The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team believes in strong community ties. We also recognize the impact that local business contributes to the overall health and happiness of our communities. We recently had the pleasure of having a special conversation with Ryan Odette, chef and owner of the famous Mamo Burger in Windsor, ON and the trendy Vine and Ash in Tecumseh, ON. Ryan took some time to share with us some of his tips and advice for conforming to the COVID era while simultaneously continuing to serve our Windsor-Essex communities and keep people safe.
From the very beginning, Ryan Odette has been committed to working for the best places he possibly could. After graduating culinary school in ‘97 and acquiring experience in fine dining, Ryan made his way to New Orleans where he worked for what Gourmet Magazine boasted as one of the top 50 restaurants in the US at the time, Restaurant August. It was there that he was able to further develop his skills and experience alongside famed Louisiana Chef, John Besh.
The southern experience and food culture cultivated his taste for authentic southern fare. It’s no surprise that when the dedicated native Windsorite ventured back to Southwestern Ontario, that he wanted to open a place like that for people to go to. This was the birth of the award winning, Smoke & Spice, billed as “Windsor’s Home of Authentic Southern Barbeque” and voted People’s Choice Best Ribs Award and WindsorEats Award for favourite restaurant in Windsor, ON in 2012.
Ryan is committed to creating authentic culinary experiences that he feels Windsor needs to make the area better. Fast forward and the trend continues today with Ryan and his wife Tina, co-owners of the famous Mamo Burger in Windsor, ON where they have been voted 2020’s BEST burger place in Canada by the ‘Big 7 Travel Team’ and featured on The Food Network’s, ‘You Gotta Eat Here’ (2016).
Or, if you’re looking to enjoy a casual fine dining experience, Ryan and Tina also own the newly appointed and rave worthy Vine and Ash in Tecumseh, ON. Here you will find a flavourful upscale menu with globally inspired options, locally sourced and seasonally selected ingredients for dinner or Sunday brunch options.
After having to temporarily close both of his busy dining rooms, Ryan did a lot of research before reopening his menu for just take-out. Although takeout has always been an option at Mamo Burger, he wasn’t sure what to expect but knew he wanted to help people maintain a level of normalcy in uncertain times by giving them the ability to continue to have the option to have some sort of “date night”. He tells us that the community has rallied and are really appreciative that they are still open. He is very grateful at how busy they have been with their takeout, gift cards and alcohol – a service he hopes they continue to allow restaurants to provide when things get back to normal. To maintain social responsibility and protect the well being of his patrons and staff, Ryan limits the number of customers permitted in the restaurant at any given time and uses the same staff. They follow safe food handling and ensure that they are constantly sanitizing everything.
Trust and brand recognition take years to earn. Ryan believes that a strong and consistent presence on social media platforms are a key component to keeping ahead and visible. He says that It’s easy to track and business actually slows down when social media slacks. Generating engagement through likes, shares, tags and comments encourage great reviews and visibility and the effort makes a huge difference for the restaurants. You can follow @MamoBurgerBar to tempt your taste buds with their Burger of the Month and check out their other Signature Menu options mamoburgerbar.com/category/menu like their Old School, Peanut Butter & Jelly Burger, Big Popper or Pierogi Burger (sourced from Windsor’s own Little Foot Foods, littlefootfoods.ca).
Ryan provides the most authentic experiences by committing to cook food that he enjoys and providing his customers with a real experience every time. He enjoys creating new concepts and trying new and exciting things. This COVID era has been very eye opening for Ryan as it has provided him with an opportunity to work in different positions in his business and get a real deeper appreciation of what his staff go through on a daily basis. It’s allowed him to identify ways to streamline processes and adopt some new and better techniques that will help business moving forward. He says that he wants to create an atmosphere where his employees want to be there.
Ryan says that there are a lot of moving parts and different angles to consider in the culinary industry. Ryan and Tina are experienced at adapting to new environments and circumstances. They have taken their years of experience to stay ahead with their businesses. As a business owner, Ryan says, “you are going to do whatever it takes” to keep your business viable.
Ryan’s advice to other restaurant owners trying to make their way is to figure out what they do really well and monetize it. “You just never know – anything can happen so you have to adapt and change to stay ahead of it.” He encourages people to figure out how to provide gift cards, takeout or delivery options or perhaps find something else to sell in your business and offer ways for people to purchase things on-line to keep you open.
You will salivate over Mamo Burgers signature menu options that are currently available for take-out Thursday through Sunday from 4-8pm. mamoburgerbar.com/category/menu/. Follow them on FaceBook and Instagram @MamoBurgerBar and @VineandAsh for regular updates vineash.com/menu.
Essex County Eats showcases eateries in and around Windsor and Essex County. These eateries offer something truly different & stand out from the crowd. If you know of any special locations that you think would make a GREAT feature for Essex County Eats, please be sure to get in touch with us.