Fresh, Fun, and Flavorful

An Exclusive Interview with Restaurateur, John Lutgen
Owner of Prados, Roasted Coffee & Wine Bar, and Yo!Salsa shares his backstory and experience.


Emma: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?
John: I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri.


Emma: Did you go to college?
John: I went to Missouri Western to play football but didn’t graduate until I was an adult from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.


Emma: Are you married? Have any kids?
John: Yes, married to Stacey with four children.


Emma: What did you do previously for work?
John: I have been in the restaurant business for over 30 years.


Emma: How did you get the idea to start your business?
John: I always worked for large companies –started my business to focus on fresh, fun, flavorful food.


Emma: What support did you have when creating your business?
John: My wife and family have been a huge support – wouldn’t be here if not for them! I’ve also gotten tons of support from friends and extended family, along with supporters of our food truck.


Emma: When did you officially open for business?
John:      May 2012 – Yolo’s Catering
                April 2013 – Yo!Salsa Food Truck
                October 2015 – Yo!Salso Taqueria
                October 2018 – Roasted Coffee and Wine Bar
                November 2018 – Prados


Emma: Why did you choose to come to the Meadows at Lake Saint Louis?
John: I wanted the area to be successful – a local company with a lot of ties to the area, hoping to bring in traffic to cater. Plus, it’s a beautiful center!


Emma: How have you seen your business succeed from the day you first opened to now?
John: We are still learning and growing in our journey with Roasted Coffee & Wine Bar and Prados. We anticipate a long successful run with all the things going on at the Meadows.


Emma: Have there been many “bumps in the road” throughout your entrepreneurial journey?
John: Yes, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in December of 2012 and had chemo and surgery in the spring of 2014, and the food truck broke down before peak season twice!
Emma: What does a typical day in the life of a business owner look like for you?
John: Early start until 7 PM – sales reporting, meetings with vendors and the management team, talking to guests in the restaurants, eating at some point, paying bills, talking to more guests, etc.
Emma: What is your favorite part about your job?
John: Meeting people and hearing their stories of how they enjoy their food, drinks, and experience.
Emma: What advice would you give to other individuals trying to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams?
John: Have a plan, work hard, and always be considerate to people – they might be an investor or partner down the road.