Carlos--This is my other future employee. I've already introduced Rodolfo, who was the dishwasher/prepper/allaround cleanup guy for PP's. Carlos worked there as well as the main kitchen guy. Pete made a point to pull me aside and highly recommend these two, so I'm planning on hiring them and I've been trying to give them a little work during this in-between time.
Carlos helped yesterday with painting and cleaning. He's a Peruvian guy in his mid-40's, with pretty good English skills. Very good natured and laid back, fairly clean-cut, in that way that people from South America can sometimes have. If that makes any sense. More to come from this guy, I'm sure.
A guy came by yesterday when I was painting in the vestibule and introduced himself as Neil. He apparently knows my dad, and says he's met me in the past, but I don't remember meeting him, and based on his personality, which is along the lines of the guy I met the other day outside Captain Porky's, I think I would've remembered this guy if I'd have met him.
He's an older guy, my dad's age, and I believe the connection is through this family. I'm probably offending them by not remembering better. Sorry!
Anyway, Neil's a big burger-and-fries aficianado going way back to Albany Park and the storied Cooper and Cooper, of which I've only heard. He quizzed me about my plans for cooking the burgers and such and seemed pretty damn knowledgable about the various styles and techniques. He also said that he used to own a restaurant and so has connections for equipment--at one point he whipped out his iPhone and insisted on making a quick call to a guy.
I'm mostly done with buying big pieces of equipment, but I took the phone and talked to his guy, promising to make the trip down to his store on Madison at some point or another.
The third new character of the last few days is "Don". I'm using the quotes because he's a muslim guy who at first introduced himself as Imad, then quickly changed it to Don. Whatever.
This guy is the manager of the beef stand around the corner and he drives an 80's Cadillac Seville that he constantly parks in my spots. When he does, I make a point of wedging him in so he has to come find me if he wants to leave. It's my hope that this will cause him to decide not to park in my spots anymore.
I chatted with him briefly last week, and he came to the realization that we're more or less competitors, although he has plenty of menu items that I won't sell, including Italian beef and sausage. Today he knocks and asks if he can get a burger, jokingly, then tells me he's actually fasting for Ramadan. I offered him some bacon and a pork chop, but told him he'd have to wait until after sundown.
More on all three of these interesting dudes later, I have no doubt.