Mendo Bistro owner Nicholas Petti has decided it's time to part ways with his restaurant, so he's shopping around for a buyer. And he wants it to be you. Maybe. Rather than look for the highest bidder, Petti is holding an essay contest to find the right owner for his Fort Bragg restaurant, Inside Scoop reports. For a $100 entry fee and a 250-word-or-less essay describing why you are the best person to next own Mendo Bistro and BarBelow, Petti's bar next door, you could be the proud new owner.
"We've been doing this here for 15 years, my wife and I have a nine-year-old son and we'd love to spend more time as a family. I'm also a teacher, and I'm really enjoying doing that," Petti told Eater. "It was kind of time for us make the next step in our lives, but we wanted to do it in a fun way. I also really wanted to give somebody else the same opportunity that I had. When we opened 15 years ago, it really came about because somebody locally just believed in what we wanted to do. So I felt like it would be a good thing to pass that along to someone else and give them that same opportunity."
Seems like the chance of a lifetime, right? Except, it seems to be a mounting trend — Mendo Bistro is the latest in a string of businesses doing the same thing, like this inn in Maine, this Florida cupcakery and this Illinois vegan spot. Owners around the country maintain they're doing it to give back to someone the same opportunity they once received, but our cynical hearts know a solid gold PR opportunity when we see one. Or, it truly is a feel-good moment. After all, there's not much risk for the owner — should Mendo actually receive the maximum amount of 7,500 submissions, that will be a cool $750k right off the bat — but plenty of reward for the winner of the contest.
Either way, someone has to win and it could be you. If you want to take the chance, check out the official rules here.