Friday, August 7, 2015

Our Aroha Summer & What's New on the Home Front!

Since we opened Aroha last September, our main goal was to build our customer base gradually while we learned the ropes of running a restaurant and made connections locally with the various newspapers. It was a tough experience to originally open so close to the winter months with little advertising when most people aren't in the mood to go out, and especially to try something new!

This summer though, we felt our staff and restaurant were ready for a big launch! I think the most important thing we've learned through the restaurant is that there will always be hiccups in any business. Nothing will ever be 100% perfect but timing is definitely everything. While we may still have an off day (who doesn't, right??), we now know how to work with the staff to improve any issues a lot faster.

After nearly a year of trying to begin valet parking for our restaurant, we were ecstatic in July to finally begin and thus have enough customer parking available to launch our full advertising campaign with confidence!! In the past month, we've been heavily pushing our name out on Facebook, running ads in 805 Living, The Acorn, and Beyond the Acorn. The Acorn has been fabulous to our restaurant and wrote both a review for their newspaper and an article for their magazine, discussing my husband and I.

Read the full article for Beyond the Acorn here
We've got some exciting things coming up at the restaurant in the next two months, including a new and much more extensive wine list beginning at the end of next week, an extended happy hour menu, and I'm sure my husband has a few new dishes up his sleeve! We've already added some new additions to our brunch menu and a couple new seafood salads to the lunch menu! Be sure to come in for Sunday Brunch soon to try our brand new Blueberry and House made Ricotta Pancakes, House Cured Ora King Salmon, Blackberry and Granny Smith Apple Oatmeal, and of course, New Zealand Venison Sausage (view the menu here)!

It's been exciting to see our numbers begin to jump and we are so grateful for all of the support from the community! The most challenging part is making sure my husband is there for all of the busy times now, which is a great problem to have, of course, but the timing of everything couldn't be crazier! While the restaurant continues to grow, so does my belly! With our baby due in October, Gwith has been a real trooper trying to balance everything. Every morning, he wakes up at 6 am to help me and my growing belly out of bed, before heading back to sleep (or to the supermarket if I'm craving something!) and then heading to the restaurant and returning home at 10 at night...of course, if he's not at the restaurant (he's pretty much always on the phone for the behind the scenes work though!) you can guarantee he's either at a prenatal appointment with me or organizing the house in preparation for our baby! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in nesting mode right now and going completely crazy wanting everything to be perfect! I'm in awe of him everyday and how hard he works at home and at the restaurant for our growing family.

On the home front, we have had a busy week this week with not one, but two close friends flying in to stay with us for our baby shower on Monday! One friend is a close friend of Gwith's from New Zealand, Max, and the other is one of my best friends, Lisa, who I've only seen in person once since we were 10! We are so happy to have them both in town with us! So far, we've been taking Max to all of the "best" America has to offer. I say that sarcastically. For some reason, and Gwith was the exact same way originally, every visitor we have from New Zealand wants to go to places like Walmart and Taco Bell! No matter how much I try to convince them that we have much better quality stores and restaurants, apparently there is nothing more "American" than those places! Poor Max has been dying from the LA heat though! On Tuesday night, he arrived in the valley in pants and a long sleeve shirt. For anyone that lives here, you know how bad that is. That night, Gwith found him standing in front of our A/C vent, arms outstretched, trying to cool down. We're hoping to squeeze in a little time on Saturday or Sunday to show them around LA more, but we'll have to wait and see what Gwith's schedule is looking like at the restaurant.

I am so excited for our baby shower on Monday! As I've entered the third trimester, the past number of weeks have not been easy for me, so it's nice to look forward to something. When I say it hasn't been easy, I mean, our wonderful baby boy has been enjoying punching my hip and kicking my ribs at the same time, pretty much all day long. He's incredibly active, which is wonderful, but man, he must have Gwith's energy levels, because I swear, this baby never sleeps. My stomach is also getting pushed on more and it's getting much more challenging to eat! I am definitely looking forward to his arrival this October. Although, as a first time mom, I'm also terrified about the thought of labor. I've never done well with pain and I've always tried my hardest to avoid it...but this is one thing I can't seem to get out of! ;)

Our handsome baby boy as of July 15th (25 weeks!)
In other news, I've been writing a song for our baby boy since pretty much the day we found out I was pregnant! I am so excited for every one to hear it once he's mentions his name in the chorus, so I can't post it yet...however, I may post a clip of a non spoiler part soon! :)

Anyways, hopefully I'll find the brain power to write again soon! I've been wanting to blog for a while but every time I sit at the computer, my pregnancy brain clicks on, and I can't remember a single thing to talk about. My brain must've been working a little bit better this morning! YAY! Maybe it will last another hour...or even the day??! That would be amazing!

Again, thank you everyone for your wonderful support at the restaurant and for the many congratulations on our upcoming bundle of joy! Every time a guest congratulates us, Gwith passes it on to me when he gets home. :)

Bonus photo of our bunny Willow napping because she's just so darn adorable!