Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Expose Yourself #2 - Straight to the T.O.P.

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In this series of articles, I talk to people who have been successful at taking control of their lives, making a name for themselves, and helping others to do the same. I’m very fortunate to have met them, and very thankful they have agreed to spend a few minutes talking with me to share part of their stories. We’re going to delve into what it took to propel these people from ordinary lives into extraordinary lives. We’ll find out where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going as each guest is asked to “Expose Yourself”.

My guest today was rather unexpected, but I knew when I saw her that I had to talk to her. Hailing from Portugal, she spent many years of her life building businesses to the break-even point and then selling them off for a profit, so she knows what it takes to build one. She's been to several countries throughout Europe in this pursuit, and even came across the pond several times a year for vacation, until she met a restaurateur in need of her specialized talents, and found in him something missing in her own life. The two married and she took over his restaurant and turned it into something special. For the last six years, she's been in Palm Coast, doing what she does best: making her customers glad they came to her.

Currently she's running the Taste of Portugal restaurant in Palm Coast, Florida, which has great food and a relaxed environment; allow me to introduce Maria Diamanfino!

MD: Hello, everyone!

JC: Thanks for talking with me, Maria! Wow, are all Portuguese women as pretty as you are?

MD: Oh stop! (punch)

JC: Sorry, I can't do the impossible, but maybe I can get down to business. So where are you in your life, or career, or pursuit of your dreams?

MD: Right now, I'm running the Taste of Portugal restaurant, here in Palm Coast.

JC: What's that like?

MD: Very busy. We're open every day but Monday for lunch and dinner, and we also host several local groups, some of whom even come in for breakfast before we open. On Fridays we have live a live band and dancing. So as you can see it's very busy around here. I'm here all day.

JC: Well I'm glad you do it. I've had a great time each time I've been here. It's one of those cozy places with fresh food and great atmosphere that we're all looking for. I especially like the mural of Lisbon. How did you get where you are now?

MD: I came here to set up a financial company and I ended up here because I met my husband here. He asked me to help him out with the numbers, with the computers, and so I figured it all out for him and fell in love and stayed. It was not my original goal to be in the restaurant business. This was an accident. My goal was a different one, but we do what we need to do, we stand up.

JC: So how did that happen?

MD: That's a bit of a story. I worked in restaurants a long time ago in Portugal. I used to set up companies all over Europe and take them to break-even and then they'd give me another one. I've lived in Amsterdam and England and all over.

JC: Sounds exciting!

MD: Yes it is. It's a very different life. And so I had a lot of American friends because we used to buy the systems here, some of the partners were Americans with European companies, so I used to come over here at least five times a year. Since I finished college, since I was 18 I've been working with American companies in Portugal and in Europe. So I used to come here for vacation. And while I was visiting I met a man who'd just bought a restaurant and needed my help getting it running. I came in for lunch and we realized we were made for each other. We got married and now I run the restaurant. So that's how I came to live here from Lisbon.

JC: Wow, I think I saw a movie about that the other day, with Julia Roberts in it, Eat Pray Love? Good casting; you look a lot like her. Where are you going next? What’s the next goal, the next step, the next whatever?

MD: That's tough to answer. When I got here, we redecorated, changed the menu, got the best chef, we get the best foods delivered fresh daily. We really made something fantastic here. We love what we've built over the last six years and we love living here. I have a few things in mind, but I don't want to talk about them right now because I don't want to spoil them. But we have the restaurant and we have to do the best we can, you know? And I think we are. We've been here six years, and the customers confirm this. It's a hard life, for sure, but we love it.

JC: So you wouldn't give it up.

MD: We don't do this because we have to, we do it because we want to. I care very much about the customers and I like them very much. They start out as customers and become friends. You know? That's how it is. I like to be there for them. They are why we're here, you know?

JC: And I see that in the way you treat them. It's one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you.

JC: Okay, Maria, thank you very much for taking a few minutes out of your day to tell us about yourself, it was a pleasure talking to you.

MD: You're welcome, Jaycee, it was a lot of fun!

JC: Have you got a website? Have you got anything special going on that my readers should know about?


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MD: Yes! Our site is http://www.tasteofportugal.biz/. We serve a buffet for lunch on Fridays from 11:30 to 2:30. We have a live band and dancing on Friday evenings from 10:00 to 2:00, and we also do it on the first Saturday of the month. We're located at 15 Palm Harbor Village Way, just seconds away from downtown Palm Coast, Florida, we're available to host and cater meetings, and we're fine Portuguese dining in a casual atmosphere. And just for people who read this article and tell their waitress the secret word, which is "Fernando", for every entrée they order, we'll give them a choice of either a free desert OR a free beverage. But they have to know the secret word to prove they read the article.

JC: Wow! I'm glad I know the secret word! I'll jump off my diet for a day for some fresh-baked pie, made by the cutest restaurateur I've met all day!

MD: Thank you, Jaycee, you're so flattering. I feel really blessed to have met so many good people like you!


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Other articles you'll find interesting or helpful:
"Expose Yourself" Articles List
Nelson Mandela isn't THAT good
New Gullwing Does Barrel Roll in Tunnel
Winning the Aussie Way and the Scottish Way

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