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gfron1

Starting a high profile new restaurant (after closing another)

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3 hours ago, gfron1 said:

What's fun is that we cut it open for the picture. The guest will just see two or three beets on their plate and not know what's inside until they cut in.

 

I totally want to know the secret. :D That's such a fun concept.

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Just wrapped up our first week. Very exhausted. I love the energy of creating everything new balanced with the fear of making it (or not), but the hours are long. Very long. HERE's another fun article about the opening. Apparently my challenge will be to get folks in for breakfast. Lunch did fine every day but breakfast was only good on Monday and Friday. It'll get there with word of mouth. Every guest has been super excited by the food.

 

Hash - Duck confit, 100 layer apple, sweet potato dressed in cayenne maple, real wild rice, egg

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Callas - Missouri jasmine, Minnesota wild rice, sorghum syrup. Sorta like a rice beignet.

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Root Marrow - Asian seasoned roasted root vegetables, hollowed and filled with carrot or beet hummus; carrot halwah, seeded crisps

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A little snack for myself - marigold caramel on my fresh made english muffin.

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That is a gorgeous egg. (I mean, it all looks good, but the egg is particularly photogenic. :) )

 

I have friends in St. Louis, I need to send them your way.

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"Breakfast, Lunch and Whimsy" - what a great title for that article!  I liked the food descriptions and photos. I'd be all over that yogurt in a take-away jar - especially with a white ball that turned out to contain huckleberry sauce.:) Thanks for taking the time to keep us posted.

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I LOL'd at "Sidewalk Tart." 

 

That probably means I've lived in sketchier neighbourhoods than you have. :P

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Minnesota Wild Rice, one of my states exports that I'm not a particular fan of - is it popular in Missouri?

 

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56 minutes ago, Raamo said:

Minnesota Wild Rice, one of my states exports that I'm not a particular fan of - is it popular in Missouri?

 

There's a number of different types, and quite frankly I'm a fan of all of them, but my favorite is the pale colored wood parched variety...typically the most expensive. Almost looks like sticks instead of the slick black long grains.

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Your food looks so delicious!  My wife would probably go nuts for that root marrow.  The breakfast hash is more my style, and with duck..?  *steals the plate and runs off*

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On 11/16/2017 at 11:29 AM, MrSpiffy said:

Your food looks so delicious!  My wife would probably go nuts for that root marrow.  The breakfast hash is more my style, and with duck..?  *steals the plate and runs off*

Sounds like you would like my grits special today - Fitz's (a local company) root beer braised lamb neck grits with smashed fried potatoes.

 

In other news...fingers crossed everyone...

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4 minutes ago, gfweb said:

@gfron1 How many seats?

24, plus a dozen at the bar, plus cocktail tables and outdoor seating in season. The concept has always been that I want direct contact with each dinner customer - no servers, no need to do any more than reach across the counter to give them their plate. 24 is about all I and my sous can handle at maintain the quality we expect.  Bar customers will get small plates and possibly prefix menus.

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1 hour ago, gfron1 said:

In other news...fingers crossed everyone...

 All digits crossed for you. 

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Last week my daytime concept (Squatters) was named one of the best new restaurants of 2017 in St Louis. Not too shabby since we've only been open two months. 

HERE

 

And I've been doing a lot more thinking about my Bulrush STL design because of the spot that we're hoping to get. It has a rooftop space which we'll use to garden, and the view is so stunning, and the structure so interesting I want to up the ante on wow factor. Curious what restaurants you know of that the facility really wowed you (links appreciated). And, what was it about the space that connected with you.

Mine has to be Vespertine which was in a recent Atlantic video HERE.

 

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 Great review. Congratulations. Interesting look at Vespertine.  Thanks for sharing that. 

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Another kind article.

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And we signed our LOI on the Bulrush space last Friday. Hopefully this one will come through.

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With diners all sitting in a row, how would you anticipate handling food allergies? I always ask to have my own table because that way I don’t have to worry about accidental contamination from someone sitting next to me (I had a reaction once from someone eating shellfish at the same table) and a table seems simpler than arranging communal seating so I have space or am on the end.

 

(I’ve only been to a handful of places with communal seating, though, and they all had individual group tables also, so we just had to wait a bit longer.)

 

I’m asking in part because maybe it’s a problem restaurants are more familiar with dealing with than I think?

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14 hours ago, quiet1 said:

With diners all sitting in a row, how would you anticipate handling food allergies? I always ask to have my own table because that way I don’t have to worry about accidental contamination from someone sitting next to me (I had a reaction once from someone eating shellfish at the same table) and a table seems simpler than arranging communal seating so I have space or am on the end.

