Marisa Paolillo was so inspired after traveling to India that she decided to open up Mango Pickle in order to document her experiences in the form of a restaurant and contemporary Indian menu. Read our interview with the lovely Marisa below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Wanting the ability to be creative with a dining concept that expresses my own vision and values relating to the environment, society, and culture (India, in this case).
Tell us about Mango Pickle.
It is a contemporary Indian Bistro, mostly reflecting my time in India and impressions/experience of the regional dishes from across that vast country from the Himalayas in the north, through the plains, to tropical coastal south.
Where is Mango Pickle located?
5842 N Broadway St, Edgewater, Chicago IL 60660.
What were the first few steps you took to get Mango Pickle up and running?
We searched for an interior designer who would understand our contemporary Indian concept and be enthusiastic about the creative possibilities as we are. As soon as our interior designer sketched out the look and feel of the place and the architect made a first set of drawings, my husband and I darted to India to source the key design elements like tiles and wall art. According to me, the look and feel of the place is as important as the food in establishing a sit-down dining concept.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Cooking! For everyone and anyone – friends, family, friends of family, neighbors…
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
At every turn there have been challenges to overcome, but that’s par for the course of starting and running any business and that is what makes entrepreneurship fulfilling and keeps it interesting for me! Our biggest challenge thus far has been pulling together a crew that can feel for the project the way I do and be inspired by the creative possibilities that Indian cuisine holds.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Being patient with myself and others, keeping my eye on the ball, and not giving in with the faith that solutions always emerge.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
The yoga mat and the “mindful meditation” that cooking is for me.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We are an authentic Indian restaurant that uses fresh ingredients at all times and we ensure that customers truly feel like they had a good “home cooked meal.” We just started by creating something that resonated with us and our experiences in India – which will always be unique to us – so it was not that difficult and no great strategy was required!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Focus on being busy with customers. Not on counting the cost of tomatoes!”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
You have to love it.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Yoga of Herbs” by David Frawley and Vasant Lad.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Building and motivating a small committed, passionate team that delivers an outstanding dining experience for Mango Pickle’s customers.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Seeing that our investment of time and money is moving in the right direction.