You know how everybody seems to be posting instagram photos of food on their Facebook these days? We swear we've been doing it since 2006! It started with photos of dining out, then it started to turn into photos of food we would create at home. People would always ask, "When are you guys opening up a restaurant?!" and nowadays we finally have a response!
Jess was a cytogeneticist at a major hospital in Boston and Ron was an account manager for a well-known chocolate company but a seemingly innocent e-mail on a whim changed everything a year ago. After we graduated from the University of Connecticut, the campus underwent a massive downtown revitalization: The downtown Storrs Center project.
This was one of those moments where we thought, "When I was at school here... I wished there was..." And the answer came easy to us: A fusion street food Asian place made with authentic and quality ingredients. Japanese grill gyu-don made with organic shoyu soy, not cheap generic brands. Or bubble tea made with real juice and real loose-leaf fresh brewed tea... not powder, hot water, and corn syrup. Thus, the Haru Aki Cafe was born.
So what does Haru Aki exactly mean and how did we come up with the logo? Haru is Japanese for Spring and Aki is Japanese for Autumn. Both these seasons represent transition and change in unique ways and we believe our menu will provide a nice balance for customers to experience the changing seasons through taste. Our logo was created by Jess to capture the essence of balancing the seasons with a vibrant and playful touch.
So how far along are we? Well, after a year of planning, negotiating, finding contractors, distributors, vendors, licensing, and the whole nine yards (plus another fifty yards that blindsided us), we are finally in the home stretch! Construction is well under way and we hope to be open in less than 2 months!
So why are we raising money if we're so close to opening? With unexpected expenses popping up left and right, our budget grew thinner and thinner until it got to a point where it exceeded our capacity. Since then, we've found ways to move forward by both cutting many elements we wanted to have initially and by raising capital privately. However, there are certain things we will not cut because it compromises our cultural integrity. In addition to community engagement, your generous contributions will go towards the following:
Authentic design elements such as custom Noren banners - Designed from scratch by Jessica, Traditionally hand dyed and fabricated in Kyoto, Japan.
Materials for our monthly workshops. As part of our cafe's mission statement, we want to engage with the local community as leaders in cultural education. Specific workshops will range from dumpling making (the history of), mochi tasting, the origins and art of calligraphy, and anime screenings just to name a few.
Initial start-up costs for high quality ingredients and materials to work with. Details matter and we'd rather not take shortcuts if we can avoid them. We just need a "kick start" boost to get our engines going strong right off the bat!
Haru Aki Cafe is coming to town soon and we hope you will join us in the beginning! Help spread the word and thank you for all your time and support!
Risks and challenges
A restaurant is no joke and even though all we wanted to do was create a place to share our culinary creations, we learned pretty quickly that things will NEVER get done on time and NEVER within budget. However, we are now in the final stretch and despite all our setbacks, we're dedicated to seeing this through! We initially wanted to launch this campaign in April thinking we would be ready in August but we weren't sure and did not want to promise something we could not deliver. However, as I stand in our unit today... we are proud to say we will finally be open!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)