In the fall of 2012 I had the opportunity and the pleasure of playing golf with Mario Buffa, Restaurateur at a Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association Golf Tournament. Although my golf game was no where near the level of Mario’s it was really an honor to play with Mario who is one of the hardest working restaurateurs that I know. Having grown up in the restaurant business myself, it is always such an honor to spend time with the people that have helped me feed my family for so many years.
Mario, the son of Girolamo and Rosario Buffa has been in the restaurant business for over forty years after immigrating from Italy with his family at the age of six. The Buffa family has owned and operated Joe & Mimma’s in Grafton, Virginia since 1972 and has been a huge part of many peoples lives, always giving back to the community, and most importantly understanding that you can never forget the customer.
So what happens when you put two passionate restaurant guys in a golf cart? Yep, they talk about the restaurant business and on that day Mario told me that he was considering buying the Riverwalk Restaurant in Yorktown, VA. Really? Wow, how cool could this be? What happens next?
I am humbled and honored when I say that Mario allowed me to work with him on the due diligence, the transition, and many important aspects along the way. As the Restaurant Coach, I attended meetings, tasted tons of food and a little wine, analyzed the menu, worked with the P&L, helped with their online branding, and most importantly became part of the next “overnight success story forty years in the making”.
On February 1, 2013 Mario and his staff will celebrate their second month at the Riverwalk together. They have bonded together to offer all of things that their guests love and a lot of things that they are going to love. Later this spring they will launch Water Street Grille, upscale, not stuffy, wood-fired, taps and tapas adjacent to the Riverwalk. Stay tuned!
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