Get to know Jeff Leslie, the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Hacienda, who now co-owns Eddy Street's newest restaurant, BarBici.
Q: Where did you get the idea to open BarBici, an Italian street food restaurant, in South Bend?
A: We’ve been in [the restaurant] business a long time. We recognize that if you want to open another restaurant in this community, it has to be truly different. We worked with consultants out of San Francisco for about oneand- a-half years to help us identify what this market could use. We came up with fast casual… a different take on Italian.
Q: Why did you select Eddy Street as the location for BarBici?
A: We wanted to locate it in a place where people are younger and adventuresome in their food choices, where they would embrace different and embrace Italian done differently. Eddy Street is really close to Notre Dame with people working, living and going to school there. We said this would be a very good target with a large concentration of people.
Q: Can you explain a bit about BarBici’s mission statement?
A: We fuel good health and well-being. Our thought is doing Italian that is put together right in front of you. It allows guests to make choices, and health is about having choices that work for you… As for well-being, our restaurant supports active lifestyles in the community. It seemed natural to incorporate cycling into street food. So we’re supporting local charities, building bike paths and educating children about the importance of wearing bike helmets.
Q: How has business been since the opening on Aug. 18?
A: Absolutely, the students are in there every day. It was so exciting because the first couple of days students were very excited and all taking pictures of the food. Sales have been very strong, and we’re really pleased with the comments from everyone.
Q: Can students use Domer Dollars at BarBici?
A: Yes, we’re supporting the Domer Dollars program. It’s a natural way to go, so we’re seeing some of that in use by the students. The Domer Dollars are up and running.
Q: What else should we know about BarBici?
A: Another thing that makes us different is that most fast casual restaurants aren’t serious about doing alcohol. We’re very serious about it. We have a couple of really unique selections for people to enjoy. We have frozen bellinis that have been doing really well. We also have Greenbush beers doing very well on tap and in the bottle. People who like really great craft beers brewed locally, they’ll appreciate [the selection].