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    River Edge, NJ
  1. HI! I am under contract to buy a house in Ringwood and I have no idea where to eat. Please let me know, what's up in the area so I can start trying the local joints and events. Thanks!!
  2. I have found if you can train the people in charge of seating, ie host's and managers, to walk slowly too and from tables it creates enough difference in the customer seating times to give the servers and kitchen time to process tables consecutively rather than all coming in at once. The other thing that can kill a service is a 'section sweep', this is where the server takes multiple orders before sending them into the kitchen all at once. This is bad for the kitchen and bad for the first table that ordered. They may wait 5-10 minutes before the order even reaches the cooks, which is half of my 20 minute max order time. In the end though, with 4 computers to place orders for 160 seats, two bars, and a ton of takeout the printer can spit tickets for 1/2 an hour at a pop even if everyone is doing everything right, it just means the take out phone wont stop ringing and the line at the door is so long that people are ordering food from the bartenders and the waitress is soo busy she forgot that order for table 23 in her pocket and by the way that order you are about to sell, here are its app's we forgot to put in, could they come first please? In the end we push through by sandbagging the longer cooking items (bbq 1/2 chicken, well done stuff, etc...) and trying to sell the tickets as fast as we can. The real kitchen problems USUALLY only happen when there are problems out front and the chef has a line of servers with problems like misordered or delivered food or stupid questions (where are the napkins? Does the BBQ Sauce have sugar in it? Is your chicken vegatable soup vegetarian? and a whole list of questions to be asked at any other time but in the middle of service ) Get a few of those in a row, distract the chef's train of thought for a moment and it takes a minute or two to get on track and in that time is when the wheels fall off the bus. This is why I am a holy terror in my kitchen on a friday or saturday night service, to encourage the average server to think twice before entering that kitchen and screwing with our groove. All stupid questions get stupid answers, all location requests (where are the togo cups?) are simply answered with 'On your station, where you put them when you set up at 5 like we did with all of our prep' It only took a few months of these tactics and most weekend nights I only see the servers at the beginning of dinner, family meal, or if I send a food runner with a question. As a result though the managers have noticed that the foh is much more ready now that the kitchen is no longer a hang out and information booth. Of course if they were really doing their jobs none of these tactics would be needed and most of the wait staff might not think I am a total egotistical A-hole, but if that is what it takes to get my food in front of happy customers, so be it. I prefer happy customers to happy servers and the servers that know the business see what I am doing and that I am fair and consistent about it so they back me up and like seeing the slackers and dodgers get deserved abuse. (I'll tell you where the togo cups are at 5 while you are setting up and i am not busy, I might even show you if you are new and I am bored.) Wow if this reads odd sorry, it took too long to type and I just can't bring myself to proofread. Fink
  3. I like to tell the new guy the boss wants him to sweep the parking lot during a rain storm "hey, it's nuts, but the man signs our checks so go get a broom....."
