There are those who open a restaurant because they have a passion for food.
Others open a restaurant because they have a passion for their culture.
And then there are those like Takla Armour, who come with a passion for both.
Most of us know that opening a restaurant isn’t for the faint of heart. We know that opening a restaurant often starts with “passion.” But so often we forget everything else that these restaurateurs possess in addition to passion—courage, faith, and a resilience that’s lost on most of us who haven’t taken the plunge to create something out of nothing (and make a living from it). One doesn’t enter the restaurant industry because of the fame or riches (despite your impression that was conceived, in part, by celebrity chefs).
Armour knows the challenge of the entrepreneur well, “Every entrepreneurial person doesn’t start with money.” Starting a new restaurant is difficult enough, but couple that with an extensive renovation and you’ve really got a project on your hands; in fact, Armour spent 13 months updating the previous space and bringing much of it up to code. Yet despite these challenges, Armour believed in his vision to bring authentic Tibetan culture to Boulder in the form of Mandala Infusion, “I wanted to create a place in the community where you could meet and share art. America is unique because each person brings his or her own unique cultures and traditions.”
Following an extensive remodel of the entire dining room and kitchen, Armour wanted the space to evoke an authentic vision of Tibet. Tables are thoughtfully dressed with stemware from Chef & Sommelier and simple, clean dinnerware from the Torino line of International Tableware, Inc. Hand-carved wood panels from a Tibetan artist adorn the walls and threshold, featuring a variety of auspicious symbols such as the Dharma wheel. Not only does the art serve to provide beauty, but it is also intended to invite good energy into the space whilst keeping bad spirits away. The prayer wheel is from Nepal, and its spinning motion is designed to send prayers, love and positive energy out to the universe. Even Mandala Infusion’s logo was designed to conceptualize the concept of the “mixing” of cultures, depicting a colorful spiral. “I hope that the restaurant will serve as a gathering place and bridge to learn more about Tibetan culture,” Armour tells me.
Food is Community
Community resonates deep with Armour, who aspired to include the addition of three Sangha Tables in the Mandala Infusion dining room. Found in every Tibetan home, a Sangha table is a place for people to gather and share a meal together. Armour leveraged one of the most well-known crowdsourcing websites to help bring the Sangha table to life: Kickstarter. Through Mandala Infusion’s kickstarter page, Armour was able to achieve the funds necessary to bring this authentic dining experience to Mandala Infusion. For Armour, health, music, art, love and culture should not be separate from the dining experience. Guests who aspire to have a true taste of Tibet should expect to remove their shoes and sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor.
Above all else, Armour hopes his guests ask questions about Tibet while appreciating its art and ambience.
And like all entrepreneurs, Armour hopes that his hard work wasn’t wasted.
Mandala Infusion is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit http://www.mandalainfusion.com/.