 

(I’ve only been to a handful of places with communal seating, though, and they all had individual group tables also, so we just had to wait a bit longer.)

 

I’m asking in part because maybe it’s a problem restaurants are more familiar with dealing with than I think?

We won't be equipped for that level of allergies. Because we are 100% locally sourced (minus a handful of spices) and 100% made in house from scratch, allergies are relatively easy to accommodate, but anyone who can't be in the same air as other diners is not something I'm prepared for. I know of many other great restaurants that I'll happily recommend to them.

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8 hours ago, gfron1 said:

We won't be equipped for that level of allergies. Because we are 100% locally sourced (minus a handful of spices) and 100% made in house from scratch, allergies are relatively easy to accommodate, but anyone who can't be in the same air as other diners is not something I'm prepared for. I know of many other great restaurants that I'll happily recommend to them.

 

That’s totally reasonable. Most good restaurants I’ve encountered seem to be pretty good about allergies - not just managing but saying so clearly when they can’t. I was just wondering how much planning and thought goes into that sort of thing. For me personally, I’d probably feel reasonably comfortable if I could be on one end and had a couple other people with me to set up as a buffer, given you aren’t a shellfish-driven menu. Places with a very high percentage of shellfish dishes on the menu I usually just don’t bother with because it seems like asking for trouble. And the communal tables I’ve avoided in the past were seating on both sides so it’s harder to create a reasonable barrier using people in my party. Which to some extent is paranoia, but I can get pretty freaked out about possibly having an allergic reaction even if I don’t actually have one, and I figure no one else wants to deal with an allergic reaction either, so I go with it.

 

Would something like “can we have the end” for that reason as a request when making a reservation be considered a reasonable request?

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7 hours ago, quiet1 said:

 

That’s totally reasonable. Most good restaurants I’ve encountered seem to be pretty good about allergies - not just managing but saying so clearly when they can’t. I was just wondering how much planning and thought goes into that sort of thing. For me personally, I’d probably feel reasonably comfortable if I could be on one end and had a couple other people with me to set up as a buffer, given you aren’t a shellfish-driven menu. Places with a very high percentage of shellfish dishes on the menu I usually just don’t bother with because it seems like asking for trouble. And the communal tables I’ve avoided in the past were seating on both sides so it’s harder to create a reasonable barrier using people in my party. Which to some extent is paranoia, but I can get pretty freaked out about possibly having an allergic reaction even if I don’t actually have one, and I figure no one else wants to deal with an allergic reaction either, so I go with it.

 

Would something like “can we have the end” for that reason as a request when making a reservation be considered a reasonable request?

One of the very interesting things I've learned over the years running a foraged foods restaurant is the relationship between diners and their allergies. Not getting into the fake allergies used for likes and dislikes, nor the chefs who don't care enough to control allergens, but I'm thinking more about how my local, organic, milled to order wheat doesn't seem to give any issues to gluten sensitive diners (not talking about celiacs), and I can serve acorns all day long to folks with nut allergies (a doctor once explained the scientific reason but I forget). I seem to be able to serve 50 or so foraged ingredients that people don't know if they have allergies to, and never have problems...not once in a decade. So, is this our industrial food system? That's where I'd put my money. Or, is this something in the diner's mind? I've had many hours of interesting conversations with educated folks about this. 

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HERE's a podcast that was just released with me talking about Bulrush, Squatters Cafe, my chef crushes and more. Summary: I hate winter tomatoes; meth clinics drove me to become a chef; Jordan Kahn in the most creative chef in the country; gumball "nocino" is probably toxic but I'm drinking it anyway.

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I'd be curious as to what you think about greenhouse hydro tomatoes.  Are there any local growers like this in your area?  I've found that a proper cultivar grown in good indoor conditions can yield tomatoes as tasty as the best local summer tomatoes, even in winter - the only issue is that they're more expensive.

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4 hours ago, KennethT said:

I'd be curious as to what you think about greenhouse hydro tomatoes.  Are there any local growers like this in your area?  I've found that a proper cultivar grown in good indoor conditions can yield tomatoes as tasty as the best local summer tomatoes, even in winter - the only issue is that they're more expensive.

Plenty of local hydro growers, and none has dispelled my dislike of tomatoes in January, but maybe I just haven't had the right one yet.

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Do any of them pick when fully ripe? That's the biggest problem I have with some produce is that a lot of it is picked green and "ripened" in transit which never tastes the same. Just because it's red doesn't mean it's ripe!

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