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gfron1

Starting a high profile new restaurant (after closing another)

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loan will be a breeze - you have3 smarts, history and cred !

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Congratulations Rob!!! So glad that you can start Bulrush! 🎉🎉🎉

 

I’m looking forward to dining in your restaurant. Always wanted to try your place in Silver City — the logistics for St. Louis are so much easier.  

 

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Mazel tov! I'm looking forward to following your progress.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I've got a few minutes to share a bit more about what's been happening since my last round of updates. I stopped posting updates around the time my emotional energy was waning from being shown "a sure thing" only to have it collapse out from under me. We must have had a dozen sure things, many of which went very far through the process, only to have the landlord pull out. At the time the reasons were all over the place - tax credits ran out, larger development project is on hold, keystone tenant pulled out. And during that time we saw some amazing buildings...one I hope I can get in the future. But in hindsight I'm confident the issue with each of them was that we were asking the landlord to make major structural changes to their building, and to front the money to do so. If I had been willing to keep the kitchen in the back of the space there would have been no issues. But this restaurant needs to be the way I intend it for the concept to work. Essentially, so much of what I am selling is my ability to share my enthusiasm with the guests, and if I'm stuck in the back cooking I can't do that, and if I'm on the floor I don't have confidence that I can control quality at the level I need it controlled. Quite frankly the whole process was very emotionally draining.

 

What shook things loose was Squatters Cafe. Being open and visible, beyond my occasional popups, allowed customers to interact with me and my food. That lead to one particular regular who manages finances for one of the city's big developers and philanthropists. His bosses dined in the cafe a few times and loved it apparently - I regularly have guests come in saying that They sent them to me. And so the manager approached me about moving into one of their spaces. I outlined my vision, the financial need and a couple of months later I have a signed lease. 

 

As I mentioned, I still need to secure the SBA loan, but we never missed a payment on our last SBA loan. The only real concern is collateral. We are 11 years into a 15 year SBA loan for our building back in New Mexico. The building would need to be appraised to determine its value and the amount of collateral that the bank would consider. If it comes in high enough...no worries. If it comes in low...well, we don't have much else although I believe they'll consider the equipment we would purchase as part of the collateral. I'll be wrapping up my SBA loan application this week to get it into my bank, and I've started working with SBDC, who will also submit the application to some of their banks as part of their service. Meanwhile a lot of things are waiting at the starting line with me - architect, ceramic artist, potential staff, etc....hoping to move this faster than the past two years.

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Congrats Rob, that's awesome news! You may have already covered this and I just missed it but, strictly out of curiosity, will this mean the end for Squatter's Café once you get things solidly moving with Bulrush?


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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9 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:

Congrats Rob, that's awesome news! You may have already covered this and I just missed it but, strictly out of curiosity, will this mean the end for Squatter's Café once you get things solidly moving with Bulrush?

There are a number of details that I won't be able to announce here until I can announce them through the local media. "Many decisions are yet to be determined."

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As I procrastinate on 2 things due at midnight -  as simple as a research proposal and a paper -  I am channeling your energy dear man. You inspire!

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8 hours ago, gfron1 said:

There are a number of details that I won't be able to announce here until I can announce them through the local media. "Many decisions are yet to be determined."


Completely understandable. Not even entirely sure why the question crossed my mind since I'm not local and don't have the benefit of dining there anyway. I think maybe just because I've been following what you're doing there the entire time on Facebook and seen how much work and love went into the place. Anyway, wasn't trying to get you to serve something before it's time. I'm excited to see what you get up to in the next chapter.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Nice informative article and great photo!  Dog is stunning- you look pretty ok too ;)  Congrats and looking foward to future news.


Edited by heidih (log)
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5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

How is Ozark cooking different from Appalachian cooking?  (Serious question.)

I addressed that in my press release, but so far none of the media have picked that up Maybe they will later.

 

They are both forms of Southern cooking, and the distinction lies in the ingredients and a few techniques. For example (while none of this is exclusive), Ozark cuisine uses more pawpaw, persimmon and spicebush. Sorghum is the traditional sweetener of choice. There is a preservation technique that we're hurriedly researching where wax coated burlap is used to top fermenting foods. Again, you may see this in all of Southern cooking due to migration, but those specifics seem to have a stronger prevalence in the Ozarks.

 

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Congratulations! The comment about being kids on the way through Coffman cracked me up. I'm looking forward to knowing more about Ozark cuisine...at a glance it sounds familiar, as though it may be part of my grandmother's culinary heritage.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'll be in StL Monday-Wednesday. May have to hunt down Squatters before you close it down!

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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One of the reasons we honed in on Ozark cuisine is to help define exactly what that is. If you do a google search, here is what you get:

644230523_ScreenShot2018-11-05at11_49_19AM.thumb.png.1706bafee2ec8a8ba0e6c51077dd6010.png

I want to be able to write a new search result. There is plenty of documented history out there and its a matter of how hard you want to work. People always say Ozark cuisine is squirrel and possum, but that's a lazy perspective. The food of the immigrants to the area is one aspect. The indigenous people who lived there and migrated through is another. The historic people are yet another. And the enslaved people are yet one more. Each brought and maintained a diet, and adapted that diet to the local resources. I've now got a stack four feet tall of historic church cookbooks going back to the 40s, and recently met a woman in her 80s who wanted to talk about what her grandma used to cook in the hills of Northern Arkansas. She talked mostly about techniques and attitudes that were regionally emphasized. My hope is that each year when I do a new search we will have even more search results that will truly answer the question, "What is Ozark cuisine?"

CookbooksChurch.thumb.jpg.bca489faa9f55d575cc07aaf73e72ba0.jpg

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Does the food so lovingly described in Rick Bragg's newest book fit that profile?  "The Best Cook in the World"


Edited by heidih posted link to wrong book (log)

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14 minutes ago, heidih said:

Does the food so lovingly described in Rick Bragg's newest book fit that profile?  "The Best Cook in the World"

At very short glance it looks interesting but more Appalachian Southern than Ozark. The pinto beans in the blurb are what is making me think that. I'll keep my eyes open for pinto beans in other writings.

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Just back from a research trip into the Ozarks. We drove into the Fayetteville area to go to the University's library. On the way I placed my order with Osage Clayworks for custom crocks and jugs.

IMG_20181117_160822.thumb.jpg.8f8b0e8a54ea6654d2173cd76513f98b.jpg

The next day we got to the library where I had arranged a private handling of their rare book collection. They have a special Ozark Heritage collection which includes all sorts of old cookbooks. This one is actually crap but still kinda fun in a mans-plaining sort of way.

IMG_20181119_082835.thumb.jpg.17dc53bb4299585126c04280f68ea702.jpg

This one is much cooler. The old one I viewed was 1904, and in all about 20 books. More details later.

IMG_20181119_094105.thumb.jpg.c6603c427bf122f4e1d427828a7580ae.jpg\

(I'm sure there's a way to flip this image but I can't figure it out.)


Edited by gfron1 (log)
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