Breakfast in Ubon

This is becoming a bad habit. Going a full week without posting a single time. As per usual though I always have a good excuse!
When I last wrote I said that we had made the move to Ubon as our lives had taken another interesting twist.
About three months ago I was complaining to Seerung about the complete lack of breakfast options in Ubon. I asked around and was told of a place called Tony’s Bakery and Cafe. We paid it a visit and were delighted to find a nicely presented shop that was open early. Imagine our disappointment when they told us they they breakfast was not available that day. We were later to find out the any kind of food was a little hit and miss at the best of times. The business was in decline after what it seemed to be a decent couple of years since they had opened. Due to the husband recently moving to Malaysia for work the wife had slowly lost interest and it showed. They were mainly focussing their time and effort on the bakery side of things as they had a fully equipped bakery and were turning out pies, cakes, deserts etc.
That night back at the hotel I made a mention on the Thai Visa forum that they had stopped doing Breakfasts. I got a reply from the man I bought my car from saying that it was for sale and sent me the link to the advert that was online. The mind instantly started kicking into over drive and we paid it another visit and took some photos and got some more details.
Instantly we thought of Ben and Nong, a couple who we had become friends with in NZ who had recently moved to Thailand to live. Nong was at the time under going bakery training and Ben is a trained Barista amongst other things. I was not interested in going into a small business such as this one on my own so contact was made and photos sent. Ben came up and had a look and so the long process of research and then negotiations began culminating in our offer being accepted about three weeks ago.
I want to try and stay positive so will refrain from talking about a few things apart from saying that what was a walk in walk out sale turned into us having to shut the shop down 10 days ago and effectively start from new.
Therefore since I last posted we have been busy doing a innumerable amount of things including:

Re painting the entire inside of the shop.
Re naming the business.
Making what was an absolutely filthy kitchen sparkling clean.
Making a menu.
Organising the design and then printing of lighted large sign for the roof, business cards, a menu board, signage for the front and banners.
Pricing and sourcing all ingredients.
Organising power, water, internet etc.
Interviews for a baker, chef and waitress.
Fixing doors, toilets, lights etc
Redesigning the floor layout.

This is a fraction of what we have been doing and thank fully Ben is more of a handyman then I will ever be and he is doing a great job getting everything working.

So we are now known as Peppers Bakery and Cafe and we will be open for business hopefully within the week! When it is all up and running I will obviously post photos, the menu etc etc of the new place. It is all very exciting and I hope that any local readers will come along and check it out soon. This has always been Seerungs dream and she is really looking forward to it opening. Once it is open I will take a back seat and concentrate on my other businesses and more importantly being a house dad once again.

On a personal nature we are still living in the hotel and looking for a house to rent. It is proving to be a lot harder then we first thought. I really do hope it wont be too much longer before we find a place as it isn’t fair on the kids being cooped up in such a small place after living in the village. Oh I almost forgot. We took Sunday off so on Saturday evening we drove into a great wet season storm en route to the village for a 36 hour stay. On board we had Ben, a travel writer from the Sydney Morning Herald who wanted to check out some real Thai life. He had a great time he said wandering around the village, doing some jobs in town with me and attending the final day of a temple party in the next village. We drove back to Ubon first thing Monday morning so that we could be at the shop by 8am. I caught up with Ben for Lunch and again for dinner before dropping him off at the airport the following morning as he continued his travels.
I have so many photos that I should be posting but time is so limited at the moment that once again they are going to have to wait for a day or two as I haven’t even downloaded them let alone sort and upload them as well.
Busy but exciting times ahead, please stay tuned…..

8 responses to “Breakfast in Ubon

  1. And here we were thinking your were away lying on the beach with no internet connection !! Glad to see you have not been lying around but working hard – all the best as the business gets going. Hugs for the kids.

    MeMock replied “I thought you would approve! I haven’t been this busy since I sold the newspaper two years ago and it is exciting to be so full on once again. Of course I also look forward to when things slow down just a little bit!”

  2. Good luck with your Peppers adventure and I hope the customers come rolling in. A good breakfast venue in a non touristy town is a sure fire winner with the ex pats and occasional holidaymaker. Best of luck.

    MeMock replied “Thanks Hoo Don for your kind words. I sure do hope it is a winner amongst the expats although according to the previous owner 80% of his customers were Thais buying bakery products. Of course we want would love to keep this % as the local Thais will be our bread and butter so to speak but hopefully we can lift the number of foreigners both locals and visitors who are chasing some real quality food and service in a relaxed setting.”

  3. I’m been ready your blog for just a few days now and you’ve got me hooked. I’m glad I’ve found your blog as myself and a friend from England are planning a trip in your area this Sept. I’ll be sure to eat a few meals at your new cafe. Love good coffee.

