How Armi Got Her Encore

On November 15, 2009 my husband and I left Vancouver, BC and started our drive down south all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in our jam packed SUV. This is our annual winter getaway from the long dreary rainy months of Vancouver. It was a pleasant 7 day drive stopping in Oregon, Reno, Las Vegas, Tucson, San Carlos Mexico, Mazatlan and finally in Bucerias, Nayarit. Nayarit or Riviera Nayarit is primarily an agricultural state of Mexico situated on the Pacific coast which is located on the Bay of Banderas. The state government has aggressively promoted and re branded Nayarit to become one of the fastest growing eco tourism destinations in Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Bucerias which is only 20 minutes drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport, is a quaint seaside town with pretty homes, condos, art galleries and a lively restaurant and club scene in the town centre. On December 1, 2009 I saw a for lease sign in one of the beachside restaurants. I asked my real estate agent friend to look into it. It turned out that the previous business has just shut down and the owner of the building is looking for a new tenant. I got the lease on Dec 5 and started renovation a week after. The palapa roof was completely changed, walls painted, the whole place had to be cleaned, new plants and accessories were installed. New furniture and equipments were brought in. I almost forgot that I had to buy plates, glasses, kitchen pots and pans. Then I had to buy food and booze to sell. I am in a total panic now because I had no one to make the menu. I started doing the menu and settled on making tapas and just selling wines. I had no staff and its 5 days to opening day. I hired one waiter who was building my palapa, I hired 2 French workers from Craigslist, and I hired one chef who was passing by. I hired another chef from the cooking school. I hired my painter’s assistant as dishwasher and so on and so forth. I forgot, I need a name for the place and a sign. I listed all the names that I can come up with. The name has to be catchy and something to do with music. So I named it ENCORE. I opened December 18, 2009 with 80 people and no menu, no fanfare, no advertising and a brand new staff. My staff turned out to be all pros and the evening was marvelous and everything went really well, considering that it was a “soft opening”. People loved the live jazz music and the tapas and the whole place looked amazing. Thanks to all my friends who helped clean and decorate the place. I was in a panic mode for over a month just trying to keep up with shopping and buying supplies and equipment for the restaurant. I still didn’t have a menu. But people love the food that we serve them. They were homemade, fresh and reasonably priced. The band was great and I was singing every night. Soon people started coming and hearing about this new fun happening place. It has become the new favorite spot for expatriates and tourists. Now, we have the best food, best view, best music, best margaritas and mojitos and best place to hang out. And yes, we now have a real good food and bar menu.

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