Andrew Yakielashek can’t sleep in these days, his brain is too busy making to-do lists.
“I’m more excited than I’ve been in a long time,” he says, his blue eyes lighting up.
Who could blame him? The long-time food and beverage server, restaurant manager and front-of-house specialist is embarking on a venture that every foodie dreams of at some point: opening his own restaurant.
Well not completely his own. Yakielashek—or Yak, as veterans in Jasper’s “industry” know him as—is partnering with another first-time business owner, award-winning local chef Jason Munn. Together the two are reopening Syrahs of Jasper in the space that formerly housed Andy’s Bistro.
“I spent 15 years as a chef making other people wealthy,” Munn says, with vintage half-sarcasm. “It’s exciting to say ‘I’m going to my restaurant.’”
The duo, who have worked together at various fine dining establishments in Jasper, including The Pines, Evil Dave’s, Papa George’s and most recently, The Jasper Inn Restaurant, envision a back-to-basics approach.
“The goal is to develop a local following again,” Yakielashek said. “When I moved to town Andy’s Bistro was the place to go. The idea is to bring that vibe back to that room.”
Syrahs of Jasper closed its doors September 14 after building owner D.J. Bowen couldn't find a viable owner-operator.
Munn, who is more than happy to wear that title, is experimenting with menu ideas, but he’s committed to focusing on regional fare.
“Food will be simple, nothing pretentious. It’ll be good honest food prepared well,” he said.
Yakielashek, who clearly brings the marketing sense, pitched the new Syrahs as having “inspired food, exceptional wine and friendly, sincere service.”
Yakielashek, 33 and Munn, 40, signed the lease on April 7. Since they got the keys, their eyes have been opened to the intricacies of running a business.
“That’s the exciting part for me, learning the behind-the-scenes business aspects,” Yakielashek said.
Munn is just pumped to get to work.
“I’ve got a lot of cleaning to do,” he said. “It’s awesome.”