  4. Karl Ehmer in Hillsdale has excellent german sausage and groceries.
  5. Problems I had opening my restaurant in River Edge that would cause me to avoid this community for a restaurant again: RED TAPE An application for a restaurant to the town sends you to the planning board, not the zoning board. As a result you need a FULL site plan (min $5000) a Lawyer ($2500 retainer+) an Engineer ($2500+) retainer, plus $4000 for the town's lawyer and engineer. These just start the process. If you get approvel in 2 meetings (unheard of) that is it, otherwise all of the retainers run out and you need to pay everyone again and the planning board is in NO mood to move this along, this process cost me $50000 in the end in fees and rent to hold the location through the process so the landlord wouldn't just rent the spot to someone else in this long drawn out process. Ah yes, the board only meets once a month too so be ready to move slow if you encounter this brand of red tape. We even had to sit through half a meeting while the board congratulated itself on it reappointment in january ($2500 my cost, i figure each meeting cost me an average of $5000 by the time i payed everyone and rent on my spot) Most towns will send you to zoning when you refurb a spot, but a close look at your town's ordinances will tell you what you need to now, basicly if the town requires a site plan for a location that you are just refurbishing RUN PARKING: I had 3 spots and my staff and I spent a lot of time defending those spots from neighbors with no parking. I had more parking 'round back and across the street, but inconvienient, not really used. ACCESS: One pro of River Edge, right on RT 4, quick access to NM, Oradell, Paramus, Hackensack, a large chunk of people. VITAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: River Edge had two competing chambers when i had my business, one River Edge, One Greater River Dell Chamber, a result of local politics spilling into the local business scene. The both had excellent ideas and programs to help businesses and were both run by motivated smart people. ENTHUSED COMMUNITY: I had a history in river edge so I knew I would have some business at start up just based on my local network. I had my first few months rent paid by catering events booked by an excited community. Any time we did an outdoor event the communtity showed up to support us. If it seems like a closed communtity or even an ethnicity you are not comfterble with it may not be the best place to go(I.E. A really nice american restaurant in downtown leonia would hamstring itself from the start when a large part of its community can't even read the sign and would just be intimidated by the storefront.)(not racist just real, leonia has a large Korean communtity with many fine restaurants of their own. ACCESS FOR STAFF/MASS TRANSIT Like it or not, most of our food is prepared and cleaned up by spanish men who have no cars or papers even. They need to be able to get to and from work and Mass transit make this very easy for them (165 NJT bus stopped in front of my store dozens of times a day, the cooks came on the 11:25. Mass transit is good if you have liquor also as it gives your customers another option for the ride home, a possible promo? Free bus pass with your third drink lol! CONSOLIDATED DOWN TOWN River Edges problem is its downtown is Kinderkamack Road and that is it. No depth and split up by residential sections so walk up traffic was minimal, you were coming to fink's if you were coming fink's not because you walked by. Makes development of a client base a lot easier if people are just naturally walking by SIGN LAWS River Edge Code 4 colors only, black and white are colors and the background counts. 3x8 ft sign max no freestanding signs no neon no promo signs recently passed: you may hang a promo banner twice a year for a few weeks Grand opening for one month Any changes to your signage require a zoning board meeting An inspector goes up and down the road a few times a month to enforce sign laws So, If you want restaurants first look around, is the customer base and infrastructure there, access? A need for the type of restaurants you want? Is the downtown laid out for easy access, parking and pedestrian flow? If all these things are in place, and your still full of pizza and chinese, take a look at your zoning/planning laws, does it make it tough and expensive for a restaurateur? What is the attitude in the construction office itself(I encountered a surly unhelpful clerk that would give you one form at a time and yell at you for not having the next one when you came back triggering repeat visits, a hostile environment and a couple of months of delays as I had to get pro's ($200/hour) do this work piecemeal) It also helped hide the true cost/time cost until I was so far in I had to just truck through. Well This is an insight into my saga, and insight from my problems and these are the things that I would check if I was gonna try again (god forbid) Fink
  6. Yup, the Mrs. and I are also headed out that way in April. We see lots of chains listed in the area, but nothing interesting-looking. PLEASE, any suggestions? From the teeny-tiniest hot dog stand to a fancy 4-star, is there anything worth EATING in Palm Springs?
  7. Sounds odd. There should be a whole lotta chips, I couldn't tell you why, because we try to just be out of things rather than sell the wrong/sub par item. Sorry. Glad to here you still enjoyed them though.
