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Exploring Life & Business with Rie Sims of Warung RieRie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rie Sims. 

Hi Rie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Papua, Indonesia. Growing up in an island chain of more than17,000 islands, I had been exposed to a wide variety of Indonesian and Asian cuisine. Classically trained by my father, I then continued my culinary education in America, where I had taken traditional Indonesian dishes and elevated them into fine works of edible art. I started a catering business in 2011 called Cooking With Rie. During that time, I cooked for the President of Indonesia during the ASEAN Summit hosted by then-President Barack Obama in Palm Springs, Ca. I have also cooked for local celebrities and people of note, such as our current Mayor Todd Gloria, Joan Embery, President of Singapore Airlines, and more.

In 2019 my husband / Co-owner David Sims and I imported an antique Rice House from Bali, Indonesia, where we proceeded to spend the next year building and planning our new venture, Warung RieRie. A traditional 2-hour fine dining cultural experience in our backyard. Serving two to six persons 3 nights a week with two-time slots, guests are transported to the islands of Indonesia, where they get to enjoy a specially crafted six-course menu while dining in the rice house.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Originally when creating Warung RieRie the County of San Diego had a page on their website talking about MEHKO or Micro Enterprise Home Kitchen Operation. Due to the poor wording on the website Dave and I thought the program was already available. After investing most of our life savings in our new business, we were ready to apply for the MEHKO permit, only to find out that it was not implemented in San Diego. David was told by the county that in order to get the permit, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors would need to bring the MEHKO ordinance to vote. So, David along with a coalition of other backyard restauranteurs, called all the county supervisors requesting them to bring it to a vote. Finally, in Sept. of 2021, it was brought to the floor and voted in favor of approving the MEHKO program. Before that Warung RieRie had to operate in what the County called a grey area. Since it was illegal to operate a backyard restaurant, the workaround was to use our catering license to basically cater to our own venue.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Warung RieRie?
We are San Diego’s only traditional Indonesian restaurant offering a unique six-course menu that changes monthly. Offering two-time slots three days a week. Guests enjoy a private fine dining experience like nowhere else in America.

Set in a traditional Rice House where guests feel like they are transported to the islands of Indonesia. Warung Rie also does a Farm to Fork style of service. Growing nearly 60-80 percent of what they serve and all done organically, Warung RieRie is truly a unique dining experience.

May 2nd is officially proclaimed “Warung RieRie Day” by Supervisor Joel Anderson, District 2 San Diego County Board of Supervisors. I was also given a commendation for my entrepreneurial spirit and investment into the City of San Diego as well as providing a truly authentic Indonesian dining experience.

2022 Warung RieRie is recognized by the Indonesian Consulate General Los Angeles as the best Authentic Indonesian Restaurant in America.

Warung RieRie is the First fully approved MEHKO (Micro Enterprise Home Kitchen Operation) licensed restaurant in the City Of San Diego. Offering truly authentic Indonesian Cuisine that is served in a vintage Rice House imported from Bali, Indonesia. As seen on FOX 5 News and ABC News.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We deeply appreciate each and every one of our guests, some who have even traveled from across the country from places like New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, as well as from Canada and Amsterdam just to dine with us.

For me, I believe when you visit Warung RieRie it’s not just to eat and go home, it’s to make lifelong friends. As I always say, “from a strangers we don’t know, now becomes a friend, and a friend becomes a family, so welcome to the Warung RieRie family”.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Warung RieRie, Inc

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