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A Capstone Project….

Hello again my loyal Chef Fan’s. Before we get into the actual meat of the this post lets give a quick update about how Amangiri is going. Things are a bit crazy right now because while we are in the “slow season” we have half the kitchen we need. This means we are working a lot of hours and for the most part they have been a lot of fun good hours on the line. We are gearing up for a menu change in November so there is a bit of stress involved with that but hey its a new menu with new prep and we are going to be changing the kitchen around. Basically a lot is going on but not much is really happening.

School on the other hand is a completely different story. I am in my Capstone class right now and have been for the last 5 weeks as of today. This class is the capstone of my education so you may ask yourself why I am taking it as the second to last class…. I don’t know is the only thing that I can tell you. What is my capstone class all about you may ask? I am taking the whole 12 weeks that this class goes on to……. are you ready for this…… create a restaurant and menu concept, again…. Alright yes the scope and the depth of this project far surpasses anything I have had to do for NECI to date but it is still something that I did not once but twice as class projects before. Match this with an “instructor”. No I didn’t forget the rest of that sentence, that is the only thing that I can professionally say. I am a bit disappointed with the class and the project but as I don’t have any control or say in what the project is I am going make the best of it.

With all of that being said here is my concept, and I decided to take it back home to KC….

Assignment 1: Restaurant & Menu Concept

1.1  Name of the business

Pairings on the Plaza

1.2  Physical plant

The physical location is at 222 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64112 on the Country Club Plaza. This is the current site of Fogo de Chao. I am using the building and physical location because it is in the very heart of The Plaza. With all of the foot and vehicle traffic it is the most visible 3 square blocks in the Kansas City Plaza area. “Built as part of the first designs for the Country Club Plaza back in 1922” (“One Man’s Vision Shapes the City” 1 ) the building is just over 90 years old. However because of the high level of business from the Plaza the upkeep on the building and surrounding Plaza area has been very high. Because it is also at the heart of the plaza it is within walking distance of all the shops and attractions that the Plaza has to offer. While there is limited main street parking we do offer a valet service to the free parking garage located across the street directly behind the restaurant.

“The Plaza and all the buildings contained within are all a part of the Kansas City Historic District.”2 What this means is that all landscaping and building facades must match the rest of the plaza. As the picture shows however they do allow signage and awnings but prohibit sidewalk signs or menu boards. Another factor of this is that each year on the day after Thanksgiving there is the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, where the entirety of the plaza is light up with Christmas Lights. This is something done by the city but would be something that I would need to expect and plan for each year.

With the overall building taking up 3 square blocks and “with 12,000 square feet of space, the restaurant can seat 400 guests and has five private and semi-private dining rooms.”1 This is accompanied by a full bar and cocktail lounge and the open kitchen. With the most recent renovations having been done in 2009, the equipment for the restaurant is still considered brand new. There are two sets of bathrooms in the restaurant, one set of bathrooms is for guest use and is located buy the bar and cocktail lounge. The second set of bathrooms is located in the basement of the building and is for employee use.

The Floor Plan is laid out in levels, with the first being the main entrance, host stand, bar and cocktail lounge and the second level is dedicated to the main/private dining rooms and the open kitchen. As you enter the building you are presented with 10 foot tall wood and iron banded doors. The first thing you see is the host stand, to your right is a double wide set of steps the leads down to the main doing floor at the center of which is the open kitchen. To the left of the entrance is the cocktail lounge and full bar. Behind the host stand you can see a hallway that leads to the guest bathrooms and also the handicapped ramp down to the main dinging floor. The cocktail lounge has only standing tables with cushioned benches along the wall. The bar, cocktail lounge and first level area take up about ¼ of the total square footage. The reaming ¾ of the total square footage is dedicated to the kitchen and main dining area on lower second level. When descending the stairs the guest is presented with main dining area. The “U” shaped open kitchen is in the center of the dining area with a large hood system. This hood system can support a double sided 6 eye French Top and a wood-fire oven big enough to cook a whole Steamship of Beef. The wood fire oven will also have a pull out grill and will be set into the back wall of the Front of House. The kitchen is designed so that the “window” is at the bottom of the “U” shape. Because the kitchen is set down into the floor the guest sitting down around the counter will be eye level with the chefs and the “action of the kitchen” On the other side of the kitchen and the farthest from the main entrance and host stand is the second half of the dining room. However this area is able to be partitioned off into 5 separate private dining rooms, for events and functions.

1.3  Décor

 In the dining room there are dark stained hard wood tables and chairs, complimented by thick navy blue padding on the chairs. The walls are a deep ocean blue, with light grey trim the color of morning fog. The ceiling is black, and the floors are a lighter stained wood. The open kitchen becomes part of the décor and as such is the focal point of the room. To draw this attention there will be Japanese black marble countertops in view of the whole dining room. Around this countertop there will be eight counter seats or the “Chef’s Counter”, where the guests can sit and watch the action in the kitchen while they eat. At these seats the guests have an eye level view of: the wood fired grill which is set into the back wall of the kitchen, The Polished Stainless Steel double sided French Top and the Expo and Service Window. The whole kitchen including the Hood system and lights above it is incased in the same Japanese black marble. The chefs who are a part of the decor will be wearing grey chef coats with black aprons, black pants, and a navy blue skull cap. To not draw attention away from the kitchen or the meal I will have my service staff wear all black, but it will be dress paints and a long sleeve server’s jacket. The walls on the first level of the restaurant will feature the artwork of local Kansas City artist. The second level will have the partitions to make the 5 private dining rooms but these partitions will be hidden behind an alcohol and wine bottle floor to ceiling display case. The actual space between the displays cases will be floor to ceiling iron banded hardwood doors just like the front doors. The long front wall of the restaurant is broken up by large bay windows with black shutters, left open during the day to provide natural lighting. At night the dining room is lit with hidden track lighting from above. Clear, colorless, water glasses sit waiting on the table above shiny, fresh polished thick-handled silverware. A navy blue napkin, neatly folded, sits in the middle of the place setting. In the center of each table is a white tapered candle in a copper colored metal candle holder.