  8. In the interest of honesty I must open this review with the fact that Jim (the partner with Chris) was in my block at cooking school for both years, was an usher at my wedding and we keep in touch to this day. So, when looking for a getaway before my kid arrived my wife and I decided to go to boston and relax and connect with some friends. Luckily it was the week of the ASSB's grand opening. The funky look of the place on the corner probably would have attracted me whether or not I knew Jim. The menu would have sealed the deal. It was so full of winners that I had to go twice. Unfortunately this was about two months ago and so my details will be sketchy. My pastrami sandwich was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had (including my own.) It was smokey and tender having been simmered in beer. The bread was perfect coming from local gourmet bakery Iggy's bread (I think that's the name.) The house pickles were crunchy and tasty. The Beef on Weck I had at my next visit was outstanding. Again, the beef was warm and juicy on an outstanding roll flecked with salt and caraway. I really can't emphisize how blown away I was by these two sandwiches. Go early for the Beef on Weck because when the day's roast beef is sold it is done (yes, it roasted for the day and is nice, warm and fresh.) So, in short, if you are in cambridge at all go to this place located on Inman Square!! It is really good and Jim is a great guy. so go, now, why are you still reading and not going there. Fink Ps also check out the review on pigtrip.net, much more detailed than mine.
  9. Hi all Things are chugging along at Bailey's. The wait issues in the last post were addressed (staffing issues) and a few changes may be noticed if you haven't been in a while. There are a few booths upstairs and the outside has been totally redone. The downstairs actually has had much progress made and should open by year's end, if not sooner. I mean it, really. Sorry for the silence but I recently became a dad in an emergency c section that went well in the end so my spare time has been devoted to sleep. Anywho I hope to see you guys soon and check out our review on a cool bbq website: pigtrip.net. Thanks, Fink
  10. Thanks for stopping in everybody (lurkers included). The corn is from Van Houten's Farm Stand on the corn of Sickletown Rd(CR 23) and Blauvelt Rd. We are on track for a mid September opening with a charity pig roast outside for the kick off!!
  11. I had good crab at Fat Kat in Little Ferry. Tony is also in the middle of a six week series in the Record food section.
  12. Today, Wednesday, we have baby back ribs, bbq chicken, pulled pork, and our new Bailey's Smoked Pork Sausage. We also have bbq beans and slaw and I will make Shells and Cheese for dinner service too. Fink
  13. Wow am I just getting gooffier looking as I age or what? So, yes, it is true, and there are pictures to prove it, I am cooking in Blauvelt, It take me 20-30 minutes via local roads to get there from River Edge, so it's not too bad a run from central Bergen County. Right now the bbq menu is in development and some work is being done on equipment, dining room, etc so the bbq and sides are pretty much specials. Today, tuesday, I have baby back ribs and brisket. I will also have chicken at dinner time. Pulled pork will definately be around later in the week and I have been making corn bread and such for the weekends. The new menu is going to have a lot of Fink's old favorites and some new stuff too. The cottage fries, the BBQ beans, the Screaming Chicken Sauce and the bread pudding with bourbon cream sauce will be joined by the Barbecuban, hand carved smoked turkey breast, and a fried dessert sampler. Bailey's also currently has excellent pizza starting at 5pm (12 on weekends) and a wing-pizza-pitcher deal for $20 available during pizza hours. If you are looking to watch a game there is not a bad seat in the house with at least 15 TVs in the bar. The regular kitchen is open from 11-10:30 seven days a week; the bar is open til it 3:45am. Friday nights are very busy starting at about 5:30 and it doesn't really stop all night. Saturdays are much more moderate and not as loud so getting a table is much easier. As far as catering goes, we have a hall up the street that seats up to 150 and has a field available for outdoor occasions. We also do full off premise catering. Pigs, turkeys (fried or smoked), whole briskets, etc are also available. So I am looking forward to seeing many old friend from Jersey and am already making a lot of new ones in NY. See you soon, Fink
  14. I am partial to the Iron Horse burger myself, but I am prejudices as I worked there on and off for 5 years. They did win the Record's Best Burger in Bergen County a bunch of times and I believe their apps are some of the best casual apps around! While I haven't tried the combo the Steakhouse in Maywood on Essex definitely looked like a place to get a good beer and a burger. Or sneak over the border into rockland and come to the place I am at in Blauvelt on Erie st, Bailey's. Off of 303 Fink
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