Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The project has crested the hill it seems. Detailed plans have been drawn, adjusted, redrawn, marked up, noted, changed outright, disapproved, changed and drawn yet again. Finally, they have been approved and stamped by the powers that be in the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, the seat of the County of Mecklenburg. Signage plans have also been approved. Colors and finishes have been selected, and partners have been engaged to build out the finishing pieces.

Most importantly, construction has begun and it looks like we are on schedule for 10 weeks from Monday. June 1 or so.

These pictures were taken shortly after permits were issued. As you can see, a detailed excavation was necessary to accommodate current plumbing codes. When I asked Jimmy, our plumber about the complexity of this job versus others, he replied, "It's about a 5 out of 10. No big deal. The real problem is finding room to put all the goddam dirt."

Well put, Jimmy...the dirt of a thousand years under that building. Where to put it indeed. I've been wondering that myself.


Jimmy gettin' after it:

Instrument of Destruction:

 40 Gal. Grease Trap

Kitchen Glass:

Interior Colors:

Terra Cotta Pipes...last used by the Romans.

Subterranean view:

Pure, Uncut Carolina Red:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Los Angeles

Was out in Los Angeles yesterday for a whirlwind tour of a bunch of restaurants. Led by Bob Spivak, CEO of The Daily Grill (and a great friend of the family and mentor) and Jon Luther Sr. and I went to his new fast casual concept, Take A Bao - a concept based on Asian steamed buns. To say the least, I was inspired by the exciting design and execution. And the food was as good as any fast casual concept I have visited. Check out pictures below and pictures of the food here: www.takeabao.com/pics.php

Also went to another one of his new concepts, a lo-fi version of the Daily Grill called Public School 612 - which has some very neat design and experiential details as you will see. www.publicschool612.com

Also on the tour was a new offshoot of the Umami Burger Group called "Umami-catessen". Urban LA cool serving a multitude of swine and beer offerings. Of note is the safety glass they used on the sneeze guards. This would work well at JJ's.

Finally, we visited with Tyler Wilson, owner of Wurstkuche - a hip sausage and beer joint in downtown LA. The were saving 15 or 20 different sausages - no hot dogs - featuring italian, cajun and german specialties and also exotics like rabbit and jalepeno and rattlesnake. They also served a number of different micros on draft. The microbrew trend is indeed alive and well in Los Angeles.  (www.wurstkuche.com)

More to come!



Decals on Frosted Glass:

 Light Fixture:

Menu and Subway Tile:


Luther, Spivak and owner Tyler Wilson talk about leadership:

Table numbers from Wurstkuche. Reflective decals on painted steel. and they nest together well

 Wilson and Luther Sr.

Seating detail:


Safety Glass on Sneeze Guards:


Assembly Line

Facade: (Could do something similar on roof deck)

 Water Station: