Business Improvement District (BID) / Entrepreneurship / Food
Oct 18, 2022
A Flair for Invention: The Ongoing Evolution of Inspirations Catering (now Inspirations Fork & Table)
You know that feeling when you walk into a restaurant, and you get that VIBE? A feeling that everything is elevated and somehow relaxed at the same time?
Welcome to the latest concept by Kristene and Mannie Toledo: Inspirations Fork & Table.
With over twenty-five years of experience, you might think the Toledo’s have a winning formula for their success. But there’s nothing formulaic in their approach, other than a commitment to amazing (we mean it) flavors. In fact, that flair for invention both conceptually and in the kitchen is what has led them to build a wildly successful catering business, a beautiful brick and mortar space in Downtown Arlington, a popular food truck operation, and now, a restaurant (with a piano!)
We caught up with early bird Kristene this week to ask about her newest inspiration.
Downtown Arlington: Where did the idea come from to launch a dine-in experience?
Kristene Toledo: We have enjoyed tremendously offering chef private dinners this last year, and the request from people to “drop in” and enjoy lunch or dinner has led us to this opportunity.
DA: For years, your vision for your space in Urban Union is perfectly summed up in your tagline: “Gather Around the Table.” Now that you’ve changed your interior décor from one large farm table to a variety of cozy seating options, what would you say has remained the same?
KT: One of the most important things to us is flavor. We strive to make sure that each plate we present is full of taste and experiences for our guests.
DA: Tell us about your ideas behind the menu!
KT: Both menus are very thought-out. I try to have a variety, and all meals are made fresh when ordered. In addition to the printed menu, in the near future both our lunch and dinner menus will be accompanied by specials that people can also enjoy.
DA: What do you love about the redesign of your interior into a new restaurant space?
KT: I would have to say two things:
- The different walks of life sitting and enjoying a meal, all together in one room.
- The opportunity to put a piano inside our little cozy spot and offer the opportunity for live music on the weekend is wonderful! We love meeting new musicians and the customers have loved listening to their talents.
DA: What’s new with The Flying Pig food truck?
KT: The Flying Pig is available for special events throughout the city when booked way in advance. We would love for it to be able to go out often at some point.
DA: Does Inspirations still offer catering?
KT: We will be still offering catering, but we have to be careful to not overextend. Our priority is to make sure everyone still gets the same great service and food in our restaurant as our staff is growing.
DA: What makes Inspirations Fork & Table different than other restaurants in Downtown?
KT: We are family owned and run. We all contribute different aspects to the menu and cooking. We are fortunate to work with our daughter Sydney, whose culinary experience and younger point of view brings a new spin to our menu.
Inspirations Fork & Table
506 East Division Street, Suite 130
Urban Union in Downtown Arlington
For more behind the story, check out our June 2021 Down to Business interview (below) with the Toledo family, and our interview with Kristene when she and Manny first moved their business to Downtown Arlington in 2018.