We opened a restaurant.
It still kind of sounds crazy when I say it out loud. But it's both awesome and true, and kind of a funny story.
Since forever ago (or rather in the past 6-7 years), Mark has been on my case and telling me that I need to open a restaurant. Where we live in the bumping metropolis of Sudbury (a little bit of sarcasm), there was not a vegan, let alone a vegetarian restaurant to speak of. Some of our local restaurants have been really accommodating with us over the years, but it's made it hard to go out to eat. After a certain point you get a little bored of hummus sandwiches and veggie pastas. So anyway, Mark was constantly on my case saying, "Jess, you need to open up a vegan restaurant. You need to share your cooking. And if you don't do it, someone else will."
But I'm not a huge risk taker, and although I've worked in bars and restaurants over the years*, I was never going to just up and open a restaurant. And so just as predicted, someone else did first. It just happened to work out that the "someone" turned out to be my husband and his friend Dan.
Across the street from from the record store and where we live, has sat a vacant KFC for more than 3 years and last year at some point Mark decided it was the perfect spot for a vegan restaurant. And so he bought it. It was one of the craziest and most brilliant moves ever. And of course once the wheels were in motion I couldn't just sit back and not get involved at all, so I was at the ready to offer my feedback on design and concept when asked and of course with the food too. With our beloved Mexico as inspiration, I worked really hard on the menu with Mark and crafted recipes that I thought (and hoped!) would be well loved by all.
And after many months of that saw Mark and Dan, his wife Melissa, and many others pouring endless hours of work into it, the doors to Tucos Taco Lounge opened just before Christmas. So now, where once stood a fast food restaurant that profited on the death of countless animals, stands our little vegan restaurant. And it's been a super fun whirlwind ever since.
I know the majority of you, my amazing readers, don't live close enough to visit - but if you ever do, I'd love to meet you for tacos and drinks at Tucos. XO
Oh, and as for the other project in the works, I've got another cookbook on the go! It's going to be awesome and I'm thrilled with be working with my girl Jackie Sobon again, so you can bet your bottom dollar it will be full of mouthwatering photos too. I can't wait to share more about it but will wait until things have begun to take shape.
*Aside: Mark and I actually met in a bar that showcased live music. I was the bartender and he was the singer-songwriter in the band taking the stage that night.
Photo credits from lovely friends:
top 4 images via Andrew Knapp
empty table via Rebecca Bose
bean & seitan tacos via Shauna Heron