Last night I ate at Sway - the new restaurant from Delfo Trombetta, the entrepreneur behind La Condesa. Delfo asked me to invest in Sway, and I passed. I'm regretting that decision now (just like I regret passing on investing in Uchiko and Uchi Houston when Tyson Cole asked me). Restaurants are tough investments, but when they hit - they can really hit big. La Condesa is a favorite in Austin - located conveniently downtown just a block from the W Hotel. La Condesa has amazing and progressive Interior Mexican food. Sway, on the other hand, has amazing and progressive Thai food. It was quite a treat, and I highly recommend it. It has only been open a few weeks, and it was already the second time my Bazaarvoice co-founder, Brant, had been! Brant is a foodie - I turn to him first for new restaurants to try.
The occasion was Jamie Crouthamel, the founder of Performics and one of our first investors at Bazaarvoice, visiting us. Jamie lives in Chicago, the home of my favorite restaurant in the world - Alinea. Alinea is an incredible restaurant and experience. I wrote my longest restaurant review after I first ate there with Greg Brown in 2007. I encourage you to read it (there are no major spoilers in my review) and then try it. Alinea is the type of place you need to experience at least once in your lifetime. Grant Achatz, their founder, is a genius.
Anyway, Jamie was in town to celebrate Bazaarvoice going public, completing our follow-on offering, and executing two acquisitions. He initially invested in Bazaarvoice at around 20 cents per share. Not a bad return! And, as an entrepreneur and angel investor, he is making a big impact in his hometown of Chicago, and elsewhere.
Sway is quite amazing. It is a great mix of location, outdoor seating (which is important with Austin's great weather nearly year round), ambiance, and food. Finally Austin has a real Thai restaurant. I'll definitely be back - soon.
Below is a photo of us after dinner. From left to right: Brant Barton, co-founder of Bazaarvoice; Michael Osborne, our initial VP of Sales who led us from $1 million to over $100 million and who, like Brant, I was proud to work with at Coremetrics before; Jamie Crouthamel; and me. What flasks are Osborne and I holding? That is one of Jamie's companies, Hydro Flask - supposedly the best flask you can buy. On Cabela's, these puppies are rated 5-stars.
Thank you, Jamie, for believing in us since the beginning of Bazaarvoice and also flying to Austin for a great night of company and food. We're proud to call you a friend and investor, and I'm sure we'll be collaborating on future projects.