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gfron1

Starting a high profile new restaurant (after closing another)

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"Socks only"?   Well that would certainly address the guy perspective you began with. I'm all for equality but have never fancied being chilly so if it's going to be socks only I do hope you forgo the air conditioning. 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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5 minutes ago, Anna N said:

"Socks only"?   Well that would certainly address the guy perspective you began with. I'm all for equality but have never fancied said being chilly so if it's going to be socks only I do hope you forgo the air conditioning. 

Time for some heated floors.  :D

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I don't know if these will 'stick to the wall', but here goes;

 

One way glass?

 

Digital monitors in the floor?

 

Both could still have the perception of the original concern/concerns though.

 

 


Edited by Spork (log)

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1 hour ago, MrSpiffy said:

@gfron1, I've done the same with some of my own personal projects.  (Woodworking, in particular.)  It's always helpful to get other perspectives to catch or suggest things that you may not have thought about.

 

As part of your connecting-with-your-food experience, will have an open kitchen so patrons can watch as their meals are prepared?

That's all we'll have. Imagine a kitchen in the center of the room with two horseshoes tables on either side for 12 customers per side. That's the set up. When we get to that point I'll share design images.

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@gfron1, that sounds awesome!  Too bad I live a couple states away...

 

I love watching chefs prepare food.  It always amazes me the talent and focus they have.  I can barely watch one or two pans on a stove.  Sometimes they have several.

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Met with a bank loan officer today. Currently we're looking to structure the finances roughly in 1/3 components of landlord financed TI (tenant improvement), bank loan and self/investor funds. While meeting with the bank they offered an equipment leasing option where I could (hypothetically) get a chocolate tempering machine with enrober that they purchase and lease to me. That's a really interesting option for me to be able to equip better but not tie up my opening day operating funds. I need to explore this more but it's interesting to explore this option.

 

In a small detail, the credit card processing that their related company does is only 1.5%. I generally see 2.74% as the going rate. That is very interesting to me.

 

We signed an LOI on our property last Tuesday and are still waiting for a response from the landlord. 

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On 12/31/2016 at 8:43 AM, gfron1 said:

Today I'm stepping back and doing something fun - working on the playlist for Bulrush. My starting point is King Krule and The XX. This will be a long running Pandora exercise. Each song needs to be enjoyable as background noise, but not having tones that are distracting. I don't want a rock concert, but I also don't want a symphonic performance. I don't want too moody, but not to techno either. Right now Pandora is giving me Radiohead's Creep, which is a song I love, but can get a bit energetic in the middle. A while back someone suggested Bjork as a starting point and I'm still on the fence because she can be very loud at times - kinda like the drunk uncle of the groups I think I would prefer.

 

All of this brings up issues of music licensing and the hawks at BMI that hunt you down and try to get you to pay for music. I support all artists but choose to do it through either buying my music directly or through subscription services. I believe my new facility will be waived because of square footage, but that remains to be seen. For those of you not in the business, BMI and other licensing companies can be relentless in pursuit of money to feed their lawyers.

 

 

Rob, permit me to briefly chime in about the music (pun intended). I know that you want Bulrush to be a reflection of who you are, and not just with regard to food. But as with the glass floor, it's also a good idea to consider both your customers' tastes In music and the effect the music might have on them. In addition, it's vitally important to consider the nature of auditory perception in general. (As a psychologist, that was one of my areas of interest.)

 

You mentioned that you don't want "tones that are distracting." However, vocal music in general tends to distract. Just as our brain's visual system is hard-wired to seek out and pay attention to faces -- especially upright human faces -- so does our auditory system want to pay attention to human voices. Have you ever tried to have a serious conversation while TV or vocal music is happening in the background? Also, given your new location, I imagine that artists like King Krule and The XX (and Radiohead) would appeal to a rather narrow range of likely customers, and would distinctly not appeal to a wider range thereof.

