Welcome to another Happy, Healthy, Strong Podcast episode with your host Adam Lane. Join Adam as he sits down with Mr. Joshua Binning, the owner of Lucha Cantina. In this episode, they discuss the importance of teamwork and delegation in the restaurant industry, highlighting the significance of relying on a dedicated team for success.
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Tune in for insightful conversations on leadership and the power of collaboration.
2:31 The creation story of Lucha Cantina
8:18 Putting timelines in place to make it happen more effectively.
14:55 The importance of using good ingredients.
19:41 The importance of using good ingredients.
22:50 Not being a good skier, but good at taking the gondola.
28:29 Meal prep and meal timing
31:27 What’s coming up for the restaurant?
35:51 Dr. Peter Attia - Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity
OAK STRENGTH (00:00.622)
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another episode of the Happy Healthy Strong Podcast. I'm your host, Adam Lane. With me today, the director, the al Capitan of Lucha Cantina, Mr. Joshua Binh. Thanks for having me. Josh, thanks for being here. My pleasure. Absolutely. I know you're a busy guy. That's all right. Start a restaurant, they said. It'd be fun, they said. It's going to be a great time. Man. You know, when people ask me, like, I'm thinking about starting a restaurant, I'm like, don't. It's a solid, just don't. That's what I tell them to start.
Just being in this little entrepreneurial space for the gym's 11 years old this month, I guess. Happy anniversary. Thanks, yeah, look at that. Just survive in advance. Right. Just get it. I can't, the gym business is rough enough. I can't imagine being in the restaurant space. Well, you know, we actually hit our 10th anniversary next month. So we come across starts with anniversary time for us here. There we go. The restaurant space is different, you know. We have a...
you really become dependent on your team. Like we have a big team of people, around 40 people. Which is actually down right now. Pre-COVID we were pushing in 50s. But it takes a team to make that happen. If you try to do it all on your own and if you can't delegate or let go of things, then it's just, you're just gonna live it. You know, it's gonna be a nightmare. Was that something you were good at early on? Or have you, you know, improved as time has gone on? I think I've gotten, I don't know if I've improved, I've gotten more comfortable with it. I've gotten more comfortable with
not things having to be my way all the time. Things, if it's done and it's passable or it's good, then that's okay. Especially now with social media and things like that, so much churns through. There's not a lot of shelf time for anything. So if something isn't perfect, that's okay. It'll be something new tomorrow. So I've really become accepting of that. It's like the news cycle. That's right, it is a news cycle. You know, you run a special and it's not your best special, well, you're gonna have a new special next week. So just get past it and let's focus on the new one.
That's a fantastic attitude right there. That's, you just have to eventually. How did this come to be? What was, what's the, what's the creation story? The creation story of Lucha Cantina. So I was a corporate restaurant manager here in Rockford for a chain restaurant. And whenever I went to corporate meetings, there's this guy who used to sit in the back of the room with me and we'd kind of make fun of all the corporate talk going on. And he ended up leaving the company and opening his own restaurant up in Boulder, Colorado and it was Lucha Cantina.
OAK STRENGTH (02:27.398)
I'm sorry, not in Boulder, up in Breckenridge, Colorado. So I went out to visit him and I'm like, dude, Chuck, we gotta do one of these in Rockford. And he's like, you know, no, I'm never moving to Rockford. I live like at the base of a ski lift. This isn't happening. So over some time, we finally convinced him that we should do one of these here. So we created this agreement where we weren't gonna be business partners, we weren't gonna be franchise partners, we were just gonna kind of run dual brands. And if we could both get this going, then at some point we would grow the brand into the next big brand. Well, we're 10 years later and it-
pretty clear to anyone probably watching this, that we're not the next big brand. In fact, all of his restaurants are closed. He lives in Costa Rica. He's no longer part of the business at all, and it's just me. But we've taken a restaurant space in Rockford. A lot of people say how that's one of those bad restaurant spaces, or a broken restaurant space, which I really never believed that it was. And we've built it into what we have now. And 10 years later, we've got what we consider a pretty popular, fun restaurant. Yeah, because it is a very unique location.
It is. You know, so on one side of the building, we're upstairs. So that's from the main side. Some people are like, this is not even handicap accessible. Yeah. And on the other side, it's kind of behind the building. It's kind of weird to get to. So we have two entrances, which we've had to kind of work around and really in some ways kind of train the customer of how to get into the space and things like that. Yeah, it's a unique space. It's a big space. Seven thousand square feet for a restaurant. Oh, wow. Is a big restaurant these days when most places are around twenty five hundred to three thousand square feet. So it's a big space. And we found ways to utilize different parts in different ways.
