Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Hailing from Nelson County, VA Loren Mendosa got his start at the Mark Addy inn, working under the mentorship of Gail Page-Hopps (405). His next transformative role was Mas Tapas. In 2013 at Tavola Restaurant, he met future business partners, Mitchell Beerens, Ian Redshaw, and Andrew Cole, Shelly Robb  and the vision for their own restaurant came into focus. In 2014 LAMPO Pizza opened. 3 years later they in the final stages of opening their second location, Prime 109.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

"It's all about community."

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Loren grew up in an intentional community, he grew up in an off grid house- which greatly influenced his life.
    • He attributes his life and success to this upbringing
    • His ability to resolve conflict and negotiate, as well as make sure everyone is truly heard in an environment.
  • Mendosa met his first mentor chef, Peter at Marquette Restaurant at the ripe age of 15. Peter saw something in him, that he was interested in more in the restaurant industry. Loren was able to learn knife skills, sauces and most importantly inventory tracking and planning.
    • Cross pollination: when you can efficiently use all ingredients across the board that is well thought out and well planned.
  • Mendosa's experience with Gail.
    • Gail really drove home the fact that your relationship with local farmers is THE most important.
    • Gail introduced Loren to many local chefs in Charlottesville, including Tomas from Mas Tapas.
      • Loren's experience at Mas Tapas- open kitchen, being intrigued by that experience of culture, life and environment.
  • Mendosa's experience at Mas Tapas & Tabla
    • Got right to work, regardless of having his trainer not show up for his first day.
    • Level of intimacy that goes into creating Tomas' menu items.
    • Worked there for 4 years.
    • Left Mas Tapas to partner with someone to open up a new restaurant, which he ended up discontinuing after realizing it wasn't a good fit.
  • The delicate balance of having fun with coworkers outside of work and maintaining professionalism. 
  • The development of a new team of partners- met those partners at Tabla where he had full support and enthusiasm from owners when they decided to go out on their own and start up their own joint. 
    • Andrew Kole
    • Mitchell Beeran
    • Ian Redshaw 
    • Shelly Robb
  • The building of Lampo Pizza & Prime 109
    • The formation of the team
    • Researching locations, other pizza locations that were needed in Charlottesville. 
    • The timeline from concept to opening.
    • Recognizing the need for a new location with Prime 109, being able to progress in their fields as chefs and business partners.
    • Always have an operating agreement to be able to handle conflict resolutions, difficult situations and tricky situations so it's smooth sailing.



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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Being pretty good on the fly with strategy, and being adaptable. Building teams.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Trying to do it all alone.
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Passion and authenticity. 
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Staying focused and staying positive and energetic.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    • Respect each other. Listen and respect.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    • Be an open source. Everyone has a voice, and deserves to be listened to. 
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  8. Share an online resource or tool.

  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    1. Scales- converting everything to weights. Converting every recipe to weights.
    2. Ipads-google docs.
  10. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

    1. Sense of community. Look back on what we were able to create in your community.
    2. Honesty and integrity.
    3. Sense of humility. 

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Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Loren for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 506_Loren_Mendosa_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT