Crystal Umfress, the brains behind much of what you DON’T SEE
at Casa Maria’s Mexican Cantina, had hinted at a new project she was excited to share with me. But both of us trying to maintain sanity and a presence in our businesses recovering from the everything of 2020, we couldn’t even find a common time for a coffee date.
Looking forward to catching up on all things behind the scenes of my business, January ended up not going according to my plan.
Crystal had teased a bit more about this project and I had to see it. Showing up to scope her new project early that first cold week in January, I was greeted with bold floor-to-ceiling wall color (ahem, blank canvas!!!) and pointed in the direction of one wall that apparently was her preferred canvas for me to tackle based on a visual she’d had in mind for months.
As we talked, I wondered and asked what the plans were for visuals here, and there, and what about that wall, and that corner, and what about…… And Tino was in and out of the conversation, ocassionally looking at me like I was a little crazy.
The three of us continued the tour, I continued seeing possibilities and picturing Casa Maria’s full of people eating and drinking and laughing and enjoying each other in a beautiful space.
Finally settling on the one wall she originally called me to see and something in the ladies bathroom, I confirmed I’d start later that week and plan for a couple days’ work. (Ha!)
About 5 weeks later, I loaded up my car jam-packed by then with paints and supplies I’d slowly moved in with as the project list grew. My job there was finally done. It was time to welcome in customers and show off all the things that had been crafted in the kitchen and brewing behind the bar.
I was mostly to blame for growing the project into a month+
I’ve worked with Crystal for several years now in her business to grow awareness of countless causes to benefit so many in our community, and I know what she can accomplish with the right elements in place. I was often an element she invited into her events, to do my live painting and help in raising money for so many deserving organizations.
She was working hard to get everything ready for the day to day operations at Casa Maria’s and I couldn’t leave the job unfinished.
The part of the job that I assumed ownership of, that would visually welcome in customers, make them want to linger, try the xango or churros after dinner had been cleared, relax with some fresh fruit infused margaritas (ask me my favorite, I know them all after lettering every single one of the DOZENS you’ll see on the menu board).
So my hope is that Casa Maria’s is on your rotation of local favorites when you take the night off from your kitchen duties, and that you bring your out of town friends in to reconnect after a year where we all deserve a pretty place to land.
PS I’ll be watching social media to see which visual at Casa Maria’s you use for your selfie…
the big tree?
Margaritas made me do it?