Absolutely. Outside time and look at that. The patio is a huge driver force in the summertime. There's not a lot of patios in Rockford. Unfortunately, it's a somewhat short season, but if you take like us, you've got obviously the Olympic. Nippon's has one. There's a few here and there, but not a lot of patio space out and about in town. So it's a driver force. It's great. Yeah. I really like, and last time Heather and I were there, we were like, you know, is there a patio? Let's go out there. Is there a patio sitting available? Yeah. That's, I don't know.
I like eating outside. Yes. It's kind of fun. And it's kind of raised up. So even though there is a parking lot right there, you're kind of above the parking lot. You're in a tree house almost. It's got a nice feel to it. So in the way of, I didn't realize that that's kind of a fun story that you went in, not with this guy, but to model. He's done some good things. Absolutely. You know, the main reason for that was I'm not a chef. So I couldn't open a restaurant and be like, I'm gonna make up all these recipes and things like that. That just simply wasn't gonna happen. So I basically need to buy.
OAK STRENGTH (04:50.442)
a recipe book and buy a brand because somebody had done the work for it. So why not do that? So we went in with those pieces. And now I've got my own chef, Manny, like literally on our menu right now, there's probably, I don't know, maybe five things that were there since the day we opened. But there are all our sauces have been there through all the way. But for the most part, the menu items have kind of gone away and we brought new stuff in. Yeah. How often are you switching, bringing things in, switching things out? So that's changed. That's actually changed recently. So it used to be like every six months we changed the menu.
And then it went to once a quarter. And even about three months ago, we decided we're gonna do what we call a chef's menu every month. So we're running our features for a month long. And then in about a month and a half, we're gonna make the main menu a little bit smaller so we can focus on a bigger list of features every single month. So we'll have five, six, seven different features that last every month that kind of turn along. What we've found is we would have a feature that would come on. People would be like, man, we love that.
Pan-seared barramundi, for example. And we'd be like, okay, we're gonna put this on the menu. Then we'd put it on the menu and we'd sell two. And we'd be like, I thought you all loved this. What people love is the features. So we're gonna go down to a more basic menu and then have more features every single month. Okay, gotcha. It's kind of the working plan right now. Yeah. We don't like it unless it's a feature. It's a feature, it's delicious. I've seen it. And it took us like a long time to realize what was very obvious for a long time. We'd be like, man, we sell a lot of these, put it on the menu. Why is it just sitting there? So we've learned that lesson.
OAK STRENGTH (06:15.758)
People are funny. People like what's new and exciting. Yes. And once it's on the menu, it's no longer new and exciting. Yes. So let's give them more new and exciting. We can do that. I mean, that totally makes sense. Shrink down the menu. Make it simpler for me. I can't even begin to wrap my head around the idea of you have to buy ingredients, order ingredients, get them shipped. There has to be a time.
timely thing. Obviously, if you don't use them, they go bad. Correct. I can't even imagine what that looks like. Some ingredients I can order from my phone right now and they'll be here yet today. Some will be here tomorrow. Some will be here in three weeks. So it's really kind of planning all those things out. So we have the things in when we need them so we can use them while they're fresh. Yeah. There's a lot of work in the dream. And luckily for me, I have a chef who's great at that. That's really kind of one of his sweet spots is making sure things are here on time when we need them. So because in essence, you are, I mean, you have to
reverse engineer this, hey, we're going to feature blankly blank dish. Hey, here are the ingredients. Here's what we're going to need to hear the people like, yeah, we need to figure out how to make it. And then we need to document how we make it build recipes, do all the social media stuff that we're going to do, but not have so much of it in because we're not going to actually going to use it for three or four weeks. So we had to build all this stuff out and then kind of put it on the shelf while we get everything in place, get menus printed, things like that, roll it out, use it for a month.
But once that starts, we're already started on the next one. Yeah. Of getting that ready, because it's about a month lead time in front of the features that we need to have out. So it never ends. It is a never-ending process. We actually finally, after all these years of now, we've got a project manager software that we're using to help us really guide through this. We're like, if we do this every month, we shouldn't have to recreate the wheel every month. No. We've done this before. Let's put these timelines in place so we can make it happen more effectively for all of us. I just can't tell you how many times we've, whatever.
organize, sorted some type of family dinner of something and I'll get halfway through it. We don't have the blankety blank. Correct. For one meal. Well, that's what's fun. A lot of times when it comes to like pictures of food, like we'll take pictures of something and I'll be like, Mandy, can I try this? And sometimes they'd be like, no, you don't want to eat that. It looks like it's gonna look. It just not tastes like it's gonna look. The sauce is red, don't eat the sauce. Things like that. So the pictures and the actual end product, sometimes there's a huge variance in flavor and.
