Latitude 20 Restaurant / Sports Bar is a Sayulita favorite amongst locals and tourists alike. Recently, Latitude 20 has undergone a bit of a makeover and has been given some extra love thanks to the new ownership of Teague Kernan. Rest assured, guests can still expect the same great service, diverse menu, the specialty BBQ, and rockin’ live music, but all with a new and improved zest and energy! I talked with Teague about his background in the restaurant industry, some of the changes happening in the restaurant, as well as what’s staying the same in one of Sayulita’s favorite local spots.
Teague, first, can you tell readers a bit about yourself (where you're from and what your experience in the restaurant industry is?)
My name is Teague Kernan and I am 45 years old. I’ve been working in the restaurant and bar business for 27 years, while also writing and performing music. I started off as a waiter, and have worked as a dishwasher, prep cook and line cook, was a bartender for 24 years, and also as an owner of two restaurants in the historic North Beach area of San Francisco- Restaurant Tupelo and Belle Cora. I have truly done every job imaginable in the service industry! I moved to San Francisco 21 years ago, and after a few off jobs, I began bartending at the Buccaneer Pub, a neighborhood local where I worked for 13 years. As owner of Tupelo, we featured live music every night of the week, and I did all of the booking personally. We got some of the best bands that came through SF to come play at our venue. My band, Shantytown, performed there three times a month as well. Tupelo also has a heavy sports draw; being originally from the Boston area, we built a big draw as a New England bar-- The Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. Of course, we would show other games as well, especially all the Bay Area games. So all of this experience will have a direct influence on my work at Latitude, and is part of the reason why I knew Latitude 20 was the perfect fit for me; I am looking forward to working with musicians and bands, getting live music booked as much as possible during the week, and having multiple sports games available for people to come watch.
Why did you decide to settle in Sayulita and take over ownership of the restaurant?
Latitude 20 has been around for 6 or 7 years I think (since around 2012). I first came to Sayulita about 10 years ago, and have made several trips back over the last decade. There weren’t even many paved roads back then, and just a handful of bars and restaurants. I met some lovely people on every trip, and I just really liked the vibe of Sayulita. I had been pondering trying to maybe open something here and how I could sort of split my time between Sayulita and San Francisco. There have been a lot of naysayers and people that think I’m crazy, (which I may be a little), but I’ve never shied away from a challenge. I guess I am not what you’d call “risk averse”. A friend’s mom who knew I was looking into taking over a business in town sent me the listing for Latitude 20, and I bought a plane ticket back to Sayulita the very next day. It took me only about 30 seconds to look around to make the final decision to pull the trigger. Dennis and Eileen, the previous owners, have been absolutely wonderful in every way, and have been incredibly helpful in navigating this process. I definitely consider them friends already, which is not always the case with business. I can’t thank them enough for the ways in which they have dealt with the sale and transition of the restaurant.
Can you talk about what guests can expect at the “new” Latitude 20? What is staying the same, and what are some of the new changes going into effect?
As far as what the previous owners have already built, I am not making any drastic changes. I love the feel of the bar area and the patio, they just need a little extra love and attention. Latitude 20 is known for its casual vibe, delicious BBQ, and live music, and I will be keeping all of those specialties in tact, albeit tweaking some things and focusing a little more on the music. As a musician, that’s one of my fortes! I’m a little bit Rock and Roll for sure. I’m going to pare down the menu some and try to work more local flavors into a few of the dishes. We have an amazing staff, and I’m really happy that everyone has decided to stay with us. I’ve worked really hard to make everyone feel like they are part of a team; that’s very important to me. As a business owner, your staff is everything. There’s been a lot of building of trust over the last few months. I recognize that I have to earn their respect, and that I am still a foreigner in their country, even if I am their boss. As far as physical changes, I’ve already been working on improvements. There were a lot of things that just went unattended to. Eileen had been ill, and Dennis had to do everything at the restaurant, and it’s really hard to make improvements under those conditions. Really, it just was in need of some new energetic blood. As far as particulars, you can expect a similar menu, and a couple more TVs to show a lot of different sporting events. Other than Coco’s Sports bar, there isn’t really another great place in Sayulita to be able to watch several games in town. It’s going to be a little tricky in accomplishing that, but I’ll get it done! We’ve already added a couple palapas to the outdoor patio, and some are working on redesigning the back bar as well. All the fans now work, the stools have been repaired, and there are new bar mats. I’ll be addressing other aesthetics as well, such as lighting, paint, and of course, music! It’s all going to be a work in progress for a while, but it will get done. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
Some things people can expect at the new and improved Latitude 20 are:
- More live music.
- If the game is on anywhere in town, we will have it playing for sure!
- Some menu changes; I have already begun working with Manny in the kitchen to “Sayulita” some of the dishes up.
- The same friendly service and of course, a good time.
- A place where everyone feels at home, no matter where you are from!
To find out more about Latitude 20 or their hours of operation, please visit their Sayulita Life Web Page.
*Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri