Mika and Nora Harlo, the future restaurateur duo of Tuultenristi in Tapiola, plan to bring a unique and unpretentious restaurant concept to Tapiola, where the focus is on the customer's enjoyment of a diverse experience concept. Currently running Porkkala Marina in Kirkkonummi, the couple has long experience in the restaurant business. When the time was right, and a unique opportunity presented itself, the Espoo-based couple wanted to expand and open a new restaurant in the familiar neighbourhood of Tapiola.
Interview with entrepreneurial couple Nora and Mika Harlo.
Hi Nora and Mika, great to have you as restaurateurs at Tuultenristi! What are your feelings about and expectations for Tuultenristi's new restaurant space?
"Thank you for asking - the feeling is good and we are positively looking forward to it. Tuultenristi's location is absolutely great, as it is in the middle of Tapiola's new, lively city centre and also accessible from further away by metro, bus, car, not to mention for pedestrians and cyclists. The property itself is modern and we already have a huge number of neighbours that we want to serve with our restaurant concept and catering services. We also look forward to seeing the surrounding residential buildings completed and the area filled with new residents," say Mika and Nora, adding that the new restaurant will be called Tapiolan Klubi.
Both were born and raised in Espoo, and Mika is actually from Tapiola, which was a major factor in the choice of the restaurant's location. You could say that Tapiolan Klubi gives the restaurant owners a chance to go back to their roots.
"We have worked as restaurateurs by the sea, in the archipelago and in the harbours, and in ski and golf centres. We have also lived in Estonia for several years and worked as entrepreneurs outside the restaurant business. During our years in Estonia, however, we often thought about running a restaurant. In 2018 we returned to Finland and in 2020 we founded Porkkalan Marina," Nora Harlo continues.
"We want to create a new meeting place in Tapiola, which could be described as a shared living room. The atmosphere will emphasise the roots of Tapiola, where the local history and culture of the area is strongly present. This will be highlighted not only in the interior design but also in the choice of music and performers, with a focus on localness", Mika says.
What kind of restaurant concept are you bringing to Tuultenristi?
"Tapiolan Klubi relies on clear and simple recipes and quality ingredients. The restaurant serves from morning till night and on weekends until the wee hours of the night. On weekdays we serve a first-class lunch. In addition to à la carte dishes, we have a bistro menu. We also offer catering services for private customers as well as for companies.
One of the biggest things will be the extensive use of the marketplace, where we organise annual events such as Christmas and May Day events, various watch parties, stand-up and outdoor events. We aim to keep the Tapiolan Klubi alive and diverse, so one week there may be art, the next jazz jam sessions and then, for example, a watch party for a major sporting event.
We want to create a real team spirit in Tuultenristi by organising joint events and thus enabling people to meet each other. We don't want to be categorised into one particular traditional restaurant classification or category. We genuinely want to create a renewed, living experience concept. The programmes are designed by and with real professionals, the recipes are developed and the staff is trained by the internationally well-known chef Samu Koskinen. Tapiolan Klubi is backed by a team of experts to ensure that we are able to deliver consistently high quality", Mika says.
Sounds great! And your greetings to your future neighbours?
"We warmly welcome to Tapiolan Klubi the existing businesses of Tuultenristi and their customers, the customers of shopping centre Ainoa, new and old Tapiola residents. We hope you will find your new meeting place at Tapiolan Klubi. The aim is nothing less than to create a new common living room for the people of Tapiola, a place where they can gather from morning till late at night, both for everyday life and for festivities. Our ambitions are high and we want to keep them high!" says Nora.
Tapiolan Klubi will open on 1 March 2024.
A warm welcome to Tuultenristi from Nora and Mika Harlo and the whole Tapiolan Klubi team!