OAK STRENGTH (08:35.126)
doneness of the food that's in the picture. Yeah, but the pictures look good. Um, I, you can all be behind the scenes tricks from us today. This is just interesting to me from the, I don't know if anybody else cares about this, but this is, this is interesting. Like from how you, you know, how, how you, how you run the operation. I think that whole Edgework Center is such a unique space. Um, we've had Ali Troia and Jamie Fagan on the podcast with 815yogo who are in the process of,
building out at some point here and hopefully opening late summer, early fall. Did you know we did yoga in the restaurant? I heard this. We've done it twice. I think it was two or three times. Did you do yoga in the restaurant? I passed on doing yoga in the restaurant. But she did say to me, she's like, listen, we'll thank you for doing this. I'm like, when this is all sudden time, you guys are open. You have to at least teach all of us guys that work here, like how to stretch out so we don't hurt ourselves as we get older. She's like, done. We can make that happen. Yeah. I think it's funny how that was.
The end of our podcast with Ali was basically like, the people who, people end up doing what they love. So all these overly flexible, love yoga, they probably need more strength training piece. Where big strong guys who can't touch their toes, they probably need more yoga. It's just that, it's just funny, the opposite of what people. No matter what we do, we all do the path of least resistance. Yeah.
We just go where it's a little bit smoother and more fun. You know, stretching does not look fun to any of us, so we'll just skip that. And then we hurt ourselves. And then, yeah, tying your shoes. Right. Because I love the live music stuff that you have going on there. We really like Brandy Jones and B Jones, and we train Elle here. And just that whole, I guess, whole atmosphere of that little.
I'm not going, I don't know where I'm going with this, but it just, yeah, I like your location. I like what you've done with the space. I like how, you know, I don't know how it's evolved completely, but like what you have laid out right now is, has it always been like that or have you? The flow of the rooms have always been the same. In the past few years, we've done things like we've changed our furniture, we took out carpeting. That was a huge one, the carpeting was gross. What was it before you guys? Before us, so originally it was,
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the atrium. That was the original space and it was there for, man, I think it was open in the 60s or something like that. And after the atrium went to Kiki Bee's, and Kiki Bee's ran and people are always like, well, lots of places have gone out of business here. Well, they really haven't. Kiki Bee's ran up until the recession, I believe in 2008. And from what I've been told, I don't know this for a fact, what I've been told is the owners were like, well, we're at retirement age. We're not going to muscle through this. Like we're done. And then it sat there empty for a while. Another restaurant came in for a short time and that didn't make it through.
And that possibly could have been a location issue with that brand that didn't work out well. And then we came in about a year after that. We've been open for 10 years now. But back to Edgebrook, you know, that's a space that, it's a mall that has gone through the trials of all malls where retail kind of leaves and retail has gone online in a lot of places. And they've found a way to not only recruit some retail recently, but to really fill it up with lots of lifestyle pieces. So there are three restaurants in the space. And we've got, as you said, B. Jones, which has been there long, I think it's like 25 years now. It's been done an amazing job.
But now we've got some more retail coming in. We've got physical therapy there. We've got a gym there. We've got dentists there. We've got yoga and hair salons and all these different like, we've got a little liquor store. We've got all the different things that make you need. We have all the pieces there. We just need a butcher and we're set. We have all the things to really add to the community. You know, we're not like a highly advertised model. We're literally right in the center of Rockford. And there's a lot of traffic that drives by and we kind of, we serve a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Yeah.
Well, I think that's something Ali was excited about, just kind of that edge brook. Like it's not just, oh, you move in, and like they want to publicize you and advertise you and market you, and by marketing you, they market everyone, and you know, people come here for yoga, but then they get hungry, you know, and then they come to Lucha on Friday nights, and just like, everyone wins here. Which I love that B2B just sharing, supporting each other.
That's why you're on this podcast, you know, stuff like that. Like I think, you know, I think that's fantastic. And it sounds like they do, they do amazing work with it. Let's go back to food. Yes. So I would imagine it's a tough line to walk when you want healthy things for people, but you also want things people will eat and, you know, enjoy and stuff like that. Because, because, you know, food, there's a, gosh, how do I say this? I mean, not a.
