This first post marks the liminal transition–from dream (who knows – January 09) to the conclusion of preliminary research (March) to property search and lease (September) to design (mid-November) to permitting (end of November) to build-out (early March) to final inspections. Over this time, 3111 24th St has been called the Property (real estate search), Premises (lease documents), Site (construction), and now it will be the Restaurant. At times, entwined and occasionally buried in bureaucracy and construction , I forgot entirely that the end goal was to serve food: When the table saw sounded its last zing and the nail gun its last thwap, I would have completed my work.
Indeed, it is just the beginning.
In this ways and others, this blog reminds of my only other blog experience. For the last seven weeks of Miriam’s pregnancy, I chronicled the elasticity of her belly and the growth of the fetus. The blog–as was her pregnancy–was all about her pregnancy and not the expected child. The conclusion of the pregnancy blog was the birth. This was the start of Cruv’s life blog. Now, too, I (as is Jake) am eager for the birth of our restaurant, its life, the pulse of prep, cook, and clean, the circulations of its guests.
As relieved and elated as I am to close-out the construction phase, I already feel nostalgic for the wonder and excitement of the launch of this venture (sparkling wine with Miriam, Jake, Shauna, and Mr Lam at the lease signing), hours and days of designs, the deep smell of wood cut wood, the daily progress, the stunning transformation. There were thousands of decisions–miniscule to grand–that punctuated this process. There were hiccups, setbacks, and fortuitous finds. There were days filled with successes and other tarnished with letdowns.
Overall, through-and-through, I am thankful to the people who have immersed themselves in this project, beyond the expectations of contracts and payments, necessity or demands. The major players are included on this site (see About Us-Design), but most aren’t. I’d like to thank them here.
Pedro, Cruz, and Salvador, from the first to last hour (including some very late and weekend hours), built this restaurant: They framed, drywalled, mudded, tiled, molded and welded zinc, stained wood, painted walls, and more and more. They did with it care and craftsmanship, with keen eyes and big hearts.
Niall, the electrical foreman from Wells Electrical, spent days crouched in the crawl space above the ceiling, running wires and cables. When he dropped-in from the world above, he was filled with good humor, charm, and integrity.
Richard Li, the mechanical contractor, sensed our commitment and passion and met it with his. In short order, Richard fabricated and installed the three-story duct and make-up air system for the kitchen. Beyond the call of duty, he bent all of the zinc for our countertops.
Vartan, the HVAC contractor, bounced in and out. But in the few moments he stood still, he repaired our walk-in.
Kevin James, the installation manager at AAA Fire Protections, ensured the permitting and installation of the ancil system in time for our fire inspection.
Terrance Kane, the sales person and installer of our EcoLab dishwasher, transitioned from tablet PC to pipe wrenches seamlessly, and always in slacks and a button-down. When we asked for a rush, he was there. When he came and the set-up was askew, he worked his equipment to fix our mistakes.
Edgar Oropeza, our advocate and sponsor at the Department of Planning, shepherded us from 790.102 to 790.92. He is the model civil servant–A promoter of small businesses, a believer in first timers–and a kind soul.
Lastly, though we praise him on the website proper, Sterling Tougas deserves additional and endless thanks. For fourteen weeks, he poured his prodigious talents and indomitable spirit into this project, and always with his winning smile. I will miss seeing him every day.
To all of you, I owe you more than I have to offer. Thank you for this beautiful gift.