Thursday, March 25, 2010


It's probably no surprise we're busting a move to get open's a look back at just the last week of progress.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Paint Party!!!

I'm embarrassed at how sore I am from "just" painting. But with a little help from my friends...looks pretty good! As pictured: Chef likes a green kitchen; we cleaned every RVA hardware store out of chalkboard paint today; Stephanie bronzing the tiles outside; interior Secco.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Measure Twice...huh? Oops!

Cue the theme from This is Spinal Tap (you know, the song where the little people are dancing around the miniature Stonehenge because someone didn't measure correctly?). Tom unwrapped the used kitchen prep sink I ordered from a-city discount (dude--it was a steal!) and calmly asked, "What the %$#@ is this?" Um. Well. It was supposed to be the 18"x18"x12" NSF stainless food prep sink (one of NINE sinks code requires in our 1000 sf restaurant). "The sink bowl is 4" deep. What exactly do think the kitchen boys are gonna wash in that?" (snort.) No wonder he won't let me use the table saw. Back to scouring the interweb...

Chris Milk, our resident installation artist, keeps sneaking in during the wee hours and making the back bar increasingly pretty. If I hadn't mentioned it before, his art will change up every season with an evolving backdrop and signature cut-outs. I'd post the comps but I hate spoilers.

In other, more mechanical areas, my awesome hood, plumbing and electrical guys all pulled it together in time for the fire suppression final this morning which--didn't happen. Maybe tomorrow. The backstory is hilarious (if you find fighting city hall funny) but I'm afraid to put it in print and jeopardize bureaucratic cooperation.

As my stiff upper-lipped English mother said, "Keep suffering; it makes for good copy."

So our freshly scrubbed and skirted (again: snort) hood is festooned with balloons awaiting one of "the Dales" tomorrow. Balloons? I thought my hood guy (Jim Jones) was kidding. I asked Tom. "Yeah, they used to use condoms but it got too expensive." I need to stop asking these questions. Especially when Tom is measuring, leveling, table-sawing and construction-gluing 50,000 itty bits of salvaged end pieces around egresses, pass-throughs and emergency lights. Lincoln has clearly demonstrated more talent than I in the measuring department because he's allowed to cut stuff. Whatever.

ps: I think it looks REALLY GOOD!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Milk Paint

A few more shots of our back bar progress...Lincoln prepping and bondo-ing (notice the OSHA approved protective gear), Chris on a late night start, the bar as texted to me at 3:30am by Dipti--my staff is dedicated (and insomniac).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hooray for Reclaimed Construction Materials!

Chef Tim & I braved NoVa yesterday and scored seating, water glasses, plates & flatware for the wine bar. His 8 month old son AJ was a top-notch wingman--flirted with the ladies at Fortessa and got us a sweet discount on antipasti plates! While our strike on Ikea could only be described as surgical in its precision, we were three hours late getting back to RVA thanks to the whims of 95.

But what a surprise awaited me upon return--it was dark out and Secco was all lit up with a perfect view of the bar Tom started installing yesterday. Who knew two, practically free pallets of framing end pieces would make such a beautifully textured finish? Well, Tom did, of course. He never ceases to amaze me in his ability to take unlikely, often discarded material and turn it into compelling design. He possesses both vision and frugality--great traits in a business partner!

Lincoln (pictured on the ladder here) has almost finished painting and re-installing the old ceiling, and is now bondo-ing, sanding and prepping the back bar for local artist Chris Milk to start on our seasonally changing art installation. People--this is gonna look GOOD!

So today's task list (how did I/we ever survive before google calendar & google document sharing?) includes finding a new bar sink, putting together 17 chairs, getting parking lot signs made, working on my taxes, ordering plates, unpacking scores of wineglasses, putting together a press release, working on website content, filing a damage claim with FedEx for the vacuum sealer, refrigeration refrigeration refrigeration, ordering cork for the tables and bar, ordering wallpaper for the bathroom (counting on the diverse talents of my other partner Stephanie here), uploading recipes for kitchen staff, scheduling Micros training and submitting staff info for payroll processing. Oh, and catching up on inventory--glassware, compostable to go containers, sugar creamer sets, candles and holders, cheese slates and straws are all here, but where the hell are our linens, bar naps, salt and pepper shakers, and...what else are we missing???

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cooking with Gas!

Wow, construction is flying! All my hard-working trades have busted a move, made up for lost time (snow blows) and are actually on schedule! If anyone ever needs a hood guy, electrician or plumber, I can heartily recommend my guys). Chef Tim and his crew finished tiling, the equipment has started rolling in (hello little six burner, welcome to your new home) and UPS arrives every day with packages full of smallwares.

The only weird part is I feel like I'm back at my old job in OP-504 (USMC Amphibious Warfare at the Pentagon) considering I am constantly surrounded by dudes--except for Debra at Janosko I'm convinced there are no women in the restaurant outfitting industry! Now back to finding a used kitchen prep sink with splash guards...