OAK STRENGTH (13:26.726)
food should be enjoyed. Absolutely. Food brings people together. It should be an enjoyable experience. Yes, yes. A very, you know, that fellowship piece, you know, sit down around the table, da-da-da, like I know it's gotten a little convoluted now with everybody's with their cell phones and things like that. We're just, hey, put your phone away. Let's have good conversation. You know, I love that piece. I think that's absolutely fantastic. Talk about trying to
You're a health conscious guy. You're aware of, you know, I mean, everything in food is so, so much. And you can only outwork a bad diet for so long, you know. How, when you go into looking for that balance between, you know, health and fun. Am I saying that? Is it, is it, is it? Am I going to, is that okay? Okay, I don't want to be, yeah. Between veggies and cheese sauce. Yes.
Both, you know, both have their place. You know, you shouldn't probably have all of one, you know, just, you know, balance it out a little bit. What's been your philosophy with, you know, that piece? It's always been important for us to use good ingredients. We have, around the time we open, so if you rewind about 10 years, that's when the whole gluten-free thing really started happening.
and everybody all of a sudden was gluten-free. And this could be one of those things. All of a sudden. Okay. It's interesting that, or it was beneficial for us that we have a style of restaurant, a new Mexican restaurant, that lots of, the most of the menu can be made gluten-free. And now just by default, because we make our own corn tortillas in-house, probably about 90% of our menu is gluten-free. Wow. So the gluten-free customer has always been attracted to us because not only do we have those products, we also,
have separate fryers, things like that. We take it seriously so we're not, the people who have like true celiac disease and things, they feel comfortable coming into our restaurant. So the gluten-free piece already put us towards people who are a little more conscious of what they're eating. In the past few years, past two years for the most, we've really focused on upping our seafood game. Seafood for us has a lot of benefits in that you can always get products, a lot more consistent products than beef. Beef and chicken have had a lot of highs and lows the past couple of years.
OAK STRENGTH (15:49.442)
where seafood stayed relatively consistent. It might be a different product in seafood. Like something might have a hard time. The fisherman might not be catching that or whatnot. But we can always bring something else in. It was pretty consistent in price point. Cause you were telling me that, gosh, what did I have? Your fish tacos. The Wahoo fish tacos. Yes. Had been on the menu since day one. That's one of our originals since day one. Please don't get rid of that. We will never get rid of that. Thank you. Wahoo fish tacos are gonna stay there. We sell a ton of shrimp.
We sell an unthinkable amount of salmon. We've just recently upgraded the salmon product that we're using. We sell barramundi, mahi. We're bringing scallops on here in a couple of weeks. We're bringing sea bass on in a couple of weeks. So more and more seafood is really hitting our dishes. We're working with different kinds of rice and quinoa and things like that. So we keep finding ways to take food that is fun for us to make, that looks pretty on a plate and is delicious, and also happens to be...
and a good choice. If you're gonna go out, I'm sure there's more healthy choices you can make at home. But if you're gonna go out, we have good choices for you when you're out. And it hasn't been driven by being healthy. It's been driven by in some ways some trends and just what we've enjoyed making recently has kind of taken us in that direction. I really think- But we can also dump cheese on it if we want to. Yes. That's always an option. That's always there. No.
OAK STRENGTH (17:10.562)
Where was I going with this? Cheese, da, da. Oh, ingredients. I really think that's a bit. If you get good, healthy things, and I struggle with, and I know it's different, but I've read different things in the way of how nutritional values of fruits and vegetables have just completely declined because of how the chemical process of creating them, blah, growing them, et cetera.
and how it's so much different now than what it was, you know, 40 years ago and stuff like that. So to aim just to get those better ingredients that still exist, they're out there. To make your corn tortillas in house. Like that is, that's fantastic. Cause that I think in itself, if you are going to go out on a Friday night and have a drink and relax and be with friends and family, and there are times where I think you need to not worry about your diet. Like just relax for now. Have fun.
Like that fellowship, that mental side of things of just, you know, I'm not saying have 27 drinks, you know, and dance on the table. You probably have insurance, but you probably still don't want that. Right, we prefer that not happening. Yes, especially on the balcony, you know, it's not encouraged. Railing's not that hot. Yeah, no, it's, 88 compliant, but you know, not that, you know, so I, you know, I think there's that perfect little median that you guys, I think, hit beautifully.
while staying healthy, giving the celiac people or just people who just like gluten, you know, hit some funny or anything like that. And that's what we found, that there is a portion of the celiacs out there and in the past 10 years, it's kind of a shaking out for everybody. A lot of people just feel better when they eat less gluten. So they choose to do that. You know, they might be like, you know, I'll take this out, the bread's fine on them. They don't care. Yeah. So it's not a health issue. It's just a how they feel issue. Yeah. After they eat it. Yeah. I know that's how I am at this point in my life. Like I wouldn't call myself like,
gluten intolerant or anything like that. But if I have a big Jimmy John's sub, I don't feel that great. People have preferences now, and they have those preferences because there's so many restaurants out there that give them those options. So they've learned that, you know what, I can choose what I want to eat and not have the three choices. It used to be like when we were kids, there was a few less restaurants when you go out. It's Ponderosa, it's Taco Bell. I mean, that's kind of it. So now there's more options, so they get to really choose where they want to fall in there.
