A thank you.

Excuse me for getting all mushy on you.

Feel free to do like my son does and go, “MOOO-OOOM! YOU’RE SQUISHING MEEEEEEE.”

Today I went down to the Mario Lemieux Foundation offices to unpack all of the goodies, put Make Room for Kids/Mario Lemieux Foundation stickers on everything, and get everything ready for delivery to the hospital.

Here is everything, minus the ToughBooks (they’re coming), a few DVD players we need to order, and iPad covers we need to order. The iPads are in the brown box.

Isn’t that beautiful? And it is all because of you. You you you. Not me. You. And I can’t thank you enough for that generosity.

I’m humbled by it.

The second thing I wanted to be mushy about, and yes, for me? This is mushy. Ask my mother. Ask my sisters.

I may be a hugger and I may get mushy with my kids, but otherwise? I’m kind of an ice queen when it comes to the emoting of emotions. I prefer to keep them down deep in my belly where I let them fester until one day, I’m going to unleash them into the greatest novel of all time … or onto my poor poor husband when he throws his dirty clothes on the bedroom floor one time too many. God help him.

So, today is the the one year anniversary of what was a dream almost a decade in the making. Las Velas.

Do you know that the first days of Las Velas’ operation, the customer base was almost entirely made up of readers? That my husband would walk the crowd and people would say, “I read your wife’s blog.”

“You’re Mr. PittGirl.”

“You’re Mr. Jane Pitt.”

“You’re PittGirl’s husband.”

Gradually, of course, the crowds evened out as word of mouth spread, but I will never ever forget that it was people who chose to swing by here and read my ridiculous hastily typed-out words, who gave our restaurant its first push on the big swing.

Has this ride been easy?

Oh, hell no.

It’s been fun, but it’s been … not fun. It’s been exciting, and it’s been terrifying. It’s been easy, and it’s been downright heart-wrenchingly hard.

I mean, did you SEE THE GIANT PILE OF DIRT that was Market Square from the day we picked up the keys until just a few weeks ago? It’s still not done! Last time I looked last week, the road to our lower-bar side entrance was still completely blocked off and the sidewalk ripped up. You couldn’t even enter it if you wanted to.

One time, a few months ago, I went to the restaurant, and the square was near completion, yet there were three city trucks blocking the entrance to the restaurant. And I shook my fist at Lukey. I’m sure he had nothing to do with that, but still, easy target.

Construction has been a huge hurdle, and then you add on all the other fun stuff like taxes and insurance and linens and food costs and labor costs and SWEET BABY JESUS CASH FLOW?!

It truly truly has been a labor of love, and it hasn’t been easy and I’m sure it never will be “easy.”

But I know how much you, the readers who have taken the time to eat there, have propped us up and allowed us to make it through the first year while other establishments in the Square haven’t been that fortunate.

It’s a big milestone and I couldn’t be prouder of my husband for the way he has handled every speed bump, every road block, every “fire,” every grenade, and every suicidal pigeon hell-bent on leaving brain matter on his clean windows.

So tonight, I’ll be toasting him, and you as we celebrate the first 365 days of just one American dream.

You’re the best. All of you.

Mush. Over.





21 Comments

  1. Duncan
    October 1, 2010 2:45 pm

    Well, I wish you and your husband continued success with the restaurant. While I rarely, if ever (less than once a year), go into Pittsburgh to eat, your’s is on the top of my list when I next get the chance… Keep up the good work. I’ve heard good things – and not just from this blog.



  2. Beatrice
    October 1, 2010 2:53 pm

    Enjoy tonight! My husband and I spent a lovely (and rare) “date night” at Las Velas and then a play at the public theater a few months ago. It was a beautiful evening that started with a margarita toast! Can’t wait to go back.



  3. Spuddad
    October 1, 2010 3:06 pm

    If you get in trouble financially, you could always haul in Gordon Ramsey for an episode of “Kitchen Nightmares.” Taking a week’s worth of his abuse is probably worth it for the kitchen equipment the show buys you. And I’d LOVE to watch you go toe-to-toe with Gordo. :-)



  4. Jagoff
    October 1, 2010 3:18 pm

    Any special one year anniversary festivities going on tonight?



