Weekly Business Profile
The Shop Breakfast & Lunch
Type of business:
2933 Monte Vista NE
Albuquerque NM 87106
Number of Employees:
What was your first job?
Well, I (Israel) started at Dion’s when I was 15, I think—as soon as I was old enough to work. I quickly discovered that working in a kitchen was something (maybe the only thing) I was naturally good at, so I stuck with it.
How did you get started in this business?
We have both been working in the food industry our whole lives at various levels, and luckily enough, we ended up loving what we do and decided to move forward.
Why did you choose this business?
Simply put, because I love to cook. I’ve had a passion for food as long as I can remember, and it’s rare, I think, to get paid to do what you love.
What is your business philosophy?
To serve people great food and coffee. It all comes down to that.
What is your educational background?
Well, I dropped out of high school and got my GED. Right after that I took a few classes here and there at CNM, but I always felt like school just wasn’t for me. I love to read and learn but on my own, and this career path has always inspired me to do my own research and study the things I want to study.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
We both spent most of our lives here in Albuquerque and felt we could bring something a little different that the town could use—not just the same old everyday breakfast and lunch.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
To make people happy. I think that’s the main reason why most people cook. Creating something that someone else loves is a great feeling.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
I think all we expected, really, was a lot of work … and it's been that so far. It's still early on, so I'm sure there's still a lot to come.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
I’m not sure our approach is too different, but we want to be as local and organic as possible and make as much of our food as we can in house.
What are your growth goals?
We just want to be part of this community and share our food. Hopefully we can stick around for awhile.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Cooking, without a doubt. I spend almost all my time in the kitchen. It’s what I love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you have a hero or mentor—business or otherwise?
As far as business heroes go, I’d have to say mine is Terry Keene, owner of the Artichoke Cafe and Farina. I worked for him for a few years as a Sous chef at the Artichoke, and he really cares about his employees and his business. He’s worked his tail off to be successful, and he’s done it with a smile and a great attitude. I can only hope to be as successful as he is someday. The guy is a great role model.
What inspires you?
Food. Simple as that. If I see or taste something I like, my first thought is to try and make it my own: Add this or take away that, and sometimes you end up with something completely different than you had in mind. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, ha ha.
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