OAK STRENGTH (19:34.402)
Ponderosa. Did you grow up here? I grew up in as a little kid in Freeport and then Pecatonic. Okay, gotcha. Gotcha. Um, did we have a Ponderosa here? We had a Ponderosa in Freeport. I know that. Okay. We'd went from... When you went to Ponderosa, you were living large. That was, that was a good life. I'm from Sycamore. And so there was some, there was a Ponderosa somewhere in that DeKalb-Sygmour border somewhere there. Um, gosh, that was a long time ago though. Holy cow. Ordering a steak off the menu. Yes, they still exist. Ordering a steak off the menu board and being like, yeah.
I want to get the chop steak. This is, Oh, that's just a hamburger? It's a steak. Right. Sounds cool enough. There you go. What are next steps for you guys? Where do you see Lucha going five years from now, 10 years from now? You know, I actually, it's funny. I actually, yesterday I met with a consultant to say like, Hey, help me find out what my next steps are. There's things that I, as a business owner, have found out that I'm good at and things that, as a business owner, I'm sure you find out that you're not good at.
So many things. Yeah, and then they really present themselves. It becomes a really clear line in some ways. I've found that I'm good at running operations, building promotions, things like that. I haven't found that I'm good at long-term planning. So I brought somebody in to kind of, we submitted him basically everything we do for a SWOT analysis to kind of sit down and say, hey, does this brand look like growth? Are you in a position for growth, things like that. So are we open to it? Yes, is it gonna happen? The jury is still kind of out on that, we'll see. So the idea of creating a second location.
Is that okay? Gotcha. It didn't know where you're going. It is not. It is not a no, but it's also not a yes. We're in the let's look into this. Okay. You know, one of the nice things is we're in no hurry to do anything. We've got a great location. We're able to maintain the staff and the managers that we have with the business flow that we have. We're still growing. We're up over previous year, which is up over that previous year, which is up over that previous year, which was really easy to do because of COVID. That was not hard at all. Well, we had a customer. We win.
So all the things are trending in the right direction for us to if we choose not to grow just to maintain to be perfectly fine Mm-hmm, so but we had that option. So we're gonna see what's best for us. Okay, interesting. Yeah. Yeah Well, this could be breaking news. This could not be breaking. Yeah, look at this You heard it first today, maybe Possibly. Well, I mean you guys just had a beefaroo, you know across the street there so obviously, you know there I think it's neat that like Rockford brand that
OAK STRENGTH (22:00.054)
I'm giving you credit for Rockford brand here with Lucha. That's whatever Breckenridge. You know, and we'll take that because the places in Breckenridge were literally absolutely nothing like our brand. One of Breckenridge, the original place was not significantly bigger than the room we're sitting in right now. It was a small little place that served burritos, only one kind of tacos, the Oahu fish tacos. They had one kind of margarita and like two different can beers they sold. And what they were doing a lot of times is making food, handing it to people who were getting on a ski lift and going up the mountain and eating as they were going up the mountain.
So that was kind of their niche and it's grown from that into what it is here today. So it has a humble beginning, but that is, I can't deny that it's our beginning, but we have really created the brand and grown the brand here in a lot of ways. Yeah, nicely done. Thank you. I can't imagine just swallowing down some Wahoo tacos and then taking, just getting done. We went out there, my gosh, my wife and I, my sister and her husband went out to Breckenridge, oh gosh, I don't know, 10 years ago or something like that. I am not a good skier.
And I basically just rolled down those hills. So I can't imagine having those fish tacos sloshed around. I was skiing one time, almost like destroyed a little kid coming down the hill. And I was like, I think I'm good. I'll take the gondola the way back. I felt bad because I would lose my balance and my arms would flail, you know, and the poles are attached. You're like, I'm gonna- You're like 20 feet wide at this point, just clearing a path. I'm gonna knock a kid's head off, you know. Mommy, I lost an eye. That crazy man. The guy over there. Gosh.
which is frustrating because I feel like this is an athletic thing. I should be able to keep my feet straight. I think it's got to be, I mean, as not being a skier, I'll tell you how I think it works, which makes no sense. It's got to be like golf. Like if you start when you're young, you can do it for life. But if you start golfing in your thirties, like I tried to do, it's just, yeah, it's not going to happen. No, I could throw the ball farther than I could hit it. It was, it never, I golfed for like six years and literally never got better. My best round of golf was my first round.
