Updated: Jan 10
January 5th, 2023
"The American Dream; that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement."
James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America
2022 was quite the year for our little company. We started in February by opening Esperanza Trading Company, a 3,500 sq. foot coffee roastery and coffee shop in Woodstock .
In May, we followed that with our original version of La Fondita, down in the North Park Blocks.
In June, we opened Taqueria Los Ponchos, on the other side of the La Fondita building. In July, we opened La Perlita (2.0), over in North Portland, along N. Interstate and Killingsworth.
In September, we opened our doors to Lilia, an incredible little restaurant down in the South Waterfront.
In October we opened De Noche & Bar Comala. To do this, we decided to do away with La Fondita and Los Ponchos since the concept was never something that felt like it came together the way that we wanted. De Noche and Comala now work in tandem out of the old La Fondita space.
In November we opened the doors to Electrica, a Mexican-Japanese Coffee & Tea shop, located in NW Portland, inside of the Schoolhouse Electric building.
In December we opened Matutina, a cafe bakery out of the NW Park Blocks, just 3 blocks from our other business.
In December we launched “RCTID”, a series which we shot over the summer featuring the work of BIPOC folks in Portland. If you haven’t watched it already you should, and while you are watching be sure to subscribe to the channel.
Honors: Republica, named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. Lilia, named one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire Magazine. Lilia, named one of the Best New Restaurants in Portland by The Oregonian. De Noche, named one of the Best New Restaurants in Portland by The Oregonian. And of course the big one, República, presented with a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best New Restaurant.
What I just called off could be considered a successful career in our industry, for this company it was just one year. 1 Year!
I don’t think about it often. In fact, only as I write this do I actually take the time to replay every one of those sequences in my head. At the moment, they don’t feel like accomplishments, they don’t feel like honors, it just all feels like sheer and utter lunacy.
On New Year’s Eve, we went to bed at 4am and woke up at 11am to go pick up keys from our new Landlord. As you may know from the post above, República is closed for the month of January because we are relocating to a new space.
Our Team spent January 1-3rd moving out of the old space and into the new one. Piece by piece of equipment, moved 3 blocks over to a location twice the size of the old one.
We have 3 weeks to do a full build-out, and have our doors opened, hopefully by January 25th.
In addition, we have to open the new space in St. Johns, for La Fondita 2.0. A lease that we signed back in September, originally slated to be a tap-room for Entre Compas before the passing of our dear friend and business partner Nick Herrera.
In February, I have to be back in Mexico shooting another Docuseries, this one with Mexico as the backdrop.
You are probably thinking to yourself, “how are you all doing all of this?” Determination, Patience, Hard Work, and believe it or not carefully calculated strategy.
And by carefully calculated strategy I really mean figure out how NOT to run out of money. For 2023, our strategy is simple; deep breaths, positive thoughts, and the occasional shot of Becherovka at the end of the night. (because nothing says you’ve got it together more than a beautiful digestif as a night-cap.)
But really though, thank you all for making 2022 the best year this little two year old company has ever seen. On behalf of the entire República and Co. group, I can genuinely say that none of this is possible without your support.
As for me, thank you all for giving me the opportunity to live out my own version of the American Dream. If you are an immigrant, the son or daughter of immigrants, or you are just someone that identifies as part of an underrepresented community know that my American Dream began in a tiny 150 sq. foot cafe and 10k of my own savings, which I used to open that beautiful little space.
You don’t have to start with much, but you just have to start.
Starting with everything is good, but when you don’t have those things, giving it your everything feels even better.
Wow… that is corny.