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Archive | January, 2013

Dreamstaurant Winner Interview

Interview with Chef Adam Hegsted

Chef Adam Hegsted

Dreamstaurant Winner: Chef Adam Hegsted


Q: Where were you born?
A: Spokane, WA

Q: Do you have a nickname?
A: Unfortunately my nickname is Andy Cane. I had an employee who couldn’t remember my name and kept calling me Andy. It eventually turned into Andy Cane.

Q: What is something people may not know about you?
A: I have won over 20 local, national, and international food competitions in the last 6 years.

Q: Do you have any hobbies – what do you like to do when you’re not at work?
A: I try to spend as much time with my family as possible and I love to cook. Cooking is not only my profession, but is my hobby as well. So hand in hand with that is eating, traveling and trying new places. It’s what I do, and when I’m not doing that, I’m reading about cooking.

Q: Do you have a favorite food? If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: That would be tough. I love so many different aspects of other cultures foods. I guess if I had to choose one type it would probably be Japanese. It has a natural subtleness to it that I think would rarely get boring.

Q: How did you get into the cooking profession?
A: I have always had a love for cooking and food but washing dishes is where my career started. As a dishwasher, you always look up to the cooks and aspire to be one. Then when I was a cook, I just kept wanting something more. I kept moving up, trying new positions and learning as much as possible. There is such a vast amount of knowledge out there making it hard to stop. That’s why I love it!

Q: How long have you been a chef and where have you worked?
A: 11 years – I started at Marie Callenders where I learned ways to teach corporate scratch cooking. I cooked at the Space Needle, Ridpath Hotel in Spokane, Black Rock Club, Cedar’s Floating Restaurant, apprenticed at the Los Angeles City Club, Brix Restaurant in Coeur d’ Alene, and then to the Coeur d’ Alene Casino, running 8 different concepts.

Q: How did you find out about the Dreamstaurant contest?
A: I read it on a restaurant social media site. I thought, why not, who wouldn’t want to open their dream restaurant?

Q: What did you think when you made it to the final 5?
A: I was definitely excited. After entering, I kind of forgot about it to an extent, so finding out I was a finalist was a wonderful surprise.

Q: What avenues did you take to get people to vote for you through the Dreamstaurant Facebook app?
A: I did everything I could. I voted, family and friends voted and I put it on my blog. Then the newspaper picked it up, two news stations, and a local magazine. It just kept growing from there. It was really nice to see how much support I received.

Q: How did you find out you were the Dreamstaurant winner?
A: My phone actually died and I was the last one to know! I plugged my phone in and had 7 voice mails and 18 text messages. I figured out after that.

Q: What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?
A: I thought wow, this is really happening and I am going to have a great team to work with. I actually felt very lucky and felt really blessed having so much support for my idea.

Q: What are the next steps – when do you plan on breaking ground for your new restaurant, Wood Smoke?
A: The next step is to start planning with the Etundra team, then talk to the architect and get the restaurant design down on paper. We will be breaking ground in late spring.

Q: Do you have an open date in mind?
A: If everything goes right we hope to be open in September. You never really know how things are going to go, but that’s the timeline.

Q: We see you’re getting married. What’s the date? (We’re just being nosey!)
A: We don’t have a date set, but probably in Late Spring. We want to work out getting married in Italy.

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Servers & Customers Unite: Your Biggest Restaurant Frustrations

It’s inevitable, people love to complain. They love to complain about the weather, their hair, their weight, etc. Well, let me be your punching bag! In fact, I would love to hear your complaints.

  • If you work in a restaurant, what makes you unhappy?
  • If you’re a restaurant customer, what didn’t you like about your dining experience?

I am going to do my best to inform restaurateurs how to create a better atmosphere for everyone in the FOH.

