Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brunch every day!

Sorry for the lack of posts. Things are more than overwhelming. But, because us Bandidas don't feel like we have been working enough hours, we decided to open for brunch every day now. We both take a day off each week, and both notice that there are not tons of fantastic places open for breakfast during the week. So looks like we better be the ones. We have changed our whole kitchen around (closed for a day in order to get it all set up for ease of use). We are ready to rock. Starting Monday, we will serve Breakfast/Brunch every day from 10 to 3.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chalk Board Ideas

OK, so we asked our very good friend Mark, designer of one of our most beautiful bathrooms, for his ideas on the chalk board wall. His idea: put up a book in "chapters". Put up a section of the story every month or so. The giving tree? The Lorax (a good environmentalist's story)? How cool would that be? Would people read it? Maybe something less known, so that people would look forward to the next section.

In other news, we had our best day ever today. The restaurant was full for most of the day, and really busy for long stretches. The coolest part is watching how much more smoothly busy nights are going. We are getting better at what we do. Our employees know their positions, and are getting quicker. We communicated better as a team. Our systems are solidifying.

Still, it blows me away to look out at the restaurant in the middle of a busy dinner rush, and realize that we are running a restaurant, a real restaurant. . . not sure what else to say about that.

Photography Exibition Opening

This will be a brief post to announce the photo opening we will be holding at the restaurant February 4th at 7 pm. There will be a special on wine. The photos on the wall are amazing, and worth giving some time to.
The exhibit is by rev b pandemonium. The photos are of the Vancouver downtown eastside.
Hope to see many of you there.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Bandidas is now in full swing. We have had some nice busy days, and a couple of slow days here and there. It's a funny balance: stressed if it's busy, stressed if it's slow. On the busy days, we can't help but ask ourselves where all these people come from. How do they all know? It it so rad to serve so many people--tacos and nachos galore in the evenings, and brunch on the weekends. At the end of the weekend, we are bagged. The days are still too long for Jacks and Ai. We gotta figure out how to get employees to cover us enough so that we can have a bit more time off. In that way, those couple of slow days days were nice. Gave us a bit of time to get our feet back under us--to file the huge heap of papers that was growing on the desk, to move a few steps closer to getting all the permits we need, to organize the kitchen a bit better, to catch up on our food prep. It's amazing how much food we have to cook. I guess that's what happens when you serve food professionally. But we are still getting used to the proportions of the project.

Here are a couple of photos from our grand opening party:

This is one of the most popular seats in the house. Two rocking chairs at the small table in the window, well decorated with our favorite lamp and a live orchid. We got this lamp for free in a deal for some used restaurant chairs. At first we weren't sure about it. Then Mike suggested we use it as a kind of central decorative theme. It has kind of become that, and does well to draw people in from the street.

Here's a nice shot of our service station, where we make all the tacos. That's a bottle of our house-mad vegan sour cream in the foreground, and a nice platter of tacos in the back.

And here's a beauty shot of our chalk board menu. We painted this cool chalk board paint directly onto the wall, and a friend put up the menu for us, with this beautiful printing. Jacks and Ai could never make it look like that. Now we are trying to figure out what to do with this space though. Our innitial plan was to have a counter service style restaurant. But somehow that just didn't suit the place. It turns out to be a place where people hang out more, which we love. But hanging out and standing in a line at the bar every time you want to get another coffee or order more food just don't go together. So Bandidas has officially become a table service restaurant. Lucky Ai--I finally get to learn how to wait tables. It's so much easier to learn when I only have myself and Jacks to answer to. . . Anyway, I digress. Since we have become table service. We have moved to laminated paper menus at the tables. Now the question becomes what to do with this chalk board space. We like it, but the menu doesn't need to be on the wall. Should we paint over it in white to match the rest of the walls and pretend it never happened? Should we write a note to the people up there? Should we just post our drink and dessert menu there? Hmm. Any ideas?

Monday, January 12, 2009


At our grand opening party, we didn't sell food, but just brought out platters of food for everyone to eat. Guests bought drinks, but enjoyed the food for free. At the end of the night both Jacks and I commented how nice this style of service is. We catered a number of parties over the summer, at which we served the food in this same manner. Somehow people seem to enjoy the food more when it is a surprise, when the food is more of a community activity than a personal plate ordered. So... here is our idea, our less conventional restaurant model: do this style every night. At the end patrons can pay what they feel they ate. Maybe it wouldn't work for breakfast. Maybe it would be a hard way to manage a restaurant. We do of course realize that there would be those who took advantage of such a system. It would be a bit of a scary business model to jump into full throttle. So maybe at first we will start by having an event like this once a month or so--see how it goes.
Any ideas?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We are open, and the first week has been a real success. We have had amazing support from friends and community members coming to check out our restaurant--bringing friends for dinner, spreading the word. We have also seen lots of new faces--people from the neighborhood who have watched us preparing to open. Friday night the restaurant was totally full with a line at the bar for hours. It feels so good to hear the sounds of people eating and laughing and talking in this space we have created.
Now to work out the kinks. Step one: hire more staff, or schedule our current staff for more hours. Step two: Jacks and Ai take a tiny bit of time off--at least a few hours to sleep or something.
Pictures will come soon, we promise. For now bear with us while we get our feet on the ground.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A few more pictures

The ceiling tiles are down, hazardous materials suits are put away. Now just to get that t-bar structure down.

Jacks paints the high high ceiling (and practices her ballet moves)

Morgan and Jackie carry the ladders from the rental shop to the restaurant. So strong!