Friday, July 25, 2014

Aroha Restaurant: We're Opening in September!

Hi everyone! It's insane how busy these past couple of weeks have been. I've barely had time to think, let alone type a blog. So much as happened. I barely know where to begin with all of the updates.

Our past few weeks have been primarily focused on the final stages of the restaurant's construction. We made our final decisions on the floors, the wall colors, etc., and we've purchased our equipment and 80% of our furniture. We decided to forgo vinyl booths for the outside and instead have beautiful couch-style banquettes surrounding the back patio. We have a meeting next week for the shade sails that will be installed above the front and back patios...and then we have to find misters. We're still searching for our tables and chairs for the outdoors, which is why we're holding off on announcing our official opening day. We have an idea in our minds, but we don't want to make it official until we know our customers can actually sit and eat!

The completed walls and ceiling!

Aesthetically, the walls and ceilings are now complete...and our 10 foot long water feature has been delivered. Yes. I know I kept saying it was 8 ft but apparently a mix up made it 10 ft. Luckily, it fits. It did take six guys though to move it, and it was not easy! Gwith was actually too scared to watch.

The 10 ft long water feature being delivered.
The kitchen's tile floors are also done and the speaker system has been installed as well. We spent about an hour this week just searching for and downloading over 24 hours of Kiwi music. Our most exciting news however, is that we now have two completed rooms! The bathrooms! They are fully tiled and painted, and they look awesome.

Interior of the women's restroom.
This week, we also picked out our plates, silverware, and glasses. Gwith entering that shop was like a kid entering Disneyland. There were so many types and shapes to choose from. I have also ordered all of our menu covers, which will be a nice black leathery material, with our logo in silver. In bigger news, we purchased our POS system, which will be complete with a Guest Services System where we can take down our customer's allergies, preferences, birthdays and anniversaries, etc. With this system, we are excited to be able to implement a high level of customer service at our restaurant. Our system will also feature a large number of dish modifications so we can easily let the kitchen know about allergies.

This past month, we also brought on board our awesome wine director and sommelier, Jordan Grieg. He is searching far and wide to ensure that we have an amazing wine collection, with 50-70% of our list being from New Zealand. It's not easy to find in the USA and he is working his hardest to make this happen.

Throughout all of the craziness, something had to fall through. As I mentioned in the previous Aroha blog, we were hiring a muralist to paint the Auckland skyline. Unfortunately, a situation arose and this hasn't been able to happen. We are still hopeful to get a mural or large canvas painting done for the restaurant before opening, however, getting everything else done is our first priority!

We're getting down to the wire here and will be placing ads for our employees very soon. In between all of our meetings and decision making, I've been writing the employee handbook and training manual. It has been time consuming but I think it will pay off to have those available.

I officially feel confident now in announcing that Aroha will be opening in September! We have a majority of the furniture and equipment arriving by mid-August, and once we have the rest of our furniture ordered and begin hiring employees, we will officially announce our grand opening date.

That's it for our latest Aroha updates! We are so glad we got to get away to Catalina Island earlier this month. The vacation time was much needed and refreshed us for at least the following 24 hours! I would love to say that I'm only kidding, but it's actually kind of true! Hopefully within the upcoming days, I'll be able to blog about our Catalina trip, as well as continue my European Adventure blogs!!

Catalina Island July 2014!

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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Aroha Restaurant: Our Westlake Magazine Cover & In Other News: Interior, Meetings, Phone Calls, Repeat

This week has been one of the craziest, if not the craziest of the summer. I'm trying to think of the last day we weren't in constant meetings or on lengthy phone calls regarding Aroha.

We began the week meeting with our good friend and mentor, Elie Balas, of Menchie's Frozen Yogurt. After weeks of going back and forth on whether or not we'd need to hire a general manager, Elie's advise convinced us that we could in fact run the restaurant on our own. It's funny. That was our original plan. However, somewhere amongst the hectic summer days, we began to question if we'd need another hand. When there's enough time to overthink everything, plans can change drastically. Thankfully, Elie brought us right back to our original focus. We honestly couldn't have asked for a better mentor and are so thankful we met with him before this hectic week truly began.

The rest of this week has been a lot of running around and a lot of interior design. First of all, we found a fantastic muralist here in LA to paint the Auckland Skyline within our restaurant. He begins sketching it on Monday and we cannot wait to reveal it! Our 8 foot long water feature is also nearing completion. For the last two days, we drove back and forth around the valley looking at flooring, picking up samples, checking out equipment, meeting with various people, and spending our in between time on the phone or emailing. Among other things, we picked out the bathroom tiles and stalls this week. It's funny how when you plan to build a restaurant, there are just certain things you don't think about in terms of the design. I'd have to say that bathroom stalls were definitely one of them! Who knew there were so many different types and colors to choose from?!

We also picked out our beautiful floors and walls. We are still working on figuring out the cabinets and counter tops! Luckily, we're not quite there yet, so we have a little bit of wiggle room.

We are currently making many decisions about the interior design at Aroha Restaurant in Westlake Village. This week we picked out the floors and walls! We are still working on the counter tops and cabinets!

On Monday, the wires for the sign will be installed. We are still trying to determine when we want to put the sign up. Originally, we were going to wait until opening, however, with all of the buzz, we're now starting to think we should put it up sooner.

Construction wise, everything is progressing like crazy! At the beginning of the week, the crew was working on installing the air conditioning and heating system, as well as finishing the walls. By yesterday, half the ceilings were already up and the hood system was being installed! We are currently talking with someone to install our sound system and will hopefully have that underway next week. I am so excited for everyone to see the restaurant when it's completed.

The walls are being put up and the air conditioning is currently being installed at Aroha in Westlake Village.

The ceilings are currently being installed at Aroha in Westlake Village.

Typing all of this, I'm still not sure how we've done so much in just a weeks time. Besides everything mentioned above, I have also created all of the employee job descriptions. They are now ready to go and we will most likely begin our search within the next two weeks. As of yesterday, we now have a very talented man creating our wine list.

Next week, we will be looking at more equipment, as well as picking out our seats and tables! We're cramming in a whole lot on Monday, as on Tuesday, we're taking off to Catalina Island for our final three days of relaxation.

If there wasn't any better way to end this crazy week, our cover story in Westlake Magazine came out yesterday! We are so pleased with the article and would like to thank everyone involved for this incredible opportunity including the magazine's founder Rebecca Grossman, writer Charly Emery, photographer Jane Gibson, makeup artist Nicola Gerboc, reporter Robyn Flans, and Liz Barrett from the Chamber of Commerce.

July 2014 Food & Wine Edition of Westlake Magazine featuring Gwithyen and Justine Thomas of Aroha Restaurant, New Zealand Cuisine

July 2014 Food & Wine Edition of Westlake Magazine featuring Gwithyen and Justine Thomas of Aroha Restaurant, New Zealand Cuisine

Reserve Now

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