The names of the people and businesses in this blog series have been changed to protect their identities and the integrity of this project.
There’s this restaurant in Los Angeles that is the definition of a diamond in the rough. And it might be for sale for the right owner. And we think we might be the right owners.
It’s one of those places that you drive by all the time and never really notice it because it has been there so long. When you do happen to notice it, you think to yourself, “How does that place stay in business? Who eats there? Is it even safe to eat there?”
We approached a restaurant friend of ours, Tony, to see if he might want to pursue this whole crazy idea with us. We also talked to a close friend of ours, Jeremy, who grew up in town and would be one of the early investors with us. He was excited about the idea and said he’d definitely team with us to vet this thing and pull together a large team of investors.
Our first job was to have dinner there. We’d all eaten there several times before of course, but when you’re dining to assess a possible investment, you look at things differently. We peeked into the kitchen, scrutinized the bathrooms, dreamed about building a better bar.
I talked with a few other customers and confirmed what we already knew: the place is supported by locals. This can be great, but you don’t want to be dependent solely on people who live in the neighborhood. And the locals who do come are a little older, and aren’t making 8:30 dinner reservations, or stopping in for after dinner drinks at 10:00 PM. They’re probably tucked in and fast asleep by 8:30.
The next step was to visit during non-business hours and to bring a design team, and a kitchen and bar designer, which we did. That all came together really quickly.
As we walked through the place, everyone agreed that there is a ton of potential. But we all also noted that it’s going to need a lot of work. Like…a lot. There was actually another group that came in about a year ago and expressed an interest to buy, but they determined that the overhaul would be too much and bowed out.
After our walk-through, we all exchanged business cards in the parking lot and planned to follow up in a week. I made an appointment to meet with the design firm in their downtown offices to discuss the cost of what the rendering will be.
At this point we are all feeling optimistic. I hope it stays that way.
Next Up: Meeting with the design firm