Which isn't really all that big a deal, I guess, but it requires pulling permits from the city and everything else that goes along with that. So it's going to cost time and money. Of course.
The first thing was that an outlet is required for every four feet of food prep counter space and I only have one across a six-foot span of counter. There's a plate on the wall where it looks like an outlet might have been at one time, so it's just a question of installing one.
The second thing is that I have an neon "open" sign in the front window and the cord for that runs up the side of the window and up into an outlet in the ceiling. It reaches just fine and the cord is secured well, but the guy said that the code requires such an outlet to be at least eighteen inches from the window, and this is 24 inches. So I have to have the electrician come out and do some sort of extension on it.
Both of these rules are designed to remove the likelihood that people will use extension cords, which, apparently, are quite hazardous. (I don't know, maybe they really are.) I had no plans of using an extension cord in either case, but that doesn't matter. Just gotta get these things fixed.
I called three local electric companies (I have to use an electrician that's licensed by the city of Evanston). Two didn't answer their phones so I left a message. The third seemed confused by my request to have a guy come out and give me an estimate, and transferred me twice before I got to the right person, who seemed incredulous when I told her I was hoping to get someone out today.
But, after a few hours, I got an appointment for a guy to come out tomorrow and take a look. It's probably going to end up costing me at least $300 for what's probably less than an hour of (completely unnecessary) work.
It's not really that big a deal, but right after the guy left, I was working on one of the line coolers and when I plugged it in, it didn't start up. So I checked the outlet and realized that the outlet's not working. I tried fiddling with the test/reset switch, but they appear to not be functioning the way they're supposed to. That made me realize just how many of the GFCI outlets in this place are kind of wonky and I started getting all paranoid, thinking that nothing works right, that the electric is a big mess behind the walls, and it's all going to cost me tons of money.
This is how it goes. I have a good day where I get a few things done, maybe do a little cooking or hang a sign and suddenly I feel like I'm ready to open tomorrow!
Then the next day, things stall, people cancel appointments, something breaks or shows itself to be a potential problem, and I'm totally down, thinking we'll never get open, pushing things back.
I'm sure it's best to just keep a steady course and realize that the setbacks are going to happen, but because I'm not getting all that much sleep and I'm hyper-focused on every teeny-tiny detail, it's hard to keep perspective and stay cool. There's a certain sense of momentum that restaurants have, once they're up and running, they kind of tend to just keep on running, because that's how they've always been.
But when you're starting up, you don't have that, and it undermines confidence. You start to wonder if you'll ever get open, if you'll be able to find any good employees, or if anyone will even want to come in and buy what you're selling.
So that's where my brain is at today.
Things continue to happen, though. I got my ice-cream dipper well installed and leak-free, my big garbage cans arrived, and my Quickbooks person came by and tidied up my financial situation so that what I see as my balance jibes with what Chase says is my balance. That's always nice.
The knife company came back with my deli slicer, and they brought the right one this time. They picked it up last week and yesterday the guy shuffled in with one that looked similar, but, although I didn't really remember what the one I sent out looked like, I didn't think it was it.
It wasn't. A quick call revealed the fact that they repaired two very similar slicers and got them mixed up. So I sent the old guy away and he returned today with what is a much more solid, somewhat larger unit. Nice. Much better, thank you.
Oh, and I got another call from Penny Pollack, from Chicago magazine, who said they're planning on featuring me in a small blurb in their November issue, which comes out in mid-October (thanks!). She wanted to know for sure that we'd be open by then. I confidently said 'yes' while crossing my fingers. I told her I'd call her on a day that we were training and she could come by and have a burger and fries, but she reminded me that she works anonymously.
I was actually pretty surprised to hear that. I didn't think any restaurant critics, outside of maybe the New York Times or something, still did that. But it's a good thing, I think, and raised my respect level for their reviews a couple of notches. We had a brief, somewhat humorous discussion about the ethics of restaurant reviewing, how things have changed with the advent of bloggers, Yelp, and the fact that everyone with an internet connection is now a critic, and that was that.
The big thing that happened today, though, was beef. Beef arrived. I got a bit yesterday from one vendor, I bought some more today from the grocery store, and then another vendor came through with a whole cryovacked piece today.
So while the day has been somewhat frustrating, I'm planning on staying late, grinding some beef, cutting some potatoes, slicing some onions, and doing some cooking. Which is always a good way to remind myself of what the point of all this is.
Anyone reading is welcome to give me a call or a tweet and maybe I'll let you come in and sample my experiments around dinner tonight.