Trendsetters to Know: John & Miriam Banquil

photo by Everardo Keeme

Name: Eleno John Banquil, Jr. & Miriam E.M. Banquil

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Age: John: 39; Miriam: 38

Title: John: President & CEO, Ling & Louie’s Restaurants. Miriam: Principal & Lead Interior Designer, Mimi B Studio

Married/Single: Married for 16 years

Kids: Tristen: 15, Elijah: 12

City you live in: Scottsdale, AZ

A typical day in our life includes…

we wake up early with the new puppy, get the kids up and ready for school, then rushing out the door. John heads to the restaurant around 9 am and spends the morning preparing the restaurant for the day, reviewing company sales figures, and business planning. During the lunch and dinner rushes, he is active in the restaurant, working with the staff, and chatting with guests, ensuring great dining experiences all around. Meanwhile, Miriam’s day may vary. Some days, she works from home, completing CAD drawings, and placing orders for clients. Other days she meets with clients on-site, reviewing plans and completing design installs for clients. As the day winds down, she then shifts to Mom-mode, shuttling the kids from practice to practice. Depending on how late practices run, she may head home while John picks the kids up after he is done at the restaurant. Once we’re both home, we usually spend an hour or so catching up and talking about the day and the outlook for the rest of the week.

I was born…

John: Honolulu, HI.

Miriam: Cincinnati, OH.

Our favorite thing about Arizona…

we are able to play tourists in our own backyard. As busy professionals, we don’t always take the time to enjoy all that Arizona has to offer. But since we often have friends and family who visit, that gives us the time to explore the state with fresh eyes and take in the natural beauty and activities that Arizona has to offer.

I’m listening to…

John: EntreLeadership Podcasts, I Love My ‘90s Hip-Hop playlist on Spotify.

Miriam: various podcasts about interior design and growing my business.

Our family…

is everything. We are an extremely tight-knit group and we spend a lot of our free time with extended family. The four of us also enjoy being lazy whenever we can, as we’re often in “go-go-go” mode that it’s nice to sit and do nothing sometimes.

If we could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

if we were both dining with one person, it would likely be Alicia Keys. We fell in love listening to her first album and her music has been a centerpiece of our relationship ever since. If it was just John, it would be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, knocking back tequila and trying to conquer one of his infamous cheat meals. If it were just Miriam, it would be with famed interior designer, Kelly Wearstler.

One thing I cannot live without…

John: it’s a toss up between my family and pizza.

Miriam: chocolate… definitely chocolate.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

John: A Naval fighter pilot. I was obsessed with Top Gun (and I’m secretly screaming inside like a little kid knowing that the sequel to that movie is coming out soon) and anything that had to do with fighter planes. Unfortunately, it dawned on me that I would never be a fighter pilot because I couldn’t even handle Space Mountain.

Miriam: wanted to be a marine biologist. I’ve always loved the water and the ocean, and I was always curious about life in the ocean.

I’m inspired by…

John: the creativity and success of others, especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Seeing what other restaurants, chefs, and restaurant operators are doing has always pushed me to be better.

Miriam: my peers and fellow designers who have grown and prospered over the years. Of my graduating class, some have opened their own design studios while others have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world.

The one person who motivates me is…

John: my wife. As cheesy as it may sound, she’s both my biggest fan and my biggest critic. Coming up with ideas that wow her always motivates me.

Miriam: my husband. His dedication and passion are inspirational and he’s always pushing me to do more.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

John: the divisiveness in the world right now, especially here in the United States. Instead of picking at everything people dislike about something or someone, I wish we’d focus on what we have in common.

Miriam: the way people perceive the Middle East. As a first-generation Coptic Orthodox American-Egyptian, I personally know how much generosity, love, and kindness the people in that part of the world have and I wish people could see more of it.

The perfect day would be…

a day with my family and friends, filled with relaxation and laughter… and wine… lots of wine.

My first job was…

John: My first job was at United Artists Movie Theaters at the Pavillions in Scottsdale. I was 16 and I’m still bitter that my good friend beat me in a sales contest that summer.

Miriam: working at Target as a cashier and then trying to get people to sign up for the Target credit card… “Would you like to save 10% on today’s purchase?”

My favorite escape…

John: walking the dog by myself, listening to the perfect music that fits my mood at that time.  

Miriam: binge-watching Netflix.

Our life…

is non-stop and packed to the brim with business and activities and we wouldn’t have it any other way! We are grateful for all the blessings we have received through our life

I’m currently working on…

John: rebounding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other companies and businesses, Ling & Louie’s was impacted by the public health crisis and I am working hard to ensure Ling & Louie’s comes out of it better and stronger than ever.

Miriam: a clubhouse remodel, new custom home, a complete remodel of an older home, and trying to keep my sanity through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Always…

John: appreciate the people around you that make you successful… from family and friends to the people with who you work. If you appreciate these people and hold them at the highest regard, they will return that sentiment and continue helping in your success.

 Miriam: give back to your community.

Never…

John: forget that family should always come first. This has been hard for me to learn throughout my career and something I still struggle with to this day.

Miriam: look at others with envy. Rather, realize that their success can eventually be your success.

Favorite Quote…

John: “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

Miriam: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is to great a burden to bear.”

Biggest Dream…

to travel the world together.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

John: negativity… it drags people down.

Miriam: when someone answers a question with “I don’t know.”



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