The side of a restaurant's operation that most diners see is the plate of food served to them. We don't wonder about menu planning, equipment repair or return on investment— although it's things like these that maintain a restaurant. And for one getting off the ground, the toughest one is locating capital to fund that dream. Brent Omeste and Chad Urata want more than a dream; they're closing in on a reality.
We know Brent from his time at Fashion Island's CUCINA Enoteca. And Chad is his classmate from culinary school. They've worked together at Alessa as well as Enoteca. And both are at a point in their lives where it is time for change. So we asked Brent about their upcoming CENTRO concept: What does it mean and represent?
“Besides the obvious part of us being two chefs setting out to achieve a lifelong dream, CENTRO has a truer meaning that is more telling about who we are than just a clever brand name. CENTRO translates to “center” in both Italian and Spanish (the two cuisines), but also represents a lifestyle adjustment. In effect, we are shifting the focus of our lives to center more around our family as opposed to only our careers; something that is a constant struggle for people within the hospitality industry.
CENTRO was a name I originally thought would be great for the parent company I intended to form. It was the location itself that we are working with that gave CENTRO a whole other meaning. When I originally inquired about a small pizzeria for sale in Lake Forest, I had my sights set on something small that I could run by myself with a little help from my wife and family members. While taking a tour of the facility, I walked into what would be the dining room to see an opening in the wall, dividing the two suites at the center. It was actually two restaurants I had shown up to see and was now interested in. I immediately thought that going from zero restaurants to two was a stretch for anyone setting out to do it on their own. I didn't wait longer than a day to reach out to Chad to see if he had an interest.”
In addition to the pizzeria, the menu next door would focus on tacos. Both will be quick service operations serving traditional fare on a smaller scale. Informal, no-nonsense food with both Italian and Mexican selections to choose from. To help assist with their opening, Chad and Brent set up a GoFundMe page. Check out what else they have to say, and show some love. Lake Forest is overdue for something like CENTRO.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.