At a press conference for the launch of a nightlife awards last week, we watched David D'Souza on stage, nervously holding the mic. The first words that the owner of Goa's legendary pub, Tito's, uttered were: “I don't know what I am doing here, and what advice I will give as a panel member.”
David D'Souza (below), owner of Tito's
The 47-year-old, who hardly ever leaves Goa, will be visiting the city more often, he told us backstage. “You know, it was fun.”
Along with brother Ricardo, he took over Tito's after his father's death in 1984. “The space is named after my father, who was a pilot but loved to cook. It started as a five-table continental restaurant serving beef steak and fish in garlic butter. This was back in 1971,” says D'Souza. His salt-and-pepper crop is proof that he has come a long way.
“I am still figuring out how it got so popular. All I know is that we are passionate about it,” he says.
While 15-year-old David manned the front end, his brother took care of the kitchen. The duo wasn't satisfied with just a restaurant. They introduced music.
“I used to DJ back then, in the time of cassettes. I remember the first tape deck we bought with a made to fade mixer,” he smiles.
Tito's, now an institution, has grown into a 4,000 square metre space with three sound-proof nightclubs that sit within.
With an expanded menu and professionalism in place, Tito's became a hot favourite of English and Dutch travellers. They would offer me advice on the menu, which helped us. People loved the idea of two youngsters running a bar on the beach. The funny thing is, both of us are teetotalers,” D'Souza, who confesses he is a college dropout, quips.
Today, the menu offers Indian, Continental and Chinese. A dosa and chat counter is the latest introduction. The new focus is on curated music events. In the past, Nikhil Chinapa. DJ Pearl and even Yves V has played here. “We play according to the crowd, and partygoers can choose from the three nightclubs that play from Bollywood to EDM,” says D'Souza, who co-owns three other cocktails bars on the strip — Kamaki, Cape Town and Pitstop — while another project in Morjim soon coming up.
While competition is thickening, there are more people coming to Goa too.
“We have the yuppies coming in, who want to spend well, and have a good weekend. I would love to expand as long as it is not my money and time. I am a Goan at the end of the day, so I am susegad (laidback). If not today, work will happen tomorrow,” he laughs.