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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.
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  • 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: www.freshthymeseatery.com 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 http://goo.gl/gj2xT! 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: http://goo.gl/HEv9J

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 www.luckyoystervb.com 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.

About Molly Patterson

Molly is a former Online Marketing Strategist at Tundra Restaurant Supply where she specialized in promotional strategy, email marketing, social media, online merchandising and, of course, content creation for The Back Burner. When Molly isn't putting her creative mind to work, she likes to journey out with her black lab pup, Winnie, explore Colorado’s great outdoors, travel and try new restaurant’s in the Boulder/Denver area.

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