It once was a small kabob place a half a block from the old raised highway. When we took it over it had six seats. Six. And the raised highway was still there. And it didn’t do well. Once again, we were faced with the hard decision. But it was our next door neighbor, Viga, that inspired us to keep going… they were killing it. People brushed by us without as much as a glance, so we knew there were people – we just needed to change something so they might see us and give us a try. So, when the Motofoto next door to us went bust we said “let’s cut through the wall and go from 6 seats to 50 seats.” People said “why would you ever put more seats in, people always get it to go.” After a few chin scratches, we realized “Of course they get it to go… they can’t stay… there are only six seats!” So we took the Motofoto and went from the smallest restaurant (smaller than Harvard) to our largest overnight.
Within 30 days, things were hopping as we hoped they might (phew!). What we also learned was that we loved the original ceilings and the natural brick hidden behind the photo shop walls… and that discovery led us to our current philosophy of working as much as possible with our space as-is before using new materials to change it. Many of our later restaurants have benefited from this shift in mindset.