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Mo Tsimouris: Owner of Bellingham Bar and Grill and Bellingham Axe

CDN’s weekly community profile

Mo Tsimouris, 36, runs Bellingham Bar and Grill and has recently acquired Bellingham Axe next door in Bellingham. (Jack Warren/Cascadia Daily News)
By Jack Warren Visual Journalism Intern

Mo Tsimouris

Age: 36

City: Bellingham

Lived here for: 36 years

Originally from: Bellingham

Notable: Entrepreneur, owner of Bellingham Bar and Grill and Bellingham Axe, car fanatic and fitness enthusiast.

What's the most chaotic night you've ever experienced at Bellingham Bar and Grill?

There was a Downtown Sounds a couple of years ago on a Wednesday night and someone called in a bomb threat, which thankfully was a hoax. It cleared it out, and we were not prepared for the ensuing 300 to 400 people that converged on our location at 7 p.m. Only one bartender was on shift at that point and he just called up everybody and as we arrived, it was just a scene to behold. 

What plans do you have to elevate BBG’s experience to the next level?

Lately I’ve added an eighth pool table so the lines aren’t as long. A couple of years ago, we added a fourth bartender so there’s barely any lines anymore. I believe in keeping costs down for the consumer.

What are your strategies for making the bar experience memorable, inclusive and fun?

Right when you walk in the door, I want my staff to make you feel so welcome. We really finetune all the details. We cater our drink menu to be really fun and inclusive in that there is something for everybody.

What's something you weren't prepared for when you started running BBG’s?

I quickly learned that in business, especially having a small business, you’re really at the whim of the state and the city and the county. A good example is the minimum wage increase. That might be great you might think for a business in which someone’s a cashier at a grocery store or a clerk at a 7-Eleven, but in the restaurant and bar business, where tips are the primary source of income for employees, minimum wage just ends up hurting the bottom line of the restaurant. You end up cutting staff, cutting hours and increasing menu prices.  

What are your marketing strategies for 2024, and how do they change from 2023?

Last year we really went heavy on a lot of skits and a lot of fun satirical videos. We still plan on introducing some of those this year, but we slowed down a little bit and we pushed more into Snapchatad territory.

What’s something you have never shared online before that people may find surprising?

I am extremely regimented in everything I do. I eat the same thing every day for every meal — I have for years, and people think I’m crazy for it. But it works, and I feel great, and I don’t see a reason to change it. I constantly live in the moment. When I wake up, until the moment I go to bed, I’m working. I am big on multitasking, so while I’m grilling, I’m also on the phone or I’m emailing. I do have the occasional downtime and I listen to podcasts or like to learn.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I hope to have three to five kids. I’ll never fully retire, but I definitely want to get away from the day-to-day grind. I’ve been at it for quite a long time. I think around 45 is when I really want to step back completely and just turn everything over to managers. My kids, if I have them, I really want to have a big part in their life and guiding them. I really believe in a hands-on approach to raising kids.

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