Questions for 2 Restaurateurs - Venti's

UPDATE: Venti's Taphouse will be closed to the public for a private event on both Tuesday, August 2nd and Wednesday, August 3rd evening. Here's a link to the new taplist.
They're shooting for a Monday, August 8th opening.  :>)

Do you hear that sound? That's the excitement in Salem over the soon to open Venti's Taphouse on 2840 Commercial S.

Here's a glimpse of what we have to look forward to: "The new 4,340 SF location will include a full bar with up to 24 rotating beers on tap, 100 rotating bottled beers, our fabulous Venti’s multi-culti menu, a kid’s space, outdoor seating, convenient bicycle parking and a large parking lot, accessible from Commercial Street and Fairview Avenue."

Eatsalem thought it was the perfect time to learn a little more about Leslie and Dino. Dino's answers are in black and Leslie's in purple. Enjoy!

Please add a short bio for those readers who are unfamiliar with you:

Dino Venti, Salem transplant since 1996, hails from East Los Angeles, the youngest of 11. Avid mountain-biker, loving husband and devoted dog-owner.

Leslie Venti moved to Salem in 2002 from Denver via the Bay Area. Graphic designer by trade. Happily freelance. I play roller derby with the Cherry City Derby Girls, practice yoga, am a dedicated wife and would rather spend time w/ my dogs than most people. Dino and I are a good match.

Venti's Taphouse Custom Tap handles

First food memory:
Mom's home cooking. She had to cook a lot for our large family and it was always great.

As a child I loved melted cheese over canned green beans. The love for cheese and veggies has never gone away.

What are your greatest joys of owning a restaurant?
Bringing jobs to the community and bringing a place for the community to meet.

I love being part of the community. That means the most to me. Feeling connected.

What are your biggest challenges?
Time management, food costs, labor

Being able to say "No." Thinking I can do everything is my downfall.

Anyone you would like to thank (and why) for helping with your dream of running a restaurant?
Yes. The Crew! My managers, Tyler, Tricia, Matt, Andrew, John Allen, and my nephew C-Note (Conrad), and my supportive, lovely wife Leslie. This is my team -- belief, hard work, commitment. I couldn't do this without them.

We have an amazing team!

What do you think is missing, as far as the food scene goes, in Salem?
More fun, funky dining.

I love salad with tons of color and ingredients -- I would love to see a dedicated salad bar restaurant (like Souper Salad). In college at University of Colorado I'd spend hours eating and studying at the Boulder Salad Company :) . I think a salad bar would rock in Salem. I love the one at Lifesource!

What do you cook at home that you never cook at the restaurant?
Haha I eat a lot of cereal at home. My wife can hardly keep it stocked.

Pizza from Winco.

What's your favorite kitchen tool?
A spoon (see above) and a cheese grater!

Our faithful French Press.

Any advice for someone who's thinking about starting their own business?
Have a vision, be committed and cross your T's and dot your I's.

Don't settle -- for a location, an employee, a recipe.

And last, just for the two of you: You're quite a team with a great concept. Do you have plans to make Venti's a brand and possibly branch out beyond the borders of Salem?
Yes but one step at a time. We are besieged by Venti's fans who've moved away but crave our food. Who knows where we might open our next Venti's. Bend, Eugene, Hebo? We have a friend in Vancouver, BC that tells us we need to open a Venti's in Vancouver, which is very attractive as that is a mountain biking destination!

I think the Venti's brand could go far. I can see Good, Clean Food branches in other cities for sure. I'd like to have one in Boulder, CO :)


Anonymous said...

Such a great photo of you two!
Yes, Salem is excited. Very excited.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this location to open up! I'm excited to have a wonderful sit-down restaurant serving great food within walking distance. Dino, hope you're ready to serve my friends and I a lot of beer, since we won't even have to drive :)