All the big kitchen stuff is in place and I'm working on gathering the smallwares, as we call them in the industry. The little stuff. Bowls, spatulas, french-fry cutting ka-chunker machines, fryer baskets, pink soap, mop heads, and on and on and on forever. I probably have a few days of painting left and then I call Rodolfo in for a couple days of deep cleaning, hook up the equipment and, hopefully, start cooking. That's when things will start to really feel like they're coming together. It's hard to feel like the place is a restaurant when I'm mostly eating Atkin's bars and drinking cold water from the soda machine all day long.
But it is. Or will be. Ideas careen around in my head constantly. Today I worked on the stereo a bit. One of the speakers was vibrating strangely, so I got up and messed around with it, checked all the connections, and got the system working nicely, so then I started planning how to do the music in the space, thinking I could just load up an old mp3 player of mine with hand-picked restaurant songs and put it on endless shuffle.
I've never used the "voice notes" feature of my cell phone before, but I keep thinking of things to do and forgetting them before I can add them to one of my 12 to-do lists, so I trained myself on how to use them and did a couple on the ride home. I'm still feeling scattered. Not because I'm disorganized, but because there's just so much to do and remember.
What I accomplished today: we now have a logo. To be shared on this site soon enough. I think it looks damn good and that will enable me to move forward with the awning company early next week. Like everything, it's a process. Papers have to be filed with the city, etc, etc....
What else? I finally got the guy in the black Cadillac who keeps parking in my spot to seek me out. He parked deep in my space, so I crammed the Ford F-150 I'm currently driving in behind him, right up against his bumper, and left it there until about 7pm tonight. At some point, I figured the guy would want to go home and would have to seek me out. Nice enough guy. I'm hoping he got the message and won't park in my spot any more.
Oh! And, press! We got some more. Courtesy of Chicago Magazine's online blurby blog, Dish, this time. I spoke with Penny Pollack late last week and someone called to fact-check this morning. I'm not crazy about how the piece reads...how it's just one big quote from me...but any mention is welcome, especially from a prominent presence like Chicago. And--bonus--they spelled my name right, so I'm not complainin'. (That's more than I can say for GrubStreet, which spelled my last name "Laskin" at first, and even though they corrected it quickly, Google's bots must've picked it up, 'cause if you Google the name of the restaurant or "Laskin", there it is, floating around the internet, in perpetuity.) At any rate....it's free PR. Much appreciated. (I still love you, Helen!)
Another cool thing I just found out today is that I'm going to get to go to Hot Dog University!
Did you know there was such a thing? I didn't. Vienna runs it at their factory near Damen and Elston, and it's a short training course for people who want to run hot dog carts or stands. It's a service they provide (one of many) for those who sell their products. I'm hoping to get that done sometime next week.
I'm very excited to be working with Vienna. They are, of course, a legendary company, their place in the history of Chicago food is prominent, and, since the restaurant is shaping up to be kind of my personal tribute to classic Chicago hot-dog-stand-food, Vienna is kind of a one-stop shop for me. They have a reputation of being very helpful to start-ups, supplying stuff like signage, promotional materials, free food, and even equipment, so I'm pretty psyched to be involved with them and will be grateful for whatever support they can offer.
More to come tomorrow. I regret that I've gotten out of the habit of posting something here every day or two, due to the fact that I've been getting home late and exhausted and going to bed around 10pm almost every night. Painting equals lots of very tired, sore muscles. I'm going to pick up the pace again.