BY: JACK M.
If cooking is your passion and owning your own restaurant is your fantasy, then you better be prepared to invest some serious money to get that business up and running. Between construction costs and buying a piece of land, setting up the kitchen, buying furniture and inventory, and hiring staff, you could easily drop a few hundred grand – maybe even over a million – before you start to see a return on your investment. But if, like most of us, you don’t have that kind of money lying around, and you’re not expecting to win the lottery any time soon, your fantasy will unfortunately stay just that – a fantasy.
But there’s another time-limited option that you might want to consider. A restaurateur in Mena, Arkansas, is having a contest to give her working restaurant away to one lucky individual. Amye Hebert is inviting would-be chefs to send her a recipe (and a photo of the finished product), along with a 200-word essay explaining why you should own her restaurant, and an application fee of $150. The winner of the contest will get the keys to Stache’s Cookery, no strings attached. And to make things just a little sweeter, the winner will also get $25,000 in cash to help them ease into the new business.
Mena is a small community in upstate Arkansas, but despite its population of only around 5,000, it’s the gateway to one of the busiest tourist areas in North America. Amye bought the business back in 2009, and the restaurant – including the land – has been completely refurbished, with extensive improvements having been made to the kitchen and the construction of an outdoor patio. The restaurant is lien-free and has seating for 90 patrons inside and an additional 80 for the patio. But Amye now finds herself in the position of having to look after her two elderly parents, and rather than sell the business that she has worked hard to build, or run the risk of new owners turning it into something that she wouldn’t approve of, she wants the character and the reputation of Stache’s Cookery to carry on. And that’s why she has decided to give the restaurant to the person who she believes is best suited to carry on in her stead.
The contest, which is open to all U.S. and Canadian residents, is underway, and it expires July 30 of this year. Amye hopes to get at least 6,000 applications – which is the number needed to make it a fair proposition for the present owners – but if less than the minimum people apply, the application fee of $150 will be returned, less $25 for administration fees. Of course, if more than 6,000 applications are made, it’ll be a bonus for Amye. After reviewing all applications, the restaurant’s executive chef will decide on the best three, and these lucky few will then be invited to Mena (at Amye’s expense) for the final test.
The final test will consist of running the restaurant for a full day, preparing your great recipe and serving it to 50 of Amye’s regular customers. And these same 50 fussy diners will be the final arbiters of who gets to take over Stache’s Cookery, along with the $25,000 start-up money. For complete terms and instructions on how to enter, click here.
Image sources: rockcityeats.com