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631: Julian Medina on Living the American Dream

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Release Date: 07/11/2019

649:  Lisa Astorga-Watel on Taking Chances, Networking, and Presence.  show art 649: Lisa Astorga-Watel on Taking Chances, Networking, and Presence.

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Chef/Owner Lisa Astorga-Watel grew up in Santiago, Chile, before moving to Houston, Texas where she attended The Culinary Art Institute. Astorga-Watel's ambition started early wit the opening of her own catering business to cover her expenses while in school. Following her formal training, she served as a private chef for celebrity, Tommy Lee Jones. It was during this time in her career she was able to travel the world developing her pallet and culinary repertoire. It was also during this time she met her future husband and business partner Chef Damien Watel. Together the couple owns Bite and...

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648: Scott Roberts on Persistence and Hard Work show art 648: Scott Roberts on Persistence and Hard Work

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

The Salt Lick has a story that dates back to the 1830s when Scott Robert's ancestors came to TX with Steven F Austin and moved to Driftwood, TX in the 1870s. Over the next 100 years, BBQ techniques were developed by Roberts family that would eventually be used in the original Salt Licks, which was established in 1967, by Scott Roberts' parents, Thurman and Hisako Roberts. In 1985 the Business was passed from parents to son. In the proceeding 30 years, Scott has scaled the original footprint and has opened an additional 3 locations. Today The Salt Lick is continuously recognized as one of the...

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647: Ben Poremba on Transforming Communities One Block at a Time show art 647: Ben Poremba on Transforming Communities One Block at a Time

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Israeli native, Ben Poremba moved to St. Louis to earn a BA in philosophy from the University of Missouri. He also attended University of Gastronomic Studies in Parma, Italy. Today Poremba is  Chef/Owner of Bengelina Hospitality Group, the St. Louis-based, award-winning operator of Nixta and Bar Limón, Elaia, Olio, La Patisserie Chouquette, and The Benevolent King. Poremba is a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist in the category of Best Chef-Midwest, and he continues taking the St. Louis dining scene by storm. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: “Food of love for...

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646: Nick Bogacz on Guerilla Marketing Tactics  show art 646: Nick Bogacz on Guerilla Marketing Tactics

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

After 16 years of working in the pizza biz from delivery driver to store manager, Nick Bogacz built the confidence to open his own pizza place in 2012. Today, Bogacz is the President and Founder of Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse. An inspiring leader and team builder, he has grown his company to nearly 200 employees and 5 locations in 7 years. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "Make it happen." In this episode with Nick Bogacz we will discuss: Becoming a leader early in life Learning leadership from coaching sports Natural leadership inclination Doing everything in your job...

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645: Ben Berg on Assuming Nothing While Anticipating Everything show art 645: Ben Berg on Assuming Nothing While Anticipating Everything

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Born in New York City, Ben Berg has been in the restaurant business for over 17 years working for upscale steakhouses in Las Vegas, Mexico City, and his hometown. Prior to his career in restaurants, Berg received a Master of Hospitality Management from Cornell University and a B.A. in Art History from Tulane University. Berg would go on to work for The Point, a luxury hotel company voted the #1 small hotel in the country at the time. In 2015 Berg opened B.B. Butchers and Restaurant in Houston, TX. 3 years after the original B.B. Butcher, the Berg Hospitality Group was formed and has scaled to...

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644: Charles Clark and Grant Cooper on True Restaurant Etiquette show art 644: Charles Clark and Grant Cooper on True Restaurant Etiquette

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Clark Cooper Concepts, lead by Chef Charles Clark and Grant Cooper, is the group behind Ibiza, Brasserie 19, Coppa Osteria, Punk’s Simple Southern Food, and The Dunlavy, was brought to life in 2001, when they decided to share their passion for food and the dining experience. The driven duo constantly strives to be at the forefront of the Houston restaurant industry with concepts that are chic, sophisticated, and provide customers with an experience of undeniable excellence and spirit. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: Grant: "Everything is derived from passion." Charles: "Do...

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643: Damian Mandola on Attention to Detail show art 643: Damian Mandola on Attention to Detail

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Damian's 40+ years of experience started with "Damian's Fine Italian Food"- a restaurant he started as a college senior in 1975. Damian's experience took him from his first restaurant to becoming a fixture in the Houston restaurant scene, first with D'Amico's, then Damian's Cucina Italiana, then to the national scene with Carrabba's; a restaurant he founded with nephew Johnny Carrabba. Moving to the Austin area, the Mandola's have promoted Italian culture and cuisine in Texas by opening Mandola's Italian Kitchen and Trattoria Lisina, totaling 4 locations. Show notes… Favorite success quote...

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642: Johnny Carrabba on Community, Family, and Enthusiasm show art 642: Johnny Carrabba on Community, Family, and Enthusiasm

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

  After attending college at St. Thomas University in Houston, Johnny began working in the local restaurants owned by members of his family. In 1986 he opened Carrabba's with his uncle, Damian Mandola. In 1993 they entered a partnership with Outback Steakhouse Inc., now Bloomin' Brands. At one point the partnership grew the brand to 247 locations Carrabba currently owns 3 Mia’s Table and Grace’s on Kirby as well as the two local locations of Carrabba’s The Original. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "Give for the sake of giving, not for the sake of gaining." In...

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641: Greg Scheinman on Selecting Restaurant Insurance show art 641: Greg Scheinman on Selecting Restaurant Insurance

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Today we're discussing restaurant insurance. Specifically, the elements that should be in your insurance package, what these different elements cover, and what to consider when selecting an insurance broker. Joining us for this conversation, guest mentor, Geg Scheinman. Insgroup Partner, Greg Scheinman, is a Property and Casualty Insurance Specialist, focusing on middle-market companies in a variety of industries, with a particular focus on the hospitality, retail and fitness industries.…as a matter of fact…many of our past guests are his clients. On top of this Greg host his own podcast,...

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640: Jason Sabala on Culture and Soul show art 640: Jason Sabala on Culture and Soul

Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Once upon a time Austin, TX hometowner, Jason Sabala, had aspirations of becoming an elementary school teacher, until one day, when Sabala broke up a fight at Austin's well-known night club, Emo's. This experience took him on a new trajectory into the world of security, and eventually night club ownership. His experience at Emo's gave him the skills and knowledge to eventually open his own Night club in Portland, OR called Sabala's. Today Jason Sabala is the owner of two Buzz Mill Coffees with a third on the way, and Plow Burger. Show notes… Favorite success quote or mantra: "You gotta kill...

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Raised in Mexico City, Julian Medina's inspiration was his father’s and grandfather’s authentic home cooking. Training professionally in Mexico City, Julian was brought to New York City to be Chef de Cuisine at Maya, which earned two stars from the New York Times under Julian’s leadership. Maintaining his position at Maya, Julian enrolled in the French Culinary Institute, graduating with recognition. Ever since he's been opening restaurants in partnership until 2017 when he opened La Chula, his first solo restaurant. Today Chef Mendina is the chef/owner of Toloache, Coppelia, Tacuba Mexican Cantina, La Chula, and TQS.

Show Notes

Success Quote or Mantra:

  • "Stay humble, work hard, and run."

In this episode with Julian Medina we will discuss:

  • Growing up in Mexico City
  • Discovering a love of cooking
  • Learning how to drink tequila
  • Stay appealing to tourists who don’t know anything about your concept
  • Owning and managing A TON of restaurants in NYC
  • Transitioning from full-service to fast-casual
  • Work-life balance
  • The American dream and what it means to someone living it
  • Racism in the industry