Munchies Bluues is a very successful pizza restaurant where reservations are required and often need to be made days in advance.
Through careful observation we have compiled a top ten list of DOs and DON’Ts to follow if you want to make it as a restauranteur in San Juan del Sur.
1. DO specialize in one food. If you serve pizza don’t offer other Italian options like pasta.
2. DON’T allow menu substitutions. If someone makes a request for something silly like Hawaiian pizza simply ask them to leave.
3. DON’T take walk in traffic and DON’T do takeout. Reservations only!
4. DON’T worry about location, location, location. It doesn’t matter so DO set up in a remote location…like in the jungle…20 minutes from town…nowhere near a public transit route.
5. DON’T worry about signage. If you aren’t cool enough to be in the know, then you aren’t cool enough to go. That same adage applies to the phone number needed to make a reservation.
6. DON’T have staff. Customers can learn to write their own kitchen tickets, serve themselves beverages and tabulate their own bill at the end of the night.
7. DON’T over-extend yourself. Opening three nights a week is more than enough. Opening for lunch is for losers. 6:30 PM until everyone is fed and watered is the recipe for success!
8. DON’T advertise on Facebook or in local newspapers. And DON’T worry about a website. Word of mouth is all you need although there seems to be no way to avoid that pesky Trip Advisor from finding you.
9. DON’T take shit from anyone! The customer is NOT always right. And if people refer to you as the Pizza Nazi wear the title like a badge of honour.
10. And last, but certainly not least, DO serve the best authentic, thin crust, wood oven pizza in Central America!
Although items 1 through 9 seem counter intuitive this business model not only works, but has stood the test of time for long time resident Nicaraguan expat Sergio.
Roman native Sergio Tarantini offers only the best ingredients served in the traditional way. He is a unique individual and restauranteur who loves to entertain in the kitchen. With his eclectic song selection pumping through the speakers (all of which are pointed towards him) he dances while spinning pizza crusts in the air.
Sergio’s is a place to hang out with old friends and make new ones while sipping wine, feasting on delicious pizza and enjoying a night away from the hustle of San Juan del Sur. It’s a dining experience must for travelers in the San Juan del Sur area and a great meeting place for expats.
We are feeling charitable today so we will provide Sergio’s phone number (505) 8814-8530, but you’ll have to figure out where it is located on your own.
HINT: Refer to item number five in the list.
Where can you go when you have a couple of friends over on a Saturday night and drinks around your pool just isn’t lively enough? You take a walk on down to Encuentros pool of course. Every Saturday Encuentros restaurant converts it’s pool area into a full blown night club with DJ and open bar. C$250 for the hombres and C$150 for the ladies gets you into the party and well lubricated for the festivities.
We were a little perplexed at the thought of what to wear. Will people be dressed up to go to a night club or are they prepped to actually go in the pool? Is the pool just there for atmosphere or is it part of the fiesta? Encuentros is a classy restaurant so it’s hard to imagine a total drunken debauchery with scantily clad people jumping in the pool.
Elisha and I paid for our wrist bands and walked in with our friends Paul and Danielle. The bar opens at 10:00 pm and it was busy when we arrived at 10:30. Paul is the single one in our group so we all scanned the room for potential candidates for him as we made our way to the back bar. The club looked upscale and most people were dressed similarly to what you would see in Canada.
The DJ was great and had the house music really pumping and it wasn’t long before we saw people starting to dance around the pool area. The crowd was about 50% Nica and 50% foreigners and everyone was mixing, mingling, dancing and drinking.
We scored a perfect high top table poolside to watch all of the action. A 20-year-old girl named Layla dropped by to tell Elisha she was looking to hook up with a tall, athletic, cool, good looking guy and wanted to know if she knew of any that were available. Unfortunately she was much too young for Paul to take a serious look at.
As the night went on the dance floor got more crowded and with copious quantities of Flor de Cana being poured at the bar the inevitable finally happened. A few people had bathing suits on under their clothes and they stripped down and jumped in. Others seeing the folly in their total lack of preparation either jumped in fully clothed or just dropped their clothes on the dance floor and took the plunge in their underwear.
We noticed that Layla was in the pool with a play friend. I’m not sure how much of her criteria was met but he was tall anyway. They say if your expectations are low enough you will never be disappointed.
The bar stopped serving at about 1:30 am and that was our queue to move on. We were just about to leave our table when I felt something touch my leg. As I turned around to see what it was I saw Layla’s devilish grin. In a split second I felt the pull on the back of my shorts and there I was over tea kettle into the pool.
Luckily I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and my 5 finger shoes with a bit of cash in my pocket. Nica money is plastic so no harm done.
I guess if you’re going to a pool party you might as well jump in with both feet. Literally and figuratively. Our night at Encuentros turned out to be highly entertaining – an evening that we will definitely repeat sometime in the near future.