the Bay Area. After spending time as a professional musician, including with Third Eye Blind, and working briefly in management consulting, Leo and his brother opened Dos Toros in New...

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Charles Bililies is the Founder & CEO of Souvla, a group of fast-fine Greek restaurants with six locations throughout San Francisco. Charles has built Souvla from a passion project into a brand with a cult-like following, having been named a “Top 100 Restaurant” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a recipient of the StarChefs award for “Best Concept”, as well as being featured in national media outlets such as The Today Show, T...

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“The universe will pay you in direct proportion to the value that you are giving.”

This is Part 2 of a two-part conversation with Ike Shehadeh. If you haven’t listened to Part 1, go back and listen to Episode 11 for full context!

In this deeply philosophical episode, we cover:

  • The difference between wealth and financial success
  • How to make decisions for a fulfilling career
  • Why people who want to “eat the rich” ar...
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“I’m working LESS now with a hundred locations than I did with one… It’s a MYTH that it’s hard to expand.” - Ike Shehadeh
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Imagine the following…

> You’ve been kicked out of college

> Your first business goes broke and you become homeless

> While working three jobs to make ends meet, you decide to open a sandwich shop

> On your first day no one comes. You sell zero sandwich...

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“You need to be all in, otherwise it doesn’t really work.” - Benson Wang

Benson Wang is the co-founder and CEO of Palm House Hospitality, an experience driven lifestyle and hospitality company based in the Bay Area with a diversified portfolio in restaurants, nightlife and lodging.

In our interview we discuss:

- How Benson and team make data-driven menu changes by sending new items to the Thunderdome
...

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“The end goal is to make people happy, and tell our stories through food” - Chef Nelson German

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Nelson German is the Executive Chef/Owner of alaMar Kitchen & Bar and Sobre Mesa in Oakland, CA. His restaurants tell the stories of the African and Caribbean diasporas through cultural foodways, and have achieved local and national accolades. Chef Nelson appeared as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef - Season 18, and he was ...

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Jaime Sparrow is the owner of Sunbird Cape Cod, a zero-waste cafe specializing in fresh, local, and sustainable food. In this interview Jaime shares her journey from working in San Francisco restaurants to moving back home to open a food truck, and eventually a cafe, in a seasonal economy heavily driven by tourism. We discuss how Jaime and her husband tested their concept with a food truck, why popularity with Cape Cod locals gave ...

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