We worked out the major details of the lease weeks ago, and have been coordinating smaller stuff since then, but it's been a very slow process because the person we're dealing with from the management company just goes a few days at a time without responding to messages and emails. Not anything to stress about, necessarily (I'm hoping), but, still, stressful...because at this point it's inevitable that it will be.
I've moved a few things into the space and have keys in hand, but I'm reluctant to move forward much due to the way the last deal broke down at the last minute.
In the meantime, though, we're really coming down to crunch time with regard to the name. The working name we've been using all along is Automatic Burger & Dog. But I've gotten a lot of negative responses to that, most notably from most of my family and closest friends. The other name on the table currently is Edzo's Burger Shop. I've been firmly in favor of Automatic for months now, but after being in the space a few times, it just doesn't *feel* like its name should be Automatic, which evokes imagery involving chrome, stainless, and white tile, which this place doesn't have.
The current space has lots of warm tones, with some woodwork and terra cotta colored floors, and a vaguely 60's-70's vibe to it, which I kind of like. It's occurred to me that most places doing burgers, fries, and shakes do the 50's-early 60's retro thing; doo-wop, drive-ins, and ducktails, but that's played out, in my opinion, and now just kind of has that contrived Disney-set kind of feel to it. But you've got to watch it doing 60's-70's retro, that you don't overdo the whole hippie psychedelic thing, which can be as cloying as clove cigarettes or patchouli.
The other thing is that we're trying not to spend much money on turning this place around. Literally, the opening budget for changing the space is around $10k, and that's including everything I need to do to get the kitchen up and running.
So keeping things mostly the same is the plan. I'm going to paint, clean, change signage, and get some stuff on ebay for decor. Maybe a plant would be nice too. In the kitchen, I need multiple deep fryers, an ice cream dipping cabinet, and the grill needs attention. But I'm also going to re-arrange the equipment on the hot line, which means that all the Ansul sticks will have to be re-aligned.
It all costs. Once the deal closes, the idea will be to hurry up and get open as soon as possible, but then we're at the mercy of the City of Evanston, which, I will say, has been quite merciful so far. Hopefully that will continue. Evanston, if you're reading, I will be proud to be an upstanding member of your business community and have confidence that I will thrive in the space and pay you a lot of taxes!
Anyway, if folks want to chime in with thoughts on the name, that would be great. I hope to post again Monday with some actual concrete news.