Many entrepreneurs are driven to launch their businesses because of some inner passion, but when Brian Sua-an opened his restaurant Reverie last December he did so for a much simpler reason.
Located just off Richmond Row at 08 Piccadilly St., Reverie offers “contemporary Canadian cuisine” in a casual environment. Brian crafts together a five-course menu — from Thursday to Saturday — focusing on “quality, seasonal, sustainable, and local produce.”
However, beyond that promise, his goals for the restaurant are much more personal.
“We just live life to the fullest; we don’t have regrets. I always told my wife when we opened, we’re doing this for us, it’s not for them,” he said. “It has to please us first or we’re going to be grumpy and fighting every day. Up until now, it’s still the same concept, doing what we want to do. I’m not a businessman, but we enjoy what we’re doing.”
Originally from the Philippines, Brian, along with his wife Jerrah and 12-year-old daughter Saisha, came to London from Toronto in 2015.
They decided to come to the Forest City not for any specific reason, but rather because they were simply looking for a place “to find another adventure.”
Brian wanted an intimate dining experience, which is why he was looking for a small space to set up his restaurant.
With that in mind, his realtor brought him down to a vacant space on Piccadilly that had room for 12 seats and just about everything else Brian had been looking for.
Unfortunately, someone else had also been looking at the space, so he admits to taking something of a leap of faith. Within 30 minutes, Brian had signed the lease without even telling his wife.
Admitting that move was “a little gusty,” particularly given how shocked his wife was, but she agreed it was the perfect opportunity.
Whether Reverie proves to be a success or not, Brian is committed to giving it everything he’s got.
“It’s either going to succeed or fail, but we’re never going to compromise quality, never going to compromise what we want,” he said. “We always put in 100 percent; we never have a Plan B. It’s my feeling that if you have a Plan B, you’re not putting 100 percent into your Plan A. We never think that way.”
People often ask him what his cuisine is, but he’s quick to answer there isn’t one. Instead, he explains, there’s just a promise of good food created through quality technique.
It’s with that in mind he doesn’t change his menu to fit dietary restrictions, or to provide perhaps a cheaper quality of meal.
Success, Brian said, can be a tough measure. While he accepts some people define success by how much money they earn, his passion is to provide customers with something they haven’t seen before.
Perhaps his biggest goal is to establish not only Reverie’s position in the Forest City’s crowded restaurant landscape, but to bring a spotlight to London itself.
“I just want London to be on the map in Ontario . . . so I want to try and do my part to make that happen,” he said. “I’m going to give people something new. Some people go to a restaurant because they know what they’re going to get. Coming here, you’re going to get something different every time. That’s what we do.”