Company: Bellina Alimentari
Industry: Food & Beverages
As the owner of Bellina Alimentari, Tal Postelnik Baum has built her vision for the restaurant upon the philosophy that the hectic nature of modern life should not compromise the quality of the food we eat. Her goal is to create an environment where healthy, quality, affordable food is a way of life.
When guests enter Bellina Alimentari, they will immediately feel Baum’s sense of style, creativity and attention to detail. As an architect and designer, she has developed a truly eclectic taste from traveling the globe and experiencing firsthand some of the best the hospitality industry has to offer.
Baum moved to Florence, Italy, at the age of 21 to study architecture at Florence University. After graduating cum laude, she managed the production and design process for a boutique Italian eyewear brand and continued to prove her management and leadership skills as an architect in both Italy and the United States. During her seven years in Italy, Baum mastered the language and developed an intimate knowledge of Italian cuisine. After learning the secrets of traditional Italian cooking, she produced and published a cookbook entitled “Zeb.”
It was this culinary journey, coupled with her architecture background, that inspired Baum to develop an elevated fast-casual eatery offering Italian-inspired cuisine, a culinary club and a market featuring imported goods.
What do you feel was the biggest challenge that you had in opening Bellina Alimentari? Was there one thing that you didn’t think was going to be a huge thing that became a huge thing?
Tal Baum: Definitely the permitting and dealing with delays related to different issues. Since Ponce City Market is old building, there was some requirements that were discovered only during the process. So it postponed our opening three months, which was tough, because I already hired all the team.
How did you decide that Ponce City Market was where you wanted to start your business?
Tal Baum: I just felt like this is such a great opportunity being surrounded by all these amazing concepts and chefs. I felt like they would make a great fit for the project in that we’re really able to fulfill the vision Jamestown [the developer] had in regards to the Market with all the different element. It just felt like a great location for this concept.
How’d you come up with the name Bellina?
Tal Baum: Via Ghibellina was a street where I lived in Italy in Florence. Ghibellina was just too long, and we felt like it’s gonna be hard for people to pronounce. Bellina in Italian also means cute and beautiful which is exactly what Bellina is all about.
What is your favorite thing about your work space? Is there something that you really, really love?
Tal Baum: I love the private room. I just love it. I love the activities and events that we host in there. I love the design. I love everything about it.
How do you kind of unplug after a work day or the work week. Is there anything you do to kind of just relax?
Tal Baum: I have two small children, and they are my blessing in life. No matter what, no matter how hard of a day I had, no matter how stressful it was… I just go pick them up from school or see them at home, and my heart melts, and they just give me a hug, and they say, “Mommy, I will love you.” And I don’t need anything else.
In moments of uncertainty or doubt that you have in yourself or what you’re doing, what do you do to keep yourself focused and build yourself back up?
Tal Baum: I have this meditation technique that I do no matter where I am. Sometimes I’m in my car, not driving because I have to close my eyes, or if I’m here in the restaurant and everything is really busy – I just close my eyes and take three deep breaths. I try to empty my brain and not think about anything. Just clear my mind completely, and usually it helps. It really energizes my body and helps me go to my zen, and then I can go back to reality and face everything.
What kind of tools or apps do you use to keep yourself focused or organized? Is there anything that you use on a daily basis?
Tal Baum: My phone is my everything. I do not go anywhere without my phone.
Email is the easiest way to communicate, and I have a system with my emails where my to-do list is always in my inbox. So if I have something I need to accomplish, I just send myself an email. I have office days, so on those days I will just check my emails and then those tasks are in my inbox, and they get executed.
Do you have a woman in your life past or present that you admire or look up to?
Tal Baum: As much as it sounds like a cliché, I admire my mom. She’s a really strong woman, and I definitely take inspiration from her and the way she deals with life. And she taught me a lot about independence and self-confidence and self-esteem.
Speaking about the advice she gave you, if you could offer a female entrepreneur three pieces of advice, what would you say?
Tal Baum: Be patient. Always accept the fact you don’t know everything. And rely on strong people to team up with, because you cannot do everything on your own.
If you were given three more hours in a day, what would you do with them?
Tal Baum: Exercise, and spend more time with my kids. That’s pretty much it… And get some more work done, obviously.
Fun Fact: What Tal’s Power Song?
“When I need a confidence boost, I put on “This Girl is on Fire” by Alicia Keys,” Baum reveals while laughing. “I just love the lyrics. I love the melody. It’s such a powerful song.”
Tal currently has 53 employees working at Bellina Alimentari, and she’s already working on opening another restaurant – though she couldn’t provide us with any details at the time of our feature.
Want to learn more about Bellina Alimentari? Follow Tal and her company at the links below.