I've been getting my hair cut by the same guy since 2003 and Greg Trigg at The Gallery has always cut my hair perfectly. Every time I show up with no real idea as to what I want it to look like exactly, but he also gets it just right. And when I leave I always have a renewed self confidence. Its funny how that's all it takes sometimes. A fresh haircut. A new shirt. Or that pair of shoes you've wanted for a long time. The tiniest things can make the biggest difference to how you feel about yourself.
Caliente for the longest time was in need of a new "haircut". We are approaching our 6 year anniversary at Caliente and we havent changed a whole lot about the aesthetics of our location. And just like having the same ole hair do for 6 years, we were in desperate need of a new do.
At the end of last year we put down a new floor. That small change has created a totally new look for the entire restaurant. And with the new floor came a new sense of confidence as a team. The Caliente team has heard me say many times before that I want the entire customer experience to be excellent. For a little while, we were unable to make the needed changes to keep the restaurant decor up to the standards we want for our Caliente customers. But we have made a first step... and it feels pretty good.
Please understand that we hope all you guys know how much we want to make Caliente special for you. While we can't change the aesthetics as often as we would like, we hope you know that we want to focus on you as individual customers and make you love Caliente more every time you visit. Here's to many more future changes at Caliente
Because Valentines can be a downer for some people, Caliente has decided to help you curb some of the angst with Valentines quickly approaching. And because ladies typically value Valentines Day more than us men, we wanted to extend the invitation to the ladies of Hattiesburg who want an alternative to Valentines Day this year.
Caliente is going to be hosting a Galentines Day on February 13th. Starting at 5:00PM all groups of 3 or more ladies will receive 13% off their purchases. Additionally, we'll be adding Spiked Pink Lemonade to our menu for the event (while supplies last). Last, instead of showing some sports show and playing music from Pandora, we will instead be showing the movies on Lifetime Network that night. (It looks like we'll be showing Made of Honor... a quirky new-ish Rom-Com starring Patrick Dempsey).
We look forward to a night of Ladies celebrating Ladies. Its going to be like Lilith Fair
New Years's resolutions are always a hot topic when we turn the calendars from December to January. Over the past 2 years I have made a much more valiant effort at keeping to the resolutions I set for myself. Looking back, having that year-long challenge and the accomplishment that comes with completing the resolution has been such a great addition to my life.
Since the beginning, our mission has been to be not just a restaurant that people enjoy, but also a place that becomes a part of your life. A place you think of when you think of your friends and Hattiesburg and Southern Miss. A place for you to make memories.
This year Caliente has a way to be an even bigger part of your life in 2013. Many of you probably already have resolutions to eat more healthy in 2013 and Caliente can help you accomplish that goal. Our Charlos Salad and EatFit Burrito Bowls are one of the most healthy options you will find in all of Hattiesburg for lunch or dinner. Our Charlos Salad and EatFit Burrito Bowls are packed with 35 grams of lean protein, with only 6 grams of fat and 350 calories. Not only do the nutritional numbers make for a healthy lunch and dinner alternative, but every ingredient used is fresh, made from scratch, in house, everyday. Losing fat does not mean you have to sacrifice flavor! So, if your resolution for 2013 is to eat healthy, make Caliente one of your frequent choices! We cannot wait to be a part of your life in 2013.
One of the best things about owning a restaurant is getting to try out all sorts of new food and drink recipes "for the good of the company". Every now and again I stumble into inspiration for a new recipe for Caliente. Usually it is a salsa or sauce I think would be interesting to try with our food. Sometimes it's a different way to cook our braised pork or a new option of veggies to add to the menu. This time it was a trip to the liquor store that sparked my creative culinary juices.
Last year during the holiday season Kahlua released some seasonal flavors of their coffee liqueur. One of the flavors was Peppermint Mocha. Sounds delicious. I can tell you that it is, in fact, delicious. So, as a Christmas "happy" I bought my girlfriend a bottle so that we could make festive White Russians, her favorite cocktail. This new twist seemed to be something right up her alley and we were both very excited to make a White Russian with this new flavor of Kahlua. Well, the drinks we made were indeed delicious, but we thought it lacked a little something. It didn't seem "Christmas-y" enough. Instead, it was just a tiny bit different from a regular ole White Russian. After a few cocktails and some thought, we realized what was missing. You see, the thing about peppermint is that it is both minty and sweet, and the Kahlua just didn't add enough sweetness.
