40 thoughts on “March 6, 2021: Springish”

  1. My plans for the weekend? Today will be my second 14 hour day at the joint catching up on bookwork (tax prep...yeah!) and then getting my butt kicked the rest of the day. Sunday I am not scheduled, but will come in and do bookwork from 5 am til about 10 or so. Then virtual church service. Then, hopefully, check out a brewery or two and lunch before spending the evening in full decompression mode.

    Update on the joint: Those on the book of face might have seen the first step of our project. New bar top. Stunning. Signed off on a handful of purchase agreements this week on furniture and equipment. Bought out one set of investors. We purchased a new point of sale system and that involves a lot of pre-planning for the switch over in April. We are finishing our 8th week of being open at 50% capacity again. Our sales during that time are 20% over last year, and 40% over the same period in 2019. Take out continues to be crazy and every night of the week we fill all the tables we are able to seat. I have an orientation with a new manager on Monday. Last summer I had 3 salaried managers (including myself). This new hire brings me to 6 salaried managers. I am in full "hair on fire" mode every day of every week with wrapping up financials for taxes, coordinating our patio expansion and indoor remodel, training new managers and trying to get staffed up for the patio launch. We currently have 60 employees and plan on bumping to 80-90 employees by the end of May. Sometime in the next 2 months I also need to revamp our menu and we are working on a new culinary cocktail list.

    We just hit our 6th anniversary of taking over this building. 6 years... really?? 6 years ago I had a dream, and it was a big dream. Not many independent restaurants start out in a 200+ seat joint, but we managed to launch it fairly well. We had periods in which things looked bleak and we had to adjust our concept and way of doing business. We were gaining a lot of traction pre-pandemic and then 2020 hit and I had many sleepless nights wondering if we could make it through the year. Somewhere along the way, we captured the hearts of many in this community and are now at the point where my big dream is coming to fruition. When I write things like "hair on fire" and "14 hour days" it is not to complain or whine because there is no other place I would rather be right now. It is challenging, but so rewarding at the same time. Today, I scheduled myself for a 9 am to 8 pm shift, yet woke up at 5 and was in to work at 6 with a bounce in my step. I guess that right there summarizes where my mindset is right now. I am very thankful that I have this spot right here to visit to read about the Twins, the Wild, food and drink adventures, books, movies, music and everything else. I am also very grateful for a space to put down some thoughts like I have above. Thank you all for being here. It is my happy place!

    1. That’s a fantastic update zooomx. Too often in the restaurant biz the many long hours & considerable hard work never pays off. I’m happy to hear folks are responding and embracing your place as a beloved community institution. Keep doing what you’re doing — you obviously have a recipe that works!

    2. Thanks fellas! My Sunday day off ended up going like this: Made breakfast (pulled pork hash and eggs) for the family. Went for a 5 mile bike ride and was excited that I had zero knee pain. Stretched my back and hammys for about 45 minutes. Watched some golf. After noon we went out and emptied everything out of our garage. Cleaned out all the cob webs and a couple 5 gallon buckets of sand, salt and other crap. Put everything back that is staying and built a big old pile of junk that our son will load up in his truck and take to the landfill. I despise this project every spring until it is done, then I feel really good about the results. My wife and I spent a lot of time yesterday prioritizing projects inside and outside for the next year or so. We are going to try and get a lot of them done by the end of the year and then explore whether or not to sell our home of the last 18 years. We are considering downsizing into a smaller home, possibly on one of the lakes around here. Really don't care if it is awesome lake shore, or even a great lake. I just want to have my coffee in the morning and my glass of wine in the evening on a deck overlooking water of some kind. We are considering a patio home as I really hate stairs. Hauling crap up and down stairs is not good on my ailing knees and I have always been partial to one floor living.

      1. My house in my 20s was in Buffalo and originally didn't have a lakeview. But the city bought the property in front of me, tore it down, and made a parking lot. After that I had a glorious view of the lake from my deck. Unfortunately, I was too young to really appreciate it and eventually had to upsize my house.