Servers’ Top Workplace Frustrations

  1. Crappy TippersFrustrated waitress
  2. Side Work (e.g. Roll flatware, set tables, etc. – pre/post shift while getting paid $4.76/hour to avoid hiring an employee who gets paid minimum wage)
  3. When customers lay out their cell phone, iPod, sunglasses, etc., on the table and don’t move them when the server is trying to deliver food
  4. “Please wait to be seated” (e.g. Don’t walk into a restaurant and sit wherever you please unless there’s a sign that says “Please seat yourself”. The workload needs to be balanced among all servers and tables are often reserved.)
  5. Lazy Managers (Note to all managers – when you see your staff is busy, lend them a hand! Help run food, deliver drinks, bus tables and show your support!)
  6. “The customer is always right” – B.S. (Here’s a video to show that the customer is, in fact, not always right
  7. Double Standards (e.g. Servers don’t get a free meal but bussers and kitchen workers do… What the heck!)
  8. Paying for walkout customers (It’s not always the server’s fault when a customer walks out on an unpaid bill. What if the server was going above and beyond by bussing or running food to another server’s table?)
  9. Campers AKA the diners who never leave
  10. Coworkers (e.g. Suck-ups, brown-nosers, lazy workers, those who don’t return favors – not working for you when you picked up a shift for them)

Customers’ Top Server Frustrations

  1. Introduce themselves by name/nicknameWaitress with name tag
  2. Touch you and think they are doing a friendly gesture
  3. Say everything that you ask about on the menu is “really amazing!”
  4. Talk about specials without mentioning the price
  5. Take your plate or drink away before you’re finished
  6. Tell you to wait for “your waiter” when you need something
  7. Squat, take a knee or sit down at your table
  8. Try to upsell you on everything
  9. Make you feel like a criminal because you just ordered drinks, or just dinner, instead of seven courses and four bottles of wine
  10. Ask if you need change

Now that I’ve highlighted each audiences frustrations, lets see what they agree on

  1. Cleanliness of the establishment (sitting area, dining room, bar and bathrooms)
  2. Food cooked to perfection (customers don’t like telling the wait staff to bring back a meal because it’s under cooked as much as servers don’t like bringing food back to the kitchen staff)
  3. Chip-free dinnerware and glassware
  4. Politeness (smile, be thankful and create a positive atmosphere)
  5. Food and drink presentation (food should make servers proud and customers excited)
  6. Determining if the bill needs to be split before ordering menu items
  7. Comfortable room temperature
  8. Mood lighting and music
  9. Readily available children’s seating
  10. Boucebacks (Allow servers to offer customers an incentive to come back again to create repeat business)

Let the vent session begin!  What’s your biggest restaurant gripe?

Also see: The 20 most annoying things servers do at restaurants

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Wing Obsession in America

Super Bowl is around the corner, and we here at Tundra are getting ready to enjoy the game, but more importantly, all the food! We have plenty of cooks here armed with tongs and their favorite wing sauces just begging to get started in the kitchen; in fact, I think we’ve heard so much about wings lately, that it sparked our interest to see just how many people consume wings during game time. But, we had no idea that the number was 1.23 billion wings (and that’s just during Super Bowl), and that 4 out of 5 US adults consume them on a yearly basis!

Yet, the wing obsession doesn’t stop there, oh no, across America, we love our wings so much that we’re expected to consume 13.25 billion chicken wings in 2013, that’s 3 billion pounds of wings – equivalent to 455,000 elephants!

To get you in the mood for wings, we created a “Wing Obsession in America” infographic, just in time for the big game!

Get the Infographic

Wing Obsession in America Tundra Restaurant Supply

Get Prepared for the Game

Whether you’re looking for restaurant and kitchen supplies for the game, or a last minute party idea, Tundra’s got you covered for the game this year! Let us know what your favorite game time recipe is, and how your family and friends plan on celebrating this year.

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Keep Up Restaurant Catering Opportunities, Even After the Holidays

Restaurant Catering

During the end of the year holidays restaurants are in full swing, but catering to large groups is often times limited to only this time of year.  Yet there’s plenty of other opportunities that can continue to bring in revenue – from wedding receptions and birthday parties to business luncheons and other corporate events, catering for larger groups is an amazing prospect to keep business booming year-round!

