40 Under 40: Erika Orndorff

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ERIKA ORNDORFF

Block Restaurant + Next Door Lounge | Owner

Provo | AGE 38

Erika Orndorff may be a new kid on the Block, but girl’s got good taste. After studying secondary education, helping her husband start and run his construction company, and being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, she realized her dream and started Block Restaurant in 2017. The dining destination was an instant hit with the valley, and in 2021 she opened her bar called Next Door … right next door to Block. Cheers!

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT It was a Saturday night, Block was fully booked for the night and Next Door was packed. I was doing my rounds at the restaurant and the energy and hum of the guests was tangible and beautiful. Then I walked through to Next Door where we had an amazing band (Bad Frances) playing. Everyone was on their feet, our bartender was dancing while making drinks, everyone was just so happy. In that moment I felt so fulfilled. Watching the happiness of all the guests and knowing I had created that space was one of the proudest moments of my life. My vision became a reality. HARDEST MOMENT The beginning of our second year. The excitement of the first year had worn off. I was in the everyday grind of 80-hour weeks, trying to still be the “do everything, be everywhere mom” to our four kids and working with my husband to understand our new roles. Each of those alone is a solid ass kicking, but combined it felt like our life had been shaken up and dumped upside down and we were blindly trying to put the pieces back together without the picture on the box (yes, I’m a puzzle nerd). If it wasn’t for my husband’s patience and ability to talk me off the ledge, I wouldn’t have made it this far. He’s pretty cool. LEADERSHIP STYLE Hands on. Lead by example. HARDEST PART OF BEING YOUNG IN BUSINESS Being a woman in a predominately male industry combined with being young was hard at first. I got a lot of “do you even know what you’re getting into” and had people tell me multiple times that they’ve seen older and more experienced people fail at this. MAIN MOTIVATION My kids. I want to show them that hard work and faith in yourself can get you to places you’ve only dreamed of. ULTIMATE CAREER DREAM I’m living it. Next Door (the lounge) is new and I hope one day it becomes the “Cheers” (I really just dated myself) of Provo. But other than that, I feel like this is it. This is my happy place.

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