For those who’ve dreamed of opening their own restaurant on a bluff on the Pacific coast, Jon and MaryLynne Hamlin of Oregon have already planted their flag.
High above the crashing sea, with a view that stretches up and down the craggy shoreline, the Tidal Raves restaurant has commanded the spot as a popular dining establishment for 29 years.
“It was our goal to do our own thing in hospitality at some point,” says Jon Hamlin. After I graduated The Culinary Institute of America in New York, I worked 10 years in the hospitality world, and met my wife.”
MaryLynne adds, “I was working in hospitality as a way to put my way through college when we met. I wanted to be a teacher.”
But the opportunity to open their own restaurant presented itself, and the couple threw in their lot together and never looked back.
In this week’s Q&A with Recipe for Success @ Boxerbrand, Jon Hamlin discuss their success with Tidal Raves restaurant.
Q: How did you both decide to take the plunge?
We worked 10 years for other people and always had the idea that one day we’d open our own place. She was doing other things, working in hospitality, and also working selling furniture, to put herself through college when the opportunity to open Tidal Raves came about.
Q: Was it the view of the Pacific that attracted you to your location?
We loved the view, but at the time, we were concerned the property wasn’t in the tourist core, and that we wouldn’t get the foot traffic. So, we weren’t completely sold on the location at first.
Q: Your successful eatery started out as a different business.
It was originally a gas station! Then, just prior to us opening it, it was a struggling café. After we purchased the space, we did extensive renovations to the 2,500 square-foot space. It now seats about 90 people, including in our small lounge, and offers an incredible view as well as a consistent menu that our guests love.
Q: Tell me about your menu.
Our menu is genuine and real, not contrived. We don’t work to try to be the latest on cutting edge cuisine, but instead offer a mix of international dishes, like our Thai green curry with seafood, which is one of our popular dishes, and our homespun American dishes, such as our San Francisco influenced brothy seafood stew, which is full of shellfish in light tomato base perfect for dunking bread.
Q: What has been your biggest obstacle?
MaryLynne: The staff is always the biggest challenge in a business like ours. You have to trust people to work on your behalf, and do the right thing, even when we’re not there. The hardest thing is being hours away and trusting that you’re leaving the restaurant in good hands. So, we’ve concentrated on having key people we trust in decision-making positions, and we do our best to take care of them.
Q: What is your secret to longevity in hospitality?
When we embraced hospitality, we committed ourselves to offering a good, consistent product at a fair price. We just made it a priority. And our key employees, who’ve been with us a long time, have made sure we’ve kept true to our commitment.
Q: Any advice for those dreaming of opening a restaurant?
Run! No, seriously, just understand that you’ll need to be very passionate about it, and be willing to work very long, hard hours. And listen to your customer feedback. — Tidal Rave uses Boxerbrand menu covers iCandy line in its table presentation. Thank you!