Allow us to introduce Valorie Green. She and her husband, John, own High Park Tap House. High Park Tap House hosts Daybreakers, the Chamber’s networking group, every Tuesday morning. Michael Ashley of Ink Wordsmiths conducted the following interview with Valorie to learn more about her and her business.
Ink Wordsmiths: Could you describe High Park Tap House and its history?
Valorie Green: We have been in the same location for almost 18 years under 3 different names. We were a franchisee for many years, and 4 years ago, we were able to move forward as an independent restaurant owner—which we love. We can make our own decisions and cater the food and drinks to the requests of our guests. My major role is to do the bookkeeping, human resources, payroll, and business networking with the MV Chamber and OC Women’s Business Connectors. Much of the day, I am at home, pounding away at the keyboard. Several evenings a week, I come to the restaurant to meet and greet our regulars as well as welcome new guests. As with any small business owner, you become a jack of all trades, wearing whatever hat is necessary to get the job done.
Ink Wordsmiths: Why do you do what you do?
Valorie Green: Technically, my husband and son needed me to be a part of the family business. Families working together can be challenging and we were able to find the right balance with one another. We hold different roles but lean on each other for advice.
Ink Wordsmiths: Can you tell us a story of a customer you recently helped?
Valorie Green: There are many stories! One thing we do that helps many people in our community involves our relationship with the MV Chamber. The MV Chamber approached us a few years ago to start a breakfast networking group. At first we weren’t quite sure how this would go, but now we see the benefit to our community and it has helped us too.
This networking group, called Daybreakers, meets every Tuesday morning, from 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. It has since grown in size and influence. Other small local business owners have been able to grow their businesses too. We welcome the business owners to meet with other business owners to build opportunities. Not only have many new people found High Park Tap House, we have found local business owners that help us with marketing, advertising, social media, equipment repair, car maintenance, and personal health.
We have a partnership with the Wellness Choice Center in Mission Viejo which is a weight loss facility. Dr. Nona Djavid designed a menu from our food items that allows those in the first and most restrictive phase of their wellness weight loss plan to dine out with comfort while still pursuing their new weight loss goals.
One of their clients recently told me that “we saved them” during the first part of their diet plan as they felt they could continue to stay on the program and enjoy going out for date night. When that couple reached their healthy goals, they knew they could return and have healthy choices or indulge in their “free” days, allowing them to eat whatever their heart desired from the main menu.
We also offer a diverse menu, including a gluten-free page. Our kitchen is not a gluten-free facility, but we can prepare the food a bit more separately with gluten-free pasta and pizza, as well as remove items containing gluten from particular dishes. We can recommend non-dairy and vegan foods; however, I again stress that our establishment is not an allergy-free zone. We assist our guests wishing to avoid the foods that are irritants to them.
Ink Wordsmiths: What’s the best part of owning your business?
Valorie Green: Hmmmmm….. let me think about that one! People love connecting with family and friends over food and drinks while making fun memories together. Being a part of people’s special moments and seeing smiles on their faces is a huge reward to those of us in the service industry. We enjoy having the flexibility to offer new things on our menu as we see fit.
Ink Wordsmiths: What’s something surprising or unusual about High Park Tap House people don’t know?
Valorie Green: Many people may not know we can provide catering to their homes, businesses, or even at our restaurant. We also deliver wine and beer from our website.
With 40+ TV’s, we can get all the games with the exception of a few. Our 32 taps rotate frequently, allowing us to offer many craft beers from a number of breweries across the U.S. The beer menus change about 3 times per week in order to keep up with the many new beers we offer. Many people may not be aware of our healthier selections if they tend to only order the same thing each time they dine. (Yes, there are people who never look at the menu or drink selection or try new things at the Tap House.)
Ink Wordsmiths: Who is your ideal customer and how can we help refer you business?
Valorie Green: Our ideal customer is someone who is hungry and thirsty. Our diverse menu has something for almost everyone. Sports fans love to come watch their favorite teams on our 40+ TV’s. There’s not a bad seat in the Tap House!
Ink Wordsmiths: How did you get into your line of work?
Valorie Green: Accidentally! I was minding my own business, taking care of our young son, my husband, and volunteering at the local school. My husband and his son, Sean, wanted to get into the restaurant business once Sean graduated college. They enjoy pizza, beer, and sports like many guys, and focused their energy on this concept. Once they found a venue, they were all in. Soon after, they recruited me to do some “light bookkeeping” and payroll. Over the almost 18 years that we have been open, my role evolved into wearing more and more hats and learning new things all the time. I dabble a little bit in marketing, advertising, networking, and helping out in the dining room as well.
Ink Wordsmiths: What advice can you offer other businesses?
Valorie Green: Don’t be static. Standing in one spot will not move you forward. Know your market and cater to their needs. Social media is so important to today’s businesses. If you cannot do it yourself, hire someone to help you. Be open to ideas and suggestions from others. You can’t possibly know it all. Listening to others who view things with a different viewpoint can often open your eyes to new sources of revenue or ways to increase your profitability.
Ink Wordsmiths: What is your business philosophy?
Valorie Green: Be kind. Smile! You never know what kind of day someone has had. Guests have come to High Park Tap House to eat and/or drink and sometimes a welcoming smile or hello made that person feel just a bit better.
You can’t change what happened in a person’s day but you can impact how they feel once they leave your establishment. I often ask myself: did you make that person feel special? Did you take care of their particular dining needs?
Many celebrations feature food and drinks. Quality service means helping those events become pleasant memories. Superior food and service can also go a long way toward making guests loyal to your brand, especially if you make them feel welcome.
For more information about Valorie’s outstanding restaurant, visit:
High Park Tap House
23641 Via Linda
Mission Viejo, CA 92691