Tasting Counter
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Food for Thought

A Long Road...

August 18, 2015
Our blank slate awaits.Our blank slate awaits.
Step 1: framing the exterior wall.Step 1: framing the exterior wall.
As we barrel through the first few weeks of opening our brand new restaurant, I was looking through some past photos reminiscing about what a long road it's been to get here. This project has been in the works for three whole years, working full-time "restaurant hours" to get it done. There have been crushing obstacles at every single stage... from spending two years exhaustively searching for the right space until the bitter end, waiting for legal kinks to be negotiated in order to receive our final permits to open our doors.
Tasting Counter's tasting counter taking shape.Tasting Counter's tasting counter taking shape.
It's hard to believe this was already done the first week into a four-month construction process.It's hard to believe this was already done the first week into a four-month construction process.
As we whittle down a two-page punch list of all the last minute details we need to iron out, it's hard to believe this space was completely raw and empty only a few months ago. With the truly amazing work of our contractors, this once-blank slate has been transformed into the reality of Tasting Counter. I already feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment even before our very first month is done!
All utilities were up to us to bring in, resulting in massive delays and massive trenches cut into the concrete floor...All utilities were up to us to bring in, resulting in massive delays and massive trenches cut into the concrete floor...
... so everyone pitched in... child labor laws be damned!... so everyone pitched in... child labor laws be damned!
One of the benefits of working with a blank canvas was I was able to design every aspect of Tasting Counter from start to finish. From the layout of the prep area, cookline, and back kitchen, every cook's dream is to work in a kitchen that makes sense during service. Of course, this meant every single pipe, venting duct, and electrical wire had to be specifically laid out, brought in, and wired... which is not an easy, nor cheap, feat. Having now gone through this process, I'm enjoying the hard work of many as I test out recipes and perfect our opening menu.
The cookline wall is packed with utility lines, with one last time to peek through.The cookline wall is packed with utility lines, with one last time to peek through.
After countless renditions, the cloud ceiling finally comes to life.After countless renditions, the cloud ceiling finally comes to life.
We are so excited to have finally been able to unveil our restaurant after having spoken about it to so many people over the years. Even during the last couple of years with our private dining service, The Dining Alternative, each event concluded with our guests riddling us with questions about when we're finally going to open a restaurant. Well, here it is!
The beast! Ventilation hood arrives.The beast! Ventilation hood arrives.
HVAC roof-top unit gets hoisted up early in the morning.HVAC roof-top unit gets hoisted up early in the morning.
And not only do we have a wonderful restaurant space, but an incredible website with a unique online ticketing system so our guests may purchase advance tickets. The design of this restaurant is not only about us cooking in a comfortable setting, but has also taken into consideration the guest's experience, from the very moment you visit our website, to the moment you walk out our door... every moment of your dining experience has been meticulously thought out.
Finishing touches start making the space actually feel like a soon-to-be restaurant!Finishing touches start making the space actually feel like a soon-to-be restaurant!
Subway tiles go up, giving a traditional look in the back kitchen.Subway tiles go up, giving a traditional look in the back kitchen.
The road leading up to where we are today has been truly long and arduous. Even though this has been my dream since I began cooking, it's come with its share of nightmares. There have been plenty of times when I've asked myself, "Is this really happening?" or "Am I really doing this?" Having gone too far to turn back, I now look at the space with amazement and pride. Tasting Counter is a true labor of love and I am so excited to share this experience with all of you.
So close yet so far... kitchen equipment starts rolling in.So close yet so far... kitchen equipment starts rolling in.
The chefs inspect their playground... time to start cooking!The chefs inspect their playground... time to start cooking!

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