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Montrose Town Kitchen and Grill – Jim Collins

Jim Collins, Montrose Town
What is your name, your business and where are you located?
Jim Collins.  Montrose Town Kitchen and Grill.  We are close to the corner go Honolulu and Oceanview, 2 doors down from Starbucks
Tell me about how you started.
Something my wife and I have been thinking about for a long time.  We were frequent guests and friends with the previous owner.  We knew he was interested in moving on.  We started talking about taking over mid year last year, and made the transition in January.
What is different and what is the same?
We wanted to keep the best of what Cucina Rustica had to offer- their lasagna, baked ziti and pizza… the pizza crust is so good, that people just love it.  On our new menu we are getting a lot of orders for the Risotto- it is made with a parmesan rind reduction over a 4 hour process.  Our executive Chef likes to joke that we really cook, here. Our other popular dish is our Rib Eye. People have been looking for a great steak that is moderately priced.  And, of course, the Brussels.  People seem to really enjoy that dish.  (I know I did.  It is stupidly good)
Why does your business exist?
We felt like there was a hole in the restaurant offerings in the Foothill area.  We wanted a nice place to pop in on a week night but also, on a weekend, have a finer dining experience. We wanted a great bar, solid service and a menu broad enough to appeal to the fresh, health oriented as well as the “live it up” crowd with steak or pasta.
What the heck is a “great bar”?
It is a place where you can easily see the spirit you like, get a well made drink relatively quickly from someone who is friendly and well trained.  Not so great bars don’t have “your” brand, and, perhaps, martinis are only stirred, not shaken. If the cocktail and wine service is slow and unsatisfactory the whole experience is going to suffer.
Describe your fan.
I really didn’t care for that question.  I don’t want to think my fan is “blah”.  What I will say is the type of people we are trying to attract are people in our community here. My wife and I and most of our friends- we grew up here and love it, but in order to get food like this we had to go to Pasadena or Downtown Glendale.  At the end of the day we a looking to appeal to people who love good food.
What do you do that a chain restaurant can’t?
Well, we can understand our community. Montrose is unique in how they utilize their events.  We can understand and be adaptable to the events that happen… for example on Halloween having the staff dressed in non scary costumes, hand out candy and to have something really easy for moms and dads to pick up to nosh on as they walk around the street.  For Ocktober Fest- if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!  Push all the tables together and let’s be a giant Beer Garden!  You have to respond to the neighborhood, it’s needs and desires in a way that serves the community.
What is one thing about you that no one really knows about
Ha!  I don’t think there is anything hidden!  I am a pretty out there guy!  My blog, Chick Magnet Blog- started with my nephew who had lost his mom. He spent a lot of time at my house, watching me cook said “maybe I’d like to learn to cook!” So I said, “when I teach you to cook, you’ll become a Chick Magnet!”, and it was true.  Later on, my son decided he wanted to learn to cook with a bunch of his friends.  They would come over, prepare a multi course dinner and their girlfriends would come in the evening and sit.  They guys would take the plates out and introduce the dish to the gals that they were serving and it was a lot of fun.
What is the funniest/craziest thing that ever happened in your business
Wow- the craziest thing is the explosion of interest.  I get a lot of criticism- I don’t have a phone number, I don’t have a website.  You know, people get really mad- my phone number is hard to find.  The sum total of marketing I’ve done is to pull the brown paper off the window!  My focus is great food and great service.  When I feel we have that nailed down I’ll do those other things.
Montrose Town Kitchen and Grill
2276 Honolulu Ave
Montrose Shopping Village
(818) 248-1881
http://www.townkitchenandgrill.com/

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