“It's kind of like my head doesn't stop,” Bob Burnquist explains excitedly. “I just keep thinking of all these things. I can either do them now, or I won't do them at all.” Burnquist isn't talking about the atmosphere of heightened progression at a best-trick event, or even the relaxed feeling of trying a new move on his homespun mammoth of a vert ramp. He's talking food–or rather the restaurant he opened about a year ago along the hazy boulevards of Leucadia, California.
Melodia–Portuguese for “melody”–is a seafood and vegetarian kitchen, but with a Brazilian twist. “We add the tropical touch,” declares this fresh-faced restaurateur.
By providing his adopted community with something he was missing from home, Burnquist has given the locals a place to enjoy healthy living, juices from fruit–not plastic bottles, and a window to Brazil right here in the United States. Just as importantly, he has created a place for his family to unite. “Last time we were all together was in Brazil probably ten years ago. Now all of us are here, we're all playing a part some way, and it's all because of skateboarding. I had this money set aside, and I could either save it and buy myself a new car or all these things you see people doing. But instead, it was like, 'Wow, this is a neat opportunity.' I didn't even think twice about it.”
Burnquist's second thoughts are saved for his concerns about the convenient, fast-food society that the United States has become, focusing mainly on the health problems of the many kids' lives he touches every day through skateboarding. “There's a solution to it all,” Burnquist calmly states, “and it lies with the professional athletes of the world. These kids are looking up to Kobe Bryant endorsing McDonald's. You see all these studies about how fat kids are, and obesity levels are the highest ever now. With this restaurant, I feel like I'm sending out a good message.”
The message, it seems, is healthy living through good food and strong family, but as Burnquist relates, it also includes a way of doing things–little things–that are just slightly different from what the average American is used to. “Brazil is a tropical population. We live differently, we eat differently, we have different views, and different vices. In a way, this is what the U.S. needs right now.”
Suddenly, Burnquist's eyes brighten.
“That's where I get excited about all this,” he says, almost giggling. “I'm not just going out there and trying to sell as much as I can so I can go back to Brazil and be happy. I'm trying to do something here with what I have. I was handed all these blessings, and I now I gotta give it back somehow.”
And that, brothers and sisters, is some appetizing food for thought.