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Joseph Campana works down the Rabbit Hole

Thu, Mar 22, 2012

One on One

Owner of an Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant at 101 N. Tejon St., Campana and his wife said they opened the restaurant because they are fans of both local art and Alice in Wonderland. He has more than 20 years experience in the restaurant industry — and he felt the Springs needed a new concept. So the Rabbit Hole was born.

What made you decide to open a restaurant?

I have over 20 years experience in the restaurant business and I really enjoy working for myself and I felt Colorado Springs needed a new concept.

What are some of the challenges with opening a business like yours?

My biggest challenge is working 90 hour weeks and making sure my staff and customers are happy. My wife and I work long hours and being able to just get away for a few days is sometimes hard. My wife is a manager,server, and accounting and is a big help to the success of this restaurant and sometimes she gives me a day off .

The Rabbit Hole has an interesting, sort of quirky theme. How did you come up with that?

It’s hard to come up with a catchy name that you have to relate to an underground restaurant but honestly a friend of mine text me and she said “you should call it the Rabbit Hole” and I thought about it for a while and decided to name it the Rabbit Hole. When you walk down into our restaurant it’s like you are walking in to a New York or Boston style restaurant, I wanted to have some different food and local art and I always was a fan of Alice in Wonderland. It was a perfect fit for our concept.

Do you have any business advice for other young professionals who want to open a restaurant?

Do your homework first before you decide to open any type of business and you need to have a good work ethic. I asked myself what does Colorado Springs need? I really felt the Springs needed an upscale restaurant that had a full menu until 1:30am 7 nights a week with a price point around under $20, most restaurants close around ten in this town. I also wanted people to come in and be able to talk without a loud band or DJ. And we sell a lot of local products. Let’s say you are passionate about ice cream and you want to open an ice cream shop, ask yourself is there enough people to support another ice cream shop, can you compete against Josh & Jons or the Creamery? Also having the enough financial backing to get through the slower months is key to any successful business.

Are there any particular challenges with working in Colorado Springs?

I think the weather, tourism and parking is a challenge for downtown. If they say it’s going to snow it typically is slower on those nights. We have a parking garage across the street for $1 after 2pm everyday but most people are not aware of how inexpensive it is to park in downtown. I think downtown needs an anchor to bring more people downtown like a 8 cinema movie theater, Sky Sox Stadium, or the World Arena.

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