André Rodrigues Lopes – New blood in Mouraria
The pleasure of being at the table with friends led him to create Table & Friends – themed dinners with opinion leaders and foodies with a particular interest for knowing new people. Success ensued and Andre Rodrigues Lopes eventually sold his stake in Table & Friends, moved to Mouraria and is working on a wholly new project!
Tell us a bit about your story.
I’m 29, I come from Santarém, I live with my girlfriend Helena and before we lived in Campo de Ourique because I worked in Amoreiras while she was still studying. I used to sell office buildings, but the financial crisis stroke hard it became tough to sell any buildings as all investors were afraid of making more losses in the Real Estate sector. That’s when I started to join Beta-I’s entrepreneurship events and eventually me and a friend went to Startup Weekend with an idea and came out of there with the Table & Friends, a start up that aimed to create groundbreaking themed dinners. We organized dinners with special guests – from TV hosts to writers and entrepreneurs in a few centrally located restaurants in Lisbon. The project thrived and a year and a half we sold it to Ezimute, where stayed six months until leaving to create and – soon – launch a new project.
What is your relation with Mouraria?
I am now a part of it! It is a great place to live and I am a part of the new breed of people from smaller cities who, while looking for a centrally located place to live choose Mouraria. It’s strong points are its uniqueness, abundance of local eateries (Trigueirinho or Aziz), beautiful sights and also the smooth mix of its three tribes: foreigners, locals and people like me and my girlfriend, who’ve come from other places in the country.
How was changing from Campo de Ourique to Mouraria?
A move for the better! It’s totally different, we are in a 300 year old apartment with a nice view towards the Baixa district (old town), funny shaped rooms, a steep staircase, only two neighbours, but I like it here because it’s super small. S. Cristóvão is a micro cosmos, we met our nearest neighbors, there is much more interaction between people.
Do you miss organizing events around food?
I ended up bringing it to other levels, for groups of friends. More or less every week we organize an event around food, we always have new people coming up and it turns out we have the same spirit. Like with Table and Friends, the organization is made online, but to bring people from online to offline!
And where does that take place?
In my home, or friend’s home or with the arrival of the good weather we are thinking of organizing some picnics. The end-of-week we organized a picnic in the garden in the middle of the flea market, each take food and drink.
What do you usually eat?
There are many foreigners who are mostly vegetarians, and an age of 25/35 years. Once we had a Hungarian cooking codfish, or goulash and spicy Thai soup (sweet potato, ginger and is ready).
What do you like to cook at home?
I love risotto, but my girlfriend hates it, so I end up not doing much. But I like cooking soups, ratatouille and grilled fish, which is kind of a compromise between the tastes of both of us!
Did you feel welcomed into the neighborhood, well integrated?
Definitely. People know me, mostly because I walk our lovely dog Chica all the time. So that’s how we broke the ice initially. This is a neighborhood where it is very easy to talk to people, especially at Largo Trigueiros, which is almost the center of everything. It is a fantastic place that is still not inflated, it is a treat. I’m also happy to say that a few local businesses will actually be partners with my new business (yet unlatched).