Episode 8

June 05, 2023


From $35 In The Bank To Owning Multiple Restaurants - Jesus 'Chuy' Mendez

Hosted by

Dr. Chase Horton
From $35 In The Bank To Owning Multiple Restaurants - Jesus 'Chuy' Mendez
Discover Birmingham
From $35 In The Bank To Owning Multiple Restaurants - Jesus 'Chuy' Mendez

Jun 05 2023 | 01:23:00


Show Notes

Join your host, Dr. Chase Horton, a Birmingham REALTOR with a passion for showcasing the hidden gems and outstanding individuals that make Birmingham shine. Welcome to the Discover Birmingham podcast, where we uncover the untold stories of the vibrant city of Birmingham, Alabama. 

In this captivating episode, Dr. Chase sits down with a remarkable guest whose journey from adversity to success will leave you inspired. Meet Chuy, an extraordinary entrepreneur and owner of some of Birmingham's most popular restaurants and bars, including Unos Tacos, Adios Bar, The Louis Bar, and and Honest Coffee Shops in Downtown and Edgewood. Chuy has been named Young Professional of the Year and one of Birmingham's Top 40 Under 40. His newest bar, Adios, has been nominated for Best New Cocktail Bar by Forbes, and named Top Tequila Bar in the US by Food & Wine.

But Chuy's path to prosperity was far from easy. Tune in as he shares his powerful story of resilience and determination. From serving time and enduring the hardships of being assaulted in jail, to facing financial hardship with only $35 in his bank account, Chuy's journey is a testament to the human spirit's ability to overcome even the most daunting obstacles.

Through his unwavering drive and unwavering belief in himself, Chuy transformed his life and built a thriving empire. Discover the secrets behind his success and learn how he turned adversity into an opportunity to make a lasting impact on Birmingham's culinary scene.

But Chuy is more than just a successful entrepreneur; he's a great friend and a genuinely caring individual. Driven by a deep passion for fitness, Chuy not only prioritizes his own well-being but also extends his commitment to healthy living to his community.

Join Dr. Chase Horton as he delves into the story of Chuy, a true embodiment of the spirit of Birmingham. Through their engaging conversation, you'll gain a newfound appreciation for the city's resilience, its people, and the endless possibilities that lie within.

Get ready to be inspired, enlightened, and captivated by Chuy's incredible journey on the Discover Birmingham podcast. Don't miss this episode that reminds us all that no matter where we start, we have the power to create our own success and make a positive impact on the world around us.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:20 Feel made me cry. Speaker 2 00:00:27 Chewy. Speaker 3 00:00:28 Hey, Speaker 2 00:00:28 Thanks for doing the podcast, my man. Thanks for having me. Speaker 3 00:00:31 Chase, Speaker 2 00:00:31 Been wanting to have you on for a while. I think we've probably talked about you every episode in some capacity, whether it be one of your fabulous establishments, AIOS, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who knows Tacos and many more. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now, when Harrison and I were wrong, we were talking about how Aios, someone described it as being the best mingling bar in town. I will take that. Would you agree with Speaker 3 00:00:52 That? Oh, a hundred percent. That was a whole idea behind it, especially just kind of like working in restaurants and bars the majority of my life. And then finally creating a space where me and just everyone in the city can come in and be themselves. Speaker 2 00:01:07 Yeah. I think that's what it is. And it's, uh, it's really focused around tequila. Right? Speaker 3 00:01:11 It's tequila heavy. Yes. But we wanna wanted you to step away from that idea that because we're Mexican, we have to sell tequila, you know? So like, well, is this, how about, how about we just make a place where we can, uh, just represent our culture and our people, and then us as people of the city with what we love and what we do in a particular location? And little by little, we're we wanna stay away from like, we're just a tequila bar, but it is what it is. We'll, yeah. Yeah. At this point, it's Speaker 2 00:01:46 More cash, more capital, and new customers for your business. That's where Moxie comes in. Moxie Birmingham is a growing community of small businesses helping one another thrive. As a Moxie member, you earn more revenue from brand new customers, not spend your hard earned revenue on various expenses, and even get a no interest, no payment line of credit, all within the Moxie Network. As a Moxie member myself, I can tell you that I choose to support other businesses that also accept moxie. In fact, I've discovered some of my very favorite restaurants, healthcare practitioners and home and auto service businesses through Moxie. I'm talking soho, social, heavenly Donuts, nothing bunt cakes, just to name a few. Go to moxie birmingham.com. That's m o x E Y B h A m.com to learn more. Moxie. It's the smarter way to barter. Speaker 2 00:02:57 I was telling you, uh, when we were in there last time that Katie and I went on a trip to Los Angeles where she lived for some time, and she has a lot of friends out there. We went to this party in the Hollywood Hills, really nice spot, and we went downstairs and the host had this tequila and mezcals hasting room. The whole room was designated just for that. And he is pouring us these tiny little shots of really nice tequila. And I was so fascinated because some of them had bits of raw chicken in the bottom. Uhhuh, <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. What does that do? Speaker 3 00:03:28 From what I'm, I'm not, I'm not tequila, I'm not misco like knowledgeable, but from what I've read and some of the tastings that I've had myself, it's different basically process of how they're cooking the agave plants. So if you put it in the oven, the agave, and then you pull it out, you, you start, you cook at it with tequila, basically that's the tequila way of making distilling tequila. But with mezcals usually cooked underground. So they'll either add Turkey breasts or chicken breast, or either, either a type of vegetables or fruits or spices. And it just gives more flavor to the mescal once it's all done. Speaker 2 00:04:01 Does the raw meat ferment it? Speaker 3 00:04:04 I don't think so. No. No. It kind of gives, adds just more flavor. Speaker 2 00:04:07 Yeah. I thought that was so weird because, you know, you've always been told never consume raw chicken yet here it is in this mecal and it's somehow delicious. It's Speaker 3 00:04:15 Usually just, uh, it's kind of just roasting, like on top. It's not inside of the actual juice. Mm. Yeah. You would think they were dumping it in there. No, Uhuh. Gotcha. I, I hope they're not from, from from the videos. I've seen this just roasting and cooking on top, or it's just hanging. Gotcha. Speaker 2 00:04:28 So do you have, you know, I had a, um, I had Chef Daniel Knight on the podcast recently, and he has a service called Date Night Dining. Okay. Where he comes to your house and cooks for you in your kitchen, fine dining, like seven course meals. Geez. So he goes to the grocery store, he gets all the ingredients, and he, he only buys the finest ingredients. He, he, he gave me a good education about fine dining, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. He made it clear that it's all about taking the best ingredients and bringing out the natural flavors from those ingredients. It's not about dressing up crappy ingredients and trying to present it as fine dining. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So he was telling me about, you know, how advanced someone's palate might be and how they can taste different flavors and different notes than the average person might be able to taste. So have you developed that over the years of bartending and being in the, the food and beverage industry? Speaker 3 00:05:19 I think my pallet's everywhere. I've worked in the kitchen before, but I think I was able to unlock that pallet understanding when I used to work for Frank, like at Highlands, mainly because it was just like all in the books and it was all in like the meetings that would put in the kitchen or in the front of the house, and you really had to have your stuff together in order to like, to be on the floor. But once I actually really understood what was on the table and how we were supposed to sell it to the guest is when I really started figuring out like, wait, so how do I understand how to taste or sample a wine? Or how do I notice certain different sauces that would've put on the chicken or on the fish or on the vegetables, or, um, I think I have, especially with tequila and wine when it comes to Mexican food, I can kind of really tell what vegetables and what fruits and what, like, cheeses and like how, if it's either poorly made where you just toss it in the pan and then you just throw it out. Speaker 3 00:06:19 Or it's something like my stepmom who like, takes her time, who measures everything and she just kind of np picks if she likes the sauce or not, and doesn't put it on the table until she's like, happy about it. And that's when it can be like, oh, like there's like some love into this food and there's not love on that one. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:06:33 I know that you've developed your pate when it comes to wine, and here's how I know that <laugh>, one time you were over at the Loft when we lived downtown. Yeah. And you know how healthy Katie is. She's all, everything's gotta be organic. Yeah. <laugh> and she had this organic wine and she poured us all a glass. And I was like, yeah, it's fine. And you drank it and you go, this is disgusting Speaker 5 00:06:53 <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:06:56 I Speaker 2 00:06:56 Didn't, she's like, yeah, but it's organic. Speaker 3 00:06:58 And I was like, no, this is gross <laugh>. Speaker 5 00:07:00 It's gross <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:07:02 I didn't mean it like that. I mean, but I, in a, in a sense, wine wine's goofy because everybody's just like, oh, it's organic, or it's, uh, the Vida culture behind it, or it's just, well, all it means is that they're just not putting any type of chemicals in it, or they're not letting certain bugs like land on it. Um, or pesticides or stuff like that. Speaker 2 00:07:20 Well, hey, before we get into the, the juice of it, I got a little gift for you coming on the podcast. Speaker 3 00:07:26 That is a little gift. Speaker 2 00:07:27 You ever read this book? There's Speaker 3 00:07:28 A nick and man on it. No, Speaker 2 00:07:29 It's called the Alabama Admirer. Okay. Yeah. I found it. And as I was searching for another book on Amazon, Uhhuh <affirmative>, and I thought Chewy would love this. I know how you love romance novels. Speaker 3 00:07:41 I I aor <laugh> romance Speaker 5 00:07:43 Novels. Speaker 2 00:07:43 <laugh>. No, I'm just kidding. Although, uh, uh, you know what, let me just read you the summary of this book, because when I, when I, uh, got it as kind of a joke, I read the, the synopsis and it was, it was absolutely absurd. So I'm gonna share it with you real quick before I give you your real gift. Okay. Speaker 2 00:08:00 Alabama admirer, I trusted a beautiful stranger with my little girl. When the worst thing imaginable happens, I'll do anything to protect them both while in line at hi, his favorite fast food restaurant, Xander's daughter analysis that she needs to use the restroom, the men's room is occupied and Xander isn't welcome in the lady's room. So he asks the beautiful woman he's been secretly admiring for her help. Kate is more than happy to oblige the sexy man and adorable child. None of them could have predicted what happens next, but it will forever change all three of their lives. Was Zander wrong to send his little girl with Kate? Find out when you read Alabama admirer. Now, if that doesn't suck you in, I don't know what will Speaker 3 00:08:51 Not that <laugh>. I know Speaker 2 00:08:53 That's the, that's the weirdest Speaker 3 00:08:54 Book I've ever, I'll read out to like the first chapter. Wait, have you read it? No. Speaker 2 00:08:58 What? <laugh>? Absolutely not. <laugh>. I bought it as a gag gift just because its called Alabama Admirer <laugh>. But, uh, no, Speaker 3 00:09:06 I kind of wanna read it. Speaker 2 00:09:07 No, what I, what I actually got for you is a copy of Alabama Short stories. Okay. I've been listening to this podcast. Uh, the guy's name is Sean Wright. Okay. And it's Scott stories about Birmingham's history that are really, really fascinating. So have you ever heard about Fancy the Elephant? Speaker 3 00:09:24 I know there's a fancy elephant over in Avondale. Yeah, yeah, Speaker 2 00:09:26 Yeah. So there's the statue there in Avondale. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and Fancy's on Fifth is named after it. Fancy the elephant was, uh, it was at Birmingham's first zoo, which was in Avondale. Okay. Avondale part used to be a zoo and they, at first they just had animals such as local wildlife. They had foxes and coyotes and chickens. And that was all they had at the zoo. Yeah. So the first kind of exotic animal they got was a man brought back a baby leopard from his travels overseas. And then the second real attraction they got was fancy the elephant. They bought her from a circus and she weighed, I think, uh, 1800 pounds. The thing was when she got to Birmingham, she got here a little bit early on a train mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and they didn't have her habitat ready yet. Mm-hmm. <laugh>. So there was a mattress That Speaker 3 00:10:17 Sounds like Birmingham. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:10:18 It kinda does <laugh>. There was a mattress factory downtown that opened the doors for fancy the elephant and put mattresses on the floor and let her sleep in their warehouse until they got the exhibit ready. So she would walk down 20th Street or Second Avenue, she'd walk down one of the main streets in Birmingham, back and forth from the zoo back home to her mattress factory until they got her habitat ready so people could look out the window and just see an elephant walking by. That's Speaker 3 00:10:46 Wild. Yeah. How long ago was that? Oh Speaker 2 00:10:49 Man, I think it was in the early 19 hundreds. Oh Speaker 3 00:10:51 Geez. Okay. Speaker 2 00:10:52 So the exhibit wasn't built strongly enough to hold in an elephant. It was just kind of a rinky-dink fence. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So sometimes she would just feel like escaping and she would go for a walk up Aberdeen Road or up through, uh, through Crestwood and just, he allowed this, what could they do about it? She was a giant elephant and this is when we were in horse and buggies, you know? Yeah. Speaker 3 00:11:10 So it was normal, I guess, at that time. Speaker 2 00:11:12 Yeah. But, uh, and he has a podcast is how I discovered it. Okay. So I've been listening to the podcast, Alabama Short Stories. He's told all these fun stories about Birmingham. I've been enjoying it. So here's a copy of the book. Yeah. I Speaker 3 00:11:21 Appreciate you. Yeah, I'm excited for this one. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:11:23 I think it's a good, a good coffee table book. And I got that on Amazon. Speaker 3 00:11:27 Sweet. Thank you. Speaker 2 00:11:29 You're welcome, buddy. So you mentioned when you were working with Frank at Highland. So for anyone who doesn't know, we're talking about Frank St. Tell us a little about that. Speaker 3 00:11:40 Oh man, that sucked. Um, I think my, I think my description of working for Frank, well, Speaker 2 00:11:48 First, who's, who's Speaker 3 00:11:49 He? Frank St. James Beard Award-winning, uh, chef owns Highlands. Bottega Fon over on the south side, or in Highland Park, I guess Highland area, still being nominated for for restaurants, you know, um, amazing food, beautiful, beautiful restaurants and great hospitality. But my history with him, or in his, or in his organization, for me, it was just like difficult man because, I mean, I did, when I got into the restaurant business, or my restaurant career was in 2010. And so all the way to 2008, 10 to 2018, close to 19, all I knew was just chips and salsa tacos and cas. Cuz all I did was just work at Mexican restaurants. I was so just like head focused that that's all what food is like. There was nothing more than Mexican food. So when I got the opportunity to go work for him, I was in a very men, like, mentally difficult spot trying to understand what was wanted to be like, taught to me, like with food, like you're talking about how to, how, how to understand what wine was and all these years just working at different places. Speaker 3 00:13:05 I just thought wine was just like red or white liquid. I never understood the basics that it was a grape. You know, when someone asked me if it was a chardonnay, I'm like, oh, it's white wine. They'd be like, no, but what is a Chardonnay? I'm like, I have no clue. They'd be like, it's, it's a grape man. And I'm like, like, it's mind blowing. I, oh wait, a chardonnay is the type of grape. Yeah. I was like, like I was just that, that oblivious, you know? And then little by little, they just kept putting knowledge in my head and knowledge in my head and, but I was just so like, ignorant to the idea that like, knowledge is power. And, um, I was with them for about maybe I was at Highlands for about three months. Started off trying to be at the bar, then I realized that I was not a real bartender. Speaker 3 00:13:47 So they brought me down to server, trained me at the server, realized that I had no knowledge whatsoever behind hospitality, fine dining or food. Then they moved me all the way down to like white staff. So I, I mean, uh, uh, the guy who pours your water and picks up your plate. And I'm like, man, like it was, so for me at I guess 19 eight, no, 29, it was kind of like hurtful. It kind of sucked, you know, like, man, I'm about to be this 30 year old man and I can't, I can't, I don't know anything coming from bartending and managing Mexican restaurants, but also, but finally being at that level of fine dining, I was just, I wasn't in a good spot mentally and emotionally. I wasn't proud of myself. I actually quit, you know, cuz um, after three months in, I kept failing all my quizzes, all my tests. Speaker 3 00:14:33 And, um, and when I quit, I call Ryan Ford, which is one of their GMs at Highlands. And I'm like, on a Tuesday, I'm like, Hey man, I'm just, I'm not gonna come in today. And he was just like, why, why is that? I mean, this is too difficult. I don't, I don't understand what the hell you guys are doing. I don't, I don't understand what this restaurant's about. This is just, this is not me, man. I'm just, I just gotta go do something that I actually know. And he was like, no, no, no, no. Um, how about you take today off and, um, we'll give you a call back so you can have a meeting with Par. And I'm like, but, but I quit. Like, I'm not, I'm not coming in. Like, what part of that do you not understand? He was like, no, no, we're gonna figure this out for you. Speaker 3 00:15:13 And then they hang up and I'm on the phone like, but I quit. You know, like, I don't, I don't want to come back. Um, the next day I received an email and, um, and it was from one of the owners, it was from parties. And she was like, Hey, it wasn't even like, Hey, how are you doing? It was just like, Hey, I will see you at Bottega Dining Friday at one 30. And I all, I, all I can do is just respond back and be like, yes ma'am. You know? So I take that entire week off. Actually, I'll walk into the, um, to the Bottega dining room side, and I feel like I'm in the principal's office, you know, just like, oh man, what's about to hap like, what's going on? Like, I quit literally five days before and we sit down and, um, it was finally one of those, like one-on-one moments where I'm with a real restaurateur, like someone that I was trying to be later in life. Speaker 3 00:16:04 And she kind of just gave me a rundown. I'm like, wait, like if you wanna get to this level, if you really want to own your own business one day, or manage a business, or do the things that I'm, that I am doing now, I really need to let go of my ego and really need to stop being scared. And, um, it's not about, it's not about like trying to be the best, but how about you go work with the best and learn from them? And once I figured that out, that like, they were trying, actually trying to help me and not just use me to be another server, I was like, man, like this is, this is actually a really good organization. Yeah. They're Speaker 2 00:16:39 Genuine. Speaker 3 00:16:39 They were genuine. And I was just like, wait a second. And then she was like, well, how can we help you? And like, I've never had a boss tell me that. Like, usually when I tell a boss that I quit, okay, bye. You know, we'll get someone else, you know, well, Speaker 2 00:16:49 Chewy, they probably felt that way about you. I doubt they would've done that for anybody, because they see how genuine you are. Yeah, Speaker 3 00:16:56 Thank you. After that, I was just like, well, I, I would love to be here, but I, I don't think s is it. And she was like, well, all right, well, where do you want to go? And I'm, I'm trying to sneak my way into Bottega, you know, cuz it was Italian, it was fun. It was more laid back and she was like, all right, I'll think about it. No, she dumps me at Shon fan, which is basically Highland's little sister or whatever. Just I'm not as like, toughy as stuffy, whatever. And, um, they dumped me at Shon fan and I just, I just flourished, you know, like two weeks in, I was, I was really, I was trained differently and I understood the restaurant concept. And four weeks later I passed my test and I was one of one of their main guys for a while. Nice. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:17:35 Well, chewy, I think I've buried the lead here. You know, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to have you on is because you have one of the best come up stories that I know of. You've, you know, you think about the American dream. Yeah. And I think you're a really, really good example of that. Thanks. Speaker 3 00:17:50 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:17:51 Let's get into where you started mm-hmm. <affirmative> and where you are now and how you got there. Speaker 3 00:17:57 Okay. I feel like I'm a cat with like, multiple lives. For those that don't know. I'm not, not, I'm not from the States, you know, I'm from Mexico. My dad migrated here first in 92, 93 looking for a job. Um, I'm originally from Tabasco, Mexico, and those who don't know Tabasco, like the hot sauce people joke about that all the time. Borders Guatemala, uh, near the Gulf of Mexico in Nabia. So I come from a very tropical state, a lot of mango, a lot of tamarin, a lot of iguanas, you know, a lot of freaking monkeys. Like it's, it's just, it's a beautiful, it's a beautiful state. Yeah. My dad comes up here first and then, um, this is where I think I'm the most grateful for where someone like that takes your life is that my dad instead of like, is leaving me and my mom behind, like, decides to comeback, like driving. Speaker 3 00:18:49 Um, it's about three, four days to get to Mexico. He, he, he wasn't doing flight, uh, flights back then, picks us up and decides to bring us back to the States. Originally we were supposed to go to, um, South Carolina on Myrtle Beach. But, um, he says that we landed in, in, landed in Arkadelphia because he ran outta gas. So he was just like, I need to get a job here. So my story starts in Birmingham in 1994 and, um, come from really hardworking parents. My dad was a landscape and he still does landscaping till this day, even though he is my partner, IU knows, he still goes off and cuts yards and plants flowers and trees and shit. Like, Speaker 2 00:19:24 Yeah. He doesn't need to do landscaping. He must just enjoy it. Right. He just Speaker 3 00:19:27 Enjoys it. Yeah. Saying my mom wasn't into, um, house cleaning, so she was a maid as well. So, so we, we lived in Bessemer, in Arkadelphia for a while, and then, um, we moved to Shelby County. So I lived in Pelham for about all the way up till like, I was eight all the way up till I was possibly 19. Did you go to Pelham? I did go to Pelham. Uh, my parents separated when I was like 12, 13. So my dad kind of just gets up in dips. I don't, I don't have my dad for the majority of my teenage years. So Speaker 2 00:19:59 You were living with your mom at that point? Speaker 3 00:20:00 Yeah, living with my mom at that point. Um, my mom, my mom was like a true hustler, you know, just like, she, after, after my parents separated, she had to go figure out how to make money. And I caught thought on from my mom. I'm like, my mom always found a way to make money, either working at restaurants or doing sketchy shit. Like, Speaker 2 00:20:20 Like, uh, Speaker 3 00:20:21 Like, okay, but my mom's making money, she's banging that cash in, you know, so she's killing it. I was like, yeah, she, she's just, that was just instinct. And I just kind of, um, I grew up a brat, I'm not gonna lie, you know? Um, how, so Speaker 3 00:20:33 My mom was making money, you know, so, um, my mom's way of like, showing love was just to buy me things. I'm like, back then I was like, okay, cool. But now that I'm an adult, I'm like, mom. Like, that's not what that we should have done. <laugh>. So example, like in high school for those that went to high school with me, my freshman sophomore year, I was, my sophomore year I was driving a Corvette to school. So everybody was just like, who's that guy? Yeah. Who's that guy? What the heck is going on? Yeah. Um, when I finally went to Thompson, I was driving like an Escalade and a Hummer and a M three. Like, I was just, I was that kid, people always wondering like, what, what's he doing? You know? And man, he's working a lot of shifts at McDonald's. <laugh>. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:21:15 So basically, um, that was, that, that was like one era of my life where I had no work ethic. I had like no discipline. I just, I was just a bra. I was just a kid. I was still humble. I was still nice. I'd never like screwed anybody over or was, or, or rude anyone. I just didn't acknowledge what hard work was, you know? Um, I would go to restaurants, blow 150 or a hundred and tip a dollar or two, you know, like I just had no knowledge of that life. Um, eventually all that came crashing down, life mistakes. I, um, I've had a little bit of like, some decent hardships in life, you know, like I, I got busted speeding and in St. Clair County or whatever, and I went to, went to jail for like three months for, for speeding. Yeah. There was more story he did behind that, but really I was just like, what, what happened? Speaker 3 00:22:07 Yeah. I'm not gonna talk about <laugh>, but, but, um, I, I get in some trouble. And that was, that was probably one of like the biggest wake up moments of my life. You know? Like, I guess being alone, unfortunately, it showed me who my friends were, cuz they were not around. My, uh, sweet ex-wife or ex-girlfriend at that time was like the only person who would come and see me in jail. My mom was like, so like, mentally wrecked. She wouldn't go, you know? So for like three months I was just like, in some serious solitude. So, um, even in, even in like in jail, I was just like, I cried maybe for like the first month until it finally hit me like, well, I'm here for two more months until I'm outta here, you know? And, um, I grew up pretty quick at the age of 19. Speaker 3 00:22:59 I think that's when it happened. 18, 19 is when it happened. And when I got out, I was, I'm gonna, I I'm going to like therapy for this now. But I realized that I wasn't like, okay, you know, because I was just so, like, I was like a stone. I'm like, wait, like I don't ever wanna mess up again. I don't ever want to go back there again. Like, it really grew me up. And, um, I a sense of like, discipline came out of that, you know, just and understanding of what like, life really is. And when I got out, I'm like, wait, I am, I'm in a great country. I, I'm healthy. I can do whatever I want. Like, I don't care if I need like, wash dishes or clean toilets. I'm gonna figure out a way like to be successful. Because back then I didn't go to college. Speaker 3 00:23:45 I wasn't, I wasn't interested in universities. I wasn't that, that was never my thing. And I knew that I had to go figure out a way to find my true gifts or my, my real, like how would I say my skillsets? You know? So, um, my mom didn't do too well, so she kind of just packs up after I got out. Um, she packs up and she just goes back to Mexico. So my mom, my mom's okay now, you know. And so my restaurant career starts like a year after that. And I land at, uh, margarita Grill in M Alabama. So Speaker 2 00:24:19 Let's take a pause cuz obviously we we're gonna spend a lot of time on the restaurant career. Yeah. But let's go back to when you were in jail. I just have a couple of questions because, you know, I had Josh on recently, Uhhuh <affirmative>, and he was talking about his time working as a correctional officer. Yeah. Did you know about Speaker 3 00:24:32 That? I did not know that. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:24:33 Uhhuh <affirmative>, I think he was on episode. I probably saw Speaker 3 00:24:36 Him. Yeah. <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:24:37 I think it was episode three or four. But he, um, he worked at a prison in Florida. What? And he was telling me about the dynamics in prison and it's so fascinating and it's kind of scary to be honest. But you lived that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he was saying about, um, you know, kinda like you see in movies how it's, it's segregated, but it's not the prison that segregates the inmates. It's the inmates segregate themselves. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So did you see that when you were in, was it segregated? White, black, Latino? Speaker 3 00:25:06 No. No, not at all. Well, not in this one. Well not in this particular county jail. Um, Speaker 2 00:25:11 So you, this was in prison? This was a county jail? Yeah. This a Speaker 3 00:25:13 Different It was, yeah. It was segregated basically on what your offense was. My offenses were not, were not felony, you know, mine were just misdemeanors. So basically I was in a, at first I was in a jail cell by myself. And then once the judge realized that I didn't have any actual real, I was just being punished by the judge, you know, for dumb crap I was doing. So what ended up happening was, uh, I was this, this 18, 19 year old kid. Oh yeah. I was 18, about to turn, 19 was like, well he didn't do anything bad, so you just go put 'em with the trustees. And the trustees are the guys that do like work. And, um, getting into detail with that. I think that's where my road work ethic came in because, um, I was, since I wasn't a bad criminal per se, they're like, well, let's just go put 'em in the kitchen. So my first actual kitchen job was in jail, um, washing dishes and making pancakes, grits and bacon. No Speaker 2 00:26:07 Way. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:26:08 <laugh>. So I had to wake up at four, go into the kitchen with these guys, prep everything, then go to the second floor and like serve, serve all the cells, then come back around nine wash dishes, then come back around 11, start getting lunch ready, serve lunch around 1230 or one, come back, take my break, then go back for dinner and just kind of do that over and over and over again. So Speaker 2 00:26:31 Your primary is right now technically started from what you learned in jail? Yeah. That's Speaker 3 00:26:37 Amazing. Yeah, like the, the kitchen discipline of it. And, um, I, this might be a little bit too graphic, but like, I, the only reason why I got out of that is cuz I was like sexually assaulted in the kitchen. I like, I'm still in shock that it happened cuz you wouldn't think that it would happen to you, you know? But I'm was like a child in comparison to this grown ass man. So when it happened, I got saved because, like, they could see it in camera. So the officers come in and they take this guy off of me, and I'm using on the floor, like in complete, like in disgust one, but two, and also in shock because you're trying to defend yourself. So like, I, that subject, or when it happens to someone else, I'm like, yo, like I, it didn't really happen to me, but I complete how you, I can understand how you felt. So with that, they kind of just grabbed me and they put me into laundry. And then from laundry, I was doing laundry work at night. And then the top tier job that you can get in, in jail, in my opinion is, um, like sweeping 'em up in the floors, which gave you liberty to like literally walk out of the jail and just go wash cars, go into the garage, go into the lobby, you did whatever you wanted. Speaker 2 00:27:45 He had some freedom in there. Speaker 3 00:27:46 Yeah. And, um, so Speaker 2 00:27:48 Kind what happened to the guy? Speaker 3 00:27:49 Oh, to that guy? Yeah. Oh, they moved, uh, they put him back into the cells. So he lost his trustee job per se? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, were Speaker 2 00:27:55 You furious with him? Did you, did you want to seek revenge or something? Speaker 3 00:27:59 No, dude. I mean, no, no. I just wanna get outta jail. <laugh>. Yeah, <laugh>. I was in there with some, with some more hardcore dudes, man. Like, Speaker 2 00:28:07 Did you develop any relationships with them in, in there? Did you, uh, you know, was there like a mentor relationship? Or, or did, was there one, was there anyone that you felt like you could confide in? Hell Speaker 3 00:28:18 No. No. Speaker 2 00:28:18 Uhuh. <laugh>. Okay. It was just like, keep your head down, get through it. Keep Speaker 3 00:28:21 Your head down. I mean, I got, I probably, I got, I got beat up twice, one for changing the TV channel, which I deserved. I just, I didn't see anybody in the, in the hallway. I'll make, in the little room that we watch TV in, change it. Next thing I know, I just hear the, like, I feel the slap on my face. I'm like, nobody told you to change the channel. Okay. You know, like, I, I should have asked, it's one of those like, typical rules that you just ask, is anybody watching tv? And I just didn't ask another one. We were fighting over a, this guy could like, goes into my room and we're just kind of like wrestling, fighting until wrestling, playing until it became like an actual fight fight. Oh, okay. Yeah. And then I guess the leader of that, of the dorm comes in and just takes us apart. But no, like, I kept simple relationships. Hey, how are you doing? My A attaches might do that, but I never seek the friendship out of that. You know, I hope all those guys are doing well. Yeah. But <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:29:15 I I have a feeling that you, uh, you came out on top of that situation as far as how you ended up afterward. Speaker 3 00:29:20 Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I think, but, but I as, like, one thing that I learned in therapy is like, I always carry that thought process. I'm like, man, this really messed me up. I hate that it happened to me. It sucks. It really messed me up. But now, now I'm like, it sucked that it happened to me, but it happened. It, it sucks that it happened, but I shouldn't let it really like, dictate who I am. You know? And, um, I look back at it and I am glad to a certain extent that I developed certain, um, levels of maturity coming outta that place because now I am way more disciplined. Now I'm way more cautious now I'm way more respectful now. I developed like a strong mental capacity of like, well, I know I can have stress, but that stress level of being in jail without your family, by yourself, you don't know what's going on. You, you can get beat up or all these like, actual real dark moments in life does not compare to the real stresses that we have in the free world. You know, like, so it takes a lot to get me there to try and break me because I've already experienced that at a very young age. So Speaker 2 00:30:27 You've you saw some true perspective from an early age. Speaker 3 00:30:30 Yeah. Yeah. So after that, that's why I'm, so I think that's why people are like, wait, how does he do all these things? Or why doesn't he Eli trip? Or, or do, or why doesn't he like break? Man, I broke when I was like 18. Speaker 2 00:30:49 And I want you guys to