Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Toward Opening Day with a Bullet

A very tired Maureen, who has neither the time nor the inclination to proofread this before she posts it, says:

Now I know why, when we first moved back and spoke of our intentions to open a restaurant, our friend and fellow restaurateur collapsed in the shoulders and said said, "Why would you ever want to do that?" She were mostly joking, of course, but people? I soooooo get what she were saying. This is why they make those 18-hour bras, isn't it? Since we got our liquor license three and half days ago, we have seriously considered sleeping in the space.

And getting that liquor license wasn't without its drama. The second Tom had the signatures in hand to obtain the actual license, he got in the car and headed for Concord. It was mid-afternoon and the state offices were open until 4:30p, so we had plenty of time. Except when he arrived there, a little before 3:30p, he was told that the trade name was printed incorrectly on our permits. I got a frantic call from him asking for the phone numbers for the Health and Fire Departments, which I pulled off the Internet. While he raced back to Manchester, he called both agencies and the amazing staff there pulled together new permits and had them waiting for Tom when got back into town. Then it was back in the car and a race against the clock to get back to Concord before the state offices closed. It was 4:26p when he presented the corrected permits and got the license.

Then, there's the usual drama. The kind that's definitely more than a pain in the ass, but isn't what you'd call catastrophic: vendors lacking pride in craftsmanship who have no choice but to re-do their work because we didn't give them another choice; delays in signage production owing to back-ordered paint and the time the paint will take to cure; other, smaller parts of the interior vision not translating as well as we'd hoped when they were put into place.

But we had our first staff meeting and Tom and I are confident that we attracted an aces team who believes in and reflects our overall vision; out of the kitchen we're getting good energy, good noise and good smells; we've got our linens on site, our liquor orders placed and the stereo speakers wired and placed.

We're almost there, but not quite. There are easily a hundred things for every member of the staff, including Tom and me, to do and do just this morning. And then there are the phone calls. Vendors. Ad sales. Curious folks about town. There are the faxes. Deliveries. Questions. Endless proofreading. And let's not forget feeding the parking meters (that's a full-time job in itself).

It's early yet today, but already I'm behind. Still, the thought it takes to write a post here forces me to slow down the adrenaline rush and remember that it won't be very long at all before someone I love sees a dream he's been making for the last 20 years come true. I have never wanted one, single thing for 20 years; I can't imagine what that must feel like. But it does me a little misty when I try to.

Y'all keep an eye on this space for the opening announcement, you hear?


Elder Sister said...

Way to go, Z. If I have any comments at all about opening night, it is that my dessert was too big - can you stand it!!

Everything was perfect - exterior, interior, music, staff, menu, flowers, restrooms, host and hostess.

Welcome to restaurantville.


SueD said...

So? I hear you are open? True? Someone just told me they ate there tonight and loved it. Can't wait to visit myself.

Tom & Maureen said...

It's true, sued. We opened the doors last night. Hope to see you there soon!