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Isnury Suryatmi owns the famous little nook called “Naughty Nuri’s” in Ubud (Bali, Indonesia). Aside from its grilled pork ribs and dry martini, it has made its small merchandising a popular pick-up item as a souvenir because of its creative captions. It went off the roof when it released its “Eat, Pay, Leave” shirts in the heels of the film of “Eat, Pray, Leave,” that starred Julia Roberts in the same island.

This simple open-air restaurant, or “ Warung”, began in 1995 with 2 employees and priced her grilled-pork ribs at Rp 25,000 per serving. Now it costs Rp 85,000 per serving and takes home a daily turnover of Rp 25 million from her two warungs, with monthly profit of Rp 100 million. What started 17 years ago as a simple warung with 2 employees has now grown to 40 employees.

Much of Nury’s success, however, can be traced from her tenacity, creativity, patience, practical business sense, and good relationship with customers. In 2009 Julia Roberts, while filming “Eat, Pray Love”, together with her movie crew, came to eat at Nury’s Warung in Ubud (Bali). They could not get seats because they failed to book earlier. The movie star missed the chance to try Bali’s famous grilled-pork ribs and dry martinis on the  bangku (traditional long wooden bench) in Nury’s warung; however, they did go to the other warung of Nury.

Nury's creativity was quick to cash in on this opportunity. The 50-year old  warungowner came up with the idea of producing T-shirts with “Eat, Pay, Leave” printed on it. Her creativity brought wide publicity, making her warungs and T-shirts famous, bringing in more profit. This isn’t the first that “Naughty Nuri’s” has come up with creative shirt designs to fit their warung, however, as merchandising products have created some ancillary profits to her core business.

As a testament to the growing popularity of her restaurant, a group of 150 guests once came at the same time despite the fact that her  warung could only accommodate up to 50. The customers, a mix of Indonesian and foreign tourists, were even willing to sit on mats or bring their own chairs.

Selling Pork in the World’s Largest Moslem Population“Naughty Nuri’s”, which is known for its grilled pork-ribs and dry martinis, sell foods that are considered haram in a largely Moslem populated country. We asked what her strategy is, to which she replied: “It is up to each individual’ personality. The fanatics of course don’t want to eat pork. We cook beef at the back. I’m also Moslem you know,” Nury said. Her place also serves chicken curry, sandwiches and other food.

Nury admitted that when the business first started she also had to taste the pork ribs. Now she will only press her finger in the meat to check whether  it’s cooked or not. But she still tastes the spices before it is put on the ribs. In addition to franchise that has already been given for Nury’s  warung in Jakarta, she is planning in the future to open a grilled beef ribs warung in Jogjakarta catering to Moslems; after all, food is a question of one’s preference.

Nuraki Aziz is a veteran journalist with 20 years of experience covering current events and feature stories, politics, economy, culture, and environment. He was a producer for BBC World Service in London and associate producer for CNN Jakarta.

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