May 2017 Ruminations & Ronnifications

As I write this blog, I am on the fifth day of the reconstruction of Ben's Bayside. This is the second rehab of the location since opening in 1994, when I was a spry 45 years of age. New bathrooms, new furniture, new tables, new chairs, terrazzo reclamation, and the painting of the entire restaurant is taking place; and what we refer to as "back of the house" (the kitchen) is also being rehabilitated.

I look back at the almost 45 years that I have been doing this and realize how much passion, care and energy I brought to this company, and how much I still do. Unfortunately, my strength, stamina and energy are not nearly an indicator as to how much I still care nor how passionate I still am.

So, as I am writing this, the tile man is passing by my makeshift "desk." The dust is still thick in the air from all the work (grinding of the terrazzo/concrete floor and the sandpapering of the walls prior to painting and wallpaper covering). The smells of the kitchen are not of my favorite brisket, but rather of a welder putting together a piece of equipment as well as the cement re-grouting of the kitchen's quarry tile floor.

With me all week are two really nice kids who work in Ben's Bayside, Sam and Kevin. They are making certain that we can reopen by the end of the eight days of Passover. They are washing, scraping, polishing and generally cleaning the entire restaurant as the tradespeople continue to leave a trail that could only be made by tradespeople (only kidding guys) and babies (not kidding). The tile men, the bathroom people and the Terrazzo company are working here today while we have another three days before we open.

The carpet people are coming in on Tuesday to do the "balcony" area while the carpeting in the totally revamped party room will be done when we reopen on Wednesday (there were no prior reservations for the beautiful new party room on that day). At the last minute, I decided to paint the ceilings a light shade of grey in the new bathrooms and the redecorated Party Room. And, as I sit here writing of the day’s events, I am thinking that maybe we should hold a naming contest for the Party Room. 

I found a wall that had to be torn down because of water seepage, which damaged the wall and the mirrors on the wall, so I had to call a glazier. I also had so much tile left over from the restrooms, I said "what the heck, I'll tile the walls of the hallway leading to the bathrooms."

There will be odds and ends that come in later than expected because of some disappointments. For instance, we bought chairs from three different companies. Two came in on time, while the other company is late and doesn't know when he can deliver, or if he can deliver, saying "there is no more stock." Why didn’t he inform us of this when we gave payment in full? Foolish me!

The red electrical fixtures (yes, you read this correctly, red) are not in yet and no one seems to know when they will arrive. I ask, “why not paint the electrical fixtures red?” Oh well, we will have the patience of a saint and the wisdom of Solomon (and Pope Francis) and simply wait. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Post-Blog Update: The Ben's Bayside Restaurant opened the day after Passover. The staff welcomed the public back into the newly renovated restaurant... but we are still waiting for the red fixtures, the 50-foot mural (arrived but needs still to be installed) and 17 lost chairs. I now know I can't quit my day job!

See ya at the Deli,