Serving the Masses

Wedding receptions are renowned for being a catering affair and a great opportunity to bring on new business, but there’s advice to regard before advertising for such a large group:

  • Know what to advertise: food is cooked on-site, parking is readily available, fewer rules around serving alcohol, experienced staff, customizable menu options and rental fees are typically lower than at event halls and conference rooms.
  • Restaurants are typically more accommodating to a variety of different sized groups.
  • Make sure your restaurant website explains your catering abilities, include appetizing photos of events you’ve hosted, customer reviews, price lists and large group information.

The number of people dining out for holidays and celebrations continues to grow year after year because it saves them time (no cooking and cleaning at their own homes), it’s simple and they can actually enjoy friends and family throughout the celebration.

And don’t forget, the holidays aren’t just once a year; in fact, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are the most popular holidays for dining out (outside of the end of the year holidays, of course).  Your restaurant can capitalize on this by featuring catered holiday buffets – but your website should be advertising this year-round, and don’t forget social media to help generate buzz!

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Let the Dream Begin: How Was the Winner Picked?

Adam HegstedFrom the beginning of the Dreamstaurant contest, we announced that our panel of judges would ultimately be choosing who the winner of the contest was, but what we didn’t announce was how they would ultimately be choosing that winner.  At the time of launch, however, even our own judges were undecided on how they would make their final decision.

Yesterday was our final day though, and as all three of our judges sat down to make a decision, they made their final decision based on 8 different categories:

  • Market Potential
  • Scope of Project
  • Creativity of Concept
  • Social Response
  • Timeline
  • Financial Backing
  • Strength of Business Plan
  • Contestant Experience

When they totaled up their final scores, it was Christine Ruch, Robert Schoene and Adam Hegsted who were leading the pack, but it was Adam that had the highest points out of all three of these top choices.

We here at Tundra want to personally congratulate Adam for his win and can’t wait to see Wood Smoke come alive… let the dream begin.

Learn more about our Dreamstaurant winner and continue to follow Adam’s story here on The Back Burner.

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100 Ways to Use Cambro Food Storage Containers

Many of the products from are multipurpose for both restaurants and homeowners alike! Below is an example of how you can use some of our best selling products, Cambro food storage containers, 100 different ways!

100 Uses for Cambro Food Storage Containers:

Cambro Food Storage Containers

Cambro Food Storage Containers

  1. Food storage container (obviously)
  2. Trash can
  3. Flower pot
  4. Lego collection storage
  5. Board game storage
  6. Sock / underwear storage
  7. Ice bucket
  8. Sand bucket
  9. Pitcher
  10. Magazine rack/holder
  11. Recycling bin
  12. Pet food storage
  13. Compost bin (e.g. coffee grounds, food scraps)
  14. Pet toy storage
  15. Kitty Litter storage
  16. Gift wrapping supplies storage
  17. Tool box
  18. Minnow bucket
  19. Punch bowl
  20. Cleaning supplies storage
  21. Mop bucket
  22. Holiday décor storage
  23. Art supply storage
  24. Top hat
  25. Change jar
  26. Catching drips from a leaky roof
  27. Foot bath container
  28. VHS/DVD storage
  29. Giant cereal bowl
  30. Coffee table
  31. Drums
  32. Door stop
  33. Drink cooler
  34. Port-a-potty
  35. Kid’s entertainment
  36. Floor hockey goal
  37. Dog bowl
  38. Fishbowl
  39. Serving bowl
  40. Hazardous material container
  41. Measuring container
  42. Paint bucket
  43. Raffle ticket box
  44. Wine decanter
  45. Igloo block mold for snow forts
  46. Giant Jell-O mold
  47. Dioramas/science fair projects
  48. Kitchen utensil holder
  49. Halloween candy pail
  50. Lunch box
  51. First aid kit
  52. Step stool
  53. Gift box
  54. Drawer organizer
  55. Baseball/hockey puck storage
  56. Dough box
  57. Card holder
  58. Scrapbooking supplies storage
  59. Giant building blocks
  60. Spittoon
  61. Car oil collector
  62. Pet treats container
  63. Diaper pail
  64. Paper file box
  65. Car CD holder
  66. Waterproof container for boating/sailing
  67. Fishing live well
  68. Napkin holder
  69. Giant flip cup
  70. Laundry basket
  71. Buffalo wing shaking container
  72. Seafood shell collector
  73. Sidewalk chalk holder
  74. Cleaner mixing pail
  75. Old electronics coffin
  76. Baby bath
  77. Bird bath
  78. Gardening tool storage
  79. Wine/champagne bucket
  80. Games (e.g. “Kick the can”, catcher’s mitt)
  81. Chair
  82. Foot rest
  83. Lamp shade
  84. Water fight weapon (e.g. dunk bucket)
  85. Beauty product storage
  86. Sod box for puppy training
  87. Fabric dye bath
  88. Horse trough
  89. Urn
  90. Yarn ball holder
  91. Hat Box
  92. Marijuana storage (only in Colorado & Washington, of course!)
  93. Ant farm
  94. Popcorn bowl
  95. Puke bucket
  96. Baby snow sled
  97. Ashtray/trash
  98. Recipe box
  99. Cookie jar
  100. Bottle cap catcher