        Good idea on the stairs.

        1. I forgot you used to live in Buffalo, but now that you say that I remember you're the one who initially pointed us towards Rancho Grande.

          It's our favorite restaurant by far.

    3. I also need to revamp our menu and we are working on a new culinary cocktail list.

      PLEASE tell us that the new menu will feature a headcheese appetizer!!!111one111!!!

      1. headcheese. Man, that one facebook comment really threw my designer for a loop! So funny!

        On another note, wait until you see how I classify "sandwiches" on the menu!

          1. Did it ever stop brewing? BTW, on my current menu, I have our tacos listed under the sandwich section of the menu. Not necessarily because I think they are sandwiches, but it is the section where it makes the most sense.

      1. That's exactly what I planned to do, now that Mrs Runner has taken the helm.

        Other than some breezy days, the only weather we had in our month in FL was one overnight rain, and a short 15min rain. Until today - we've had all sorts of rain amounts driving north of Tampa, from constant wiper setting fiddling, to white knuckle sheets. Still, speed limit, so no harm. Plus, carwash!

  2. We got out the scooters, inflated the basketballs, soccer balls, and anything else in need of inflating, and my sister is bringing her kids (ages 2, 3.5, and 8) to play outside. It's very exciting!

      1. At Honest Abe's request, we'll walk up to the nearby high school so he can practice riding his bike in he empty parking lot after quiet time. I've got a 15- to 20-mile ride planned for tomorrow for my first trip biking outside of the basement since November.

          1. Three neighbor families joined us, so there was a crowded lot with 3 kindergarteners, 1 first grader, and 4 three-year olds (on scooters). Only one collision, but Abe still needs to work on using his brakes.

    1. There were some half-hearted efforts at biking and scootering and playing catch today, but mostly we took down Christmas lights and putting away winter stuff. Getting out summer stuff can come a little bit later...

  3. Goat Tagine with Dried Fruits, Almonds

    Made goat shoulder again in the tagine, this time with dates, golden raisins, almonds, and sesame seeds.

    At my favorite Pakistani halal market, the butcher dude took out a box of frozen goat pieces and let me pick which ones I wanted - I picked an assortment of rib pieces, shoulder cuts, and chops.

    I chopped up the dried fruit (apricot, golden raisins, and dates), and soaked them in water for a while.

    On the stovetop in the bottom of the tagine, I browned the goat pieces, then added sliced onions, then the spices (cinnamon, ginger, saffron, salt, pepper) and Mike's Hot Honey, and a couple cinnamon sticks. Then I poured in the dried-fruit-water and fruits. Once simmering, I covered the tagine and put in a 350 oven for an hour. Toasted almonds and sesame seeds got added in at T-15, and then the whole deal was served up with basmati rice and cilantro. The fall-off-the-bone goat meat and fruits were wonderful.

    1. I've had a stovetop version for years, and am quite happy with it. In fact, an afternoon pick-me up before diving back into class prep sounds pretty nice right about now...

  4. Our big plan for the weekend is to get our new (well, new to us) camper trailer packed and ready to go. We're heading out to Virginia to see family later this week. We figured that's got to be the safest way to travel, seeing as it means we don't even need to go in anywhere to use the bathroom. Between COVID and my wife's impending surrogate baby, if we don't go now, it would be at least 2 full years between times seeing anyone in her family, including the two new nephews. So, cross-country drive with a truck and trailer, here we come!

  5. My big plan for the weekend was to do nothing. Then I ended up painting. Yeah, baby. Oh, the bathroom? Yeah, painting the bathroom. There are 6 colors (7 if you count the white......). Folding geometric patterning with copious taping to achieve. We saw some article in the times about crazy diy home decor and ...... welllllllllll.............. The pandemic has finally broken me.

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