You’d be forgiven for thinking that opening a new restaurant in the middle of a global pandemic was a pretty risky thing to do. But the current climate and the air of uncertainty that hangs over us didn’t deter Númi Þorkell Thomasson, Atli Ottesen and Aðalsteinn Ragnar Benediktsson, the founders of Hosiló.
The new restaurant, which makes its home at Hverfisgata 12, opened in October and has enjoyed steady business, despite the waning tourism industry in Iceland. “We never had too many concerns about opening during the pandemic, we just threw ourselves into it,” Númi says, with a shrug. “We really wanted a small restaurant, so it could just be us three working and doing what we love—this place fitted everything we wanted to do so we just went for it.”
Living the dream
“The good thing about having a small restaurant is the three of us do everything, all the laundry and cleaning, everything,” Atli continues. “There’s no staff to rely on our income. We’re not responsible for anyone feeding their children. It’s a nice position to be in at this point. Most days we constantly have ten people inside.” At full capacity, and with no restrictions, the restaurant seats around 30 customers. “We have a good clientele, people who knew us before. We’re very fortunate.”
The three friends started working together back in 2005, and dreamed about running a business together. “We were always talking about doing something together, beyond what we were already doing, which was working for other people. We’ve always talked about opening our own restaurant,” says Númi. After opening a restaurant in the Westfjords, and then working together again at Café Oliver and Snaps Restaurant, the offer to open Hosiló came to them in the summer of 2020.
Honest food from all over
So what does Hosiló bring to a town that already has so many restaurants and bars? With a small, eclectic menu that changes weekly, Númi, Atli and Aðalsteinn pride themselves on their fresh produce and good, honest food. “All of the decisions we make are based on what we would want if we were out eating,” says Atli. “The key is to have a small menu. Something honest, something fresh. We serve food from all over the world, France, Italy, Asia, Northern Africa.” Working with local vegetable and fish suppliers, the menu—which always consists of a meat dish, a fish dish, a vegetarian dish, ice cream and cheese—is never advertised ahead of time, keeping everything a surprise until the customers sit at their table. “We’ve been fortunate,” says Aðalsteinn. “We haven’t had to do any advertising. It’s all been just word of mouth. It’s been very good.”
Clearly what Hosiló thrives on, and what should ensure its popularity and longevity, is the passion that the three friends put into the restaurant and the hands-on attitude they have towards running it. They work simply for the love of it, spend time with their customers and involve themselves in every aspect of the process from beginning to end. They are obviously having a lot of fun and their tight friendship makes for an incredibly vibrant, welcoming atmosphere that is sure to attract customers for years to come.
Hosiló is located at Hverfisgata 12. Check them out on Facebook.
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