Today the Venice Paparazzi Spotlight shines on Mercede Ahrablou, owner of Mercede’s Grill and Bin 73.
How many years in Venice? I moved to Venice from Tehran in 1977. LOL long ride!
Tell us about your company. I opened Mercedes Grill in 1998. I had nothing to lose but my mom’s and my little savings. This was a time in Venice where it was not as developed, expensive, or as popular a place to start a business. I was 25 years old with no business background other than working in the industry. I will say I started working in this industry at 14 years old at an amazing restaurant called McDonald’s. I always enjoyed the fast pace, multitasking, and challenges this business gave me. I am a problem solver and a people pleaser, two good attributes for owning a restaurant.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
I was going to call my restaurant Cuba Libra, but a few people thought it was too political, so I went with the second best thing, my name. My name really does identify the restaurant well. Mercedes is as an upscale car and I always wanted my restaurant to have a little sense of upscale and quality. The “Grille” brings in the casual, café aspect.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m definitely proud of 20 years in the restaurant business. Although my most gratifying accomplishment is my beautiful daughter, Tallah. She has definitely changed my life and taught me how to be patient, not selfish, and understand the meaning of true love. She makes me want to be a better person and more work smarter as a business person as well.
During the 20 years I opened up Naked Sushi, and had a fabulous five-year run with it. Soon after that I came up with a way better concept that doesn’t cost as much in product and payroll, Bin 73, which is going on 10 years.
At this point in my life my direction is to enjoy bringing up my daughter in her prime developmental years. I’m also working on building my first dream house on the Marina peninsula. It is an apartment building I purchased when I first made some money. I’m ready to give it some love and make it my own
What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?
My advice to anyone starting a business is to make sure they love the business they’re going to be in. Your job is a large part of your life and you really have to know how to live it. Knowing how to communicate, and delegate tasks, is huge. With all that said, make sure you have a good pocketbook for hard times
Where do you find inspiration?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my mother. She brought three kids to America all by herself. She got a job and supported us not knowing how to speak English. She’s a go get’er, and she’s taught me how to be the same
Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote:
You are the person who drives your own car. You are the one that makes the decision on which way you want to steer your life.
What causes do you support?
I love animals and children.
List 1-2 things on your bucket list, and 1-2 on your VENICE bucket list
Build my dream house, travel, and go to my daughter’s wedding.
Come celebrate 20 years of Mercedes Grille this weekend!
Here is a message from Mercede. This will be a very special weekend with some of our original menu item at the amazingly low prices of 20 years ago. Live music Saturday night from 4pm to midnight. We will be jamming…….! Hope you will join us! Thank you for years of supporting a local girls dream come true.
I’ve enjoyed serving our beautiful community and will enjoy many more years to come with you all. View 1998 menu below!
Mercedes Venice, 14 Washington Blvd, Venice, California 90292. mercedesgrille.com