Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Side-tracked by BBQ

Tonight I was supposed to write Part 2 Types of Restaurants but my mind is elsewhere - - on a little three-month old restaurant called Baby Blues.

I'm in love with the joint for so many reasons not the least of which is the home-cooked food. I had a big slab 'o dry-rubbed baby backs with sweet mash 'n heavenly beans ($15.95). My friend ordered the "Mason Dixon" 1/2 ribs, 1/4 chicken, beans and slaw ($18.95) with choice of Memphis long bones or baby-backs. Their portions are hefty served on a large oval platter. My only misgiving was ordering the banana cream pudding (which was almost entirely whipped cream with few bananas).

Their choice of music (authentic blues), unpretentious ambience (read: hole-in-the-wall without the holes) and Southern-style hospitality was just to my liking. One of the owner-chef's, Danny, came to our table to be sure my friend and I got a taste of the pulled pork ~ Omigod, I think he said they slow- cook it for 16 hours? As stuffed as I was (and I was), it goes down easy. It's tender 'n succulent shreds of meat and oh, so flavorful. I want to run back soon for lunch for one of their Carolina pulled pork sandwiches topped with slaw $7.

We brought our own bottle of chilled Champagne (actually sparkling white wine from Washington) and our own glassware, and that had the place buzzing. "Look what they're drinking...Is it good with BBQ?" "No", I replied. "It's fantabulous." Just the right effervescence and light flavor that is the perfect marriage with "Q". It puts beer to shame!

Danny is a natural-born restauranteur - - filled with love and enthusiasm for his food and he genuinely likes people. That's something you can't fake. I'll be back. I'll take friends. I'll sing their praises through e-mail. I left with a doggie bag in hand for lunch tomorrow...mmm, lucky me!

Baby Blue's Bar B Q, 444 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA (310) 396-7675
Real people serving really good food.

So You Want to Open a Restaurant

People who love to cook or throw parties often think it would be fun to open a restaurant.

If your idea of fun is finding money, a good location, hiring consultants and competent employees, complying with government regulations, setting up systems, controlling theft and working 18-hour days, then you're
a natural-born restauranteur.

What type of restaurant should you own? Part 1.

Before you write your business plan, determine costs, visit your banker and find a location (a partial "to do" list), you need to decide what type of restaurant is right for you.

Let's look at some different types of "restaurants".
  1. FAST FOOD - Franchise or your own concept (typical burgers, pizza, chicken, submarine sandwiches, ethnic)

  2. LIMITED TABLE SERVICE - Small locations; counter and a few tables; fast turnover; usually a breakfast and lunch menu; typically located in office buildings.

  3. COFFEE SHOP - Think Denny's or Norms but it could be your own concept, one-of-a-kind like Pann's. Menu is large and varied. Counter and table/booth service. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tomorrow we'll look at some other types of restaurants - - there are many more to explore.

Wet noodles

This isn't your typical "party on" glam blog because opening a restaurant is serious business. I don't want to sound like a wet noodle but I've met more than one ambitious, well-meaning, hard-working entrepreneur who risked his life savings only to see his dream end with a pad lock on the door.

However, foodservice is a wonderful profession and some days it can be fun. Running a restaurant is hospitality, theatre and creative business rolled into one. It's a chance to make your mark in the world or just in your neighborhood - - to earn a good living, provide jobs for others and do what you love.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Fred & Ginger martini's, anyone?

Restaurant Design, restaurant interior design, restaurant plans, planning a restaurant,Barsac Brasserie
You can convert almost any space into your dream restaurant. This pre-construction rendering shows an exhibition kitchen and dining area which was originally a dance studio.

Barsac Brasserie, No. Hollywood, CA / Design by Deni Mosser at S.E. Rykoff

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Don't blame the structural engineer

Restaurant Design,restaurantinterior design, restaurant plans, planning a restaurant,Graces Oasis
Bare metal columns that hold up the building can enhance your restaurant if you know what to do with them. We covered these in a flame-treated coco bark and silk palm fronds to create this fast-food tropical paradise.
Graces Oasis, Mojave, CA / Design by Deni Mosser at S.E. Rykoff


You'll be ahead of the game if you're the best Chef this side of France or worked in restaurants for years, but it still won't guarantee your success.

As G.Dubya says,"It's haaard work." You have to be a business person, people person, manager and diplomat. You need to be healthy and strong because you'll work long hours including weekends. If you want a 9-5 gig, running a restaurant is probably not for you.

If you don't have the characteristics of a Superperson, find a trust-worthy partner who does.