Patricio Martinez is the larger-than-life character who owns El Valle Hermosa ‘the beautiful valley’; an eating and drinking establishment at the centre of a criss-cross sprawl of apartment blocks in the Eastern Madrid suburb of Barrio de la Concepcion. We met him by chance and were instantly taken by his personality and kindness, so much so that we recently wrote an article about him for Gallery magazine (click here to read it). Below is an extract of an interview we did with him…
What is the most important aspect about running your business and what do you enjoy the most?
I like people to enjoy being here and to take notice to my attention to detail. I like to be generous and spend time with the customers and hopefully they appreciate that.
Do you think that this is important to the success of your business, especially in this economic climate where other bars seem to be closing?
I believe in three things: Good quality food at the right price, sacrifice and quantity. This has been the key to success for the restaurant, now and when my uncle opened it in 1968. I’m not really good looking so people must come here for other reasons!!
What changes have you seen in the area, the community and the bar since you’ve been here?
When my uncle started the bar it was a typical Spanish bar, workers from the community with low incomes would come to eat greasy meat dishes: testicles, heart, tongue. 7 years ago the restaurant was decorated and I changed the menu, since then the restaurant attracts more families.
Are the majority of the customers from the area and do you know all your customers?
I have regular customers from the area who come everyday for a drink and I have local families who come for food at the weekends. I am always looking for new customers, when I see new customers I try and make them feel welcome and hopefully they’ll come back. I use my charm and sex appeal.
Do you feel the bar is important to the community and how do you see your role in the community?
I feel the bar is important to the community, it’s a useful meeting place; it’s social. I feel I always try and give the best and hopefully the people appreciate this. I know everyone but I try and remain out of everyone’s business, I’ll try not to interfere in other people’s lives and will be careful and respectful of the community.
You can follow Patricio at El Valle Hermoso on Facebook here.