As of December 10, 2016, I'd Eat There will no longer be open for business.

This decision comes at the culmination of a four year journey . . .
The team behind I'd Eat There (IET) is not your typical brand of entrepreneurial material. In fact, at one time we've worn some of the most offensive labels: alcoholic, pill popper, control freak, angry wretch, college drop out, meth addict, and one we've all shared, fatherless. Hardly the kind of people you would say had obvious potential. But our past didn't matter when God asked us to step out in faith. The only thing that did matter was whether or not we'd say yes to His crazy plan, and we did!

A Christian man offered Chad, my chef husband, start-up money for a food truck. Shortly after accepting this gift, my mother, Madre moved in. After a year of food trucking, Chad finally admitted to feeling a nudge from God telling us to open a restaurant; something he vowed never to do. By this time, my brother Jake had also joined the business and our growing household. So here we were, this motley crew with our crazy pets, all under one roof, ready to build a restaurant from the ground up. Equipped with a modest savings and God-given dream, we went to work developing a restaurant.

There were lots of relational dynamics at play: husband and wife, mother and daughter, brother and brother-in-law, to name a few. So why not complicate things further by asking one of my closest friends to help out? Jen joined the team on opening day, February 11, 2014. The plan was that she'd help us out for a couple of weeks.

The first six months of business were insane. People came in droves, most of whom we felt were looking to condemn our new eatery to failure. Lots of criticism and many quick to suggest what we should be doing without ever stepping foot into our shoes. There was enormous pressure to preform and meet public demands which ultimately spilled over into our hectic home life.

"I hate it when they go in there," Joey would say to Madre when Chad and I retreated into the closet for our most heated discussions. Myself, a head strong, domineering wife, and Chad, an overwhelmed chef confronted with the loss of his passion for food, battling it out.

Jake had moved to Nevada with the expectation of working in a food truck only to be thrust into a full commercial kitchen with little experience and knowledge. Never the less, being half of the kitchen staff, he was still expected to preform. Jen went from house wife to hostess overnight as her temporary help turned into a permanent position. She was way out of her comfort zone and faced with the challenge of working with her crazy, perfectionist friend who was flailing as a new owner.

Madre and Joey had front row seats to the disfunction. Everyone was exhausted and no one was making any money. The question I kept asking myself was, "Can my marriage, my family, and my friendship survive this?" I'd Eat There was built on blood, sweat, and tears, literally. Everyday was a learning experience as we were stretched and pulled as individuals and as team members. Sometimes our failures were public, at other times not. Through it all, one thing kept us going; our obedience to God and desire to grow. Time and pressure have the potential for disaster yet we yielded to the process and made diamonds. Jesus was the difference in our lives and the reason all of our relationships have not merely survived, but thrived!

My marriage is stronger than ever and Chad's passion for food has been reignited. Jake is leaving IET with an advanced set of skills and new found maturity. Jen learned to stick up for herself while taking control of her job with confidence. Strong work ethic was modeled for Joey, who also watched her parents boldly walk in obedience to God. Madre has seen her children work side by side and is proud of what they have accomplished. We've all learned what an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ is like and know from personal experience that God will provide when you follow His plan.

As for the business, we ran the race well, with endurance, and met the challenges God put before us head on. Now we go out on top, as I'd Eat There closes with a five out five star rating, great food, fond memories, amazing customers, a victorious staff, and owners who are debt free. Approaching the end, I've been waiting for God to ride in on His white horse and steal the show. But while watching the horizon I forgot to look beside me in the trenches where He had been all along. The journey and the lives that were changed through I'd Eat There, THAT is the prize. Today, I proudly and unapologetically wear one label... Jesus Freak!

That's the scoop ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not. My prayer is that someone who needs hope will read this story and find it. After all, if God can take these broken individuals and turn them into a success story, what can He do for you?

With all my love,
Jessica Peters Cliffe

"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." -Gilbert K. Chesterton