Have another creative way to use a Cambro container? Leave a comment below!

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Dreamstaurant: 72 Hours Till Finalist Announced!

Below are the characteristics our judges are looking for in our Dreamstaurant winner. They could walk away with $20,000 on Monday, January 21st!














Only 72 hours left to vote. Help your favorite… They could be the winner of a $20,000 grand prize package.

2012 Dreamstaurant contest closed.

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What in the Heck are Wobble Wedges?

Wobble Wedges: Fix any wobbly table, fountain, or toiletWobble Wedge cartoon

The curse of the wobbly table has happened to everyone. Have you ever sat down to eat at a restaurant, leaned on the table, and immediately slid sideways because the table isn’t level? Annoying isn’t it? Wobble wedges were invented to fix this problem.

What is a Wobble Wedge?

Wobble Wedges are a modular system of stack-able,  non-slip, tapered-leveling shims. Made in the USA, Wobble Wedges are available in four interlocking sizes, in both soft and hard plastic.

Hard Wobble Wedges support up to 2,000 pounds and are recommended to fix shaky tables on carpeting, uneven concrete floors and outdoor surfaces. Hard Wobble Wedges are also ideal for heavy-duty food service equipment.

Soft Wobble Wedges are flexible leveling wedges that can easily conform to the shape of whatever they support. Their rubber-like texture creates a firm grip on slick floors. Soft wobble Wedges are ideal for restaurant tables set on slick floors, and are great for silencing rattling water pipes.

soft wobble wedge

Standard Wobble Wedges have 5 columns and 32 rows of deep off-set ridges on both sides of the wedge. Under load, these deep off-set ridges oppose each other at as many as 144 points which eliminates both horizontal and vertical slipping.

Creative Uses for Wobble Wedges

These table wedges are excellent at stabilizing tables, bookcases and more. Did you know Wobble Wedges can also:

  • Be a Bottle & Can Opener: Can’t open a can lid? Use a Soft Wobble Wedge, wrap it around the lid and twist it off.
  • Ice Scraper: Take an extra Hard Wobble Wedge and keep it in your car for scraping off your car windshield.
  • Non-Marring Pan Scraper: Use a Hard Wobble Wedge to clean a crusted fry pan or pot that was left on the heat too long – the wedge will not mar the pan surface.
  • Shoe Repair: Use an extra Wobble Wedge as a Shoe Glue spreader to repair loose soles, shoe inserts or flapping heels.

The versatility and functionality of Wobble Wedges set them apart as the professional, go-to table levelers. For 25 years, Wobble Wedges have provided restaurants and cafes a quick and easy fix to uneven tables.

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Rivaling Fast Food by Being Kid-Friendly

kid's mealKid cuisine seems to be a hot topic every year as parents continue to question the foods their children consume and the nutritional value paired with each bite. From the $1.99 kid’s meal at the local fast food chain, to the half-sized portion of a “big person” plate served at a sit-down restaurant, it seems every season sheds new light on how disappointing traditional options are. Simply put, parents these days want the most for their money, without feeling like they’re slowly poisoning their kids with processed foods. This, fortunately, puts today’s fast, casual establishments in prime position to pick up the slack where fast food and slim pickings have fallen short.

Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (nonprofit), explained in a 2012 Chicago Tribune article, “Kids are getting about one-third of their calories from eating out.” One-third of their calories, whether it’s obesity-inducing fast food or a new restaurant each week, is a frightening figure to some and a deal-breaker on eating out for others… that’s a roundabout way of saying a tweak to your menu, paired with health-conscious (yet still appealing) options for the whole family, may be just what you need to grow your customer base, while providing parents with an alternative to the greasy burger and fries options.

Targeting a Younger Audience

Catering to a younger demographic, or at least having separate/unique offerings available, is an excellent way to widen that net you’ve been throwing out to pull in customers. Where the family motto for eating out used to be “cheap and easy” we’ve seen the change to an all-encompassing manifesto of “cheap, easy, healthy, atmosphere, options” and the list continues to grow. This means parents are often ditching the kid’s meal and searching for family-friendly restaurants just like yours.

Here’s Why:

  • Kids are developing more sophisticated palates
  • Society is instilling a desire to seem more mature at a younger age
  • While healthy foods aren’t always purchased, parents still want to see those options on the menu
  • Tweens/teens are looking for their own transitional menu items
  • Child obesity is on the rise and the public is taking notice

So what’s the tried-and-true restaurant to do when faced with younger customers and well-informed parents? Evolve, plain and simple.

There are countless resources detailing the detriments of sugar-rich meals packed with saturated fat, and there are just as many resources explaining how to avoid those while staying creative in the kitchen. It’s your responsibility as a restaurant owner/operator to tap into these resources and apply the information to your cooking, but healthy foods aren’t the end-all to roping in the younger crowd and those who oversee them.

youth seating

Dining Room – If you’re not equipped to seat and serve a family with small children you’re already missing out on that market. Youth seating, like high chairs and booster seats, are a must – as are child-centric cups and utensils. Making a family feel comfortable and welcome can mean the difference between seating five… and watching them pass you by for a quick drive-thru meal.

Entertainment, on some level, is also a smart decision. Most kid’s meals offer small toys, and for good reason. A happy, playing child is not a screaming, unruly child.  Even having a placemat that can be colored or Wikki Stix can keep small hands busy.

Menu Design –  Redesigning one’s menu is a daunting task, especially if the same menu has been used for years. Fortunately, a good menu redesign does wonders for business. When giving those few pages a makeover, moving more profitable/popular items to better positions, make sure to evaluate whether a child or teen specific section should be added.

Most parents would like to avoid wading through full-sized meals to find something suitable for their kids, and having a corner (or even a page) dedicated to younger patrons can be a godsend. Jazz it up, make it easy to read, and include nutritional information – parents will thank you for it.

To Go Options – For the family that still wants to bring food home (as opposed to dining out), having to go options that rival the traditional drive-thru experience can make your restaurant the go-to eatery for after school snacks or family dinner.

This goes hand-in-hand with a comprehensive and accessible menu. If all a mother of three has to do is check the kids section of your online menu, place the call, and pick up food 10-15 minutes later you’re positioning yourself as a fast-food vs. fast-casual crossover. When a freshly made bowl of pasta and accompanying carton of milk can be picked up just as easily as a handful of fast food kid’s meals, you’re in good shape.

Granted, it takes work and dedication to turn your adults-only establishment into an all-are-welcome hub for families and the tween/teen demographic; however, the benefits inherent in opening up your doors to more potential customers are worth the effort. A new year brings with it a renewed vigor to reach more customers, please more people, and beat out the competition without compromising quality: tapping the kid-friendly market – and all it entails – may be all you need to do just that!

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Dreamstaurant: We Have Our Finalists

After three months of sifting through hundreds of new restaurant concepts and remodels we have selected a group of 5 finalists. These contestants not only have what it takes to win the $20,000 grand prize package, but they have the drive, personality and ambition to be successful in the food service world.

Adam Hegsted

Adam Hegsted“My dream restaurant is really a four headed beast. Winning this contest would really help me put my vision together and be a part of making my dreamstaurant a reality. The idea behind it has different avenues for revenue coming off the same centralized cost of rent and kitchen labor.

  • So the main part of the business would be a flavor boutique…basically tapas with an American spin. We would base most of the cuisine on products no further than 500 miles away using primarily local farmers and producers. Of course we want to lean a little on tapas, so we will probably import some Spanish products for depth as well. How could anyone resist Iberico ham! We would bake our own breads and offer gluten free. The tapas would be grilled or roasted over apple wood from an orchard nearby. I think selling “why” this restaurant is so good and “why” you have to buy it will be some of my key marketing. We will use a lot of low key “guerilla” marketing.
  • The next part of business would be a supper club of sorts. Currently I run an underground dinner club once a month and it books out three months in advance, so I sort of have a following there. It would run 3 days a week and be in a banquet room inside the restaurant. The other days it would be filled by catering and special events for small parties.
  • The third part, we would be able to cross utilize the kitchen and do some catering which would add to the bottom line.
  • The last part would be the bar. This would feature house made tonics, juices, bitters and barrel aged cocktails. It would be definitely high on the trends for this area and we could really put out some unique cocktails that would be fun for us and our clientele.

The interior vision of the restaurant would look like it had been there for a hundred years with lots of stone and wood. The tables would be simple, maybe a thick urethane on plain wood. That kind of an idea…

This concept is really a win and would be a good profitable venture. I have been in the business for 16 years and an executive chef for 10. Currently, I am chef at a large casino (5 years) and know this business and know how to budget and run a business. Before the casino I ran fine dining restaurants. I realize that to be successful, you have to live by the budget, work hard and be nice to people. Food is my passion and is what I live for (and my wonderful family). Here is a video PBS shot of our traveling supper club the Wandering Table.”

Christine Ruch

Christine Ruch“I am the brains and bowls (and spoons and forks too) behind Fresh Thymes Eatery.  I’ve spent more than a quarter century in the food and beverage industry, and hope that number does more to boost my credibility than it does reveal my age. *Wink*

Today, I specialize in teaching whole food nutrition and food allergy awareness with a signature emphasis on high flavor and high quality.  Inspired by my own experiences living with food allergies and autoimmune disease, I know all about the healing power of real, nourishing food.

I’ve mastered the crafts of food and flavor through a range of diverse roles spanning from General Manager at Paradise Bakery’s, most successful franchise with sales over $2.5M, and Ritz-Carlton leadership, to head chef instructor of Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado.

My latest brainchild is Fresh Thymes Eatery, redefining the paradigm for healthy eating.

Ok, I know what you are thinking. With a name like Fresh Thymes Eatery, you’re wondering if this is just another health food joint trying to edge its way into the crowded Boulder foodie landscape.  Fresh Thymes Eatery isn’t just a highly profitable restaurant concept that’s already proven its worth in other urban communities; it’s also a fresh take on food as a whole.  One that trades flavorless fare for chef-inspired and chef prepared cuisine that’s fast, convenient and tastes so good you’ll swear it has to be at least a little bad for you.  Note: it’s totally not, but don’t tell the kids!

Fresh Thymes is poised to win big in Boulder.  Come on – people are asking for this!

Americans are craving and demanding new food options.  They’re bored. They’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  And they are getting all kinds of allergic to the crazy chemical-laden foods making their way onto their plates.  The answer to this food quandary is Fresh Thymes Eatery.

We’re an eclectic café’-slash-to-go-market that serves up creative, contemporary food with no hidden agenda.

We’re talking locally sourced, organic meals, snacks and quick bites that contain no gluten or other common allergens, no GMO’s and no artificial ingredients of any kind.  AND, it’s fast, convenient and awesome for everyone with taste buds!