That's when the inspiration came to me. I wanted a for-real "Christmas-tasting" drink and was determined to make one. I decided to play around with peppermint schnapps as an addition to the traditional White Russian recipe. This got me half way there. Since the White Russian is already a drink that reminds me of a dessert, I thought it would be a nice addition to add a little sweetness. That's when I decided to use vanilla flavored vodka. That did the trick! The perfect balance of sweet, creamy and minty! A perfect cold-weather drink to enjoy with friends and family after a big Christmas dinner. So, from me to you, cheers to a happy holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.
"Christmas-Tasting" Peppermint White Russians:
1 part Vanilla Vodka (no brand preference, they are all delicious!)
1 part Peppermint Schnapps
2 parts Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua or any other brand is fine)
4 parts Milk (whole milk is best in my opinion)
*** A "part" is whatever measurement you want to use. Could be a cup, could be a jigger. As long as it is an equal amount every time. It all depends on how many drinks you are planning to make.
Pour this delicious mix over a few pieces of ice and stir. Garnish with a mini candy cane and a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar on top.
Caliente Breakfast Bowl and Taco
In case you haven't heard, Caliente is now serving breakfast. Yup, you read it right... Breakfast the Caliente way. Hattiesburg is a particularly unique market for restaurants. It seems like people get stuck doing the same things without thinking about what new and unique possibilities are available to them. This is an understandable cycle to fall into. I myself get caught going round-n-round doing the exact same routine throughout the week. And of all the things to get systemized in your daily routine, breakfast seems to be at the top of the list. This is precisely the reason Caliente wanted to start serving breakfast! McDonalds, Wards, IHOP, Waffle House and the other usual suspects have held a vice grip on the breakfast market without offering anything particularly unique or flavorful (in my humble opinion). Caliente is a perfect option to mix up your early morning routine. Not only do we freshly prepare everything each morning, but we give you a totally different mix of flavors to start your day with. Breakfast Burritos, Tacos and Bowls featuring bacon and chorizo are the main items on our menu. They can be complimented with sides of Ancho-Chile Cheese Grits, Tater Tots or an Apple and completed with a drink of your choice to round out the full Breakfast Combo, and thus the full Caliente Breakfast experience. Just like our lunch and dinner service, the customer gets to choose each ingredient while our "morning-people" staff happily prepare it for you. Since you get to choose each ingredient, this is particularly good for those who may be selective eaters or those who are looking to make health conscience decisions. For all of you who are coffee drinkers, Caliente offers $.50 coffee every day when you bring your own mug (#BYOM). Along with all that, we have recently decided to add Bottomless Mimosas to our weekend options! Every Saturday and Sunday you can get all the mimosas your little heart desires for just $12. As I have mentioned before in this blog, Caliente is all about having fun. What is a better way to start off your weekend than delicious mimosas and a hearty breakfast? (that question is rhetorical... there is no better way) So, break your routine and spice up your morning with some Caliente Breakfast this week. We are open 7 days a week from 7:00-10:30a.
Every now and again you have a moment of clarity and can truly appreciate the opportunities you have been given. About 4 weeks ago I had once of these realizations. Nothing in particular made me stop in my tracks and evaluate my life. Instead, I was going through the normal course of my weekend and, for the first time in a while, realized how many privileges have been afforded to me. A loving family and girlfriend (all who know my faults and love me despite them), a group of friends that I can truly rely on and share life with, a sound mind and able body, and advantages given to me by the country I live in and the family I was born to. Almost none of this I can be held responsible for. These people and these things I have in my life are all too good to be true when the entirety of this world is taken into account. Because of this moment I had inside my own mind, I decided to do something that affected the people around me and around Caliente. I wanted to meet a basic need while at the same time letting people know that I truly care about the people I share this community with. That's when I thought up a team-effort canned food drive. As any good entrepreneur would, my first step was to build the right team. I contacted Jason and Adam from Click Boutique and Twelve Oaks Accessory Garden to team up. That same day, chance would have it that John from Keg and Barrel would come by for lunch and he too wanted to be a part of the canned food drive effort. The team was assembled and a quick meeting got the whole thing in motion. Now is where you help out. Our three companies have committed to giving out discounts to our customers who bring in canned food for donation. To go a step further, we have asked the great people at Extra Table to give us a valuation of the combined collection and we are going to match the value with specific items that Christian Services tells us they need for the Holidays.
