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Meet Jonathan Gallardo of Secret Garden in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Gallardo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I came to America in 2004 with a dream to open my own business and to do it in my profession as a bartender. My first bartending position was at a local Mexican restaurant, and with an optimistic outlook and eye for opportunity was asked to bartend in the Galleria area. Building my base of customers, peers, and stakeholders, I was then welcomed to the Washington Street scene in its prime. In my journey, I leaped from making quick well drinks to gastro-lounge upscale cocktails.

After 15 years, I reached my goal. It was quite a journey that involved building social capital, perfecting my craft, and overcoming the daily hurdles we all face. It has not been without its challenges, but I welcomed every single one along the way.

Has it been a smooth road?
The bartending scene can be a cup half full or half empty. I have seen people come and go – I have seen them take the harsh elements of the business personal and bring them down. Equally, I have met some awesome people – whether customers or peers – and those are the folks I gravitate to in the end. Also, my late wife has inspired me to keep being positive and become as productive as my talents should allow me to be. She succumbed to cancer in 2010 and we were only in our 20’s. She was unbelievably positive and she could make a tasteful joke out of any painful moment. She is the reason I always see the cup half full.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
With some luck and lots of hard work, I finally built the vision of the stamp I have always wanted to leave. The Secret Garden brings a great satisfaction to me. I married the banquet background of my mom’s profession from Monterrey, Mexico – with the night scene I have come to grow roots in. My mom bestowed upon me a green thumb and affinity for decor, gardens, and special events – this has perfected the Secret Garden and how I am able to express a unique point-of-view for the night going audience I have serve.

Aside from its prime location at the Aris Marker Square Tower on 409 Travis St., what sets the Secret Garden apart is the concept of the world of international coffee and the world of modern and classic cocktails. The Secret Garden is part of the Bravery Chef Hall experience – there is no other like it. We are a hybrid bar that is backed up with world’s first chef hall: five kitchens, one incubator kitchen for visiting chefs, the Shepard Ross wine bar and two other bars – one which is the Secret Garden.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Houston is diverse, lots of professionals live here and the clientele is only growing. If you are wanting to start a bar or restaurant – the love and work you put behind it will define your success.

Pricing:

  • Rose Felici (Secret Garden original cocktail) – $14.00
  • Violeta (Secret Garden original cocktail) – $13.00
  • French Garden (Secret Garden original cocktail) – $12.00
  • Specialty and Classic Cocktails $10.00 – $15.00
  • Variety of International Specialty Coffees $3.00 – $11.00

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photography by Julia Snider at shineonboudoir.com and on Instagram @ shineonboudoir

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