Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Leo Holtzman is the co-founder of SoCal Cantina and founder of Cocktail Conjuring, Inc. Leo first started tending bar in Orlando when he attended UCF triple majoring in Theatre, Psychology and Hospitality Management. Bartending was just a means to an end until he could make it as a full-time close-up magician. Upon graduation he moved back to Miami and worked as a magician/performer for various events and companies while working a few nights a week at Cadillac Ranch. Eventually he became the bar manager of Cadillac Ranch while the performing season was in a lull. In 2012, he wanted to take his talents to Las Vegas and saw that his best opportunity was to work for the new hip and chic hotel, SLS South Beach. SLS had/has plans for a large scale resort in Las Vegas set to open Labor Day weekend 2014. He landed an entry level job at SLS as a bar back at Katsuya’s Dragon Lounge mixology bar. This was his first introduction to the world of “mixology”. He learned everything from the bottom and within 6 months was the head bartender/manager and was in charge of all normal duties of the bar program including cocktail design. During his time with SLS he also took on consulting and worked various events including the Lucky Rice festival and Bacardi Legacy competition. His talents did not go unnoticed and in 2014 he partnered with Patrick Gleber, owner of Tobacco Road, to open Cocktail Collection and put his magic career on hold. Cocktail Collection was the hottest bar in Miami, featuring a rotating original cocktail menu and local artist show cases. Cocktail Collection has received numerous accolades from various mediate outlets and critics including the only 5 star cocktail lounge/bar rating on YELP in the greater Miami area. It was loved by guests and critics, a rare feat in today’s hospitality market. Then without notice Tobacco Road and Cocktail Collection were demolished to make way for the new high rises of Brickell. But Leo kept on bringing his cocktails and hospitality though Cocktail Conjuring events, pop-ups and consulting for select venues including Norwegian Cruise Line and The Palms Hotel and Spa. Then out of nowhere AJ Billapando contacted Leo with an idea. AJ had remembered one night at Cocktail Collection where he had the best cocktails of his life and a surreal experience of Leo performing close-up magic for a group of him and his friends. The cocktails and experience was unpretentious yet sophisticated- something he wanted SoCal to embody. After a brief call, the two met and came up with SoCal Cantina over night. They opened a week later in Brickell and were a wild success. SoCal Cantina offers out-of-this-world margaritas as well as some classics from Cocktail Collection menu (smoke fashion anyone??). The drinks pair perfectly with quite simply the best tacos you will ever have.

Since our last conversation in February of 2021, SoCal Cantina has opened another location in Tuscaloosa, AL. They are currently looking at opportunities to open new locations in Las Vegas and Austin, TX.

Check out episode 794 with Leo Holtzman as mentioned in today's episode!

Check out episode 966 with Sam Caucci Founder and CEO of 1Huddle as mentioned in today's episode!

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Show notes…

Calls to ACTION!!!

Favorite success quote/mantra:

  • "Do it now."

In this episode with Leo Holtzman we will discuss:

  • Expansion outside your city
  • Partnerships
  • "Percentage rent"
  • Finding the right market for your concept
  • Buildouts
  • Guerrilla marketing
  • Checklists
  • Training
  • Coaching - make it fun!
  • Franchising

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Personal: @cocktail_conjuror

Business: @socal_cantina

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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

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Direct download: Leo_Holtzman_2_PODCAST_NEW_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT