Running a restaurant, not for the faint of heart

Have you ever wondered what it is like to run your very own restaurant?  How do you Nancy Kcome up with the right supplies to stock your shelves and larder to accommodate everyone’s needs?  Is there any fun in the job or is it just one problem after another to occupy your time.  Do you ever get any time for yourself?

Nancy Keeney has been experiencing both the joys and the problems having your own restaurant presents. She runs the Mexican restaurant located right outside the Seabrook Island gate called San Lucas. She lived in Atlanta, but now resides in Seabrook at Marsh Walk, along with her three children .

Nancy didn’t exactly plan on being the owner of San Lucas. She came to Charleston with a friend to look at Arriba, the Mexican restaurant in Bohicket Marina that has since closed.  The friend was to be a partner in the restaurant, but he backed out roughly five weeks before the restaurant opened.  What was she to do?  She had put time and money into redecorating the restaurant. Was she just to let that money go, or should she follow through on her own.  She had never run a restaurant in her life.

Three days before the opening, she heard an explosion in the kitchen.  The coke machine compressor had erupted, spewing liquid all over the recently cleaned kitchen.  On opening day, everything that could go wrong did.  The icemaker stopped working, then the power quit.  All of her systems crashed and the menu was too heavy on options.

Nancy says the first six weeks represented a steep learning curve for her.  Hiring good staff and having a first rate cook are the key ingredients in keeping things going.  Getting good staff way out here on these islands is not always easy.  People with experience can usually get better jobs in Charleston, but Nancy has learned how to train wait staff quickly and well to get them up to snuff as to the customers needs.

Nancy also wonders if the location of her restaurant could, by any chance, be haunted.  Yes, haunted.  She describes an evening when she clearly heard footsteps on the floor above the restaurant, and even the sound of children’ running on the stairs. When she saw the tenant the next day, she told him she had heard him above, and he said he hadn’t been in the place for several months.

All problems considered, Nancy says her favorite time of day is the morning when she comes in at around 9AM.  The sun is streaming into the restaurant, the new chef is starting the day’s cooking and the early morning smells of food are lovely. The guacamole is made fresh everyday, as is the salsa, which is made from farm fresh tomatoes.  A hot freshly brewed cup of coffee sets her up for the day’s events, which she always hopes will bring new and exciting adventures.

-Barbara Burgess, Tidelines Writer

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