When The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar opened in October 2019 to rave reviews and a fan base of foodies, no one would have imagined they would be forced to totally shift operations just to survive. But survive it did. Aside from its employees and customers, no one is more thrilled than Tony Monaco himself to see everyone now returning for indoor and patio dining, live music, and all the goodies they missed from the year before. Tony knows that, like a good plate of food, running a restaurant takes good planning, creativity, and intricate execution.
It's no secret that the restaurant industry is incredibly challenging, but it is essential. Tony worked through the stay-at-home period by making a swift shift to provide take-out meals while maintaining high-quality at-home dining, satisfying many avid TBP customers. But sometimes leaders have to make hard choices to make it in the long run, which is how, after a four-month closure, the restaurant is back better than ever!
The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar is up and running at full capacity, so what can customers expect?
Our menu is New American cuisine and a craft bar program that changes seasonally. There’s something for everyone nearly every day of the week. Customer favorites are Tiki Taco Tuesday which is $10 cocktails and $3 tacos, 1/2 off Wine & Whiskey Wednesday of $9 house Old-Fashioneds & Prime Rib Special, and “Kill The Keg” Thursday for $6 draft beers and prizes for those who “Kill The Keg.”
Thinking back to how The Blind Pig got started, what led you to advance the business to what it is today?
I've always known I wanted to open and run my own business one day. Although I have always leaned more towards hospitality, it wasn’t until later in life that owning restaurants became the dream. The need to succeed kept me going when things were very difficult—and A LOT of help and support from many people along the way. I imagine I made the same sacrifices of time, money, and a private life besides work that all business owners make. The restaurant industry has some specific sacrifices of its own. Our busiest nights are everyone else’s nights off, so it can be difficult to maintain close relationships with those outside the industry. It’s something that every single one of my employees can relate to, so I’m not that special.
From who or what have you drawn your greatest inspiration?
I enjoy reading and learning about successful people throughout history, both inside and outside the restaurant industry. I also enjoy dining at different restaurants whenever I can, and I have found that there are so many great restaurants in Orange County doing amazing things that inspire me. Also, my parents are business owners themselves and are very active in giving me advice, and always willing to help whenever needed. I wouldn’t be where I am without them as role models and loyal supporters.
What are your visions and goals for The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar?
I’ll always be looking for opportunities to grow and expand, while still remaining involved in the communities that support us. I want to maintain a family-like atmosphere for both our team members and guests. It has been a difficult year for the restaurant industry as a whole, but I absolutely love and appreciate the support Yorba Linda has given us. We are still ingratiating ourselves into this wonderful community, but already we are so happy we decided to open here.
With everyone in survival mode during the past year, you also found a way to give back!
Yes, we did make 25-30 bag lunches a day for a whole month in May 2020 amid the first shutdowns, to help keep kids at home and front-line workers fed. We are always happy to give out gift cards for various charitable events held in the city.