Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicolas Fanucci.
Hi Nicolas, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
This all started when I was 16 years old and my dad gave me 48 hours to find a job or else…. 16 years old and yet I was given an ultimatum that made me who I am today. This professional venture led me to all kinds of opportunities, challenges and troubles.
So, from the day I had to get a job to now, I traveled to 17 countries, lived in 15 states, worked for 19 bosses, I served in 25 restaurants with over 20 Michelin stars. All of that with my three sons and my wife.
I needed all those life experiences to help me face our Malibu venture…. A venture that started at the end of 2017 when Bouchon Bistro in BH had to closed its doors. Thomas Keller one of the greatest chefs in the world and to me an amazing boss had to close his doors. I worked for him at the French Laundry and Bouchon. Anyway, Bouchon did not make it and we had to close. I was again in the hunt for another job. This time one of the patrons at Bouchon offered me to open a restaurant in Malibu. It will take 6 months to get it going and here are on December 13 2017, I signed my lease to own Nicolas Eatery Malibu. Well, 6 months did not really happen. At month 9 (September 2018) we were about to open our doors. But, (of course there is a but), one morning, the construction crew showed up to find a “Stop work order” issued by the city of Malibu. No more build-out until we found out what is going on and more important until we resolve the issue. The day we found out that the permit was not filed properly, was the day a major fire started in Malibu. Not much options left we had to wait until all returned to normal. It’s not before late November that we had the opportunity to meet the team at the city of Malibu. To find out that we had to restart our permit process from scratch and this time, let’s make sure we do it right…
Another little issue, was the money. We just had run out of all our funds to open our restaurant and there was nothing left. After a couple of days thinking how to keep the dream alive, I drove to a food truck rental place and signed a six months lease for a 1984 Chevy food truck (we called it uncle Jimmy). And just like that, the dream was still alive. December 19 2018, we showed up at 8am in from of our restaurant, open the windows and we were in business. Lucas and Sebastian (my sons) were here with me helping my wife and I with everything. For the next six months, we served breakfast and lunch to anyone who wanted to try. Although we were doing this food truck for survival, everyone in our community thought it was a great marketing tool. After 6+++ month of hard labor and just enough money to continue, the restaurant was well under construction and it look like our plan to open in September was on target. The day our door opened; the entire community of Malibu showed up. Everyone wanted to support us. When we were too busy and you could not get a seat, people were happy and excited to see us full. Life was getting better and things were looking good.
By the end of the year 2019, business was going well. A couple decided to buy us out for New year Eve. They will be 40 people to celebrate the year 2020. And here we are starting 2020 with a bang, by the time we arrived to Valentines Day, we were sold out. Now it was time to tune up our operation and get a few regulations implemented. On March 15 2020, we had our first all staff meeting. We had a great plan and vision. But the world as you know it did not have that for us. That meeting was just a call to concern and just to say “I don’t know what is going to happen?” By the end of the day, we were shut down, all our staff was gone. The next day, Lucas and I showed up and open our doors for take-out only. Once again, we were challenge with the unknown. We followed the rules, serve what we could serve and became extremely creative. We did it all, Tacos, sushi, wine club, food market, wine to-go, you name it, we did it….
Summer 2022 is right here and we are still going. Our group is stronger than ever and the quality of our food, service, hospitality has never been so high.
We are now focusing on becoming a food destination and hope to be recognized by local food and wine magazine, the Michelin Guide and other major national food magazines. We are opening a roof top Vietnamese restaurant in late 2022.
The venture is still alive…
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The obstacles we faced have made us. From permit issues, staffing challenges, financial burden, family issues, we had our share of it. How we dealt with it and we overcome them that is simple based on persistence. being relentless and always looking for a way to overcome the obstacle has become my first thought when trouble arise.
As you know, we’re big fans of Nicolas Eatery. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Nicolas Eatery is a family-run restaurant based in Malibu serving delicious French food, offering brunch, lunch and dinner service.
Our ingredients are fresh and organic and come from our local farmers. We strive to provide our guests with the best experience. Our menu is designed to allow our guests to customize their orders as they please. After all, you are the one eating it, and we are here to serve you.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
During the Covid lockdown, the local community became really supportive and wanted to make sure businesses like mine was going to be OK. There was a true sense of human kindness.
- Website: nicolaseatery.com
- Instagram: @nicolaseatery
- Facebook: nicolaseatery
- Yelp: Nicolas Eatery