In the Mix
Angela Warren, Owner of WiseGirl Ristorante
College Park graduate Angela Warren had a vision. And that vision was to own and operate an intimate restaurant with a local, hometown feel. That dream came to fruition last year when she opened WiseGirl Ristorante Italiano & Cocktails in Pleasant Hill: a very successful venue with a speakeasy vibe. But what was great about Angela’s dream is she wanted to include a local music scene as part of the restaurant, something not too many owners would take on. I applaud her effort. She has turned this venue into an amazing nightspot that has become a favorite for locals. Thursday nights are mainly reserved for “acoustic” acts, which makes it a great start to the weekend. Friday and Saturday nights feature bands of all genres. Country, blues, rock, tribute bands, and dance bands pack them in on a regular basis. However, I am not just writing to promote this venue but to feature a person who truly has one of the biggest hearts around. I know WiseGirl is successful not only because of the great atmosphere and food but because Angela is genuine and thoughtful. She has the amazing gift of making you feel like you are her best friend. As she is an amazing human being, entrepreneur and businesswoman, she had a few minutes for this interview, so let’s meet Angela Warren.
PC: What interested or inspired you to become a business owner?
AW: My inspiration comes from a long family history of being in the restaurant business. I wanted to be a doctor when I was growing up. Somehow all of my life choices ended up allowing me opportunities to become a restaurant owner. Many things drive me, but ultimately, I think it's important for women to be in business, to take chances, to use their talents. Don't get me wrong; it's a lot of sacrifice to own a business and balance motherhood and all of life's demands. I just have to stay grateful for all I have and keep pushing forward.
PC: Do you play any instruments or sing?
AW: I sang from the time I was a little girl and into young adulthood. I was even in the church choir (hymnal, choir robe and all!) I really haven’t sung in my adult life, unless you count the evenings spent among friends at the restaurant with a little liquid courage to help.
PC: Why do you have music in your restaurant?
AW: Music is a way to connect everyone -- a universal language, a way to break bread with people and bring them together.
PC: What have been some of the highlights of WiseGirl?
AW: There have been many. Most recently, there was a night where you (Paul) played with Acoustic Jangle, and the collaboration of talent was magical. Carlos Reyes made a guest appearance along with several other local musicians. It was pure joy. The energy was amazing. WiseGirl is fortunate to have these special nights fairly often.
PC: Do you have any future plans for WiseGirl, or possibly opening another venue?
AW: For now I have to keep this a secret. I can tell you that I will continue supporting live music and all of the amazing talent that plays at WG.
PC: If you were a song, what song would you be and why?
AW: Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar.” The lyrics are priceless. For the most part, with a twinge of humor, they express how I feel about WG.
"I love this bar/It's my kind of place/Just walk in through the front door/
Puts a big smile on my face/It ain't too far, come as you are." The song basically says all are welcome, regardless of who they are or what they do out in the world. There's no judgment; it's a place for everyone.
Quote of the Month: Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. ~~ Jimi Hendrix
Paul’s Picks for May:
May 4: Lumberyard, WiseGirl, 1932 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, 9pm
May 6: Caroompas Room, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm
May 18: Sin Silver, Rocco’s, 2909 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek, 8pm
May 24: Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration with Jim Caroompas and Paul Cotruvo +
Special Guests, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm
May 27: Tender Mercies, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm
May 27: Billy Schaub, Rocco’s, 2909 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek, 8pm
May 27: Fast Times, Dan’s Bar, 1524 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, 10pm
May 28: The Sunday Paper, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 4pm
Armando’s: 707 Marina Vista, Martinez www.armandosmartinez.com
Back Forty: 100 Coggins Drive-Pleasant Hill
Wise Girl: 1932 Oak Park Blvd. Pleasant Hill www.wisegirlph.com
Dan’s Bar: 1524 Civic Drive Walnut Creek www.dansbar.com
Roxx on Main: 627 Main St. Martinez www.roxxonmain.com
Rocco’s Pizzeria: 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road Walnut Creek CA www.roccospizzeria.com