Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Behind The Bar Scenes ...

I started tackling the bar today, the backside of the bar of course, as the front already looks fantastic. The back of the bar doesn't need to look like anything, but what the health department cares about is cleanability. So I painted it in high-gloss white.

And for kicks and giggles I moved the sink in to get a sense for dimensions, and where to put water supply, drain, and outlets.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Boring Floor Pictures ...

The sanding of the wait station floor continued (this time on hands and knees with the palm sander - thank you Julie and Jody) ...

... and stopped, and the result was deemed sufficient (by us), and sealed with polyurethane.

While E! was flooring around, I spent time close to the floor as well, installing baseboard in the beer hall.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Pleasing The Gods ...

After having busted our bottoms to get everything together for the liquor authority (at least we thought we had, because today E! had to stop by the middleman we use to deal with the liquor authority and drop off more documents), we are now working down the punch list to please the gods at the health department.

One sacrifice said gods demand is the floor in the wait station. There is nothing wrong with the run-of-the-mill oak flooring, except for the color: Dark color doesn't show dirt as well as light color.

So we went out and rented a floor sander again this morning. If you believe the ads on TV, it's child's play ...

... the reality, though, looks more like this.

Unfortunately, the floor is a bit wavy, which means there's a lot of sanding required.

Give E! big hand, she is a hard worker.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

That Sinking Feeling ...

We don't hide our skeletons ...

... we just cover them with sink tops, a prep sink to be precise. Yet another piece to please the Gods at the health department, although it will come in handy (I have to admit).

And then there is the bar room.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Column Cover ...

Before I report on today's events, I'd like to thank all of you who responded to my request for your favorite local wine. As I mentioned, we will be a beer-dominated restaurant, and the wine selection will be limited, so it is good to know what people like.

Off to the unexciting, but not uneventful, happenings of the day. I busied myself with more trim work. The two center-columns in the beer hall still needed wrapping with wood, and there was a tad bit more flooring between the columns.

E! cleared the bar of everything we had hauled in for the pictures, so she could re-oil the wood floor (we wanted to give it a second coating before opening).


Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's Your Wine? ...

We took the day off, at least from physical work (we never really do anything that doesn't have a little bit to do with Gunk Haus).

Today we went to a nursery to shop for shrubbery for the Biergarten. Sooner than later we want to landscape it, to make it attractive to our patrons and neighbors, and to make the liquor authority happy (it likes areas of alcohol consumption to be somewhat enclosed).

Afterward we went to the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery. I have been wanting to go for a while, because they make fruit brandies, which are very common in Germany. Although we applied for a full liquor license (which would allow us to serve beer, wine, and hard liquor), we have no intention to become a fully stocked bar, where the bartender needs a masters degree to decipher all the weird drinks one could order.

No, we like to keep it simple. One of the things I'd like to offer are fruit brandies (as I said, they're common in the homeland), and if they come from a local producer all the better. Aside from the hard core liquor we tried various hard ciders (which will also find their way onto the menu), and a selection of wines.

This brings me to today's homework for you: I would like to know what your favorite local wine is, emphasis on local, i.e. within a 50 mile radius of Gunk Haus. Granted, Gunk Haus will be beer-centric, but of course we will offer wine as well, not as large a selection, but hopefully something for the majority of our wine-drinking customers.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Floored Again ...

It was back to flooring today. There was still a transition between the kitchen and the wait station, which needed help.

As a longtime follower of this blog, you'll know what's going to happen. Floor has smallish hole ...

... increase the hole size ...

... patch the big hole ...

... bring out the beast (thank you again to Mike and Jack for lending us the nailer and compressor) ...

... install the floor, and done.

E! meanwhile repainted/resealed the dish station floor with concrete paint, and sparkles.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baseboarding ...

Today was all about trim and baseboard, installing ...

... and painting ...

... and installing.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Taking Reservations, Soon ...

Most of you who live in the neighborhood may have recognized that we are not open yet. Nevertheless we get asked a lot whether we would already take reservations.

The short answer is no. The long answer is noooo ... ;-)

Yet, all these requests got me thinking. Our biggest fear is that once we open the doors, we'll be run over without being prepared for it. This isn't good for us, the staff, and of course our guests. This is usually why restaurants have soft openings.

Originally we thought we'd open the doors, and hope that people don't realize we're open, and therefore only get a trickle of customers. But in this day and age word spreads too quickly, thanks to modern technology.

So today, after we received another request for reservations, we had an inspiration: Why not open the restaurant with reservations only, at least for the first week. That way we can control how many people come through the door, it is easier to calculate how much staff we need, how much food and drink. This allows the staff and us to concentrate on a limited number of guests, and provide them the experience they deserve without getting stressed out.