So I was like, I'm just, I'm gonna stop doing this. I guess I literally gave up. I'm retired right now. I quit. So you, since we're, you know, Josh, talking about you here, what in the way of food stuff, do you keep anything at home or you just, you know, you wake up, I mean, you guys, when does Lucha open? 11 a.m. 11 a.m., okay. Do you roll in at 11, things are working, people are doing their jobs, blah, blah. I forgot your head chef's name. Manny. Manny, hey Manny, cook me up some
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blah, blah. And he just did to do. And then that's the food or is, do you keep it very separate? There is a rare occasion. Eating all the time. I know like the couple of things that make it the absolute easiest things for the cooks to make. Um, you can always kind of go back to running your own and kind of throw some stuff in a bowl and we really Drake and I, my bar manager, we have a joke. I'm like, what do you have it today? It's like, ah, something in a bowl. I'll scoop some rice. There's some meat. Let's grab some beans. That's some corn, some salsa on top.
And once there's a couple of things in the menu that I'll order, because I know they're fast and easy. I would rather have the chefs working on their stuff than working on me something to eat. So rarely am I like, um, let me try, let me order an entree. That just doesn't happen ever. And what happens a lot of times is you'll go into work and you'll get there early in the morning, like on a Friday. Fridays are crazy for us because we've got a full day of business. It's going to be busy on Friday night, no matter what. Then we have music on the mall. And the first Friday of every month, we also have our comedy night, so our bar is closed for a separate comedy show.
So you have all these different moving pieces. And all of a sudden you'll find yourself at 10 o'clock and you're like, I haven't even had breakfast. Like I've literally eaten nothing except chips as I grazed by all day long. It's like then all of a sudden it's like frozen pizza time which we all know is an awful choice but it's like a Friday night staple or whatever's left over when you get hungry. Like, well there's a broth in the fridge, we'll heat that up and dry that. So yeah, eating at 10 or 11 o'clock at night, it's a fault of the restaurant business. Yeah, no, and I can't imagine.
You're around food. You're just not actually making food. Yeah. See, that's decent willpower right there. Cause I don't know if I'd have that willpower to, you know, it's time one chip for me, one chip for them. That's kind of the problem. You just eat carbs all day. Yeah. And then you get this. Did you bring me a half, you know, container of chips here? No, no, no. That's, we just, we're going light guys. We're running low in the back. Don't worry about it. You just, well, you know, we'll get there. Josh, what have we missed? What would you?
What do you wish that I would have asked you that I didn't ask you? Hmm. What do I wish we would have asked? We don't get across to people. You know, one thing, something we have coming up, we've talked about a lot of the things that got us where we are. Um, one of the things we have coming up is we, um, we've always, um, for some people, they're having an event or something like that. We've always been like, well, and they'll call us like, Hey, we don't want to make the rice cause rice is a pain. Can we buy 20 pounds of rice for you for something like that? We've always had those options to sell, um, pieces, like just pieces of the menu.
OAK STRENGTH (26:50.182)
out to our guests. So we're going to be rolling out in the next few weeks, what we're calling no prep meal prep. So on a Sunday, if people are like putting together their meal prep for the week, especially people that come to the gym and are conscious about what they're eating, and they need, they want rice or they want chicken or they want beef or they want beans or corn or fajita veggies, things like that, selling off those actual ingredients by the pound. So people can make it their day. We know it's not gonna something.
We know it's not something people are gonna do every single week because that wouldn't be cost effective for them for what they're trying to do. But sometimes life gets in the way. And you still at seven o'clock at night need to get something ready for your week, well call us and get three pounds of chicken already cooked off and seasoned and done. And you can kind of work that into your meal prep. Already cooked, there we go. Already cooked, done, ready to go. Boom, boom. And I just... You just got to portion it out. So we're kind of putting that together right now with something coming up for a no prep meal prep option for guests. That's fantastic. That is...
