The Tasting Room
Meet our May Tenants of The Month: Karl, Pam, Kara and Taylor Lansdowne, the owners of The Tasting Room located at 483 Richmond Street.
Pam shares the family story. ”We’ve been in the restaurant industry since we were teenagers and Karl and I actually met working at Joe Kool’s. We used to talk about our dreams of running our own restaurant, and gathered ideas from our travels to build on our idea of a lively and welcoming “noisy bistro” concept. The ‘flights of wine’ serving idea I saw while dining in Florida, and I knew I wanted to bring it to London. We were married in 1988, and our family includes two beautiful children, Kara and Taylor.
“In 2002 the space at 478 Richmond came available and we knew it was the right time to seize the opportunity and strike out on our own. We opened The Tasting Room in January of 2003 and are proud to be coming up on our fifteenth anniversary. And still going strong! Given that we have worked in the industry most of our lives, we understood the long days and the hustle on the floor, but nothing can truly prepare you for the challenge of owning, running and working in a family restaurant. We are very lucky to have employees who have been with us since day one, and some who worked with us back in our Joe Kool’s days. Our children Kara and Taylor started as dishwashers in middle school. They have now finished their educations and come back to help us grow the family business.
“Just before Christmas seven years ago our restaurant flooded and very little could be saved. The space was a total disaster and it took three months to repair the damage. We missed Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day – the three biggest revenue generators in our industry. Needless to say, it was a very stressful time for our family and staff. We are so grateful to Mr. Farhi, who battled for us with the insurance companies, made sure the all restoration work was done properly and did everything he could to ensure we were up and operating as quickly as possible. We have always had a great relationship with Mr. Farhi because his handshake is his bond and he cares more about character than contracts
“The restoration after the flood was a turning point for our business. If you stop in this industry, it’s suicide. We didn’t know if our staff would stay or if our clientele would come back. But when we reopened our doors every one of our staff members was still with us and our clientele was there waiting for us. That’s pretty much unheard-of in this business.
“I’ve heard people say we are a real success story but I never think of us that way. There is always something you can do to improve your products and service. If you start thinking you’ve reached the top, you’ll plateau and that’s as high as you will go. You can never relax in this business so we wake up every day ready to work hard, and we are very grateful for what that brings us as a family.”