Once we get closer to opening, I will announce the dates and customer limits per night on this blog, and this blog only. Yes, you read right. You, my dear readers, are the first ones to know. Wait for it ...


Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21st, 2010 ...

On March 21st, 2010 nothing happened. You remember my post from half year ago, when I announced that we'd have to be open by today. If you drove by our place today - as many people did, and many asked the usual question when we'd be open - you'd see us buzzing around as always.

So what's going on? Well, we learned a little while back that we don't actually have to be open today (or more precisely before the end of the month), but we need to provide various documents, among them the certificate of occupancy (which we just received), proof of workers compensation insurance, and pictures of the place showing it in openable condition.

That's what all the pictures were about recently. And here are some more, showing the bar (in openable condition).

Gunk Haus is pretty close to being done. There is still a little bit of detail work to be finished, but we're close. And then there is still the health department, which wants to be pleased (this isn't a problem either, it's just work that needs to be done).

So, when are we going to be open. The optimistic answer is the end of April, but it shouldn't be later than May. You've seen the pictures, we're almost ready, the only reason why we would delay is fear. Yes, you read right. The last two years were hard, but I have gotten used to it, and even in misery people can feel comfortable, because it is what they know.

Now we are putting all that aside and start something new. Suddenly we have to make Gunk Haus work. Did we create the right atmosphere? Will people accept it? Will customers like the food? There is a lot of anxiety going on, so be kind when you first visit Gunk Haus.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stained ...

The bar is done, for the most part, and E! did a fantastic job staining it. Granted, it still needs to be artificially aged (I won't tell you what E!'s secret is), but it already looks great.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Beer Hall East ...

There was more cleaning, staging, and picture taking today. Here is a look at the beer hall's eastern half, compare that to the same room ten days ago.

I am still not done with the bar, but I am mostly done.

If you ever wondered why we chose the name Gunk Haus, look at this picture. See how level the floor is, and how nicely the door trim lines up with the bar trim, not! The latter was simply because I didn't have enough existing material, and I made the conscious decision to build what you see. Things around here are all a little off (except for the food and the beer), and we like it that way. It's character, and Gunk Haus has lots of it.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

C Of O ...

It wasn't my day (again) yesterday, so I totally forgot to tell you that we received our certificate of occupancy yesterday. The building inspector dropped it off in person (the number 116 on the red sheet indicates the maximum occupancy, which is fine, as the health department number will be lower).

E! and Sarah started furnishing the western side of the beer hall today, so we could take pictures for the liquor authority ...

... and the eastern side received a Spring cleaning.

The bar is slowly moving towards completion.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Day Without Pictures ...

This will be a quick one, although I actually have to write more than yesterday, because I don't have any pictures.

There were a lot of pictures taken today, because E! and Sarah were walking around the house snapping pictures of areas the liquor authority would like to see. I'll post them once we have them complete, so you get an idea of what you need to get a liquor license in the state of New York (aside from spilling your guts, and paying lots of money).

Myself I continued work on the bar. I hope to finish it by tomorrow, or I'll go crazy, at least more crazy than I already am.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Floored And Barred ...

After finishing the floor in the beer hall, it was time to stain it.

The bar is coming along as well, not as fast as I was hoping, but I'll get there.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Brokeback Flooring ...

I might have mentioned yesterday, but flooring, even with a pneumatic nailer, is back-breaking work. Nevertheless, the girls, E! and Sarah, did a fantastic job today working on the floor. The key to successful flooring is to lay out several rows in advance, and then nail them down.

We got it all done today.

Jeff, our plumber / air conditioning meister, was back today to finish installing the registers in the A/C duct.

Things are moving, people, get ready, get excited (I know you are all already ready and excited - OK, this sounds totally convoluted), be there when it happens.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rock'N'Roll ...

This day was full of action. Jack brought over two of the table tops he had made, and they look spectacular ...

... especially with food on them.

Today was about two things: Finishing up the plastering (which we did, except for the ceiling in the front entrance, which I'll finish sometime soon) ...

... and installing the floor in the beer hall. The girls were kicking ass, and by tomorrow evening the floor should be down and hopefully will be stained before the day is done.

Some of the pictures are courtesy of Sarah (who has a much better camera than us, and is also a much better photographer). Thank you Sarah.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bar Reconstructed ...

Finally, and at long last, I started reassembling the bar. Well, it isn't actually reassembling, but more of a reconstruction, because we don't have enough pieces. At the end of the day, it would most likely be easier and cheaper to just build a new bar, but we have to have a bar within the next few days, and I am determined to do it.

The girls were busy again installing the floor in the beer hall.