Monday, July 30, 2012

The Wallace – Week #2 – We have debt and a logo!

 Lots of good stuff last week going on!  The Wallace continues to grow and take shape and become the dream we have in our heads.

1.  We signed our small business loan!  Thanks to CAMBA and Renaissance Economic Development group – their support is essential to the success of the restaurant!
At the Renaissance Loan office holding our loan check!

2.  We have our logo!!!! A BIG thank you to Eban and Jessica Byrne who looked into Jon and my mind and gave us exactly what we are looking for.

 3. We struck a deal!  Jon went and made crazy deals for new restaurant equipment + an espresso machine.  It involved him going all the way to the Jersey shore, but the art of the deal was had.  

4. We have art (well, some art).  Jon and I hit the Brooklyn Flea market and picked up photographs and photo frames.  Look for these and more at The Wallace. 

5. We are construction ready! We have pulled out the trash, gotten rid of the old equipment, and are ready for our transformation.  See the before:

Coming up next week: Updated website, Facebook page, updated menu, and a construction update.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Transforming into The Wallace – Week #1

What a week! When we were last together I asked you to send good vibes our way that we would sign our lease Monday – well you all must have been working overtime because we did!  We have keys and we are in!!  919 Fulton Street – here we ARE!  

The Wallace

 After long last, we are in the space.  HORRAY!  And now here comes the hard part – we walk into the space and it has no electricity, hot water, or gas.  Plus, its covered in dust and some sort of stickiness, the roaches are the size of your big toe, and there is so much debris it looked like a scene from Horders.  But we get to work.  

In a week we have managed to do the following:

1.       Turned on the electricity.  This was team effort – Jon was stationed at the restaurant all day Wednesday waiting for them – but I spent 3 hours on the phone with them getting an appointment and filling out all the paperwork!  A little note – getting a commercial account is not as easy as getting a residential account, there is paperwork and proof of legal status required.  PLUS, Coned union was on a lockout – so all the soft managers were working, I’m lucky we got a meter at all.
2.       Dishwashers are coming!  Jon negotiated a knock out deal with dishwashing company Auto-Chlor!  Two new dishwashers are on their way (will help with the sticky!)
3.       Our awning is GONE! Waiting to be replaced with a new one and our new logo!  (I hope to debut this next week).  We still have the old restaurant name located on the window (uggg, they had a decal), we are hoping to get these off shortly, but it requires a massive amount of heat.  I tried to get it off with a hairdryer, yeah, that didn’t work.)
4.       We have a new water heater!  Listen up NYC Health dept – we have a 75 gallon 75btu water heater, all we need for sparking clean (and sanitary dishes).
5.       We have gas! With which to run our water heater!  National Grid not only required a form to be filled out, but a deposit – sigh. 
6.       We have pulled 6 tons of trash out of the restaurant – 10 roaches, 2 mice, and countless fruit flies. Jon and I spent days and nights cleaning out this restaurant and now the front half is filled with bags of garbage, ready to go out.  

The problem we are facing now is how to make the most of what the old restaurant left us.  A lot of the glass wear is unusable or mismatched – the silverware was 3 different sets matched together – it’s really frustrating.  We are also trying to sell some equipment we don’t need and get the best price on the equipment we do.  I have night sweats worrying about money. 

On the docket for next week is our loan closing – please send us those good vibes again.  Closing day is Wednesday!

Enjoy the pics!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer of Change

Hi all. It’s been a while since the Urban Chef posted, and for that I apologize and offer the following as an explanation for our absence. 

You know when you want something to happen so much and it just doesn’t, but you’ve been talking about it so much to everyone and it’s all they ask you about, that it just creates this big anxiety bubble and you never want to ever talk about it again?!  Your friends ask, with trepidation, so how’s it going with [thing you want to happen] and your face turn red and you start explaining things a mile a minute or just sigh and cry.  Well, that’s what was happening with us.  We were trying to open our restaurant and things just kept falling apart.  The major issue was that our landlord hadn’t evicted the old tenant so we couldn’t sign the lease, but she failed to mention this until a week before lease signing.  We then got in this cycle of “one more week, one more week” etc, and here we are, 6 months later.

BUT, everything turns out for the best!  We are signing our lease at 919 Fulton Street on Monday, July 16!  The Wallace will officially have a home starting Monday (just two days before my b-day!).  We still have our fingers crossed (because it’s Friday) so send good vibes our way!  Also, we have been approved for a small business loan (yay money!) So now you ask, what does this mean for me?! Well, it means that starting around Labor Day, your new favorite hangout will be open!!!  I mean what could be better than Jon Wallace’s cooking available at your fingertips 6 nights a week and for weekend brunch!  We also have a more functioning website, Thanks to Daniel Shortell.

Now the fun really begins! I make a promise to all you readers, that I will blog at least once a week and let all you know all the dirty details of The Wallace.  So invite your friends who are thinking of opening a restaurant, like reading about restaurants, or like Jon or me, to follow us from now until opening day.  

To whet your appetite, a few things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Before you look at a place, make sure it’s actually for rent!
  2. Make sure you like your lawyer; you will spend a lot of time with them.  (Larry Welch, Esq is the best!)
  3. Money, money, and money, you can never have enough!  Everyone will want it, demand it and take it from you.  Don’t plan to do anything with anyone for your business without at least shelling out $50.
  4. NYC has a lot of community organizations that help small businesses, finding one that works for you is a lot trickier.  
  5. Small Business loans for restaurants are almost impossible to get – work with CAMBA or NYC Small business service for help.  Stay away from Brooklyn Coop bank – Jon and I wasted 2 months with those guys.  We are getting our loan from Renaissance Economic Development Corp and CAMBA.  
  6. Start an LLC.  In NY, it costs about $800 and takes 4-6 months.
  7. Be prepared to personally guarantee everything.  It kind of made me wonder why I have an LLC!
  8. Make sure the name you choose for your business isn’t already being used by some other annoying restaurant; yes you, Caribbean Soul with the big SoulĂ© out front.  
  9. Nothing ever goes as planned, I remember our original business plan said we were going to be open in May!
  10. Everything works out…I don’t know how, and I sometimes don’t believe it will, but it just does.  

Stay tuned – your full access pass to The Wallace starts Monday.  Have a delicious weekend!