Do you dine out often? Do you have a favorite restaurant?
My family and I don’t eat out that much due to budget reasons. When we do we tend to go to the diner down the street (their popovers are so good!) or a local Chinese restaurant (they give you A LOT of food!) or one of the major chain restaurants (Outback, TGI Fridays, Chili’s…).
For the longest time I have dreamed of owning a bookstore/coffee house. I want to offer people new and used books and a comfy place to relax and enjoy freshly made coffee and pastries from a local bakery. I know it’s not an original thought. It’s just something I think would be fun to own. I even think about what kinds of classes I could offer patrons and I would have a weekly story time for little ones (story and a craft). I LOVE reading books to children. It’s fun to change your voice and act the story out as you read it.
There is A LOT that goes into having your own business. Even owning your own restaurant comes with it’s own challenges. There is A LOT that goes into it. There is also a good reason why some succeed and others fail to get going. We have seen a few restaurants locally that appear and disappear in a matter of months. It’s sad to see someone’s dream die like that.
A new documentary that is now available on DVD called Spinning Plates explores the ups and downs of restaurant owners. The documentary focuses on three restaurants - Breitback’s Country Dining, Alinea and La Cocina De Gabby.
Breitbach’s Country Dining is located in Balltown, Iowa. It is the oldest restaurant the state of Iowa. It has been in the Breitbach’s family since the mid-1800′s.
Breitbach’s Country Dining is more than a restaurant. It’s a community center and a place where many residents in the area call “home”. The restaurant has it’s daily regulars who come in every day and sit in the same seats. They also have patrons who travel hundreds of miles often just to eat that the restaurant.
Its not just the Breitbach’s family’s restaurant – the restaurant in theory is owned by the community. Some people will even jump behind the counter and help serve guests or unlock the restaurant in the morning and get the coffee ready.
This looks like the kind of restaurant I wish we had in our community. I love that everyone knows everyone else and if someone doesn’t show up for their morning coffee the people in the community show concern and will check in on them.
Alinea is a restaurant located in Chicago. It’s unlike any other restaurant I have seen or heard about. Typically their meals are about 25 courses! You don’t get an entire plate of food but rather artistic looking bite size pieces of food.
Alinea is part restaurant, part science laboratory and part art gallery. The food is a piece of art created by science. To give you a better example the restaurant uses a device that traps the aroma of fresh pine needles into a plastic bag. They tend pop tiny holes in the bag with a syringe and put the bag inside a pillow case. They then rest the plate the food on top of the pillow and serve it to the guests. As guests are eating the bag slowly deflates and the scent of fresh pine needles engulfs the patron.
Alinea is currently the top rated restaurant in the United States and 5th or 6th in the world. You have to make reservations months in advance and you can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for two.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a small “mom and pop” type restaurant in Tucson, Arizona called La Cocina De Gabby (Gabby’s Kitchen). It’s run by Gabby and Francisco Martinez. They not only own the restaurant they also run the restaurant from mopping floors to creating the meals and serving guests. Gabby makes the food and her husband Francisco does everything else. Occasionally Gabby’s mother and sister help out.
The couple put everything into the restaurant hoping to make a better life for themselves and their adorable little girl. They are struggling to make their restaurant a success. They put everything they had investing into the restaurant in hopes that their hard work and effort pays off.
Spinning Plates takes viewers behind the scenes at eat restaurant. You’ll learn about their beginnings, their triumphs and their tragedies. One restaurant burns to the ground – twice. Another one fails and closes it’s door and another gets the highest honor imaginable.
If you have ever thought about opening a restaurant you’ll certainly want to see this documentary. There is A LOT more to it than offering great food.
Watching the film gives me a new appreciation for the restaurants that my family enjoys eating at (not chain restaurants – I mean “mom and pop” type restaurants). I know it takes a lot of hard work, but seeing these three stories just makes me appreciate the restaurants even more.
If you are into documentaries like I am, and enjoy getting to the heart of things, then you’ll watch the check out Spinning Plates, now available on DVD.
Just to give you a head’s up – make sure you eat before watching it. They feature A LOT of yummy food.
You can learn more at www.SpinningPlatesMovie.com. You an also check out the film’s Facebook page.
Here is the trailer for your enjoyment.
*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.