And we've seen the meal prep companies and stuff like that, and they do really good work with that. But especially if it's something where you're a loyal lucha, follower, and you just love the taste of the chicken, well, hey. And you're low on time, and you can order it online through our app or through our website. Literally order online, pull up Curbside 20 minutes later, and drive away with it. It's not like you have to order it weeks in advance. It's an option that's almost instant for you. Wow. I'm glad you added that piece. Is that? Wow. So you don't need that much.
heads up to none at all. Okay, just enough time to cook up three pounds of chicken and get on your way. Set it out the door. Holy cow. Well, yeah, I mean, people for one of the issues I see, I see our people really running into it's kind of like the situation you just described in the way of people are crazy busy throughout the day. I know I run into this problem, you know, if I'm here coaching late at night, where, you know, lunch will be at lunchtime, dinner was not, you know, and then all
930 at night and bright fluorescent lights and you know, I'm just fired up after you know, no coaching, sweating, right? And then starving. And then if I decide to eat at that point, and then throw myself to bed, nothing is good there. glucose levels are through the roof, it takes forever to come down. Often I don't sleep well. So then I wake up the next day just off my a game and blah, blah.
OAK STRENGTH (29:09.662)
and then typically rinse and repeat. You know, go through that day, dah, dah. You know. You've just described my life. Yeah, yeah. And yeah, your restaurant business, gym business, you know, just too late and then, and then it's tough. Do I eat? Do I not eat? You know? Sometimes I just flop into bed and that's probably the better choice. Other times. So to have that, to be able to help people, I love how they call it meal prep, because back in our day it was packing your lunch. Exactly.
They've really made it sexy. It really is. I used to have a brown bag. I would take my lunches to school and you know. Now you got the nice Tupperware. Good stuff. It's like glass. So yeah, those Pyrexes. Oh my gosh. Those are classy. But no, I think that's a huge piece for people. I love that you're, you know, helping people out with that whole piece because if you don't eat consistently and then you eat very inconsistently and you eat very inconsistently late at night
there's just a lot of bad that happens with that the results don't turn out. Yeah. If you're young, I think get away with it a little bit more. Like we kind of encourage our volleyball athletes, you know, that have practice till 930 at night, guys should eat something on the way home. You know, have a have a shake ready to go, you know, as you drive over, eat something when you get home, like, you know, not a big massive full meal, but get something in you.
but they're 15, 16, 17, 18 years old and you can do anything. Right. And these kids go all night too, it's crazy. Yeah, and coming off of our train here and two and a half hours on the court, like jumping, landing, cutting, diving, like, oh my gosh. 20 minutes of that for either one of us and we'd be limping the next day and they do it day after day after day after day after day. So, but I think adults in our situation, if they're given the opportunity, if you could eat those three square meals a day in a nice balanced manner.
all of a sudden at the end of the night, you don't get crazy, stupid, hangry for, you know, fill in the blank for bad food, you know, and whether it be ice cream or bratwurst or whatever it happens to be. I love that you guys are doing that. What else? What else did I miss? I think other than that, we pretty much nailed it. You got the whole origin story and what's going on now, what's coming up. Yeah. I think we hit it. It's exciting. Yeah. So we're in June right now. This will be released early in July.
OAK STRENGTH (31:34.498)
Going through the fourth year, going into fall. Anything crazy exciting going on? We are getting ready. I have a meeting today. We're getting ready to do a small, a significant remodel for us in the restaurant. We're taking part of our dining room. We've always known that the space that we have is a huge space, 7,000 square feet.
So the front part of our dining room really only saw use on Friday and Saturday nights. So what we've decided to do is to take that space and make it- The front part of the dining room. So when you come into the dining room, directly off to the right, when you come in. We're gonna make that into a completely separate room. So now we have what we call our agave room that seats up to 20 people, kind of in a boardroom sort of setting. Then we're gonna have another space that seats up to 40, 45 people for, if it's a-
insurance companies meeting during the day, if it's a staff training, if it's a Christmas party, anniversary party, birthday party, they've got their own space where the walls are closed off. Right now it's semi-private, but we're gonna make that into a private space. Does it go up a couple steps? No, that's kind of a stage. There's a half wall that's kind of a curved half wall. That's gonna go all the way up to the ceiling and have its own sound system, its own TVs and things like that. Yeah, for lots of different opportunities. So that's the new big thing coming up for us, which will be...
Hopefully, done yet this summer. We'll find out this afternoon. And then we'll get that going into the Christmas season. It'll be great. Is there ever a time within the restaurant business, which I didn't realize you were even a part of before, where you can just like exhale and just stay at status quo? Or is it always a thing where you always have to be being innovative? I think you always have to be innovative. I think you always have to be growing. So if you're not growing, you're moving backwards in some ways.
