TEMPLE, Texas — The pandemic has been crushing to many local businesses as they work hard to stay open and the same can be said for 3 West Ale House in Temple, which made the tough choice to close a few months ago.
"You shut down with a completely running business, you know one day on Sunday we have dinner service and on Monday we shut down," said Vira Chudesma, the owner of the 3 West Ale House.
Chudesma said in May, management showed up to deep clean the restaurant and somehow a small fire broke out and while it wasn't a devastating one, it helped open their eyes to taking a step back.
"That small fire lead us to think that, maybe we're exhausted, we're overworked and all of had this a-ha moment but if we're coming in on our day off, maybe it's time to take a step back for a moment," Chudesma said.
The pandemic, she said, hit them hard with the workforce, but closing nonetheless was hard.
"It was kind of a heart wrenching decision because once you shut down, you don't know what other obstacle that's going to come that you may not even open again," she said.
It was during that time Chudesma and her boyfriend decided to give the restaurant a facelift and revamp the menu, she said, that hadn't seen a change in years.
"People have said. 'If it ain't broken don't fix it, you took my favorite chips and queso away so I am not coming back," she said. "This place needed a facelift a new menu and believe me or not but food trends change every two to three years."
Chudesma said she reads every online comment and takes them all to heart but believes the new flavors, inspired from different places around the world, is just what Temple needs.
"A little flavor of Spain, a little flavor of France, and it's because I travel so much around the world that these are the menu items another country, another pub-style place would bring to to town," she explained.
"So that's what I was really wishing to do and upscale a little bit, bring some fresh ingredient and keep up with the time."
It's with that mindset she hopes, under the direction of a new flame, a new day has dawned, not only for 3 West Ale House and Central Texans, but also for her American Dream.
"I am a poster child for an American Dream," Chudesma said with a smile on her face. "I came here from India and I now own multiple restaurants and this one is my favorite. I was told that if I came here and could make it, then dreams come true and I am living my dream."
And it's that dream of being the best Chudesma said keeps her always looking to improve and if that includes making changes for the betterment of the people of Central Texas, she'll do it with all of us in mind.
"If we don't keep up with it, we become an absolute and I don't want to be chef or restaurateur that has the same thing on the menu because it's comfortable," she said.