We’re nearing the end of what’s proven to be a very challenging 2 years. We knew the minute we signed up to open an eating and drinking establishment in SF that we hopped in a boat sailing up-river, against prevailing winds, using a hanky for a sail. In most instances, the pitfalls we thought were out there never materialized. However, the ones that we never thought in a thousand years we’d have to deal with were the game changers and, subsequently, the life changers.
Most of our time since last I wrote has been spent babysitting our general contractor. It’s an unfortunate turn of events, truly, as Wall Construction (formerly known as Great Wall Const.) came out of the gates strong, dripping with optimism. They peaked sometime in October and it’s been a nightmare ever since. Typical problems we’ve heard regarding GC’s are that they show up for a few days and then disappear. Fortunately we didn’t have to deal with the no-show shenanigans. Our issues ended up being man power and craftsmanship, not enough of each. Without trashing a business and wrecking a family, suffice to say , the job was a little too big for GW. Here we sit, 4 months and some change, chomping at the bit to open our doors and get the real heartache and headaches started. On those really rough days I look at Cyrick and after a few colorful words and say, “We have to run a business after this is all finished? Seriously!” A few weeks in St. Somewhere is really the only place we belong when the dust settles. Alas, wish in one hand,…
This past weekend saw our first foray into our new kitchen. Equipment is in, shelves are up, everything is functioning and we start some basic cooking tomorrow. It’s like taking a new cruise ship on its sea trials. We’ll do some basic prep, bake a few things, light some stuff on fire, see how the space feels. Our kitchen is not your traditional “restaurant kitchen”. Part of the reason we could afford this venture is that we skipped the whole venting and gas process which would tack on a good $50,000 to the process. So we don’t have one of those big stainless steel hoods or an open flame. Everything runs on juice. Our kitchen is SUPER small too, maybe 100sf. However we packed this thing to the gills with everything the health department requires to prepare food and also a few nuggets of our own. Our American comfort food works great with the space and equipment, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.
We are spending the remainder of this week shoring up all the details with construction. Painting and decorating will hopefully happen by weeks end, inspections next week, and doors open February 1st. We figure Valentines Day (biggest restaurant day of the year, outside of Mother’s Day) will be a good time to get our teeth kicked in and tossed into the fire.
I can say with confidence that if the chaos and stress we’ve experienced in the buildout phase of FA is anything like the operating ones, then we’ll be prepared. Better yet, now we’ll have 40 wines by-the-glass and 15 or so beers at our ready whenever things get sideways. See, things are already looking a whole lot better:)
1) Back bar is still waiting on some much needed molding and stain. Should look killer once completed. 2) We used the wood flooring to face our bar. The patina on this would is amazing, it’s really beautiful. Ones we’re finished with the light sanding and seal, it will really pop.
1) Yes, that’s her, The Fat Angel. Soon to be gracing our exterior. She’s 40+ years old so she’s a classic. She’ll be well strapped. 2) Looking behind the bar. Keg cooler to the left, bottle cooler to the right, and an ice machine up front.
1) Looking back towards the hallway that leads to the bathroom and the kitchen off to the left. Obviously things will look a whole lot better when cleaned. 2) These three windows fold open, accordion-style and allow the whole 9’x5′ section to be wide open. There’s a marble bar underneath all that junk. So you’ll literally be sitting at that counter with nothing in front of you, just the people walking by and all that beautiful southern sun.
1) This metal frame has been a nice, fat pain in the arse It took 8 days, a fork lift, and 5 guys to hang it. 800lbs and a structural engineer later and it’s finally in place. I’ll tell you the whole sordid story over a pint