What is it like to own and operate a restaurant in 2024?

Woodett’s Executive Chef Remon Zamalis.

Woodett’s Executive Chef Remon Zamalis.

Executive Chef Remon Zamalis and wife Christelle have owned Woodett’s Diner since October 2021.  Originally from France, Zamalis shared with the Minden Rotary Club that he came to the area with a masters in hotel management and 35 years of experience as a chef, (including cooking requests from President Bush).

Key to the restaurant business is staffing.  With the help of his wife, son and 18 employees, Zamalis is successfully operating this local breakfast favorite.  But this stability has taken time to build up.  Shortly after taking over the restaurant they had a full staff turnover just before their biggest day of the year - Mother’s Day. 

“Finding good staff is difficult,” said Zamalis.

Food costs due to high inflation have also made operating a restaurant challenging.  For example, the eggs that used to cost $50 now cost $90.  But Zamalis’ French cooking background will be part of the new menu and will expand the reasons the community will want to visit this local culinary experience. 

In addition, once a month, Woodett’s has started to host a French dinner experience.  The February dinner is already sold out - make sure you reserve your spot for the March 16 experience.  Further expansion will be into the catering area, starting with today’s Douglas Sheriff’s Advisory fundraiser.  He will be able to accommodate catering for 2-220 people with new equipment purchases this spring.

When asked what his dream restaurant would be, Zamalis indicated that he “would love to go 100 percent organic,” a dream he will fulfill as demand dictates.  Members of the Rotary club shared with Zamalis how special the restaurant is because he “always greets the customers and the food is always good.”

The Minden Rotary Club meets at noon every Thursday in the COD Casino Garage.  Join us to learn and get involved in the community.


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