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Eric Tjahyadi

Episode 141

From Middle Class to Bare Bones and Up

Eric Tjahyadi is a serial entrepreneur and a proud native of San Gabriel Valley. When he’s not staying active, traveling, or binge watching favorite shows, he enjoys mentoring and giving back. Eric spends most of his waking hours building a new startup division at Sony Music Entertainment and running a few passion projects – Bone Kettle (a family operated polished casual restaurant in Old Town Pasadena) and Supa Coffee (a coffee/tea cafe mix with socially conscious and locally sourced goods store in West Los Angeles). He loves connecting with like minded peers, problem solving, investing in interesting projects and aspires to make a difference in his local community.

Bone Kettle: 67 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

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Eric Tjahyadi Quotes

“I think when you’re a child of trauma, you’re always in that survival mindset. And that’s when it’s it’s interesting, like, what you brought up with the whole COVID situation. I really feel like that was just like another data for me, And it was a way for me to really flex my resilience and my resourcefulness. So I really felt like I was made for it. I was made to survive in that circumstance because I’ve been through way worse. So I can actually make lemonade from anything.”

“There’s just a lot of discrimination. It’s almost like, I think, the Indonesian version of antisemitism. You know what I mean? Like, how there’s like this underlying kind of tension.”

I’ve worked in marketing all of my professional career. So, I thought, let’s just take some of my branding abilities, my communication skills, my brother’s talent, and then my business partner’s experience in the food and beverage business. Let’s start like a hotdog stand or like a nacho stand out in in front of clubs. You know?“

“​​A lot of times I struggle with that myself as well, you know, in my professional career too. To think about, like, am I enough to take on that role or am I enough to be able to tackle this responsibility? And it’s really a metaphor of my journey in my formation as a person, like, accepting my beginning and who I’ve come from and my story. And that it’s enough; it’s a worthy story to tell.”

  • Eric Tjahyadi was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley
  • Eric Tjahyadi is working on a new startup division at Sony Music Entertainment
  • Eric also runs a restaurant in Old Town Pasadena called Bone Kettle and Supa Coffee in West LA
  • Eric Tjahyadi loves living the entrepreneur lifestyle and giving back to the community through mentorship

When did Eric Tjahyadi create Bone Kettle?

Eric is actually celebrating Bone Kettle’s 7th anniversary now (2024). They officially opened in Old Pasadena in February 2017. Eric feels very lucky that his restaurant survived COVID-19.


Why did Eric choose Old Pasadena for the Bone Kettle?

Old Pasadena has strong sentimental value to Eric Tjahyadi. As an immigrant growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, he would always take the bus to Pasadena, and he viewed the area as such an aspirational community. It actually was always on Eric’s bucket list to become apart of the Old Pasadena community.

Where in the SGV did Eric Tjahyadi live as a child?

Eric and his family lived in Monterey Park. Eric moved to Monterey Park as a refugee when he was 12 years old in the 1990s. There were 20 of them, and they would all take the bus to commute everywhere.


What was it like growing up?

There were certainly challenges that Eric faced. For instance, he lived in a 3-bedroom apartment that hit to be split with 20 people. Eric and his family truly started from scratch in the United States.


How big is Eric Tjahyadi’s family?

Eric’s family consists of himself, his mother, father, and two young siblings. One of his siblings is actually a chef at Bone Kettle. He is two years younger than Eric, and he also has a baby sister. Eric was able to persevere and succeed despite his living situation due to determination and grit.


Is Eric an optimistic person?

Eric absolutely defines himself as optimistic. He loves Mondays because he loves restarting and growing, and he says that his spirit animal is a gazelle. He thinks he is truly unstoppable and has profound peace with his inner self.


Is any of Eric Tjahyadi’s family still back in Indonesia?

All of Eric’s immediate family came to the San Gabriel Valley. However, he does have some aunts and family from his father’s side back in Indonesia. Eric’s parents still live in Monterey Park.


What made Eric’s childhood joyful?

Eric loved taking bus trips with his family. It felt like an escape from the stresses of living in a home with 20 other people. 


What happened next in life for Eric?

Eric and his brother were commissioned to do their own Hot Pocket, which was mind blowing for Eric to see his own food in a grocery store and around the country. This came about because they had a very successful food truck business. 


What made Eric want to get into the food truck business?

Eric has always been a creative-minded individual and his brother is an artist of sorts. They are both very passionate about what they do and they wanted to just experiment with different things. Eric’s brother fell in love with cooking and went to culinary school but was overwhelmed with all of the stimulants of working in fine dining. So, they decided to do something simple like sell gourmet hot dogs. Eric has worked in marketing and advertising so he used his branding abilities to help them take off. Then, it blew up, and eventually, they opened up their first restaurant.


What made Eric want to start Bone Kettle?

Eric started Bone Kettle when their first restaurant, Komodo, still existed because he wanted to channel his brother’s vision and ideas in a new direction. He was completely burned out with Komodo. His brother took a cooking sabbatical, traveled to Indonesia, and sort of reset his mind. When he came back to the SGV, he fell in love with cooking again. 


How does Eric get a culture to view southeast Asian food in a different light?

Eric believes it comes down to your brand and the expression of your brand. It’s very much how you execute a dish and the thoughtful ingredients. Although Eric admits that you need to have confidence in both yourself and your dish to charge what you truly believe it is worth.


Music Credits

Like it Loud, Dyalla, YouTube Audio Library

Scarlet Fire (Sting), Otis McDonald, YouTube Audio Library

Indecision, Dyalla, YouTube Audio Library

Picture of Eric Tjahyadi

Eric Tjahyadi

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