Avanzate!

We’re making progress!

I don’t think that it’s a surprise to the casual restaurant patron that it takes a lot of time and effort to open a respectable dining establishment. But when you’re the one who’s got to make it all happen, it’s doubly surprising to discover just how many tiny things need to considered al along the way.

For instance, you want to take care of your staff. In the kitchen, that means accounting for traffic patterns around the oven, sinks, prep counters, etc. Which means that you can’t hang the pot rack there because the dish guy will be in the way when he put clean spatulas away. You could put the microwave on top of the highboy except that the ceiling is too low so it’s got to somewhere else. And you can’t forget to leave room for the mop to get in between everything! So in the end, it’s not just about having all the right pieces—it’s about crafting an architecture of harmony. In Italy we say ogni cosa ha cagione—everything should have a reason.

But there’s a flip side to all of this planning. It’s easy when you’re ordering receipt paper and cocktail napkins to get bogged down in the flurry of paperwork and stuff to lose the heart of the restaurant in the weeds. The challenge for me and everyone who’s contributed to the process at this point is to keep focus on that ever-important north star: this is about creating an authentically Italian haven for food lovers. It’s a real challenge, but it forces us to keep an eye on the big picture and it helps me be able to say ‘no’ to things that might be really cool to have but ultimately won’t help us follow that north star.

So we’re pressing on and getting closer every day!

 

Cool new chairs!
Cool new chairs!
So much equipment, so little space.
So much equipment, so little space.

In the mean time, check out this amazing place I found right here in Virginia! Gary and Ann Dudley are making the most delizioso wine. I got to visit them a few weeks ago and talk about what it takes to make wine with real flavor without having to rely on cheap tricks like adding too much sugar. They even make small batches in giant glass jugs just like my grandfather used to do in his home in Sicily!

I hop you’ll get a chance to check them out. And please do let me know what other hidden gems you’ve discovered in the area on Facebook or Twitter.

A presto!