This is a bit of a melancholy post.......
I wouldn't call this an obituary necessarily but more of a sabbatical, I plan on reinventing 333's in an area that more closely matches our demographic.
For people who know me personally, you know that I am an ultra competitive, I can do anything type of person. I thrive on the ability to simply say, I can do that. It doesn't matter what that 'it' is.......
This mantra/personality prompted me to do something that was relatively improbable and simply say, "I can do it". In April of 2013 I decided that enough was enough. I was working a job I hated, making an okay wage and getting by with a life that most could be proud of. I've never been the type of person that wanted to simply be satisfied with that sort of mindset. With the help of family and friends, I decided to open a restaurant. That restaurant is/was named 333's Gourmet Taco Shop. With about $15,000, some demographic research, and a menu that took me 6 months to come up with we opened the restaurant in about two weeks (that's crazy fast considering the amount of help I had). The previous tenants departed on June 17th and we were open on July 2nd. The three months leading to that, I was fortunate to find two dedicated employees (Sean Masino and Branndon Green), build a menu, start a LLC, gain a business license and get approval from the city to conduct business!
Along the way, I/we have met several wonderful and kind people. People who supported us, shared us on Facebook, liked us on Twitter, loved our food, left numerous positive reviews and so on. I could name a ton of people but I'll simply say, if you're reading this, you know who you are!
This isn't easy to say but in the next few days I'll be shutting down this location and not killing the dream but simply postpone it. I've always said that I would not let this place make me crazy so I'm choosing to set it on the back burner for a while.
The truth of the matter is, there simply aren't enough people in the mid-cities that like free craft beer, mimosas and eclectic tacos. We couldn't educate people fast enough about what we were versus what their perception of what a taco is/was. We tried really hard to make it work here, tried really hard to give people something different (creating a new taco every Thursday, pairing FREE craft beer with unique food), something outside of the box that can't be found on any street corner. I'm sure plenty of you will miss the Hand Grenade, but rest assured I know of at least one person that will be enjoying that from time to time!
I've learned a lot of valuable lessons about this business along the way and by no means consider this a failure. I simply consider this a couple of steps back to take a lot of steps forward.
In a few years if you're ever out and about on the west coast you may see a reincarnation of 333's but for the time being you'll find me behind a desk, doing something I enjoy but not as much as I enjoy seeing smiling faces in the restaurant.
I'll never forget our first customers or our potentially last customers and the excitement of knowing that people passionately loved the food. This past Sunday, I met a wonderful group of people who loved the experience but unfortunately, in this location I won't be able to service them again (keep loving the number 3!)
I would also like to add, for anyone who was brutally negative during our tenure, you have no idea what it means to pour your soul into something. As I said to someone recently, negativity is the lack of positivity.....if you spend most of your life being negative you do so at your own expense because at the end of the day you have to deal with it, not any one else. I'll leave it at that...
I'm thankful for our employees, the people that we've met and the lessons learned along the way. Sean, Branndon, Luis, Grace, David, my friends (especially Marc) who helped open the restaurant, my family who supported me, all of our loyal customers, I thank you.
It's been a swell ride. We sold about 11,000 tacos at 333's but 11,000 tacos isn't enough. Eight months (which is how long we've been operating), however, is and with that I bid you a sweet and respectful adieu (I'll leave you with this photographic history........for now).
A Photographic History of 333's - A view into everything that went into this place, from concepts to decor to current...
Tacos and Tunes