The most common question we get here, besides food questions, is… “Why did you change the name?”

Honestly, I thought I was going to be partners with the old owner.  We were supposed to put in half the money and open up new locations together; or if I wanted to open up my own shop, he was going to charge me a small (1) time franchising fee for each store.  Very soon after I bought the restaurant (this is back in 2010), the terms changed.

What was supposed to be a $3,000 fee turned to $5,000, then turned to $30,000 (this is without any support from the old owner, just use of name and menu).  Not only that, he was talking about all kinds of people wanting to buy open up Red Hot Kitchens.  He was talking about Pasadena, K-town, Santa Monica, and even a Downtown LA buyer possibly buying rights to the menu and name.

At this point, I’m freaked out of my mind… I was only in business for a few months and it seemed like the old owner was going to unleash a whole bunch of copies on market.  Not only that, there was no means of quality control.  Although each restaurant would have similar menus, there was no way of guaranteeing that one place tasted the same as another location.

I had already tweaked the main marinade for the chicken, beef, and short rib; and I completely changed the recipe for the pork marinade.  I got rid of all of the canned beans and replaced it with homemade slow-cooked beans that taste awesome even though we do not use lard.  The meat did not taste right being cooked on a flat griddle so I installed some outside BBQ grills to get some real mesquite flavor to the meat.  We even introduced some new items such as the Cha Cha Bowl, Cha Cha Burrito, and Cha Cha Fries.  We had already made changes that made us different than the original Red Hot Kitchen.

If I made all these changes without any notice from the previous owner, then I can only imagine what other potential owners would do to the recipes.  (The food costs here are incredibly high and I can imagine some owners cutting corners with the food…)  Because of all these things, I decided to change the name.  Although the name is new, if you guys have been coming out here during the year, everything is pretty much the same…  Same staff, same food, same sexy owner…  =P