    Your posts about your surgery and all the problems during the diagnosis really had me on pins and needles. Hope the back continues to improve and you are able to get in a few rounds of golf with your surgeon.

    Take care and good luck with Peppers.

    Jon

    MeMock replied Hi Jon, thanks for saying hi, so glad you are enjoying my ramblings. It certainly has been a interesting last few months that’s for sure! I too am looking forward to a round of golf, I dropped some cake samples around to the surgeon a few days ago but he wasn’t in. All the best with your trip later this year, we would love to see you, please make sure you introduce yourself when you are here. Please make sure also that if you have any questions at all about Ubon or the area around it please don’t hesitate to ask.

  4. hope the business venture is a great success, looking forward to a brekkie there in july. hope the house hunting goes well.

    regards scotty

    MeMock replied “Hi Scotty, we look forward to seeing you in July, make sure you say hi!”

  5. Michael hare

    Good luck with your restaurant. Ubon needs more good quality Farang restaurants. Only Rissotto qualifies at the moment but not everyone likes pizza. Franco is opening a new Italian restaurant opposite Home Mart on Chaengsanit Road in July. Purpose building it from the ground up.

    Since Olivias closed last year, Ubon has been lacking in Farang restaurants that serve good, nicely presnted food in a nice atmosphere.

    I’m not sure how many expats you will get in for breakfast. Most I know don’t have time to eat breakfast out on the way to work. I’ve lived and worked in Ubon since 1994 and know of no farang who eats breakfast out. Maybe the retirees come in for brunch. Thais do, and there are many breakfast places in town to name Krua Chao and Dao coffee as among the best.

    Tonys had the best baking in town Good cakes that one could buy before going to a party. Nice pasties. The draw back was the car parking and Mrs Sour-face Tony.

    Parking was a problem during peak traffic hours and when the planes land. And Mrs Tony could never crack a smile. Never saw Tony in the 2 years it was opened. I heard he had a car place in KL. Not sure if Mrs Tony was the real Mrs Tony or not.

    Anyway I am looking forward to eating at your place. By the way I am a Kiwi and an agricultural scientist working for a Mexican Seed company at Ubon Rachathani University. A joint venture between the Mexican Seed company (Forage Seeds) and the Faculty of Agriculture.

    Not sure if my comment will get through. Always seems hit and miss.

    Get those Work Permits if you are going to be in the place a lot. Okay if you are just helping out. Police are checking out work permits these days.

    Anyway good luck. When is Opening Day?

    Kind regards,

    Michael Hare

    MeMock replied “Hi Michael, thanks for taking the time to say hello. Your comments on the business are the same as what we have been hearing all over town. Good cakes etc but bad service. We of course intent to change that to excellent cakes and amazing service!

    I agree with your thoughts about working westerners not really eating breakfast. I guess we are hoping to pick up those sort of customers on Saturday and Sunday and for the rest of the week hope for the retired foreigners in and around town. Of course Thai people with a taste for a western breakfast would be more then welcome.
    While our breakfast menu will be all foreign, our lunch menu will be a good mix of western and Thai food.
    Opening day is soon, real soon! Hopefully before next weekend.
    I really look forward to seeing you.
    By the way do you know Eddie from Happy Farmers in Laos? I am sure that he has mentioned your name to me before.”

  6. Sure I know Eddie Vernon. His company produces several thousand kg of hybrid brachiaria for us. We acid scarify the seed here before exporting overseas. Brachiaria seed must be acid scarified to get the germination up to over 80% from 10%. We export to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, China, Vietnam, Vanuatu to name a few countries. A order is coming in from Congo soon. Last week 100 kg went to Nepal.

    In turn, Eddie is a big buyer of several lines of our seeds back into Lao for forage contracts. He has just placed an order for 1000 kg of a tropical legume, Ubon stylo.

    My main contract seed growing farmers are in Mukdahan and Amnart Charoen.

    I started off village seed production in Northeast Thailand when I lived in Mahasarakham and Khon Kaen from 1974-1980. Northeast farmers are now the best grass seed producers in Asia.

    I will catch up with you some time at the new restaurant.

    Best wishes,

    Michael

    PS My home town in NZ is Wanganui where I still have a farm with my brothers. These days I don’t do much dagging or crutching.

  7. jessicaletchford

    Anyone can be a handyman!
    Do it for the fun
    Do it for the thrill
    Anyone can be a handyman

    (I won’t remind you how the rest of the song went!)

    I hope you guys are having a good day today – I’m thinking of you all!

    Love Jess

  8. Hey Andrew! I was searching for restaurants in Ubon this evening (had a nice lunch at Indochine today; decent Vietnamese) and ran across your blog above. Hope all’s going well with the fam and Peppers this holiday season – we’ll probably be in for lunch some time in the next week. Merry Christmas!

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