LAUREN BROOKES, Restaurant Owner

The Kensington Cafe and The Haven Pizzeria

SILVR: You’re walking down the street and a beautiful stranger stops you and asks you, “What do you do?”

Lauren: I tend to say…”I run a little café in Kensington”

SILVR: What was the deciding moment that made you to take a leap of faith and start your own restaurant?

Lauren: Hmmm….I was working for a woman who was a total hands off owner, doing all of the work of running a restaurant on my own (which was the best learning experience that I could ever ask for). I had hoped for years of partnering in with her as I thought that was my way in to ownership, but she and I didn’t see eye to eye when it came down to our base values and morals. One day, she had some ridiculous request of me that made me realize that I had no desire to be married into that for the rest of my life. Now I am so thankful that she continued to push me against my values. It made the decision to look for an option on my own so much more attractive that it balanced out the fear.

SILVR: Describe the last time at your job that you felt like a titan of your industry, a moment that made you think, “Damn, we are good at this.”

Lauren: Ha! Love this question. Don’t know that I have ever felt like a titan of my industry. I did have a great moment when I returned from a vacation last year and walked into the café and just had this great feeling. Its hard to step back and take a look when you are in it every day so coming in the front door after being gone and checking things out…it brought a smile to my face.

SILVR: When was the last time you nearly gave up on a project or situation, but kept trying at it and knocked it out of the park?

Lauren: Well, have almost given up on our new project…the pizza place…a few times, but have kept moving forward. It has tested me, but I am hopeful.

SILVR: What’s the scariest decision you’ve ever made in your professional career? Did it work? If so, why? If not, why not?

Lauren: I think it was that moment when I left the old café and signed the papers at the new place. For the first time, it was my responsibility, my money, my debt, but so far it has been well worth it. I have never regretted that moment.

SILVR: What was the last project you worked on that truly fed your soul? Or what encounter have you had with a customer that truly fed your soul or validated your work?

Lauren: Oh man….I have a lot of these customer encounters. I am so blessed with amazing customers. We have a customer that comes into the café every day. She is relatively reserved, but just amazingly sweet. She pulled me aside one day about a year and a half ago and told me that she wanted to help out the guys that work at the café…not because they are always in need of help, but because she remembers what it was like to be in your 20’s and how sometimes it is just hard to get things together. She just loves them all so much…says they help her every day and just feels like they are great people. So each month she gives me a check to pass on to who-ever is in need and to make the story even more gracious…she doesn’t let me tell them who it is from because she wants no attention from it. I rotate it through…give it to someone who’s car broke down or someone who was sick and missed out on a bunch of work, someone who is saving money to do something…but each month it pretty much makes me cry. How amazing is that!! Just being able to be a part of that warms my heart.

SILVR: Who was the one person in your professional career that helped or inspired you the most?

Lauren: Don’t know that it was someone within my industry. My husband really inspired me to take a leap.

SILVR: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And if you could travel back in time and tell that same kid (you) what you do now, what would the young you think about your path?

Lauren: I think I changed this all of the time. My brother and sister always seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do and I was always a bit jealous of that. My parents would introduce us and say “Zach wants to make films, and Tess is an actress.” I always felt like there was a long pause before they said something like “and Lauren is really good with people.” This was the worst….always sounded like such a crock. In reality though, it is what I do. I work with people. I would like to tell my younger self that maybe that description isn’t so bad.

SILVR: What do you love the most about what you do?

Lauren: The constant variety. Keeps me on my toes.

SILVR: What’s next?

Lauren: Pizza and baby. Actually baby, then pizza.


SILVR: What is the farthest you have been from home?

Lauren: The farthest I have ever spent a good amount time is in Sydney. I lived there for about 8 months in college. It was the first time I had left the country and it changed my life. Really made me feel like the world was so much more accessible.

SILVR: At what age did you become an adult?

Lauren: Still not sure I qualify. Thinking that maybe having this baby will make me feel like an adult…but hopefully not too much.

SILVR: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Lauren: Play a musical instrument. Who makes it this far in life with NO musical talent? I would love to play something…piano? Or guitar?

SILVR: What time did you go to bed last night and were you alone?

Lauren: Oh this is some insight into my exciting life. It was a Saturday night and I think it was 10:30. I was with Kelsey…my partner in crime (life).

SILVR: How do you want to be remembered?

Lauren: As a kind person. And a person who made the most of every day.

SILVR: Who do you admire?

Lauren: So many of my amazing friends. Really am lucky to have many kind, brave, risk taking, envelope pushing friends and family members.

SILVR: Who inspired you to follow your dreams?

Lauren: My husband. He always pushed me to do more. Still does. While at times it even pissed me off, I wouldn’t have done it without him.

SILVR: Are you in love?

Lauren: Absolutely. I am so in love. 10 years in and falling more in love every day.