Mel Johnson Professional Employer Consultant and Contributor on the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Owner Paul Petronella. Paul who the restaurant was named after by his parents Bernard and Kathy, runs the 16 year old location that hasn’t changed its menu to far from the original.
Give me a brief history of Paulie’s
Paulie’s was opened in April 1998 by my parents Bernard and Kathy Petronella. Both of which had always been in the restaurant and/or catering business. I was in college at the time, but was one of our first employees working the front counter and eventually moving into the kitchen working the hot line. My parents expanded the concept into multiple locations over the next 10 years. I took over the Westheimer location six years ago, selling the last location to focus on the original.
How has Paulie’s impacted the restaurant community?
I like to think bar/restaurant professionals enjoy dining at Paulie’s. We get a healthy amount of industry folk in our establishment. That means a great deal to me. I host pop-up dinners frequently allowing those chefs without their own kitchen a platform to showcase their skills, which hopefully leads to a career or insight how this business operates. Often other industry folk and/or potential investors will attend and relationships are built. Some of my best friends are industry professionals.
How has Paulie’s managed to stay current in a changing industry?
I believe quality, consistent food is timeless. Our food is definitely not progressive, it’s pretty simple. But I believe it succeeds because it is fresh, delicious and consistent. Although I have made small changes to the menu, we are not a restaurant that thrives on evolving menus. Our customers come looking for the same thing, prepared the same, every time. Most likely I will upset people if I remove popular items. But I did recognize our weaknesses and try to make those our strengths. Our weaknesses were beverages basically, coffee, beer and wine. So I implemented a Specialty Coffee program and a current delicious beer and wine menu.
What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
I enjoy watching people leave happy. It’s special to me that we have a heavy industry customer base. I really like introducing people to something new. When we changed the beverage program we carried items most of our customers were unfamiliar with. Educating them on those items so they could understand and appreciate them, and later enjoys them, is very satisfying.
Visit Paulie’s on 1834 Westheimer Rd Houston TX
or check them out online at pauliesrestaurant.com
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