As part of our community focus and commitment to quality food (we’re very kumbaya) we plan to raise funds to open the Eatery through a Community Supported Restaurant model – sound familiar?  It’s the same funding model that farms use called a CSA – you can purchase a “subscription” for a specified amount of money – we use those funds to open Fresh Thymes and you get re-paid in free food, cool perks, private founder’s dinners and undying Fresh Thymes love!  Fresh food doesn’t get any better than this! Your friends will be so jealous when you flash your FTE subscription card at the counter!

To make things even cooler, Fresh Thymes was “adopted” by the guru’s of social media – Room214!  Their first project is to make our Community Funded Restaurant model a success!  As part of Room 214’s commitment to re-invest in the local community and economy, they are “adopting” an emerging business that they are excited about and apply all their skills and expertise to make that business a success. We are honored to be the first business chosen and excited about our partnership and know the people who will benefit the most are you – our customers who need this food the most!

We would love to win this contest!  Fresh Thymes would make most excellent use of the design and architecture services to give our space a make-over!  It is currently a Thai restaurant – so we need to go from looking Thai to looking like a Cool, Hip, Fresh Marketplace.

We would also need to purchase kitchen equipment – we don’t need the wok cook stations that are currently in the kitchen but we do need a walk-in refrigerator to store all the abundant fresh vegetables we will use, an oven to bake our insanely delicious green chili enchilada’s, turkey meatloaf and veggie lasagna, a grill for our amazing citrus brined organic chicken, killer grass fed burgers with bacon jam, our grilled vegetable salads and wraps as well as some dehydrators and vita-mixes to make our ridiculously indulgent but oh-so-healthy raw power brownies, lemon shortbread bars, chocolate tarts and raw coconut macadamia macaroons.

Finally, if we win, we would love to use this opportunity to spread the word about our exciting new restaurant concept and gather supporters and those excited by the prospect of purchasing a subscription and making Fresh Thymes Eatery a reality!

For more information about this emerging culinary concept – and to salivate over our sample menu jump over to our website: and keep on the lookout for our community funding Facebook page – we of course will provide a link on our website when we are ready to reveal the details of our funding model which we expect to be in January 2013. We will take-over the space and remodel in March and April with a Fresh Thymes opening projected for May 2013 – just in time for the abundance of spring!”


Robert Schoene

Robert Schoene“The winner of Dreamstaurant is presented with the perfect balance of challenge and fortune.  The B&B Café is an epic opportunity (Can I say “epitunity?”) to showcase design expertise with knowledge of historical value!

The restaurant dates back more than 70 years, and it has been 30 years since the last occasion to remodel it.  Though the seating doubled since its original opening, the kitchen of the B&B has remained the same throughout its entire history.

As of the beginning of this month, the previous owner of 30 years has moved, leaving behind this historical café.  It is a mainstay eatery for breakfast and lunch, but is in need of much TLC and renewal due to its long storied past – gunfights included! The new owners are set to double the size of the kitchen while restoring the front of the house to preserve historic value that the restaurant represents to a Colorado community.

My hope is to preserve the B&B’s history as a gathering place while also ensuring its future to continue.  The remodel would impact the community not only because the historic restaurant sits in the heart of downtown Castle Rock, but it would create an inviting environment for younger and older generations.

The B&B Café may be the longest running café in Colorado.  Follow these links for a brief lesson in the B&B’s unique history:

Historical Tribute:

Leticia Gardea

Leticia Gardea“Born in Mexico City, Mexico, I immigrated in 1964 to Las Vegas, where I raised two beautiful and amazing children, and am now blessed with five granddaughters.

My experience in the Las Vegas community in affordable housing development and education extends over 25 years: from creating small organizations, to executive director positions for local and national non-profit organizations representing underserved minorities, to the first Community Outreach Diversity Director for a major hotel and Casino – The Venetian. Although my achievements span, I have built and illustrated extensive skills and abilities in a combination of team leadership, strategic planning, and business development skills that I have leveraged to meet and exceed expectations, and most importantly, I have been graced to have created a large base of community partners and friends.

