Sunday, May 4, 2014

Let the Construction Begin! PLUS: Anzac Day and Our Wine Tasting!

It's May 4th and in the past two weeks, Aroha has really begun to take shape! We have been so busy with our permits, construction, wine tasting, designing the sign, networking, etc.

Last Tuesday, Gwith got a call from our contractor, Ashour. We had been so busy running around the week before, that we hadn't been to our space to see the progression. The last we had seen it, the walls were sitting on the floor, waiting for the permits to be approved. When Gwith told Ashour we hadn't been there yet, he laughed. We were in for a big surprise.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were blown away with how much had happened in just one week. Half of the wall frames were already up! As the week comes to a close (and we've been stopping by every day), the construction team has finished the framing (walls, ceiling, and soffits) and was last seen putting in the light fittings.

Tuesday, April 29th (the walls are going up!) 
Wednesday, April 30th (the soffits are going up!)
Thursday, May 1st (the pass is up!)
Friday, May 2nd (95% of the soffits are done!)
Back tracking to last Sunday, Gwith and I went to the commemoration of ANZAC Day in Westwood. For those of you unfamiliar with ANZAC day, its the national day of remembrance for members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought during World War I. After the commemoration, we joined the New Zealand Consulate-General at his residence for drinks and snacks. As luck would have it, we sat down at a table with a number of prominent Kiwis who live in the Westlake Village area. After a couple of very interesting conversations, we are hopeful to have some exciting announcements for our restaurant next year.

Last Monday, we had our wine representative over to our house for a tasting. In four hours, Gwith and I, joined by my parents, my sister, and her fiancee, enjoyed taste testing 26 different, organic, wines. They were incredibly tasty and we are excited to offer the majority of them in our restaurant. Before the tasting, we bought a selection of cheese to keep us (well, me in particular), from falling asleep from all of the wine! Somehow, I managed to make it through the tasting! I'm pretty sure though, that even when you're just tasting and spitting into a cup, you're body is absorbing more alcohol than you realize. I definitely felt like I drank two glasses of wine by the end of it. Gwith, on the other hand, did drink the majority of his half glass tasters! My dad drank the first 5 tasters or so, and then disappeared for a nap! Other than Gwith, our family is clearly a bunch of lightweights!

To complete an already eventful week, we woke up this morning to find out our restaurant has been mentioned in the Ventura County Star! We are ecstatic to have a shout out so early on for our restaurant!

"Back in Westlake Village, former 9021PHO neighbor The Counter: Custom Built Burgers (30990 Russel Ranch Road, Suite B, 818-889-0080) won’t be lonesome for long. Suite C, which has been vacant since the debut more than five years ago of the three-suite center near Pierce Bros. Valley Oaks Memorial Park, has been claimed as the future home of a restaurant specializing in New Zealand and Pacific Rim cuisines. Named for the Maori word for love, Aroha Restaurant is slated to open this fall. Husband-and-wife owners Gwithyen and Justine Thomas, both in their 20s, are posting construction updates and photos to the restaurant’s website ( and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Justine, a singer-songwriter, is also blogging about the experience of opening a restaurant ("

In one week, Gwith and I will be leaving on our very early anniversary trip to Europe! We are extremely excited for our trip but we also can't wait to see what our restaurant looks like when we return! During this next week, we will continue to stop by our restaurant and post pictures on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so be sure to keep checking those for updates!

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30990 Russell Ranch Rd Unit C, Westlake Village, CA 91362
© 2014 Aroha Restaurant.