This week we have the first ever Chow Down Showdown Canned Food Drive! So come help us make an impact on the lives of the people in our community this week. November 12th-16th all three locations (Caliente Grille, Click Boutique and Keg and Barrel) will be collecting canned goods and giving you discounts for opening up your hearts and pantries.
Me and Shrimp
Here are a few facts about Caliente you might not have known:
1) We are the first business in this building (that was previously blighted) after Hurricane Katrina. Caliente remodeled our location in 2007. It had been left to stain Hardy Street for two years before we came to the rescue.
2) I (Charles), the owner and founder of Caliente Grille, have never had another full-time job other than Caliente. In fact, I only worked in one other restaurant for a few months prior to opening Caliente.
3) Caliente Grille is a totally original concept. There are not other locations. There is no corporate headquarters. Its a through and through Hattiesburg original.
4) Before deciding to create Caliente, I looked into opening franchises with a similar concept. They all told me that Hattiesburg was not a market they wanted to be in. They said Hattiesburg did not have the right population or demographic. Needless to say, it took them a few years, but a national franchise finally got smart and moved to the 'Burg... and they just so happened to move in just a few feet away.
5) Other than myself, Caliente has one other employee that has been a team member since the very beginning. Carlton Roberts (aka Shrimp) is the Assistant Manager that works some weekday nights and Saturday and Sunday days. He is far and away one of the most naturally gifted customer service professionals I have ever seen. At least four times a month I get a compliment about Carlton and how nice he is to our customers.
6) There is one light in the lobby that has never worked.
7) There is one light in the customer line that has never worked.
8) The sinks in our bathroom are handmade by Mr. Bruce Lang. They were a gift. They are far and away the coolest sinks in town.
9) Caliente used to have a parking lot on both sides of our building. Now Ross Blvd. runs along the West side of the building.
10) There is no freezer or microwave at Caliente. When you cook food from scratch, there is no real need for either of those.
Just thought you all would be interested in some random Caliente facts.
Caliente has, since its creation, always wanted to be more than a "just another" restaurant for its customers. My vision for Caliente was to make it a place that connected to the community on more than one level. We serve great tasting food; always have, always will. But for Caliente to find its way deep into the hearts of our customers, we knew that just serving great food wouldn't be enough.
Caliente has five company values: Accountability, Fun, Loyalty, Integrity and Pride. All of these values lend the Caliente team (and me) the opportunity to make Caliente more personal than the average restaurant. We are always looking for ways to take things a step further. Our first idea was to host live music on the deck. Next, we thought Cinco de Mayo was far too much fun to celebrate only once per year! So we created Cinco de Noviembre to have another day to party at Caliente. From that was born our love for mustaches and Mustache Madness.
All of these things have been our way of making Caliente a fun place to be. Combine that with the fact that our staff is the friendliest group of employees in all of Hattiesburg, and you see why the experience at Caliente has always been different from the rest. We want to host and create events that make coming to Caliente fun and that give our customers the opportunity to make Caliente a part of their lives and good memories. We hope you find Caliente a not only a fun place to eat, but also a place hang and enjoy your life.
This evening Caliente will host #VivaHaha, presented by Hub City Comedy. This local comedy troupe will be helping make the Caliente customer experience a fun one tonight. The show starts at 8:00p and is for a mature audience only. Come spend a FUN Thursday night with us!!
First off, welcome to the new www.Caliente-Grille.com! Its been a long time coming. Building this site has been a cool experience, and I wanted to make sure it was something that was as alive and changing as the restaurant itself. Finally, someone way smarter than me has made it possible for a person with the internet aptitude of a dunce to actually build a decent looking site and blog. I hope you like what I've done.
This site will be update as much as I can stand it. It should keep you well informed about the goings on at Caliente.
This blog is something I have thought about doing for quite some time now, and have finally dove head first into the deep end.
I will be posting about twice a month with two main topics. The first will be about the ever so glamorous life of an entrepreneur and restaurateur. You can expect a "peek behind the curtain" of what its actually like to own a restaurant and deal with the swells and swoons of owning a business.
The second topic will be "food-centric" in nature. I hope to show you some interesting things about how approach food preparation and receipe development at Caliente Grille. I also will be plugging you into some cool and interesting things I decide to eat and cook on my own.
Feel free to comment on how bad my writing is, how you perceived things to be different, or just make fun of something I tell you about.
Last, thanks to all of Caliente's friends and fans. Its awesome to have people like you all supporting us.