After several years of studying in various fields such as hotel management, project management, and grocer education, Elise Bratteng Rønning develops a dream of running a hotel. At the same time, Marius Martinsen who previously worked as a background as a manager and chef for several years at several of Oslo's top restaurants had a desire to open a restaurant one day.
Destiny wanted Elise and Marius to meet at the Culinary Academy to make both their dreams come true. Shortly after meeting each other, they purchased a farm in a small village in Norway, called Uttskarpen — The perfect location to open their brainchild: A hotel with a restaurant surrounded by outstanding nature.
We've talked with Elise and Marius to learn more about their unique concept "From pasture to table", the guest experience at Til Elise Fra Marius and discuss what it takes to succeed with your restaurant today.
Elise: What is the story about Til Elise Fra Marius & The “From pasture to the table" concept?
This concept came up as an idea of getting the best possible ingredients not just from grazing animals but from the mother nature and its majestic beauty. In our restaurant, we want to show a little piece of natural heritage taken from the forest, the sea, the soil, and the farm. Because this is what is brought to the table for our guests - the real concept of “From pasture to table”.
Elise: How would you describe your approach towards hosting an exceptional guest experience?
Together with our partners, we are working to create a food destination in our small village Utskarpen. When the guests visit us, they should feel pleasant and relaxed but still meet professional service and minded staff.
Elise: How do you manage to keep up with the ever-evolving guest experiences?
We really enjoy our work and find ourselves very lucky to work with something we love. There are many possibilities for improving, from the field and natural resources to the kitchen and serving of our menus itself. And for us, this is the main what matters - meeting the expectations of the guests.
Elise: What makes your guest experience unique?
It starts with a knowledge of raw materials because we know what we serve. The good collaboration with our farmers is our main “power wheel”. Then, it is also a location and ambiance. But not only that, our guests can find different concepts of serving, dining, and menus.
Elise: How is it to run both a restaurant and a hotel? What are some of the benefits and challenges?
We have a very small hotel with only seven rooms, and for us, this works perfectly. We wanted to create a space where the guest can enjoy the restaurant, walk around in nature, have a good night’s sleep out in the countryside, and finally a good breakfast.
We also see many groups who use the rooms and our meeting facilities. This also creates an opportunity for businesses to come and have a different experience of connecting work with a dining experience and sleepover outside a busy area of the city.
Marius: What’s the difference between running a restaurant in the city compared to outside of the city?
The main difference is the close work with all the farmers and fishermen, and the access to all kinds of products just outside the restaurant. Something really special about this is that we set the menu of what’s available at any time.
Marius: What made you become part of this project?
I and Elise have always had a dream to start our own place. Elise had a hotel dream and I saw myself running a restaurant so we decided to go for it together.
Marius: What are you hoping to achieve with restaurant Fra Marius?
We want to put more focus on the close work with all the producers, and maybe teach our guest a little bit of Norwegian farming and fishing and all the top-notch products Norway has to offer. Achievements in form of stars and rankings are always really nice, and of course very welcome, but our main goal is to serve the best food and service we can and have happy guests, happy staff and a healthy economy.
Marius: Why did you want to run your own restaurant?
Its always been a dream to have my own restaurant, I have worked as a head chef many years in different restaurants but haven’t been an owner of one, this was something missing for me.
Marius & Elise: What does it take to build, run, and grow a successful restaurant concept today?
Many things, of course, many things we don’t know but you come far with a lot of hard work, strong will, good staff, high quality, and nice guests.
Marius & Elise: Opening a restaurant is not easy. Any advice you would like to share with other like-minded restaurateurs looking to open up a restaurant one day?
Our advice is to work hard and don’t give up in the beginning. If you get a good start, the rest of the way would be so much easier. But prepare yourself on a lot of work in the startup, then work with smart routines for all the business. And always remember to think of the economy while you go along.
The story of Marius and Elise can serve as inspiration for many others who are dreaming about opening their own place someday. Having a clear concept mapped out from the very beginning, defiantly makes things easier in the beginning, but lots of hard work and dedication are still required to bring the desired results.
Ultimately connecting with both nature and local suppliers have helped Marius and Elise to shape the guest experience of their dreams - A restaurant experience worth travelling for. Thank you for sharing your unique story with us.