I use the term “day job” loosely…very loosely. Because, being a restaurateur takes up most of the 24 hours in a day, not just the typical nine to five. And it’s not really a job, it is a lifestyle choice. If you don’t mind working late on weekends, covering the occasional dishwashing shift or snaking a floor drain when someone throws too many straws down it, then being a restaurant owner may be for you.
Sugo Trattoria is a casual Northern California restaurant that marries the traditions of old world with the wine country food culture of Sonoma County.
Peter and I have owned Sugo Trattoria for almost six heavenly years. I may be using the term “heavenly” loosely too.
It has been a labor of love. Emphasis on labor.
We both have strong restaurant backgrounds that range from dishwasher to server to chef to owner. It is in our blood. Just like wine.
All of our hard work, passion and sleepless nights have paid off. Sugo is Michelin Recommended, highly Zagat rated and most of the people on Yelp like us (some think we need to bathe more, but that’s an entirely different story). All of that, besides the bathing part, means we serve really good grub.
The most common questions answered:
Do you cook? Yes and I am pretty damn good at it. At least when it comes to Italian food. Peter and I are both chefs and the sole creators of our menus. It is what we enjoy doing most.
But, we never cook at home since we only live 4 blocks from the restaurant.
My garlic is already chopped and I have a dishwasher at work, why would I want to cook at home? If you come to my house, I will gladly offer you microwavable popcorn, three year old granola bars, bottled water and, of course, red wine. Though, it’s much better to come to the restaurant if you don’t think that low-fat popcorn pairs well with Zinfandel.
How can you work with your husband everyday? We drink a lot of wine. A lot. And we kind of like each other. Even without the wine.
How can you travel so much as a restaurateur? I have spent the last three years diligently setting up our restaurant to be able to run without us.
And without it catching on fire.
In the early stages Peter and I took vacations solely to Arizona on separate days, overlapping for one night. This way both of us were only away from the restaurant, at the same time, for no more than twenty-four hours. One day eventually turned into three, which turned into seven. And last month we escaped on our longest travels ever to Hong Kong and Thailand where he was gone for 11 days and me a whopping 21!
And the restaurant was still standing when we returned. Bonus.
It has been six years filled with triumphs, failures, frustrations, a whole lot of laughs and a little bit of wanting to poke our eyeballs out with toothpicks.
Would you ever want to be a restaurateur?