Tuesday, January 19, 2010

turn around

Q: what's happening? Is kismet moving?

A: After extensive consideration, we have decided to stay put!

(we love our wee little kismet!)

Q: so, what's the scoop?

A: thankfully, we have been able to figure out a way to stay small and yet become more sustainable- it has been an interesting and inspiring process, and i am so excited to be able to have made this decision knowing that we really considered all of our options and were supported and encouraged along the way. Thanks to Chittenden Bank who accepted and approved our loan to expand downtown, and to Keven and Jesse who gave us the keys to their buildings and offered us locations that would put kismet "on the map" so to speak, we were able to organize the logistics of the "new" kismet.

After many many meetings, sight plans, estimates, brainstorming, emotional releases, and all of the other day to day business of the current kismet, it became clear that timing was becoming imperative. Frightened and pressured now, to "make it happen" i worked with nina to devise alternative plans should the move take too long or prove to be out of budget.

Plan A: renovate and move into a new space by may first, launching into wedding catering may 15th (yikes!). Raise another $100,000.

plan B: stay put and look at making more space in the building we currently occupy.

honestly, just having a plan B felt like a relief. As the days and weeks seemed to slip by like seconds in a minute, i was becoming more and more stressed about having to force something into being that may, or may not be ready in time. I went downtown and had breakfast out- i sat in almost every cafe in montpelier and just observed. I kept asking myself- is it worth it? what are my motives? what do my customers want?

I went home, tired, restless, and overwhelmed. I kept closing my eyes and begging myself to go easy- to prepare myself for miracles-

the next day i went to kismet. When i opened the door i felt happy- it felt safe and bright, and cozy in there. I checked my email, and there were several from regulars saying that they didn't want us to move, that they love the small space, and how they want us to make it work there-then the first few guests arrived and in a matter of minutes the dining room was full of familiar faces and conversations that were shared between all of the tables. At one moment some-one looked at me, and i felt myself smiling, and they said quietly and directly "i love it when it's like this in here, it just feels so good". we exchanged eye contact and quiet excited smiles, like we both just found out that we were so lucky to be there and that

kismet has something really special.


so we stay.

and practice the art of patient loving- watching kismet grow from the inside- making room and celebrating the intimacy.

Q: Now what?

A: re-arranging, cleaning, organizing, repairing, stocking, working with staff to apply new systems and more efficiency, expanding services, working on the menu, expanding our catering services, and ........

Friday, January 08, 2010


it was while searing some tofu that i realized how much my life has changed since my vegan days, traveling and making seitan in the bathtub.. things are much more complicated and different now.. I used to leave Vermont every winter for warmer places- New Zealand, Australia, Arizona, California, Mexico-- but since kismet i have stayed put. This is my fourth winter here, in this room we call a restaurant, and doing much the same as i have been doing for the last 3+ years.. As I have been writing about, I went through most of last year working towards big and great changes- i have been working on lots of plans to move kismet, make it bigger, get more organized and bring forth all of the ideas i have been working on since we began here. I came in to this year with loan approval, and peace of mind that it would all happen..
today as i sear tofu at nearly 11 at night, nostalgic of my earlier twenties, all-nighters, and bathtub seitan, I realize that I am kind of stuck and still waiting in limbo.. don't worry- it seems that kismet is not going anywhere (at least not tonight), and that there is this whole new business plan to write, and lease to negotiate, and landlord to bargain with.. and yet, I am oddly inspired and excited in a whole new kind of way. On the surface, everything seems and looks the same- and just behind that, there is this package waiting to be opened.

thank you for your support-
and by the way-- everything is really yummy...

favorites to have with my seared tofu:
Vermont Herb and Salad Company baby greens!!! YIPPEE!! live living local greens!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

well, hello there...

well, hello there- how do you do?
it is now 2010, and wow, can you believe it?
I'm still kind of in shock- though thankful that this winter has been less cruel than others (at least here in Montpelier)
and wow- i realize that my age is like a wild weed- growing taller and with deeper roots- and lately it seems that i am constantly nostalgic.. last year doesn't seem that long ago- kismet, deep in snow, kale and eggs and polenta bread- and at the same time, 10 years ago i was only 12 miles down the road (and with the same lot of folks)- my children have grown, i have ventured into my thirties, and the little girls i watched (and admired) nine years ago at the river run are in their twenties now!

Alexis turned twenty one yesterday, and to celebrate, kismet sends her off with much love and encouragement. She left today for a cross country drive to visit her sister in Mexico. I am so happy for her- and happy for all of us who have been able to watch her grow into that person she is now! though it may be snowing in Texas, at least i know Alexis can manage... we will miss her, but happy to hear of her travels when she returns. and I am happy for this inspiration to revisit my own travels cross-country (and Mexico too!)..(ole!!)

so what of kismet?
well- let's talk about 2010.
kismet has been approved for a large loan to move downtown and expand.(!) Over the last year, it has seemed that everyone wants us to do that (expand). It's true that our space is tiny. we push ourselves to serve nearly 90 folks a day in our wee 18 seat space, and our catering business has grown such that we can barely fit anything in our fridge!! But we love it here too. And, it will be hard to say goodbye to this space that has become so (uncomfortably) comfortable. This has become our home, and you have become OUR family.
For the most part of this year, I have been working on expansion plans for kismet-
for most of this time, i have also been overwrought with confusion about the right thing to do. I know that financially, moving would be taking on a BIG risk.. more debt, bigger lease, more bills, more payroll.. but at the same time, it could mean more time together- more room & a place in the heart of downtown...
Anyone who knows me, knows that this year has been full of anguish for me. "WHY?" i keep asking myself.. "WHY CHANGE?"- and "WHAT?"

this is your chance...
how should we do it
when we
make the move?
(here's your chance to speak your mind!)