Let's Open A Restaurant During A Pandemic

Guy Sanders Shares His Thoughts On Flexibility In Business

"I have a running joke that my lifelong goal was to open a restaurant during a pandemic. So now I can scratch that off my list.” Clearly starting any new business has its challenges. Add in a pandemic, struggling economy, mandatory shutdowns, stay at home orders and a good dose of fear plus all the misinformation and the team at Richter learned quickly to adapt and change with each situation.

“We had all the normal issues of starting a new business plus the added external challenges really kept us on our toes. The only constant is change.”

From the original concept at the beginning of construction in 2017 it took three years to complete, Guy and Joi Sanders wanted to create an environment that fit the needs of Boerne residents first.  The Richter Cork and Keg, Bakhaus, and Tavern all were designed to give the locals another choice to stay local. “Tens of millions of dining dollars a year from this area are spent in San Antonio. I want to keep those dollars on Main Street.”  Ironically, the pandemic created a situation where locals had to look closer to home for curbside options which was Boerne’s first taste of the Richter experience.

Fresh baked bread and family style meals eventually gave way to margarita flights and shrimp n grits. As restrictions slowly backed off, the Richter concept continues to grow which now includes Chef Frank-inspired Asian Fusion cuisine in the Cork and Keg. Chef Bill, who has been the anchor from the beginning continues to expand the Tavern menu to include specials featuring lamb, rabbit, opah, and scallops just to keep the “the only thing constant is change” feel alive.  Flexibility and collaboration are very much part of the Richter culture. Input and creations from the cooks, sous, and even bartenders are incorporated into the menu. Chef Bill, Chef Frank, and Bar Manager Mike Rogers all empower their team to be a part of the creative process.

The Richter family of restaurants at 153 Main has built a solid local following even during COVID restrictions, averaging five to seven thousand guests a month. “The support from locals is phenomenal!” Guy was also quick to mention that they pay close attention to customer feedback and made adjustments along the way. “When returning guests notice a change they suggested, it brings a new level of ownership in them. It’s fun to see that.”

While the food menu continues to evolve and improve, the cocktail menu also undergoes seasonal changes. The favorites are still available but Mike Rogers, the kilt wearing bar manager, is on a never-ending journey for the next delight in a glass. Rumor has it he is currently designing a “secret” menu for those in the know. These cocktails are unique theater performances tableside that not only taste amazing but are just fun to be a part of.  So, on your next Tavern trip ask your server for Mike’s “secret” menu.

This spring Sanders began featuring live music in the Cork and Keg on Fridays and Saturdays and hopes to soon expand musical entertainment to the breezeway next to The Boerne Bookshop. Other new features include custom cakes and even boozy ice cream available in all three Richter spots. Guy noted that he is seeing a steady improvement in the economy particularly with tourists returning as local hotels are reporting record occupancy.

Guy grew up around Fort Worth and attended college at the Kansas City Art Institute. He then served eight years in the Army Military Police Corps with multiple deployments to Haiti, Egypt, and Korea. He spent the last 20 years here in the San Antonio area as an executive in the corrugated box industry before starting his latest venture at 153 Main.

“I’m your typical art major, ex cop, box executive turned small town business guy.”

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