Thursday, April 15, 2010


Boy, it's never felt so good to flip on that "OPEN" sign.

Finally the restaurant smells like food instead of welding and wet paint.

It's been a whirlwind of activity for us during those 16 days the restaurant was closed. I can't even begin to describe what an exhausting two plus weeks that was. The "to-do" lists that seemed to grow as fast as we were crossing things off. The unexpected turns. The expenses. The red tape. But now we're proud to say that the renovation period is over. The mess has been cleaned up. The food has been purchased and prepped. Our restaurant...our OPEN!

Yesterday after the final inspection from the fire department, we were able to open for lunch, and later dinner. Tony was so glad to finally be cooking his menu in the finished kitchen, with his new equipment.

He said it was a pretty busy day for a dreary Wednesday. We sold all of the new lunch, dinner, and appetizer menu items (except for the skirt steak, I believe...which is not bad news: people are trying the more unfamiliar food and liking it.) We had some take out orders, and anticipate a lot more with all of the new appetizers.

The dish that was getting the most attention last night was the PiƱon, a Puerto Rican layered casserole made with sliced plantains, seasoned ground beef & green beans and topped with corn relish. It's served with white rice and stewed red beans. It's one of my favorite dishes Tony's mom makes for her Sunday dinners, so it's no surprise to me that other Minnesotans are liking it. It's unique, and very good. And very Puerto Rican.

So now the to-do list is all about the details. The finishing touches. The big stuff is done and we couldn't be more happy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Renovation: Day 5 Shiny new Metal

Being that we're in an older building, there really wasn't much "new" of anything when we took over in December. So to come in today and see walls of brand new shiny stainless steel being hung was exciting, to say the least. They had to peel off that protective film like they put on new appliances. Doesn't get more new than that!

The hood, however is used, but new to us and will do the job of sucking air out of the kitchen over the line, while the makeup air unit will return fresh air into the kitchen & dining room (so as not to create a vacuum). The hood and air unit used to have their home at Andy's Garage, a burger restaurant on University Ave. that's now closed.
So, the hood is in the building (well, currently taking up most of the floor of the kitchen). It should be hung on Mon. after an inspection.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Renovation: Day 4 Ductwork & Insulation

More painting on the mural today.

The backsplash insulation is almost done. The new code requires 4" thick insulation for fire safety. Although it's a hassle, the good thing is we'll have a pretty fire-safe kitchen when all is done.

Holes were cut into the dining room for vents that will bring fresh air into the dining room. Lots of work being done up in the ceiling, that we'll never see, once it's done! Tomorrow I think they start welding the hood & backsplash into place.

Renovation: Day 3 Crane & Color

Painting the coat rack

The mural on day 3

There's not much to photograph as far as the kitchen goes today. Tony was there at 6am this morning while the crane moved the air conditioner unit & hoisted the makeup air unit onto the roof. After that, they were done for the day and it was my turn to come in and paint. Tony and I have been tag-teaming this week, taking turns with the kids and restaurant.

Dad & I by the shocking green door

I get so excited every time we crack open another container of paint, and today was no exception. Check out our new green door! This color, appropriately named, is "shocking green." More color to go on that later. But right now it's looking like a whole new door.

Here's the new coat rack (nicely re-constructed using parts from the old coat rack by my Dad), which is now decorating the back wall, just waiting to hang up some beach towels (or swim trunks?!)...or coats, I suppose.

Painting the big Conch shell

Thanks again to my folks for coming up to help today (and putting up with my meticulous plans!). The decorative borders look great, Mom :-)

The dining room