Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Ron Oliver and Simon Kaulback, Co-owners of Mamie Taylor’s, a modern American restaurant at the vanguard of Vancouver Chinatown’s new culinary scene that serves up contemporary comfort food and classic cocktails…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
RO: Mamie Taylor’s is a modern American restaurant in the middle of Vancouver’s Chinatown. We try to make delicious things out of ingredients. We also have taxidermy.
SK: An unpretentious modern American tavern in the Chinatown neighbourhood. We take what we do very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
RO: Simon and I have both been in the restaurant business for over a decade and have had many conversations about how we would do things if we opened our own restaurant. We started Mamie Taylor’s and it will be a constant reminder of how unrealistic and idealistic we both were.
SK: My inspiration came from a long history in the industry, the fact that my grandparents owned and operated a hotel, a desire to entertain people (just not in my house), and seeing a void in the city for a restaurant such as ours.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
RO: I get to work with our service team figuring out how to make the whole operation run more smoothly. Each day presents new challenges and there is always something that I haven’t seen before, even after all this time.
SK: The best part of my day-to-day workload is hearing the positive feedback and seeing the positive results. When we opened the doors we really didn’t know if we would survive the first six months. Spoiler alert: We did!
Where do you see your business going in five years?
RO: Five years in restaurant time is quite an accomplishment. I hope that Mamie Taylor’s is thought of as one of the pioneers in the revitalization of the Chinatown community and we are recognized as one of the anchors on East Georgia St.
SK: I see the business thriving in a more vibrant, multicultural and energetic Chinatown. I hope that we are considered one of the cornerstone businesses of a revitalized neighbourhood. I don’t think of ourselves as pioneers or trailblazers, but we are proud that we got into the neighbourhood when we did.
What does success look like to you?
RO: People leaving with bigger smiles than they entered with.
SK: When I am able to take all of my meetings, regardless of who it is or what time of day, at Hy’s over a large steak.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
RO: Opening the doors at Mamie Taylor’s.
SK: Reaching our six-month anniversary. There have been so many milestones since we embarked on the voyage of opening this restaurant. Signing the lease got the heart rate up, since there was no turning back after that. Our first day of demolition was memorable (smash!) But reaching our six-month mark has stuck with me the most.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
RO: Save your pennies (I guess it’s nickels now). Also: know when to take advice from others and when to take your own initiative.
SK: Pay attention to the finances becasue you will go over budget! Always make sure you have a back-up plan or contingency because the city, or your architect, or an engineer, or your landlord, or your bank account – one or all of them – will attempt to derail you.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
RO: We have worked with Not So Fast, which provides healthy alternatives to fast food for low-income families on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We also took part in the 20th anniversary of Dining Out For life, which raises funds for people living with HIV/AIDS.
What is Notable to you?
RO: Doing things our way.
SK: A strong passion for what you do.
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
SK: An old, cracked-screen IPhone 4. She survived the entire construction stage of the business and I can’t bring myself to replace her.
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
RO: 15-hour work days… obviously.
SK: I try to enjoy all the natural beauty that Vancouver has to offer. Running the Seawall bores me. Falling over tree stumps and jumping in puddles on the North Shore is a lot more my style. I also try and ski as much as possible in the winter and I am also part owner of sail boat that we race all year round.
5 pm to midnight daily | 251 East Georgia St., Vancouver, B.C. | 604-620-8818
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)