 

I understand, of course, that background music can be a significant part of a restaurant's ambience and -- let's hope this doesn't happen much -- can make a sparsely occupied space feel more comfortable (and can give those couples who've awkwardly run out of things to talk about, something else to focus on). Reed-focused jazz (Anat Cohen, Paul Desmond as gfweb mentioned, etc.) certainly can be good restaurant music, but I'm guessing that's not the vibe you're seeking. Here's an idea, though: What would you think of a loop (or two or three) of ambient sounds from field and forest?

--------------

On a completely unrelated note, I, too, love Eric Solomon's wines. And all of them have had a terrific QPR

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@Alex All good points. The more I work through the play list, the more I add and delete. I tend to delete anything that is too up tempo, too high pitched, anything whiney and anything with vulgarity. I tend to keep midtone songs where the voice is in balance with the music. In the end, who the artist is is irrelevant to me, but how the music feels in the space. The wild card will be when I play the music in the actual dining room, which I can't do until we have a lease, build it out and put some tables and people in it. I've recently made contact with a local person who does this for a living and I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes things.

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The last time I was at an Indian Casino near San Diego, I noticed they changed their music depending upon the time of day. Lunch-ish and early afternoon the music was from the 50's, 60's and 70's. As the day progressed into evening, the music tended to turn more recent. It was obvious they were playing to their audience...older customers during the day and younger customers coming in at night.

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On 1/17/2017 at 11:01 AM, gfron1 said:

That's all we'll have. Imagine a kitchen in the center of the room with two horseshoes tables on either side for 12 customers per side. That's the set up. When we get to that point I'll share design images.

Looking forward to the 2/26 pop-up and REALLY looking forward to the open kitchen a la Catbird Seat restaurant.

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42 minutes ago, cyalexa said:

Looking forward to the 2/26 pop-up and REALLY looking forward to the open kitchen a la Catbird Seat restaurant.

I've got to get through my two-night pop-up in Kansas City this weekend first. It will be so nice to have my own kitchen again. Lugging my kitchen around is exhausting.

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10 hours ago, gfron1 said:

I've got to get through my two-night pop-up in Kansas City this weekend first. It will be so nice to have my own kitchen again. Lugging my kitchen around is exhausting.

I hear you. Packing and unpacking was the worst part of my farmer's market gig, especially when I was cramming it all into a Mazda Protege (the four-door, not the hatch). Life got a lot simpler when I picked up a used minivan. 

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Nothing new to report. Building hunting. Popup dinners. Meeting new connections. I've been spending more time finding the artisans who will create my tableware. Here's ONE that I've already contracted with.

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21 hours ago, gfron1 said:

Nothing new to report. Building hunting. Popup dinners. Meeting new connections. I've been spending more time finding the artisans who will create my tableware. Here's ONE that I've already contracted with.

 

Beautiful stuff.   People will steal them, @gfron1

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On 2/18/2017 at 0:09 PM, gfron1 said:

Nothing new to report. Building hunting. Popup dinners. Meeting new connections. I've been spending more time finding the artisans who will create my tableware. Here's ONE that I've already contracted with.

 

Gorgeous stuff, Rob. How did you learn about her work?

 

I browsed through her website, including, of course, the "Shop" section. Most of the pieces were beyond our current budget (we have to save for a trip to STL and a meal or two at Bulrush, y'know), but I had to buy this beautiful display piece, which actually is a rattle! It also prodded me to learn about terra sigillata, which I knew nothing about.

 

58a9db7732f73_Ballardwhiterattlelargecropped.thumb.jpg.621ace869e2161c76f0f6c6c25bd281c.jpg

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@Alex On my book tour, in New Orleans, I stopped in the Museum of Southern Art and they had a exhibit of modern tea cups, some of which were for sale. I immediately was drawn to what she calls "Meditation Bowls," and jotted down her name for later research. Since then, she and I have had numerous conversations, and we've worked on making the materials food safe, less likely to chip and so forth. And quite frankly, I don't worry about such things as customers stealing these. If someone wants one that bad I'll bless them with it. But it won't be easy for them to get since I and my sous will be the ones placing and removing the dish from in front of them. And Alex, let her know the connection to me, she'll be tickled.


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26 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

@Alex On my book tour, in New Orleans, I stopped in the Museum of Southern Art and they had a exhibit of modern tea cups, some of which were for sale. I immediately was drawn to what she calls "Meditation Bowls," and jotted down her name for later research. Since then, she and I have had numerous conversations, and we've worked on making the materials food safe, less likely to chip and so forth. And quite frankly, I don't worry about such things as customers stealing these. If someone wants one that bad I'll bless them with it. But it won't be easy for them to get since I and my sous will be the ones placing and removing the dish from in front of them. And Alex, let her know the connection to me, she'll be tickled.

 

 

I already did let her know and gave her the link to your post; she and I have even exchanged a few emails by now. Nice person.

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One of the opportunities that has presented itself is that some of the sites we are looking at have large numbers of residents attached to the building (condos, lofts, etc). With a couple of these buildings I have made an offer to either provide me with affordable housing or cut my commercial rate. This is what I've offered:

1.              Priority reservation access to the restaurant. Upon review of our business prospectus you’ll find that we have high confidence that we will be sold out for months in advance similar to other high profile restaurants in town (Olive & Oak, Vicia) based on the past nine years of business in our remote location of New Mexico. We can set up an access code in our system that will give higher priority to the residents when making reservations.

2.              Quarterly cooking classes. We can offer free weekend cooking classes for residents either in the restaurant space or in the common area on the top floor. I have many years of teaching popular, dynamic classes that are either hands-on or demonstration.

3.              Quarterly cocktail parties. My mixologist has gained a national reputation for his creative cocktails. He can offer parties in the restaurant that are exclusive for residents and their guests.

4.              Quarterly wine classes. My mixologist also offers wine seminars which will be scheduled for the residents.

5.              Roof garden. We will set up and maintain a flower box rooftop garden for use by the residents. The garden will be organically grown and maintain an eye on a clean, classy style that fits the loft design. Residents will be encouraged to use the garden for their personal consumption, while the restaurant will use some of the herbs.

6.              Private parties. We will offer our space for private parties at a nominal fee – low enough that it is clearly a perk for being a resident. The space could be used for birthday parties, family events or even work-related seminar space.

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Last night I held another popup. This one was for the filming of Feast TV - a regional food show. My sous and I are getting better at each meal, and it was fun telling my story for the cameras. Show will air in June.FeastTV.thumb.jpg.957b62b24fdc18d57f46c42dda593ac0.jpg

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Deals in. Deals out. New property. Property gone. Enthusiastic landlord. Batshit crazy landlord. 

 

I can't wait to tell the story of all of the things we've been going through to find the best property and secure the lease. In the meantime I'm focusing on what I do best - building relationships with likeminded people for future partnerships. Oh, and it's morel season!

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 0:34 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Thinking of a transparent walkway makes me a little queasy.

 

 

I was watching the first episode of the season of "Better Call Saul" on AMC last night.

He was climbing up to a billboard that looked to be at least 100 ft. (or more) in the air to rescue the worker who was putting up a new sign.  The photography was so vivid that I absolutely had to look away and my hands were sweating.  I am seriously adverse to heights!

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Latest update: Really nothing to report - we found a perfect building but it needs two or three tenants, not just one. The developer thought he had all three tenants on board, but the other two weren't as solid as thought, so now the developer is holding until he can have more leases signed on the day he purchases the building. My broker is beating the bushes for new tenants, as am I. 

 

In the meantime, i continue to do pop-ups. Last Sunday was at our Endangered Wolf Center where I did a Eat What the Wolves Eat dinner highlighting the ecosystem of wolf habitat. Fun dinner, and had a couple fly in from Houston just for the meal.wolf1.thumb.jpg.90a7cd56441fd769133766465f697391.jpg

This was the "kitchen" we worked out of. No running water. 2 induction burners. 2 blenders. 1 cutting board. 

wolf2.thumb.jpg.73283803c1b4b5e2c9ddb76f65ada3da.jpg

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@gfron1

 

 I love my kitchen toys but if anyone epitomises how unimportant they are to producing amazing food it has to be you!   I still recall a photograph you posted of your range at The Curious Kumquat.   You do keep me humble.  

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Great  concept. Can you share the menu?

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