know that today's episode is sponsored by Better Help. Do you find yourself struggling with anxiety, depression, or just feeling stuck in life? Well, better Help is here to help. Better Help is the world's largest online therapy platform with licensed therapists available to you from the comfort of your own home. With better Help, you can schedule weekly video or phone sessions with your therapist, or you can simply message them anytime you need to. No more sitting in traffic, no more waiting rooms. Ugh. And no more feeling uncomfortable. And here's the best part. Better Help is Affordable Financial Aid is available to those who qualify. And our listeners get 10% off their first month by visiting Better help.com/birmingham. Take the first step towards a happier, healthier life with Better Help. Visit Better help.com/birmingham today and get 10% off your first month. Thanks for listening to the Discover Birmingham podcast. Now, back to the show. One thing you told me one time when we were hanging out, I think you said something like, you can't control what happens to you, but what you can 100% control is how you respond to what happens to you. Oh, Speaker 3 00:32:11 A hundred percent. I mean, at that moment, I mean, yeah, it sucks. All you could do is just cry. But like, I think one, the first month I that I was crying, I was crying, I hanged up the phone and I just started like praying and just bawling out. And then like, you know, when you're crying you get that last, you know, and I'm like, you feel Speaker 2 00:32:29 Better? Speaker 3 00:32:30 I'm like, well, I'm here. I mean, I, I got 36 more days. You know? Or how many days are left? Like to just do your sentence and get out and learn from this and, and do the best. You know, like, don't let this ruin you. You know, like, now I know what not to do and not to come back to this place. So Speaker 2 00:32:48 Yeah. So fast forward a few years. Yeah. You mentioned that you started out at Iguana Grill. Margarita Grill. Margarita Grill. I, Speaker 3 00:32:54 Yeah, IGU Grill's good. That's rest of the, Speaker 2 00:32:56 I've got those two confused so much that I called to order takeout from Iguana Grill and went to Margarita Grill to pick it up. And they were like, yeah, we don't have any order from you. I was like, it's cause I'm at the wrong restaurant, sir. <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:33:09 Yeah. Maybe your name shouldn't be so confusing. <laugh>? No. Margarita Grill. Margarita Grill. Um, actually I, there has to be like a YouTube video or a book about this. How when's, why, why do certain doors open? Why do certain doors close? Because the first restaurant that I actually wanted to go apply was for Ontario Grill here in Hoover. I walked in so nervous. I'm 20, I'm 20 at this age, um, at this point in my life. And I walk in and I ask for the manager and I'm like, Hey, I'm wondering if you guys are hiring, I would like a job. And they automatically were like, no, we're not hiring, which is a lie. We're always hiring, you know, you need cut onions or wash dishes or do something. And I was so devastated, you know, that I couldn't get a job. And I just felt so useless. Like, I was just like, why do I feel this way? Speaker 2 00:34:03 So wait, you knew they were hiring, but they said I knew they were, they weren't. Yeah, they did. They just mean they weren't hiring you or I, Speaker 3 00:34:08 I don't know. I just, I just took the, no, I took the L and um, I was just like, okay. You know, and then, um, I, Alex then a buddy of mine, old time friend named Alex Plata was like, Hey, we're hiring at Margaret De Grill if you wanna come check us out. And I'm like, okay, well here I go. You know? And um, at this point I'm at the lowest point of my life besides jail or whatnot, but I'm like, yes, I'm out in the free world. I'm just doing my own thing. And I like, I don't have the money. My, I don't have any money, you know? Uh, my mom's already gone back home. Um, no, she was still here, but she was in that verge of going back home. Speaker 2 00:34:44 Are y'all in contact at this point? Yeah, Speaker 3 00:34:46 We're still in contact. Okay. We were, we were living together, you know, um, we didn't have our businesses. And um, basically I walk into Margarita Grill and there's this handsome man, you know, and, uh, which is Javier. He's like, he, he the owner of the restaurant, but I didn't know. And he's wiping down his menus and I walk up to him like, Hey, I was wondering if you guys were hiring. And he is like, yeah, I think we are. Have you ever served before? I'm like, no. Have you ever bartended before? He was like, no. Have you ever worked in a restaurant before? No. And he looks at me and he is like, will you speak really good English? I'm like, yeah, you know, <laugh>. He was like, all right man, we'll come back at four. And I'm like, really? He's like, yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll, we'll train you. Speaker 3 00:35:24 And I'm like, okay. You know? So I walk off and then I come back in, I'm like, well, what do I wear? You know, it's like, oh, come on Chewie. You know, like black pants, black shoes, and a white shirt. And I'm like, okay, okay. So I walk back to my car and I check my bank account and only have like 35 bucks. You know, I'm just like, man, I need to buy some black pants. So I called my, my ex at that time. I'm like, can you, can you loan me 50 bucks? You know, so I can go to Walmart and buy some pants. Sweetheart, you know, she gives me the money. I go to Walmart change. And after that, man, I just, I just skyrocketed in the restaurant. Went from server to bartender to assistant management, to floor management into a sense like an operating partner, you know? Cause I was, had a really good salary. Salary way of paying us. And um, Speaker 2 00:36:12 Do you think that you speaking really good English played a big role Speaker 3 00:36:15 In all that? A hundred percent. Yeah. Why? Why, why wouldn't it? Yeah. You know, like, um, there's a, you would know this, there's a whole different experience between if you come across me or if you have someone serving you the exact same thing. Your experience with me is way different than someone who doesn't speak English. Cuz we connect, we can understand, you can joke around, I can read your body language. I can call you out on something. Hey sir, is everything okay? Which is someone who is not comfortable with their English will be like, I don't know what to do. No. Say, they'd just rather just walk off. Speaker 2 00:36:42 You know? That's gotta be so tough. Yeah. Living somewhere where you don't speak the language fluently. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 3 00:36:47 So if you don't speak English, speak English, you know? Yeah. Especially in the me in Mexican restaurants. Speaker 2 00:36:54 Other than the obvious you being in school here for since you were how old? Speaker 3 00:36:58 Kindergarten. Oh, Speaker 2 00:36:59 Okay. So, okay. Gotcha. Speaker 3 00:37:00 Kindergarten. I did, I did it all. That Speaker 2 00:37:02 Answered my question then. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:37:03 Yeah. After that, man, like, life happened. I did all the, uh, I did all of the, uh, the typical life moves. I thought I was, I got married. That obviously did not work out. Then, um, hold Speaker 2 00:37:18 On. You went to kindergarten in America? Yeah, Speaker 3 00:37:20 I went to, I went to, I forgot what the school was, but I went to a school in Bessemer. Okay. Yeah. And then after that I went to Trace Crossings. Trace Crossings. I went to elementary school, valley, valley River, chase, river, chase, Pelham, Pelham. Went to Thompson, graduated Thompson, and then off to the streets. Gotcha. Speaker 2 00:37:38 <laugh>. Yeah. These streets. <laugh>. Yeah. <laugh>. So you became a managing or, uh, um, operating partner. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> at Margarita Grill. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Then what? Speaker 3 00:37:46 I don't know if I would say operating partner, but I don't know what it would be called that. Speaker 2 00:37:50 Something like that. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:37:51 Yeah. I was making good money after that. Um, life happened, and I will admit my work ethic just declined after my divorce. I just, I became a to So you Speaker 2 00:38:00 Were married at that point? Speaker 3 00:38:01 Yeah. And then I got divorced and after that I think I got it. It got to my head that I was irreplaceable. Um, it got to my head that I was at the top of the top, got to my head that I thought I knew everything, and kind of, they kind of just stopped my ego real quick, you know? And then once I, they realized that I wasn't performing at the level that they needed me to be, they, they kind of sat me down and they let me go. And I needed that. And I was like 24, 25 at that time. And, um, I got demoted. So I went from manager all the way to back being a server. That was very embarrassing, you know? Yeah. That hurt my pride and my ego a lot. Um, it took me by surprise, but I've realized that it's business, you know, um, has nothing to do with me. It's, it's for all, for the right, for the business. And now, now I carry that with all my businesses. I don't care if me and you are best buddies, but if you don't perform the way they need you to perform, I'll let you know. I'm like, Hey man, maybe this is not the place for you. Yeah. Um, Speaker 2 00:39:04 For the record, I would perform. Speaker 3 00:39:06 Oh, a hundred percent. Speaker 2 00:39:07 Yeah. Just so you know, <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:39:08 And, um, I, um, it sucked. But then I got a phone call from, uh, Caesar, who was the manager at, um, casino Superior, which no longer exists really good restaurant at, Speaker 2 00:39:23 Um, Brookwood Mall. Brookwood Mall, Speaker 3 00:39:24 Man. Yeah, it was good. Yeah. And they were like, Hey, we're looking for servers. And I'm like, maybe I need a change and like, just leave Shelby County or pulling behind and just go seek something new. Speaker 2 00:39:34 So was that a pretty significant step up? Speaker 3 00:39:36 A hundred percent? Well, for me it was, I maybe in the restaurant where for other people, like no, just moving restaurants to most people now or is just like, whatever. It's just easy Speaker 2 00:39:43 For you. But as far as like just the caliber of restaurant, wouldn't you say that was a, a pretty good step up, or not really? Mm, Speaker 3 00:39:49 To an extent to, to my perspective, yes. Because the food quality was different. Better area. Plant Tail was different. Yeah. The networking was completely different. The price points were different. Um, better area, all these things. And the market was different. So you went from a, from small town back then. Small town Pelham to Big Market Birmingham. So I went in with that, with that acknowledgement. And, um, I was nervous. I don't know why. I was always nervous, nervous about things. I'm so nervous about things now. But, um, <laugh> thinking like, wait, and, um, I walked into that restaurant and, um, real quick, once again, I just started killing it, you know, just, I became a bartender in like, in five months. Just what, what took me a year at Margaret Grill, became five months there. And then in eight months I became a, a floor manager. So I was there for about two years until I got my, my, my big break with, uh, with Frank. You got Speaker 2 00:40:47 Called up to the Bigs? Speaker 3 00:40:48 Yeah, well, to an extent. Yeah. My relationship with the casino wasn't, it didn't end well, you know? Um, the team wasn't there. The team was just kinda just really looking about for themselves. So when I wanted to do better for myself, they were not on board. And when I realized that I had to quit, I had to go work with like a real, with real team members. Were real coworkers. So that's how, that's how I landed with Taco Mama at that time and Frankston, which is what really made my career into what it is now. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:41:19 Well, speaking of what it is now, let's talk about that. You got a few things going on. A few of my favorite spots to eat. Yeah. In town and spots to hang out and mingle, as we say. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Let's talk about some of that. What you got going on. Speaker 3 00:41:30 Uh, my first baby, or my doctor child, I guess is, uh, the Lewis Bar, you know, with, um, at the Possess Food Hall. That one is kind of the one where I, it put me into, into where I am now, located in downtown Birmingham, obviously in the food hall, the central bar. And then after that time passed, obviously, and I rec, I reconnected with my father and, um, we opened up Luo Tacos in the 2020 pandemic, which is a, which is a very interesting story as well. Speaker 2 00:42:04 Ballsy. Yeah. But before we get into that, what I, what I love most about Louis Bar mm-hmm. <affirmative> and Posits, is that you have all the variety, you have all the choices of different restaurants to eat at, and then you can get your food and you can just bring it right up to your bar Yeah. And eat it at your bar. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, maybe have a chat with you if you happen to be there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> have a drink. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then if you want to go get a dessert at another one of the stalls, food hall or something like Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:42:29 It's a really mini, mini, mini mini, mini mini Epcot. You know, you can just drink, eat, and just walk around. Whatever you Speaker 2 00:42:35 Can drink, you can eat and drink around the world. Within the posits, within Birmingham. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:42:40 <laugh> Speaker 3 00:42:41 Mini. Mini Mini. Yeah. But yeah, so that's that one. We still own that one. And then we opened up Unos, which is a small, little, little mini <unk> as well. And these are all my parents' recipes. My stepmother now and my father's recipes where about two years ago started really pursuing another Unos. And all those yos kept falling through, like falling off. Then I was like, all right, let me get, let me build another bar. Tried to build a bar and it fell off. And I'm like, damn. Like, what, what, what am I really trying to do? And then the idea of Diols came up into place and I'm like, how about I do a cocktail bar in like, in my vision, you know? And I saw the vision, I figured out the finances, I found the location. And then when it came down to like the nitty gritty of the cocktails, I'm like, uh, I can make drinks, but I can't make drinks that good. Cause guy, I travel a lot, you know, I go to San Francisco, I go to Miami, make New York, Nashville, Atlanta. Um, yeah, you just Speaker 2 00:43:42 Got back from New York. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:43:43 Like I, I know what a real good freaking cocktail is and I can't make that. So, um, I approached Jose Medina, who's my, my partner now too. And I'm like, yo man, like I have this idea, I have this concept in my head. Would you love to join me? Cuz I would love to have you. And he was like, well, he was really hard to like, sell on, you know, I'm like, just believe in me, like, this is gonna pop off. Like, I know it will. Like, but you just gotta like, really, like, join me on this. And so we did, you know, we, we shook cans, we partnered up on it, and now we have aos, you know, on First Avenue, which is one of my pride and joys, you know, just, just seeing it and seeing what Jose does and bring his, his art and his craft and his and his work ethic into this project and take it to where it is now. Speaker 2 00:44:28 How did you nail the atmosphere on that one? Because it's, it just feels so good in there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's, it's similar to Paper Doll in that the atmosphere is great. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's not that the decorations or anything, it, it's, it's very different. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But before Aios came along, paper Doll was my favorite. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> atmosphere in town. It, the lighting is nice and dark. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and Jason Kig, the, the owner. And, uh, and Joel, I was working with them when they were coming up with that concept. So we were traveling around for another, for other work, for, um, functional medicine work. And along the way they were doing research. We were going to all these awesome bars in Vegas and Colorado and Denver, and they were finding little pieces that they loved. Yes. And implementing it into Paper Doll. A hundred Speaker 3 00:45:13 Percent. Speaker 2 00:45:14 Is that what you did? Speaker 3 00:45:15 That's exactly what I did. I think the whole idea started for Aios in San Francisco. Um, I walked into a cocktail bar called Peacekeeper, and their theme was, uh, Oaxacan Cocktail Bar. And as soon as I walked in, the music made me feel a certain way. The, the lighting was like right on point, which it wasn't too bright, wasn't too low. Like you could just, you could see everyone, but still kind of discreet and sexy at the same time. The presentation, the layout of the bar, and then the cocktail list, I'm like, man, this, this would kill in Birmingham. And then I went to a cocktail bar in New York called Mr. Paradise, and that's where I started seeing stucco and leather being implemented. And then the final feel for like, entertainment. And then music came from, to me was, uh, kava and Little Havana Miami. Speaker 3 00:46:14 Um, and it's a Cuban, it's a Cuban restaurant. And as soon as I walked in, I just felt like I belonged there. People were dancing, the music was on point. Their service was, was amazing. They was very hospitable. They were speaking English and Spanish. I'm like, oh man, this would be so cool if I could, if I could really grab all these pieces and create my own. And, um, and that's what we did with aos. You know, we, me and Jose sat down and we discussed what we wanted, but we're both dudes, you know, like, oh, I want this. Oh, I want that. We, but then we, we put 'em all together. It didn't make any sense. And I'm like, we need to have someone to really corral our ideas and put them in an, in a logical place. That made sense. You know? So we teamed up with Morgan Gillespie or, so I don't, I don't know which one she likes her name to be, but, um, she grabbed the idea and created Adioses Man very, feels like an <unk>. And that's what we wanted to feel. We didn't want pinatas, we didn't want crazy tele, we didn't want crazy Cup. We didn't want any of that. We really wanted to be like a, like a Mexican home. So if you walked into our place, this is what it would look like. So some pink, some green, some leather, some brown. So there was concrete and there's, uh, the lighting's on every, everything just felt comfortable and Speaker 2 00:47:30 It felt place. Yeah. It's got different nooks. It's almost like, uh, you could sit at the bar and that's kind of like the kitchen. You could sit at one of the booths and that's almost like a living room. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's got the other area in the front left. It feels kinda like a dining room. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the back. Right. Feels kind of like a lounge where you could sit back and whisper, sweeten, nothing's in your ladies'. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:47:47 We're getting a fight. A fight happened the other day. Uh, like, guys, what are you doing? You know, <laugh>, <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:47:53 Now that you mentioned, it's kind of based on a home. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. What is the, um, the back left corner where it's lit up with all the photos? Speaker 3 00:48:02 Uh, that is our day of the Dead altar. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It's a community alter. Um, at first we were gonna keep it just for the day of dead season, but we were like, wait, you know, let's just, let's just leave it up there all year and let, not just us, but let people also like, contribute to it. And those were do for those of who don't know what it is, day Dead is basically just a celebration of life and death, and we honor it with your loved ones. It can either be a grandparent or it can be a pet, you know, um, put like little candles. You bring something that Reem that reminds you of them. And we just honor that for the rest of the year. Speaker 2 00:48:41 That's Speaker 3 00:48:42 Great. Yeah. So hopefully this year we'll be able to pull off a big celebration, which Speaker 2 00:48:46 Isn't the worst. When is, when is the day of the dead? Speaker 3 00:48:48 Um, October 29th to November 2nd, I Speaker 2 00:48:51 Believe. Oh, so it's throughout Halloween. Yeah. Interesting. There's some overlap there. Mm-hmm. Speaker 3 00:48:55 <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. There's a big story behind it. It starts with the Aztecs and then with the Esador coming in with Catholicism and then kind of converting it into their own. And then it didn't work, and then now you just have a whole celebration of it. Yeah. Yeah. There's, it's a cool history. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:49:13 Well, we're drinking some coffee here and that's got me thinking about some concepts you have upcoming. But you like the coffee? I like Speaker 3 00:49:19 The coffee. Speaker 2 00:49:20 You saw how it made it? Yeah. You're okay. I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna share the recipe. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:49:25 <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:49:25 All right. What you, do you get some Baba Java coffee or your other favorite coffee and it's gotta be cold brewed. So fill the glass up about halfway with cold brew and ice. Then when the magic happens, so you get your blender, get about 120 milliliters of some kind of milk. Can be dairy free. It can be raw cows milk, like I prefer. Put a banana, maybe a sprinkle of maple syrup, blend it with some ice, pour that and fill the remainder of the cup. Give it a stir. And you've got a delicious banana cream cold brew. It's good stuff. Speaker 3 00:50:01 What's delicious? And Speaker 2 00:50:02 Tell us about the coffee shops you have coming up. Speaker 3 00:50:05 The coffee shops. Um, those are exciting. Um, I'm really in love with this brand. We came up with the idea of doing coffee at the posits about two years ago, and one of our partners and our team found a, uh, up and coming brand called Honest Roasters outta Franklin, Tennessee. So we went up, up there, met with the, uh, with the owners and we loved them. They loved us. And basically we are doing two shops in Birmingham. One at the Ettes, which is delayed in construction, cuz that is what it is. But the, the Edgewood location should be opening up end of the month or early next month. And, um, one of my bartenders, we bought her on and sh she got promoted and she's gonna be one of our partners there now. And, um, Diego, who's also one of my best friends and one of my best teammates, per se, is also gonna be operating one of our stores. Speaker 2 00:51:05 Where in Edgewood will it be, will it be on the strip there? Speaker 3 00:51:07 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> on the strip right beside the owner Poquet. Um, there's a Speaker 2 00:51:11 Ice cream. The old creamery or? Uh, no. What? Shut the old, uh, dream. Dream Speaker 3 00:51:16 Cakes. Dream Cakes, yeah. So I'm the old Dream Cakes. Speaker 2 00:51:19 Yeah, you are <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:51:21 Yeah. So we, I went in there and, um, just remodeling it, turning it over, and just making it into a family friendly neighborhood. Speaker 2 00:51:28 That's a good spot for a coffee shop. Speaker 3 00:51:30 Oh yeah. Speaker 2 00:51:31 Well I guess the nearest one is that O Henry's there in downtown Homewood? Well, Speaker 3 00:51:34 There's a few man, uh, o Henry's, there's c frothy monkeys going in there. There. Speaker 2 00:51:38 Where's, where's caveat? Oh, oh, oh. Speaker 3 00:51:41 I didn't, it's in that little weird, it's, it's in the odd space, you know, like, I like their coffee, but it's just their location's a little bit off. Yeah. Um, it's like, that's Speaker 2 00:51:49 Why I can't think of where it is. Speaker 3 00:51:50 Yeah, that's the thing. Um, if you wanna do your business, location, location, location. Yeah. I guess it is important. You can just dump something down and hope it works. Speaker 2 00:51:59 Yeah. You've got strong locations, posits. Yeah. Second Avenue North that, that's the hotspot man. Yeah. Everything's popping up on Second Avenue North. Speaker 3 00:52:06 Yeah. And that's one thing that I learned from my partners as well, you know, so my team is very eccentric on on what and why they do certain things. We just, we just don't jump into something. Just help. It works. But if it works, it works. And if it's not gonna work then we just don't touch it. Speaker 2 00:52:22 Did you ever have any other jobs other than in the restaurant industry? Speaker 3 00:52:25 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:52:26 Do you ever have any just really random jobs? Cause I've had some, some interesting ones. Speaker 3 00:52:31 My first hustle actually was in Pellum pe Pelham High School. At this point, I wasn't working for my mom, cuz my mom's the one that got me in trouble anyways. But <laugh>, um, I would go to Chick-fil-A and this is back when your biscuits were like a dollar 75. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> now they're like what, four bucks? Speaker 2 00:52:50 Three bucks at least. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:52:51 Inflation's crazy. <laugh>. And I'm the only one that had a car. Go to Chick-fil-A and buy about 10 15 chicken biscuits, go back to high school, get in the cafeteria and sell 'em for $5 a pop. So I was just, I was just hustling chicken biscuits. Beautiful. Um, then during the summer, my real job, my first real check besides doing landscaping with my dad growing up, but my first professional check where somebody paid me something, some money that it was in my family was while uh, detailing cars, uh, select the automotive. They're still, they're still in business here on 21. Oh yeah. Yeah. I was just cleaning cars. It sucked, you know, just 30 hours out in the sun getting paid. 7 25. I thought I was making cash. Yeah. I was not, you know that that was Speaker 2 00:53:36 Mm-hmm. Yeah. Everyone I knew were to Anthony's. Yeah. <laugh>, Anthony's car wash, all Speaker 3 00:53:40 The cool kids were at Anthony's. Yeah. I showed my mom my first check so she can cash it for me. And that's when she was like, really like, this is what you wanna do. And I'm like, yeah. You know, like it's, it's a job. And she was like, how about you come like work with me? And I was like, okay. You know, and that's how my brat life kind of started cuz I was just doing sketchy shit with my mom. But um, that was my first job. Speaker 2 00:54:05 What were y'all doing? Running into charity? Uh, Speaker 3 00:54:06 Yeah. Running charities. Yeah. <laugh>. And then after that I, um, that's when I got into the restaurant business. That first year at Margaret De Grill was, I wasn't sure if that's what I wanted to do. I went off to work at Jim Burke for a while. Speaker 2 00:54:21 Sales or Detailing? In Sales. Speaker 3 00:54:22 And sales. Okay. Didn't like that either, you know. And I came back to the restaurant business instead and that's all I've been doing ever since. Just been in the, that career. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:54:31 I've had some random ones. My first one I was a lifeguard. Speaker 3 00:54:34 I can see that. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:54:35 Fun job. You've saved Speaker 3 00:54:36 My life multiple times. That's right. I've got my back. I mean, Speaker 2 00:54:39 <laugh>, I was at the swim club, which was the community pool of Montevallo. Okay. That was during the summer cuz it's an outdoor pool. And then the rest of the time I worked at the campus, the University of Montevallo, indoor pool, Uhhuh, <affirmative>. Cause you can work there year round. Yeah. And that was a fun job because the old college pool, they have a different one now, but I had a key and it was a standalone building with the pool inside. So my high school friends and I would go at nighttime, I'd let everyone in the pool and we'd go in there and just run amuck. They had it. So you could move the lifeguard stand to a certain position, climb up it, and then shimmy your way up into the rafters. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> at the top of the building. And then you had a high dive so you could do flips off the, off into the pool. Speaker 3 00:55:22 That was scare the crap out of me. Speaker 2 00:55:24 Yeah. Yeah. Another job I had, I'm gonna go ahead and apologize to anyone who I affected through this job. I was basically a telemarketer. Speaker 3 00:55:33 Okay. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:55:34 Yeah. So I think I was probably 15. I worked at this company called Dotel in Alabaster. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right by Publix in that little strip center behind the cemetery. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I was a telemarketer behind the cemetery. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you called people trying to get on to donate to veterans and police organizations and firefighters. I was like, this is a really good cause you know, I'll do this <laugh>, I'll get paid seven twenty five to make phone calls. Yeah. And it was only after a few months that I found out. So they told you, when people ask how much of the money goes to the organizations, tell 'em Miss a 90 10 split. I was like, okay, 90 10 split. That's not bad. You know, we gotta take 10% just to keep the lights on. No, it's 90 10 the other way. <laugh>. So only 10% of the donations are going to the organizations. Oh my gosh. Gosh. Yeah. This ratty little company is keeping 90% for no apparent reason. <laugh>. So I found that out and I was like, I can't do, I I just, so I quit another job. Oh, okay. So, uh, in college, some of my friends and I worked at Abercrombie. Speaker 3 00:56:40 I can see that too. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:56:41 And did you have Speaker 3 00:56:42 Your shirt on or off Speaker 2 00:56:44 On? Oh man. Yeah. You know the stores in Birmingham, they're not like the stores in New York. No. There are no models. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:56:49 It's just, and they weren't ready for you anyways. No. Speaker 2 00:56:51 And when people walked in, you had to say this, you had everyone had to say the same tagline. You said, have you checked out our great fitting jeans <laugh> to anyone that walks in? And it was during that time that I also worked at another spot in the Galleria. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> a kiosk called the buckle booth. And we were selling belt buckles. Speaker 3 00:57:12 I think I remember that. Speaker 2 00:57:13 Here's the thing. Katie worked at it too at the same time, but we never met. So my wife and I worked at the same belt buckle kiosk within the Galleria 15 years before we ever knew each other. Oh. We just worked opposite shifts. Yeah. So she would work a Tuesday, I would work a Wednesday. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. We were sitting in the same chair. Speaker 3 00:57:34 How was that conversation when y'all told each other that Speaker 2 00:57:36 We were at Pil Crow. Okay. It was on maybe our second date. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we were just talking about random jobs we've had in the past. And she was like, yeah, I worked at this random kiosk in the Galleria and we sold belt buckles and I almost spit my Dr. I was like, wait, what? What, what was it called? Are you talking about the buckle booth? And she goes, yeah. How did you know <laugh>? I worked there too. <laugh>. It was absolutely just a crazy coincidence. Yeah. And then other jobs, you know, I managed a GNC throughout college. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> personal trainer at Gold's Gym. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> in 24 E. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, shout out to Wayne, the owner of 24 E. He's awesome. I'm gonna get him on the podcast soon. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> you now I'm a realtor. Yeah. So we're now here we're, I've run the full gambit. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:58:20 Sometimes you have to man figure out, like I did the whole telephone thing too. I forgot. So I lived in Mexico City in 2010. So I was there for about five months and month two I was running outta money. So I was like, all right, I need to go get a job. So I obviously use my English skillset, um, cuz I wasn't gonna go work anywhere else. I work, worked for a company called TeleTech. So TeleTech basically is a, um, company that runs different, I, I don't think it'll be, is a customer service company. So at that time I was working for technically Tom Warner cable. If you had an issue with your account or your cable or you need assistance, I would answer on the other side and be like, hi, my name is Jesus Mendez, please gimme your account number. And I did that for like two months and it was great. But that's when I realized I started making money and I'm like, I can't, I can't, I can't be here like the Mexico. I actually went to Mexico to go find myself and then I came back, you know? Um, but that's my other random job that I had. Speaker 2 00:59:21 So when you're answering the phone, are people already mad? Speaker 3 00:59:24 Yeah, a hundred percent. It's giving me an attitude. Speaker 2 00:59:26 And they're just, do they just unleash on you basically? Speaker 3 00:59:29 No. I mean, I'm so chill. Like, you, you really, if you know me, you really, really have to piss me off until you get any, any sense of attitude out of me. Um, you'll get a lot of sarcasm out of me. But <laugh>. Yeah, <laugh>. And Speaker 2 00:59:43 Secondly, when people would call and you asked for the account number, did anyone know it? Speaker 3 00:59:48 The older, the older people, yes. But the younger ones were like, no, wait, gimme one moment. Because they assumed that your name, that I would know who exactly who you are. Speaker 2 00:59:54 That's how I am. Anytime that I have to call somewhere. And they asked me for my account number. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't know. Can you, can you look me up by anything other than that? Speaker 3 01:00:02 My Engl now that I remember my English was so good that I would've to translate for other people that were there. Cuz those other people were just, were actual Mexicans. Halfway speaking English. The whole idea that they made money was by hiring cheap labor in Mexico. So you're thinking when you spoke to me that I'm somewhere in Alabaster and Hoover trying to help you out because of my English per se. So that's, that was a really interesting motto on how they were doing that. Speaker 2 01:00:29 Us working in call centers reminds me of the awesome YouTube channel. So if you have any built up resentment surrounding scammers, uhhuh, <affirmative>, you know, we're always getting scam calls. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you're extend your car warranty, blah, blah, blah. Mm-hmm. Speaker 3 01:00:41 <affirmative>, which works by the way, I bought one and for my truck it works. Speaker 2 01:00:47 You you actually on my purchased Speaker 3 01:00:49 That. Yeah. I did <laugh> <laugh> and then it broke down, uh, two months ago and I called it and I used it and they reimbursed it in me and everything. Seriously, Speaker 2 01:00:56 I always assumed that was just a a, a Speaker 3 01:00:58 Scam. No, no, it's real. It's, it's a real thing. Extended Car one trees. Yeah. Is that's Speaker 2 01:01:02 A real thing. I'm dumbfounded by that. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:01:04 It's the best. I only paid like, think $1,800 for my service and for the, for the contract for I think 40, 40 miles and the three year contract. And my truck started having issues and then they called the number and there was my account and saved me a bunch of money. Speaker 2 01:01:21 No kidding. Yeah. That's good to know. Yeah. <laugh>, there's this YouTube channel. This guy's like a very, very talented hacker. Oh God. But he uses his powers for good instead of evil. Oh no. So he will hack into these scammer call centers mm-hmm. <affirmative> and he can hack into their close caption cameras and he can look at them and he'll zoom in on 'em. He can find out their names and he'll find out where they live. So he can hack into a call center in Sri Lanka and get into the camera system. And while he's on the phone with them, he'll tell 'em their real name or he'll tell 'em their address and he'll tell 'em what color shirt they're wearing and he'll absolutely freak them out. And you can see it all on this YouTube channel. It's something like Scammer University or, um, I can't think of the name of it. You could, you could, Speaker 3 01:02:11 I think it's Scam University of Speaker 2 01:02:12 You could punch in a search for it and find it, but it, oh man. It's satisfying to see that Instant Karma. That's Speaker 3 01:02:17 Also really Speaker 2 01:02:18 Creepy. Awesome YouTube channel. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:02:20 Hmm. But yeah, man, I mean that's where we're at now, the coffee shops. Um, very excited for a new project that we got in play, but I can't really announce it until we signed the paperwork, but hopefully it happens. Speaker 2 01:02:37 That's just a little tease right there. So there's, so there's something coming up. If I guessed it, would you nod your head yes or no? Yeah, I Speaker 3 01:02:44 Would tell. Oh yeah. If you guessed it right, the point then I'll tell you the entire story. Is Speaker 2 01:02:46 It a restaurant? Speaker 3 01:02:47 Yes. <laugh>. Okay. Speaker 2 01:02:49 Yeah. Is it still Mexican food? Speaker 3 01:02:51 It's still Mexican food. Yeah. That's all I know. I don't wanna jump into something. I don't know. Stay Speaker 2 01:02:54 In your lane. Stay in my Speaker 3 01:02:55 Lane. Okay. Yeah. Speaker 2 01:02:56 Is it in downtown or in a or in a suburb? Hell Speaker 3 01:02:59 Yeah. Downtown. Okay. Yeah. That's, that's my, that's my hotspot. I'm not going anywhere else. Yeah. Speaker 2 01:03:04 Okay. I think that's enough to reveal for now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm not gonna dig too deep. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, so there's an upcoming Mexican restaurant downtown. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Is it, would you say it's more upscale or more like street food? Speaker 3 01:03:18 More street food. Okay. I love the idea of upscale, but I still need to keep building my team to get to that level. There's always a, um, misconception of what upscale is. And we all have a different perspective of what that is. In my perspective. In my perspective is gonna be a little bit hard to reach. So as we grow and develop and get to that point, I would love to do an upscale restaurant in Birmingham with Mexican food. Yeah. But that's maybe like in the future. Speaker 2 01:03:45 I was about to say, you, you can't name it Chewy. Speaker 3 01:03:48 Can't name it. Chewy's. You know how people think. I own Chewies. I like if I won Chewy's, I would not be talking to you here right now. I'll be, I gotta In Costa Rica. Yeah. Speaker 2 01:03:56 <laugh>, I gotta ask only because I don't really know how did Chewy come about? Speaker 3 01:04:01 Okay. Chewy. Kind of like a sad story. So growing up in the south, being named Jesus or in this case Jesus, um, was kind of hard, you know? So I grew up really embarrassed of my name. Just super embarrassed of my name. It was cuz it wasn't fun. Oh, here comes Jesus. Oh Jesus. And people would just laugh. Even the teachers would laugh at that time. Luckily I had some friends that would just call me Jesus. Um, all in high school, especially at Thompson really sucked cuz it's just, oh Jesus, this, this is that. Yeah. And you lived in a world at that time where it was okay to call me the atory word and Mexican or like, can I say Speaker 2 01:04:43 You can say whatever. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:04:44 Like wet back, you know, or the Mexican and just, or the brown boy. Like it was just okay to say it back then. And people would just laugh, you know. So I was always very, especially coming from a small community of Latinos at that time, now they're everywhere. But now at that time you just kind of ha ha you know, or kept your head down. You couldn't say anything very bad. Speaker 2 01:05:02 No. Good one. Speaker 3 01:05:03 Yeah. You know, and it sucked. So, um, hate that I felt that way, but now I'm like very powerful about it. Like, now I want you to call me something, you know, cuz now I can really defend myself. Or if you wanna call me Jesus, go right ahead. Because I'm, I'm real proud of my name because it's a powerful name. Yeah. And um, so all my life it was either Jesus Chewy or Jesus, um, or Cuc Chin, which is what my parents call me. Um, some close friends call me that too cuz they think it's cute, but whatever. Speaker 2 01:05:35 What is that Cin? What does that mean? Speaker 3 01:05:38 It's, uh, another nickname for Jesus. Oh, okay. So in Mexico you have like a list of nicknames for Jesus. Chut Chupe, Chucho Uhto. What's another one? I think that's it. There's probably a bunch more. So Speaker 2 01:05:52 All those names are common nicknames. Nickname for Jesus. Jesus. Okay. It's kinda like how um, in America we have those strangest nicknames for longer names. Like how Bob is Short for Robert mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or Jim is short for James. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like James is already a short name, but Jim is apparently short for that. Yeah. Yeah. We have a, a lot of random names like that. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:06:13 I sound like a sound like a rap song going Speaker 2 01:06:15 On. So Chewy is a common nickname. Chew For is Speaker 3 01:06:17 A common Speaker 2 01:06:17 Nickname. Speaker 3 01:06:18 Okay. And the reason why I got that name is when I went to Marg Deg Grill, the GM's name was also Jesus, but so was the Cook's name, so was the busboy. And then you had me, so he kind of rattles a, like gets all together and he like, Hey, well him speaking. I'm like, I'll be the real Jesus, but you guys can't be Jesus cuz there's so much confusion. Yeah. Jesus. Who like, which Jesus are they talking about? So he looks at the cook and he's like, you're Cacho looks at the bus boy or whatever. He's like, you're Chocho. And then he looks at me like literally looks at me, you're Chewy. And I'm like, okay. You know, like, okay, I'm Chewy now. Yeah. Gave him my little tag and I, and I ran with Chewy. You owned it? I owned it, yeah. All the way up until I worked with Frank. Speaker 3 01:06:59 When I worked with Frank, they stopped it. And um, that's when she gave me over part, gave me a little perspective cuz she saw it on my resume. I'm like, what, what is this chewy thing? I'm like, oh, it's my nickname. And I'm like, I wanna be called Chew. And she's like, we don't, we don't do that here. I'm like, what? What do you mean? Like, that's my name. She was like, no, your name is not Chew. Your name is Jesus. And I, I kind of just like gulped. I'm like, cause I didn't wanna be, I was so embarrassed of that name. And then I told her how I felt and she was like, no, what are you talking about? You know, like, that's a beautiful name is you'd really own it. And I'm like, you know what? Yeah, you're right. I'm like, why have I been so ashamed of my name this entire time? So like 2018, 19 is when I started really like getting my real name out there so people can really understand who I really am now. Yeah. Speaker 2 01:07:44 Yeah. So you prefer to go by Jesus. Speaker 3 01:07:46 Um, it's been a battle. I think my brand name has always been chewy, but people kind of just don't realize that the person in the background really struggling, stressing, crying, trying to figure out a way to make things happen has always been Jesus. Yeah. You know? So. Speaker 2 01:08:00 And could you say that maybe Chewy's almost like your alter ego? Speaker 3 01:08:03 Chewy is my alter ego. Speaker 2 01:08:05 Yeah. Jesus is definitely a powerful name, but I think ju is too because mm-hmm. <affirmative> there's only one. There is only one. Yeah. And you can go by one name like Beyonce. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:08:14 <laugh>. Okay. Speaker 2 01:08:15 So that you can, I'm glad Speaker 3 01:08:16 That I'm at that low beyond, Speaker 2 01:08:17 You know, when I'm, when I'm typing the episode title and everything, I debated just writing Chewy mm-hmm. <affirmative> because everyone just knows one chewy mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, I'll write whatever we want now. Speaker 3 01:08:27 Like on my LinkedIn, it's Jesus quotation. Chewy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Speaker 2 01:08:31 That's what I best to both worlds. Speaker 3 01:08:32 That's of. Yeah. Cuz I can't, I can't, one, I can't forget where I come from, which is Jesus. But then I can't also can't forget who people know, which is Chewy. But, so I honor both names though. At first I was just trying to be completely Jesus, but I'm like, that's not ever gonna work, so let's just keep it, keep it natural and keep it flow. Speaker 2 01:08:49 What are some of your other favorite restaurants in town? Speaker 3 01:08:52 In town? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Man. People know me. I'm a huge snob. Like for food. I don't know why or how I became this. I really am. If I don't like it, I don't like it. I just don't touch it. I wish I could change that, but just natural, I'm a jerk when it comes to food. But, um, my favorite restaurant to eat at are actually five. Those are the ones that I just like rotate it always be Shon Pond. And I love Salmon Burn and their sushi at, um, at Bamboo. I love the Ramen over at Shoe Shop with the Diba. Um, Speaker 2 01:09:34 That's a cool atmosphere too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> especially late at night. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they start banging some old project Pat in three six Mafia music. It's like, you don't expect for a restaurant to play that kind of music, but when they turn it up loud and you're eating a ramen bowl, it just, it hits. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:09:48 And, um, my other, and my like the perfect just like go fast, go in easy. It's affordable and like perfect for my meetings, they'll borrow you. Those are my top five for me. Like that I just rotate. Oh man. And the automatic, you can't really, I think Speaker 2 01:10:03 I gotta throw East West in there. Speaker 3 01:10:05 Oh man. Geez man. Kobe's gonna hate me, but yeah, east Wests in his wings. Speaker 2 01:10:10 He's coming on soon. Yeah. He is. He'll be a good, he'll be a good guest. That's, we knew each other in college and our way back. Speaker 3 01:10:14 Yeah. That boy talk about a good friend, but also another good restaurateur that's always on my ass about things. That guy, he's been in my, he's been in my life ever since I took over the Lewis and he's just been guiding me. He's one of those two people that will actually teach you and show you and help you in comparison to other restaurateurs that were just like staying in their own lane and not, not wanting to see you like do better. Yeah. But that, that guy is good. That guy, that guy's real good. Speaker 2 01:10:41 He is. And he also had to earn his keep, you know, his dad didn't just throw money at him. His dad made him work hard for 10 years and really earn it. Yeah. Well Speaker 3 01:10:49 He's, he's og he's legit. He has my full respect. Yeah. Now and always. But, uh, yeah, I mean East West, how did I forget the automatic, automatic is probably between font. Font and automatic or my top two. Speaker 2 01:11:00 What about, um, I know fitness has been a big part of your life lately. Yeah, I do. Not lately. I mean, I guess it has for, for some time for that you've really been focusing on it for the past at least few years. Where are you working out now that you're not at Lifetime? Speaker 3 01:11:17 Um, well my last days and last time are like next week right now I'm working with, I'm so grateful to have these guys in my life. Cuz they came in, they came in my life