So I know I keep saying 2 week but then something comes up and it puts it off for another week. This last week has been just as busy as ever even though it seems like we aren’t getting a lot done, I guess in reality we are.
This week our menu covers came in. Now we just have to get the menus done. Gotta come up with some “catchy” names for all our grub and figure out price points. We also have to figure out what items we are going to have on our permanent menu and what items will be “specials”. I’m not sure if I explained how we are planning on working this menu thing.
Dwight’s vision has always been that he wants our place to be somewhere that if a single person or young couple wanted to come in every day that we are open and eat that it will be #1) affordable and #2) have enough variety that they can eat something different every day and not get bored. We know we can’t afford to put each and every item on the menu every day, especially not at first not knowing how many customers we will be getting so that’s why we want to have a varied menu that changes daily.
Of course at lunch time, since we are going with the “meat and 2 or 3” concept, it will HAVE to change daily. We plan to have a good 4 or 5 meats every lunchtime to choose from along with your choice on about 8 or 10 different veggies or sides. I’m sure we will have several daily staples like mashed potatoes, rice, macaroni and cheese, green beans and several different types of beans (black eyed peas, limas, great northern, pintos, red beans), although we won’t do every bean every day. I’m sure some days we will have broccoli and cauliflower and cabbage, we just won’t have every one of them every day.
Our set menu will probably have hamburgers, soups, sandwiches and fried and baked chicken as well as some sort of fish but the main part of the menu will change every night. We plan to have several “specials” daily depending on what Dwight feels like cooking. He’s always wanted to have that creative ability to cook what he wants and in the corporate world he’s not had that. Even when he worked for Morrison’s Cafeteria YEARS ago he still had to go by their recipes. Now he kind of gets to do what he wants! If he gets up one morning and decides he wants to make chicken and dumplings, then he can. Or if he decides he wants to make shrimp and grits, he can do that too! I do know that on Fridays we will have more seafood items on our menu.
So, back to this past week… I kind of got side tracked with those menu covers didn’t I? We also got our coffee and tea equipment installed and I got to make our first pot of coffee in our own place and our first urn of tea! We decided on Folgers coffee and Luzianne tea. I’m not used to making tea 3 gallons at a time so I’m going to have to work on getting that tweaked just right. I’m experimenting with the ice, water, sugar ratio so it’s not too strong or weak and not too sweet or sweet enough. It’s a delicate balance… who knew?
Joey came in with his daughter Briley and finished up with our sound system and television so now all I have to do is decide what company to go with for cable vs. satellite and get them in to hook up the television. Of course the main thing was the music. Hubby does LOVE his music and he’s thrilled with how the speakers sound with his 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music. Of course when the “Academy” opens next door we are going to have to hold down the volume so the kids can concentrate and study. We don’t need any “Footloose”, “Fame” or “Flashdance” mobs or rebellions starting because of our music blaring in their little heads! The highlight of the visit for me was that I got to color with Briley! I hadn’t colored in years and while I was at the store I picked up some crayons and Dora and Tinkerbell coloring books for her and she asked me to color with her! How sweet! We had a great time and I forgot how fun it was to lose yourself in crayons!
We also got all of our bathroom and dish room “stuff” installed (other than the actual dish machine which should get hooked up this week). We got the soap dispensers put in both bathrooms and above all the sinks in the kitchen and the toilet paper dispensers and air fresheners in the bathrooms. We had the paper towels dispensers installed in the bathrooms, kitchen and by the drink station. I never realized just how much work goes into coordinating all that stuff! He also delivered the aprons (red) and the laundry bags to hold the dirty stuff and the kitchen towels and pads for cleaning the grill. He did a great job getting it all put in.
We also got the CO2 tank installed so that hopefully Coca Cola can come in Monday to install and hook up the Coke machine. I already picked up the first supplies for the machine so it will be ready to go when they leave! I tell you, it’s all like an intricately choreographed dance when it gets to this point. You have to have the CO2 installed before they can install the Coke machine and you have to have the plumber already run the lines before you can install the coffee and tea and coke machines and so forth and so on. I never realized just how much work goes into all this before! SO much preparation!
We got Chad and Zack in Friday to finish hooking up all and calibrating all the equipment. We got the cooler and freezer and chiller hooked up and they are all at the correct temps. We got the ice machine spurting out ice again and we got the sandwich prep table, steam table and stove hooked up and ready to go. Now we have to get a new cord for the grill because it wouldn’t reach the outlet and we had a slight little problem with the fryers that should be ironed out this week.
We also got the Koala Care changing table all cleaned up and ready to be installed and we now have all the high chairs we need (I hope). I did spend a day trying to find a left handed table for the dish machine. I found a used one at one place (she wanted $299 for a USED one) and then I found a place to get a new one fabricated for $260. Then after talking to the dish machine guy he said they could order a new one for about $170. It’s getting better. We had found a used one for the right hand side and the office girl told us she thought it was $130. We should have bought it right then but we didn’t have any way to get it back at the time so I headed back down there to see if I could buy that one still for $130 and see if they might have gotten in a left handed one.
I got there and asked the man who owns the place to go out with me to check on the one we had found and when I asked him how much he wanted for it he informed me it was $260! I explained I wasn’t willing to play $260 and that we had been down the week before and his office girl had quoted us a price of $130. He kind of shook his head and said he guessed since she had told us $130 he’d have to let us have it for that. I told him not to go too hard on her. It wasn’t her fault he wasn’t there. I then asked if he had the other side and he said no but after searching around and talking to one of his employees he figured he could fabricate one there for us and when I asked how much that was going to cost me he said “Well, I guess if I’m giving you that one for $130 then I have to match the price on the other one.” SCORE! We ended up getting BOTH tables for the same price he wanted for ONE…. I’m kind of liking this negotiating thing. I think maybe hubby has created a monster by sending me out to make all these deals! While I was there I also found out that he had some of the roasting pans we needed. The cheapest we had been able to find used banded roasting pans was $120 each and he had them brand new for $75 and then since I bought the other tables he gave me another 15% off of them! DOUBLE SCORE! I think when I go back Monday to pick up the tables I will have to pick up a couple more.
Due to Spring Break I didn’t get my cabinet/counter delivered but hopefully that will be this week too. We also had the Fire System company come in and tweak the system and check all the extinguishers and fire exits and everything is good to go there. Now we just need to get the Fire Marshall back out to give his okay.
I also got our first box of turkey wings delivered to Mr. Buckles to get them smoked so that our veggies will be delicious and healthier than using fat back or ham hocks although those make them delicious too! I also found out what happened to all the equipment that was in there but we won’t talk about that right now…. No use crying over spilled milk! We are now on the hunt for a good used CHEAP (if there is such a thing) free standing oven. The oven in our stove there is just not going to be big enough to so all we need to do. At least we do have everything moving in the right direction. I’m hoping to hear from the Chamber of Commerce this week to find our exactly when we can have our official ribbon cutting and hoping to get the health department to sign off on everything this week. Maybe next weekend we can work on having our pre-opening party and get this thing off the ground! We’re down to the wire and so ready to open. I hope ya’ll are ready to eat!