  5. Virginia
    October 1, 2010 3:35 pm

    It’s Mariachi Night tonight, of course. ;)



  6. Noelle
    October 1, 2010 3:40 pm

    My office mates and I eat there at least 3 times a month for lunch. Best fish tacos EVA.



  7. Silica
    October 1, 2010 3:40 pm

    My husband and I go to Las Velas every now and then; we absolutely love the food and he still gets to enjoy the margaritas (I’ve got a bun in the oven so they’re out for me). We loved the Valentine’s Day special in February in particular. :) I know we’ll keep coming back!



  8. hello haha narf
    October 1, 2010 4:04 pm

    i’ve brought friends in on several occasions and might have consumed twice my weight in sangria. fine, three times my weight. (and i weigh a lot!) sure, it was you promoting the place that got me in the door, but i’ll be honest, it is the incredible food and tasty beverages that keep me coming back. you two have done a fantastic job with the place. congratulations on making it one year! here’s to many more!

    (if i can get my friends out of their hotel in the strip for a late meal or beverage tonight, i’ll be there to toast las velas in person. will there be room or are a kerjillion folks expected?)



  9. bluzdude
    October 1, 2010 4:14 pm

    Las Velas anniversary = my birthday! Congrats to us!



  10. Christina
    October 1, 2010 5:08 pm

    From the bottom of my heart:

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    Restaurant business is one of the toughest choices you can make! GOOD JOB!

    You are Nr. 1 on my “food place to go to” list for my PGH trip hopefully next spring / summer!

    BTW: Rasperry Margaritas *Yeeeha*



  11. BeauJacques
    October 1, 2010 6:12 pm

    Great job!!!

    Now, can we PLEEEZ get Pozole (pork & hominy stew) on the menu for winter??

    ps- I didn’t realize you have the lower bar which was originally the “Men’s Bar” before the Cigar Bar, memories, like the corners of my mind….

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pork-and-Hominy-Stew-with-Red-Chiles-Pozole-Rojo-101285



  12. jann
    October 1, 2010 6:33 pm

    Sorry- I don’t believe you are an ice queen. I see how emotional you get about all things Pittsburgh. And while you might not always be “mushy”, you are passionate, so you couldn’t possibly have ice in your veins.



  13. Suz
    October 2, 2010 7:53 am

    Cheers to you, and to your husband, and to all small business owners who have the courage to “tough it out” through that first year.



  14. Dom
    October 2, 2010 3:08 pm

    I’m sending the 101st Airborne to Las Velas for your salsa recipe. Just cooperate, and nobody will get hurt.



  15. jmarie
    October 2, 2010 4:40 pm

    Congrats!

    I’ll tell you what they keep telling me. We just celebrated our one year anniversary for our quilt store last month. U made it a year! that’s the toughest.

    i understand what your saying since i stared at route 88 having cones in front of my store. grrrrrrr have to laugh at the sign on the local bar on 88. Dan if we say your name right will you fix 88…………….roflmao

    I will also admit I was one of those who went to your hubbies restuarant because of you. My friends and I always get to pick where we want to go for our bday lunches since we all work in downtown. we try to do new or reopened places. I picked Las Velas this year because it was pittgirls’ husband’s restaurant………lol I’ll go back though except not when it’s 90 out…..lol

    congrats and enjoy the party! U made it a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  16. Jules
    October 2, 2010 5:50 pm

    Stopped by for the anniversary party last night and had a BLAST! The mariachi band was awesome :) Congrats!



  17. Matt DC
    October 2, 2010 7:04 pm

    Congratulations. Just opening a restaurant is a major accomplishment. Keeping it alive for a year is huge, with or without blog promotion. A toast to many more.



  18. red pen mama
    October 4, 2010 8:48 am

    Congrats to you and your husband, and I cannot wait to return for one of those margaritas. A few more months to go…

    And thanks, as always, for updating us on MR4K. You got the ball rolling; we just chipped in.



  19. IvanHlinka
    October 4, 2010 7:02 pm

    Yeah Charlie’s wonderful….

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2001/Dec-21-Fri-2001/news/17721879.html

    And here’s the kicker. She was paid off by someone in that group.