earlier this year, January. I wasn't, I wasn't okay here and here for a minute. And, um, I reached out to um, Kevin who works at El Barrio. I was having a meeting and I just saw him and I'm like, Hey man, are you still working out with like David at, at Wheelhouse? And he's like, yeah. And I'm just like asking him on a date, can I go out with you? You know, like, and I go work out with you. And he was like, yeah, we would love to have you. So I have a membership at Wheelhouse Academy with Lewin and um, they have a open gym membership. So I just go in there and I just use the facility and I work out with Kevin and I work out with David and they follow this, I don't know if he's a CrossFitter, Marcus, Marcus Goey or Marcus. I'll, I'll find a picture and when you pull 'em up it looks like a, like a Spartan God. Yeah, Speaker 2 01:12:12 I know who you're talking about. Speaker 3 01:12:13 Yeah. And I'm like, whoa, like this. We're doing his workouts and they're like, yeah, every time I walk I do this workout with Kevin and David, I feel like, and it's a full body workout. Okay. So it's like soft core, like warmup and then it becomes like strength conditioning and then it becomes like straight conditioning and then it's like five workouts in one for like an hour. It's just non-stop movement. And I always feel like they're trying to kill me, but it's the like most accomplishing workouts that I can get. And I've developed so much more like physical discipline with these guys cuz they don't put up with my, they're like, Hey, you're doing that wrong. Hey, we know you're being lazy. Like pick up a bigger weight. Or if they see me doing something wrong, like, Hey, they know I have bad issues, are you okay doing that? Like they, they care so much and when we're done we're just, Hey man, just bro it out. Good job. I'll see you tomorrow. Yes sir. Yeah. Like, I have not missed a workout unless I'm, unless I'm, uh, traveling or something and then I'll miss it. But I work out with them Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and they've been a big part of my life and my recent fitness journey. But Speaker 2 01:13:20 I feel you, I've gotten where I also enjoy working out with a group or taking a class and you know, I was a personal trainer for a year, so I know how to make a workout mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But just having someone else design a workout and just put you through it is nice because you don't have to focus on what's next. You don't have to focus on designing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you just focus on the execution. And that has been a game changer for me. One thing I really enjoyed, I'm, I'm not doing it right now, but I, I kind of go back and forth and give my body a break. Orange Theory. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Oh my God. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> talk about an intense mm-hmm. <laugh> workout. Orange Theory is no joke. Yeah. <laugh>. I mean, <laugh>. Speaker 3 01:13:57 I did that once. I was Speaker 2 01:13:59 Like, were you just panting? Speaker 3 01:14:00 I like Orange Theory. I just didn't, I couldn't, I'm also a color guy. I could not dig with the orange. I don't know why I can't see was Speaker 2 01:14:09 In the name to you. What did you Speaker 3 01:14:10 Expect? <laugh>? Uh, planet Fitness. Yeah. I can't deal with the purple and yellow very purple. I just can't, I'm like, I can't be in here. Speaker 2 01:14:18 There's another one called Amped over off two 80. Amped is so blue amped is way bluer than this. Yeah. It's just like blue fluorescence in your face. Yeah. But, uh, I like lifetimes for the atmosphere, dude. Yeah. And they have all, you know, they just have a really nice facility. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they have amenities, they have pools and hot tubs and saunas and it's just a a nice, it's, Speaker 3 01:14:36 It's clean. It's clean. It's a, it's a bougie gym, literally. But I mean, I'm moving, um, more downtown next month. So, um, there's a private gym across the street from me called Sculpt. So I don't know if you heard about them. I've heard of it, yeah. Speaker 2 01:14:51 Is that where, I think that's where Alex Truk works out? Speaker 3 01:14:54 I think so, yeah. And then you have, uh, one of Wayne's facilities, uh, 24. Speaker 2 01:14:57 24 E. Yeah. I was a member of that one. Speaker 3 01:15:00 So I'll be going to that instead. Just two blocks down, it makes more sense just to walk there. Speaker 2 01:15:04 24 E will always hold a special place in my heart. That was, that was when I first became an independent personal trainer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that was really the first time that I technically owned my business, you know, being an independent contractor. And it was at the one in Hoover. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. That's my favorite gym of all time, because at the time I was working out twice a day. I was, that was all I did was workout. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> because when you're working in a gym, you know, it, it fits everyone else there that I was hanging out with. That's all they did too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it was some of the best workouts in my life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they had awesome equipment because they bought all that equipment from a gym in Pellham called Body Shop. You remember that gym? It's over, across, across one 19 from Iguana Grill is kind of behind that facility back there. It's called The Body or Wait, powerhouse. Yes. Speaker 3 01:15:52 Not Speaker 2 01:15:53 Body Shop. Body Shop was an alabaster powerhouse. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. They had the best equipment. So when they shut down, Wayne bought all that equipment when opened up 24 E in Hoover next to Ellis Piano. And it became a very legit gym. Very fast. Nice, nice. And all the people that were serious about body building were working out there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So you had Greg Bury training all of his bikini competitors there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you had all the guys that were competing in within the NPC body building competitions working out there. Yeah. So you had all these people taking it really seriously around you. So it really, really had no choice but to take it seriously. So I was meal prepping six meals a day, bringing it in, carrying a wa a gallon. Look at you water jug with me. They Speaker 3 01:16:34 Go to Acobi afterwards. <laugh>. Yeah. Speaker 2 01:16:37 But, uh, man, those were really good times. Yeah, Speaker 3 01:16:40 Man. I mean, I think fitness is a big, fitness is big, especially in what I do. One, it's just like, it's, I'm, I'm a walking figure. I have to go everywhere and I, and I wanna feel good about myself, but it's also just kind of just personal, your self-discipline, you know, just going in there and kicking your own and then going out into the world world and doing work and not letting anybody affect you because you already hurt your feelings at the very beginning of the day, you know? So that's the perspective that I use for, for working out. Speaker 2 01:17:08 Are you working out in the mornings now or you all in Speaker 3 01:17:10 The mornings? Yeah. Yeah. Just get outta the way. You know, sometimes I'll do two a days and so I'll get my real workouts in with with Kevin and David and then I'll go to a lifetime where I'll, in this case I'll go now to 24 E and I'll just get my cardio in. I'll get on the treadmill and do a couple, two, three mile runs and call it a day. Speaker 2 01:17:28 Do you consistently work out with Ryan Dalessio over there? Speaker 3 01:17:31 On and off, on and off? Um, he's Speaker 2 01:17:33 A good dude. Speaker 3 01:17:34 He is a great guy. Did you Speaker 2 01:17:35 Know him at Pelham? Speaker 3 01:17:36 No. We went to school together but we never crossed paths. Yeah. I started really connecting with him beginning of this year. I just saw him at Lifetime just walking and then I cool up. Hey, what's up man? We just started clicking, talking about life and then, hey, you're cool. Yeah, you're cool too. Let's be Speaker 2 01:17:51 Cool together. I've always liked him man. He's just a, a very laid back guy. Yeah, yeah. Speaker 3 01:17:54 Good guy. Yeah, he's good. Speaker 2 01:17:57 One thing, um, that has completely been a game changer for me is working out in the morning for my whole life. Up until two years ago I was like a three o'clock guy. I would, I would plan my day around working out Speaker 3 01:18:09 Am Speaker 2 01:18:09 No Speaker 3 01:18:10 Oh, about to say what <laugh> No, I Speaker 2 01:18:11 Was always, I always had the mindset of workout later in the afternoon. Yeah. Once your body had had time to warm up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, once you've been awake, once your blood flows going, I'd always worked out early afternoon, but once I just trained myself to get up 5, 5 30, go to the gym, get there around 6, 6 30, that was a game changer for me. And here's why your blood type determines a lot about your physiology. Okay. I'm a blood type A negative. So for my specific blood type and for some of the others, first thing in the morning you have a big cortisol spike. You know cortisols is stress hormone. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and evolutionarily speaking that happened because you'd have to get up in the morning when you were a caveman. You might have to chase down a buffalo or chase down some kind. So you needed this cortisol spike to give you energy in the morning to go out and catch breakfast. Speaker 2 01:19:04 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well now we don't have to do that. So you have this cortisol spike and if you don't do a lot of activity in the morning, then you have this free flowing cortisol all throughout your body just causing this underlying stress in tension. So if you go ahead and work out in the morning, you burn off that cortisol so you feel super chill throughout the day and once you've gotten the workout outta the way, you just feel a lot more leveled all throughout the day. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you know what your blood type is? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I have a test kit. We can do it after this. I would like that. Yeah. Yeah, we can do that. Speaker 3 01:19:34 I always wonder what it was. Okay. Speed. Speaker 2 01:19:36 Yeah, we'll find out what yours is and you can also determine the best diet for you based on your blood type. Speaker 3 01:19:42 Huh? Our diet is crap. I don't Speaker 2 01:19:45 <laugh>. Well, you're, you're a big time foodie. Yeah. Speaker 3 01:19:47 <laugh>. Yeah. Speaker 2 01:19:47 People who are type O or O negative type O positive or negative should be more paleo and more red meat. People who are type A positive or negative should eat primarily vegetables, some chicken, fish but primarily plant-based. And then the others are a mix of the two. But those are kind of like polar opposite blood types. Speaker 3 01:20:09 Oh man. I'm probably like blood type M for Mexican food in margaritas, <laugh> Speaker 2 01:20:15 Blood type type Q for ASO <laugh>. Yeah, Speaker 3 01:20:17 Guess so. Speaker 2 01:20:18 <laugh>. Speaker 3 01:20:19 That's what I probably am. That's all I eat. I gotta chill. Speaker 2 01:20:22 Yeah. It's so good man. Yeah. Well Chewy, thanks for coming on the podcast buddy. Having, it's been a long time coming. Yeah. We'll have to get together soon and play some pickleball. A hundred percent. Yeah. I've been, since we played, I've been telling everybody about it. Yeah, I'm, I'm probably kind, I've been watching YouTube Speaker 3 01:20:35 Videos, trying to, I figure out some, trying Speaker 2 01:20:38 To get your shots down. So you think you've honed your skills since you played? No, Speaker 3 01:20:40 I Uhuh No. Okay. <laugh>. But Speaker 2 01:20:42 You're gonna be putting the spin on it. Yeah. Yeah. Shorts on everything. Well, enjoy the rest of your day. We'll do this soon. You too. And uh, I'll talk to you soon buddy. Hundred, Speaker 1 01:21:06 Let cry.

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