That said, are there chances to exhale? You know, sometimes you get there on a Saturday morning and you're in the building and there might be a cook or something in the back, but you can't even hear them. So the music's off, the TVs are off. You can put the chairs down. You got kind of the sun coming in off the patio there and you just take a deep breath and you're like, look at this, this is pretty cool. You know, this is, I mean, I'm sure you have it here. You walk out in the gym and you kind of pop the lights out in the morning, you hear that click and then the lights come on. You're like.
OAK STRENGTH (33:45.386)
this is pretty cool what we did here, you know? And sometimes I'll text a friend of mine who owns a restaurant and I'll be like, hey, I've had one of those mornings, he's like, yeah, it's kind of, this is pretty neat. You know, it's neat that we have the opportunity and that we have supportive families and we have wives that are very helpful to us to allow us to kind of go and play restaurant and to play small business owner and to see like, you know what? Because of this, we get to...
employ a lot of people and they get to have full lives too. And we get to have people come in here and have dinner tonight with their families and have special moments. That's um, those are the exhales for us. You know, there's the empty restaurant exhale, there's the full restaurant when everything's popping and going great and you just kind of stand in the corner for a second, you're like, you know, there's a lot of people and you're having a good time right now. That's pretty cool. Yeah. Those are my two really kind of moments. I love them. I think similar to you.
take the time to think of that as often as I need to. Yeah, but there have been times when the gym is humming and whatnot, instead of running to the bathroom and running back right away, but as I'm coming back, just kind of stop and look at everything that's going on, and exhale, and be like, you know, hey, this wasn't here before. You the same, this wasn't here before.
these people wouldn't be here right now, if not for the steps that you've taken, you know, they're spending it with their families in this special thing, really enjoying it. Like that's, that's pretty sad and special. Before you did this, this was a space and it's been a lot of things in here and you had thought about it. And all of a sudden you get to come in and be like, man, we're changing lives here. You know, this isn't a gym. This is some place where people's lives get better, where young kids who are in volleyball, they get to train and some of them go on to college and it helps pay for their college. It's...
what we do are big deals to a lot of people. And sometimes it's work for us, but it's also important to step back and say like what we do has meaning. It's important. Dr. Peter Tia, he's my current man crush. He just wrote a book called Outlive, which is all about the longevity piece, but not necessarily like lifespan, but like health span. Like, can you live to a 90? Yes. Can you live to 90?
OAK STRENGTH (35:59.594)
really, really healthfully and, you know, enjoy those last, you know, X amount of years of life? Or are you just going to enjoy it till 60? And then like, you know, the last 30 years, which modern medicine is really good at keeping people alive. The last chapter of the book, and we kind of talked about this earlier, I just think it's, I want to bring it back up. The part of the last chapter, which he's like, I can't even believe I'm writing this because he's so analytical, he's so by the numbers and data driven and science driven and da da.
But he brings up the social fellowship relationship part of, like you could do all these things. You can have great blood glucose. You can have your liver enzymes in the right realms of different things and it'd be good. If you don't have that like human connection, which for years has been happening,
over food, breaking bread, you know, with friends, with family, you know, maybe some drinks, whatever it might be. Like, it's a part of science that is extremely hard to measure, hard to understand the magnitude. We just know that when we take that away from people, i.e. COVID during that time, like that was not good for a lot of people. Right. Not just people owning small businesses.
But like the people who would come to those small businesses and have those relationships and you know, enjoy friends and family. I'm curious, I don't know how we're ever gonna, you know, quantify it. I don't even know if you ever could, but I know that that's part of my life where like as I get older, like when I was a kid, I had friends and it was easy. We go to school with them, see them every day and now you're an adult.
You know, you own a small business and often you can, it's just you and yourself and a keyboard and you know, and so I've come to appreciate, you know, the nights out with my wife at Lucha and stuff like that. We're just, cause it's, I think it's a really big part for people's, you know, health and longevity. Absolutely. You know, people need to connect. Yeah. And luckily we're, I get, I get to be in a business where we help people do that. Yeah. There we go.
OAK STRENGTH (38:25.474)
That's a good spot to end right there. And this is a good time. Yeah, I love how quick you were with this too. Hey, let's do a podcast. All right. Let's do this one. There you go. People want to find more about Lucha Cantina. Where do they go? Go to our website, lucharockford.com, or you can find us on all the socials, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, at Lucha Cantina. We're right there. Okay, website, lucharockford.com. But if you go to Lucha Cantina, it'll divert you there. Okay, gotcha. Okay, you got that URL. You got it.
There we go. Awesome. You can misspell my name in a lot of ways and end up on my website. And that's well done. Thank you. It's good web people right there. Awesome. Well, Joshua, thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Appreciate your time. Listener six for listening. We'll catch you on the next one.