Crista Leudtke never stops. Literally, a mortgage broker by day, a hotelier / restauranteur / chef by night and weekend, Crista pours herself wholeheartedly into creating her vision of a greener, more friendly world. Amid all that, she found the time to open the wildly successful Big Bottom Market, win a Michelin award and do a few triathlons.
Is there an ah-ha moment when you took your idea and turned it into a business?
I was working the corporate world, dreaming of one day having a hotel and restaurant. I remember being in Bali at this amazing resort that was so intimate, so perfectly minimal, modern, comfortable, inviting, welcoming and every single detail so well thought out. All the people there from the staff to the guests were so amazing – it was this sense of community that was so amazing and that i thought, “Wow, this is it. This is what i want to create.”
How did you start Boon?
I sold my home in San Francisco and boot strapped it with one investor, a close friend. I recruited all my friends and used every penny I had and every one they would give me on credit cards to renovate it into what it is now. As for the restaurant, that came a year later…same drill.
Where did the name come from?
The name came from our dog “Boon,” who was a rescue pup from Boonville, Calif. Boon also means a gift, benefit or blessing. Our pup was a huge blessing to us and we felt this space that we were creating would be a boon to the area and to all those who experienced it.
What was your goal when you started? How has that changed / evolved or has it?
My goal was to create a sense of community in a boutique hotel experience that was top notch in terms of the amenities. We also wanted to really be focused on green initiatives. I’ve stayed true to that vision as it has evolved only in such that i keep trying to make it a better place, a better experience.
As for the restaurant, I wanted to have a place that modeled the hotels image, the values. I wanted to have it be about local organic ingredients. It has been so rewarding. We now have a garden behind the restaurant and the hotel that helps define the menu. We recently received a Michelin Bib Gourmand award. I am so incredibly humbled.
What’s your favorite thing about the amazing company you created?
There are so many things I love both about the hotel and the restaurant, but the best is to see how much enjoyment my guests have either staying or dining. I see them talking with other guests/diners and creating friendships and that sense of community I wanted. It’s so rewarding to see it happen.
What are the three things you’re most proud of?
Creating so many jobs in an economy that has been eliminating them, following my dreams and receiving a 2012 Michelin Bib Gourmand this last week.
What can we expect from you / Boon in the future?
Well, I’m not totally sure. I am thinking of another restaurant in San Francisco. I know, it’s crazy, but so am I. I am thinking of really focusing to make the hotel and restaurant more and more successful.
Learn more about Christa and Boon at BoonHotels.com.