1.4  Ambiance

Wordless background music plays softly from hidden speakers. Sitting at the Chef’s Counter the music is replaced by the sounds of a busy kitchen. Calls of “service!” and “how long on the chicken?” come from the chefs. In the rest of the dining room these sounds are not as pervasive, though the soft sounds of pans clacking from grill to counter are ever present. The smell of meat cooking mingled with the smells of freshly baking bread wafts from the open kitchen, filling every corner of the restaurant with a tantalizing aroma. The cotton navy blue padding on the chairs is soft and inviting to sit on. The counters and table tops are smooth and flawless. The daylight from the bay windows bathes the dining room in warm sunlight, also giving a view of the bustling plaza outside. No outdoor seating is available, but round, open, porthole windows between the bay windows allow a gentle breeze into the dining room, as well as allowing the alluring smells of the kitchen to tempt potential guests walking on the plaza.

1.5  Food and Beverage

The idea of Pairings is to create pairings between the finishing salts and the dishes but also each dish to different beverages. This will mean that your whole dining experience can turn out different depending on what you decided to drink with your meal. With the understanding that not one beer or not one wine will go with a whole meal we will be offering wine and beer flights. Our guest has the choice of picking the flights themselves or allowing the sommelier to match them for each course.

With Nose to Tail cooking being the idea behind the menu, it will feature items like marrow, liver, sweetbreads, heart, nose, feet/trotters, and of course tail. With the high quantity and quality of local ingredients available in the greater Kansas City area, from farmers markets and local farms it would be silly not to utilize them. In order to bring an unexpected level of flavor each plate will be finished with a specifically paired finishing salt. Infused oils and vinegars, aged balsamics, and powders will be used to add surprise and depth to each dish. All of the breads will be made in house and could include anything from Sourdough to Amish White Bread. These breads will be used for lunch time as components in dishes, and at night as table bread, and will be served with a compliment of warm oils, infused vinegars and salt.

The cuisine is American Fine Dining, but specials can be influenced from any part of the world. Being on the plaza I can get away with having a higher price point; anywhere from $30-$60 per entrée. Cooking style can vary depending on the need, because the kitchen will be outfitted to be able to handle cooking anything as large as a steamship of beef. Serving lunch and dinner only, we will have an all-day menu in addition to specialty “quick pick-ups” for lunch. This quick pick-up menu will include things like burgers and sandwiches that fit the overall menu theme, for example an oxtail sandwich.

With being on the plaza there are a number of events always going on, events like First Fridays (KC Crossroads) which happens right next door to the Plaza in the Crossroads Art District. With events like the Plaza Lighting Ceremony each year I would be able to hold a Chefs tasting each year and pick a flavor of the season. With events always going on there are many different ways for Pairings to get involved in the community and hold charity events like when the walk/run for cancer is going on so that we can give back to the community. These events also allow for Pairings to have fun with its menu and change items and their pairings around so that the restaurant stays fresh, local and new.

 

Work Cited

“Country Club Plaza | One Man’s Vision Shapes the City.” Country Club Plaza | One Man’s Vision Shapes the City. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.countryclubplaza.com/About-Us/One-Mans-Vision-Shapes-the-City&gt;.

“Google Images.” Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&gt;.

“Kansas City.” Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.fogodechao.com/index.php?id=173&gt;.

“Restaurant Equipment and Supplies.” Choosing a Name for Your New Restaurant. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/restaurant-equipment-supply-marketing-articles/how-to-start-a-restaurant/choosing-a-name-for-your-new-restaurant/c28304.aspx&gt;.

“Restaurant Equipment and Supplies.” Creating a Restaurant Concept. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/restaurant-equipment-supply-marketing-articles/how-to-start-a-restaurant/creating-a-restaurant-concept/c28302.aspx&gt;.

“Restaurant Equipment and Supplies.” Designing a Restaurant: Front of the House. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/restaurant-equipment-supply-marketing-articles/how-to-start-a-restaurant/designing-a-restaurant-front-of-the-house/c28311.aspx&gt;.

“Restaurant Equipment and Supplies.” Dining Room and Seating Layout for Your Restaurant. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/restaurant-equipment-supply-marketing-articles/how-to-start-a-restaurant/dining-room-and-seating-layout-for-your-restaurant/c28312.aspx&gt;.

“Restaurant Equipment and Supplies.” Dining Room Decor and Atmosphere in Your Restaurant. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/restaurant-equipment-supply-marketing-articles/how-to-start-a-restaurant/dining-room-decor-and-atmosphere-in-your-restaurant/c28313.aspx&gt;.

“Restaurant Equipment and Supplies.” Restaurant Exterior Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/restaurant-equipment-supply-marketing-articles/how-to-start-a-restaurant/restaurant-exterior-design/c28305.aspx&gt;.

“Upcoming Events.” The Kansas City Crossroads Arts District: First Fridays, Second Saturdays, Galleries, Community Events Calendar. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.kccrossroads.org/&gt;.

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