You ask yourself, how is it that I am a Chef with no former training, an owner of a new community Mexican restaurant and voted Best of Las Vegas by the Review Journal within a year and half; Best Tacos in Las Vegas, Best Margaritas in Las Vegas, Heart Association Flavors of the Heart People’s Choice award?  Because of the drive and love for the art of food that I have carried within me that has culminated to a strong passion and goal in the past 30 years of my life.

I began my years of real training in my mother’s kitchen, as a growing young woman, and continued my hands on training once I was with my own family, and continued to nurture the passion of owning a restaurant with my teacher and inspiration. Throughout the years in this community, working hard to build the voices of the underserved, I worked hard to also create opportunities to cater many families, community friends, associations, organizations and private parties to help fulfill my love and fervent dream, hence myself taught experience of providing the real taste of the Mexican cuisine.

My hearts intention is to bring to my community the real taste and flavors of a passionate country that has shown such pride for its extensive different flavors of many regional foods, importantly without ANY premade, frozen, canned foods or yellow cheese, just the real home fresh cooking mom would make.

We are in our third year of a successful growth of community embracing and continue to exceed and call the attention of many local food critics reviews.

Because of my commitment to cooking everything fresh with fresh ingredients this is our biggest challenge because our current location was not set up for major prepping or cooking, the challenge we are also faced is with equipment that we purchased used and is not productive and efficient to provide the best service. With the correct equipment and layout we can be much more efficient in prepping, cooking and servicing our guest. Purchasing used equipment and a building that was vacant was our only way in 2009 to be able to obtain my dream financially.

The equipment that we do have is run down and we have had to repair many times. Please select us to assist us with maintaining my dream for a long term success. I have included our website, awards and YouTube video for your review.

Mi Casa Es Su Casa! Muchas Gracias!”

Tom Sola

Tom Sola“We are a local’s favorite and the seasonal tourists always enjoy visiting. Our 7,500 square foot restaurant has been a “Best of the Beach” winner for 5 years and counting. We have a large menu highlighting environmentally friendly seafood choices, as well as steaks, pastas, burgers, and more! Our award winning “She Crab” soup is made fresh every day. Lucky Oyster opens Sundays for brunch featuring several types of eggs benedicts, seafood omelets, and a fabulous Bloody Mary bar.

Our décor is a mixture of vintage fishing equipment, signage, lobster traps, and very large fish replicas hanging overhead. We even provide seating made to look like the back of a boat! Our raw bar is equipped with crushed ice falling from the ceiling onto the fresh seafood being cooked in the steamers for all to see.

Lucky Oyster just celebrated our 5th anniversary with a Beer, BBQ, and Bivalve party! We had local vendors participate with samplings of their oysters. They were able to let all our guests know about the raising and harvesting of the local oysters. The Save the Bay Foundation also had their information available. We save our oyster shells to be recycled back into the bay. The locals have always supported us and we wanted to show our appreciation for them. We do community work and fund raiser nights for schools and businesses along with supporting several local soccer and softball leagues. Our off site catering for military functions, weddings, and family reunions is always popular and clambakes on the beach are a favorite with our out of town guests!

Over the last 5 years with marketing, word of mouth and great customer service, we have increased our sales. The kitchen set up and equipment is not productive for our volume anymore. We have the space, but it is not being utilized for optimal efficiency. The cooks have to cross over and dance around each other to get the job done. We are looking to streamline the cooks line with new workable equipment and placement. We took over the restaurant and have been using outdated equipment and some that does not lend itself to seafood restaurant cooking. The goal would be to make the kitchen a better functioning, workable area that can handle our ever increasing business.

Please check our website for great pictures and information about the Local’s Favorite Hangout here in Virginia Beach! If you are ever in the area please come in and enjoy the casual atmosphere and great service while eating the best seafood around!”

Who is your favorite?

Tell us who you think should win the $20,000 prize! The contestant with the highest number of votes could persuade the judges opinion when they declare the Dreamstaurant winner.

Winner Announcement

The winner will be announced on January 21st, 2013. Our panel of judges, including Chef Kelly Liken, Chef Ian Kleinman and VP of Tundra Design, Jeff Katz, will put their minds together and select the contestant they feel has what it takes for the food service world.

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