10.04.2010

To Answer the Question



While many things have changed since we closed the doors to the cafe, some things remain exactly the same. For example, in spite of our own personal identity crisis, people in the neighborhood still refer to us as "the Little Red Bike People." As such, we have become very accustomed to being asked:

Q: "When are you going to open up again?"

An obvious question I admit, but one we had a difficult time answering.

This is the question that used to cause a knot to form in my stomach, because every time we made an attempt to answer it, the answer never felt honest. The answer was never honest because it was constantly in flux. If you asked me this question three months ago, around the time when we just closed our doors, my response would have been: "Never. We will never open back up again." That would have been my response because that's what you say when you're down on the ground; it's the only natural reflex you can muster when you feel like your heart has been ripped out of your chest.

After a month of acting like hermits and nursing our egos, we decided our only option was to dust ourselves off, get out of the house, and seek inspiration. If the first month sans cafe was about detox, then the second month was all about recovery. I am grateful for the family and friends we got to spend this time with, guiding us in the opportunity to see and experience more of the world. I truly believe it was all of the hysterical camping trips, late-night motivational speeches, incredible meals, and globe trekking that nourished us during this time. It was the donuts from New York, the sunshine from Spain, and the stylish biking culture from Amsterdam that put fire in our bellies. It was my grandfather's peanut butter waffles, and the late night dance-offs, and Saturday morning juice parties that made us hungry for the next adventure. These experiences, and the times in-between, are what made me feel comfortable in my own skin again.

More than three months have passed since we shut the doors to the cafe, and despite all that we have done in-between, it's hard for me to believe so much time has gone by. To be brutally honest about the subject, it took a concerted effort on our part to see each other as husband and wife again, and not as business partners, to convince ourselves, and each other, that we might be ready to try branch back out into the food industry again.



Evan and I are "doers," so it can be difficult when we don't have a project to work on. One thing that we know for certain is that we are currently not ready to launch LRBC version 2.0. We feel lucky to have been able to operate a business that seemed to work effectively on so many different levels, for so many different people. Up to this point we have felt concerned that a misguided attempt at recreating the magic we had experienced on North Lombard Street might in some way tarnish the good memories we were so fortunate to create during these past few years. In some strange way it feels easier to continue to leave the LRBC in a state of limbo, and to force ourselves to branch out in some new (yet somewhat familiar) directions.

Apologies if I am moving way too fast. I know that it is difficult to accept the fact that your beloved cafe will remain (for the time being) in some sort of frozen-Han-Solo state; alive, but in perfect hibernation. The LRBC still exists in our hearts, so we know that the dream of a future home for the cafe need not die. In the meantime, we've been busy planning some fun alternatives that will help tide you over until the day when that other dream comes true. We are elated to share the news that we will soon have an opportunity to cook for the very same North Portland customers who helped legitimize our business in the first place. Perhaps the best part of all, this newest kitchen of ours is on wheels, meaning that this time around we can bring our food to you.

In other words, we are finally able to answer that question that's apparently been plaguing many of us:

A: We are planning on feeding you again soon.

We are still in the beginning stages of working out the details, but rest assured that sometime in the near future we will be introducing a new mobile dining experience to a street near you. Around the same time we are also planning on launching a new retail business, specializing in small batch cakes, jams and granola (yes, these are many of the same recipes you fell in love with at the cafe).

I recently came to the realization that I have spent that last ten years in the food industry, trying to make a living out of creating positive and memorable food experiences for the people around me. Experience proves that this is not an easy task. We didn't get into this business seeking money or notoriety. We wanted to create a neighborhood coffee shop and cafe because of a passion for food, and because we wished to share that passion with others. We are people who tend to follow our nose, react to our gut, and work tirelessly at everything we do. Suffice to say, if we are going to go after something, we are going to do so the only way we know how: at full speed (which according to some is the only speed worth going). This time we acknowledge that we are dreaming big. Please stay tuned as this latest chapter of the story unfolds.


15 comments:

lynn // satsuma press said...

Hot damn! Is that mobile food cart going to be able to make its way down here? If not, we will make the drive to it (and you). Can hardly wait.

Natalie Burke said...

Yaaaaay! I'm excited to hear this happy news. Thanks for the update!

sarah said...

Hooray! I drive by the "old" LRB every day & think of you guys and how much I miss the LRB food AND people AND experience. This will be something new and different, but equally delightful I have no doubt. I just hope there will be fig jam involved...

Tarra said...

That's really exciting! I can't wait! :)

P.S. Can you please compete in The Great Food Truck Race? I think you have a winning chance with your delectable egg sandwiches and more! :)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/the-great-food-truck-race/index.html

Anonymous said...

As a husband-and-wife team who run a business together, too, this post really strikes a chord. Bravo to you guys for your bravery, passion and honesty. We loved the food and atmosphere you created at LRBC and know that whatever the next incarnation, it will be beautiful and meaningful because at heart of it is you. Thank you for bringing such wonderful food memories to N. Portland.

colin dorwart said...

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

I love you both.

Molly said...

Welcome back, friends! Looking forward to feasting and catching up!

Spencer said...

It's been great following your journey after the close of the cafe, and I know people are excited to taste your great food again! Best of luck,

Christine said...

I know your many loyal customers will be thrilled to support you in anything you do. Your devotion to each other and to what you've done so far is impressive and rare. I for one can't wait for the announcement(s). Go LRB!

k a t said...

I look forward to caravaning down from Seattle for a chance to visit your truck. So glad I'll have the chance to purchase some goods from afar as well!

Jonlyn said...

This is great, happy news. Kristine said to tell you she's so hungry. Love you both.

Amy said...

Little Red Food Cart, hooray!

Sunya Sharp said...

Yeah...this made my day! I miss my weekend morning walks to your cafe. I hope I can walk to your cart! Best of luck.

Bromka said...

Food bike! Food bike! Food bike!
It's gonna be red right?

Just tweet and I'll find you guys!

Peter

jus said...

ive just been reading your blog,and you guys sound like happy amazing people,so i wish you all the best for your lives and keep smiling and stay beautiful...east coast NZ