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converting to a restaurant kitchen

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Karen

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A local chef has been asking me for a couple of years to let him cook & serve a monthly dinner in my B&B. I'd also like to serve a full Afternoon Tea. But my Health Department says I need a restaurant kitchen to do anything more than make breakfast.
As a 5-room B&B in NC, we are required to have a restaurant style fridge, seperate hand-washing sink, and a sanitizing dishwasher. Otherwise my kitchen looks fairly domestic. What else does it need to be a "restaurant kitchen"? A restaurant stove and hood, I've heard. Has anyone converted a kitchen like mine to a restaurant kitchen and what did you have to do?
I'm going to ask the health inspector also. If she points me to the regs I will cry because I've read them over and over and they're just not specific enough.
Thanks in advance - this is a great forum!
 

Joey Camb

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In the UK it tends to be stainless steel stuff as it is hard wearing and easy to clean which isn't a bad thing as well as it being on wheels with locks so you can pull everything out to clean. (ie moveable work surfaces and cupboards) our cooker hood has removable filters which unclip and you can put them through the dishwasher which is a really good feature.
 

Morticia

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We could tell you a million different things, including not to go by what the health inspector says as many of them interpret the regs to suit their own little agendas.
So, hate to say it, make sure you get the regs from your town, county and state. If they are unclear to you, get in touch with your local representative and have that person work with you to get the regs to a point you feel comfortable working with them. Get signatures on everything anyone says to you. Make sure you get multiple sigs in case people change jobs.
BTW, regs are not specific so that anyone can state that you didn't meet the requirements if you somewhere along the way tick them off.

Good luck with the project, it really sounds like a winner for you!
 

Copperhead

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Would this be just for guests of the B&B or is your chef friend wanting to do more which may require additional permiting?
Research the costs involved in this possible renovation. Serving 5 rooms dinner once a month does not seem like it would be profitable enough to go through too much effort....unless you do plan to venture further in the near future as well.
 

The Tipsy Butler

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Mort is right - check ALL statutes. There's generally a lot involved including grease traps, special flooring surfaces, outside venting etc etc. We'd love to have a commercial kitchen but the prohibitive costs (at least for us) mean that we haven't taking the inquiries to the next level. I don't know about your specific dishwasher but there is a difference between a residential NSF approved sanitizing machine and a commercial one .... different standards.
 

seashanty

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so interesting.
i'm venturing out on my own to sell baked goods and am negotiating to rent time at a licensed, commercial kitchen. in massachusetts, the license and decision comes from the town. apparently this varies by state.
good luck!
 

Copperhead

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so interesting.
i'm venturing out on my own to sell baked goods and am negotiating to rent time at a licensed, commercial kitchen. in massachusetts, the license and decision comes from the town. apparently this varies by state.
good luck!.
Wishing you the best SS
 

Morticia

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so interesting.
i'm venturing out on my own to sell baked goods and am negotiating to rent time at a licensed, commercial kitchen. in massachusetts, the license and decision comes from the town. apparently this varies by state.
good luck!.
We have one of those kitchens here in town. If I wanted to, I could bake there and then sell here. THAT would require monumental effort!
 

Karen

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I got a quick reply from the health inspector. She says I would need to upgrade my equipment (not sure whether she means everything) and replace cabinets with food grade cabinets or shelving. I would need a prep table and a dishwashing area (3 vat sink or 2 vat sink with commercial dishmachine.) Walls must be clean and smooth. Sounds expensive but I will keep the idea afloat.
Thanks for all your thoughts.
~Karen
 

Innkeep

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It might be worth your time to invite the actual person who does the restaurant kitchen inspections to come to your place to see what he/she thinks you will need. If that is the person who refers you to the ordinance, you might ask what things specifically would be in violation if you were actually being inspected now. Everything really depends on your locality. I ended up referring to my inspector as "Mr. Clean" because he was totally wrong about what our regs said. After getting two lawyers to try to read the regs to him I compromised by doing way more than a B&B but lots less than what he originally wanted
 

One Day

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Probably would need Exhaust hoods over stove, grills and ovens with fire supression.
Generaly stainless steel for just about everything.....walls to......though you may be able to do half walls or 3/4..........definitely back splashes
contact your building departments
 

Penelope

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so interesting.
i'm venturing out on my own to sell baked goods and am negotiating to rent time at a licensed, commercial kitchen. in massachusetts, the license and decision comes from the town. apparently this varies by state.
good luck!.
I hope this goes well for you! What a great opportunity! I'm pulling for you!

 

Skamokawa

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...we are required to have a restaurant style fridge
We were required to have a restaurant style fridge or a domestic that uses a fan to circulate the air.
seperate hand-washing sink
Professional kitchen shops have very small handwashing sinks that can be plumbed into tiny spaces.
and a sanitizing dishwasher
We purchased a NSF certified home model. Our inspector checks it for temps during our annual inspections
A restaurant stove and hood
Range is a six burner Sears model. OK for regs here. We also have a professional electric griddle right next to the range. Best thing we ever put in. For the hood, we had a local sheet metal fabricaton shop do this. Our shop was familiar with local requirements. Our shop also got our extraction fan for us, at a reasonable price.
We started with bare walls, and before we made a move, I visited the Health Department, and asked what the inspecter needed to see for what we wanted to do. We were also told the walls must have an impervious finish, and that we would need 12 inch backsplashes. Our list was very managable, and it sounds like your requirements may also be reasonable, but the visit to the health department was key. Each county varies in its requirements.
We ended up with a kitchen that I love. It does have a big stainless three hole sink, in addition to the NSF dishwasher, but it fits very well with the kind of 1930s working kitchen style that I find attractive. I had the "Mrs. Bridges" character from the old "Upstairs Downstairs" series in mind when we were putting it all together. I think she would find herself right at home.
 

JBloggs

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Gosh Karen it all depends on the locality, being near a more metro area you might find much more stringent reg's. Esp if your county shares with the more metro area for health dept, which many small towns do, they will be more regional.
Depending on who you are, depending on who you know, and who the chef knows will also make a difference. I hated to type that, but this is the South.
Regulations could mean toilet with sink for handwashing specifically for STAFF. It also could mean, like another innkeeper found out, a wheelchair accessible restroom for dining guests. She is in Bedford County VA and had experience in plenty of restaurants and catering and wanted to convert her place into a prix fixe restaurant and had to build a brand new building to do this in the end.
Stainless may not or may BE a reqmt. This is for BUGS AND PESTS. Also for bugs and pests is a proper grease trap. A commercial sized grease trap.
All I can say is it ain't gonna be cheap.
 

EmptyNest

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I have a friend who is currently waiting on some financing so they can put in a commercial kitchen. They are planning for $30,000 at least. Get the health inspector to come out and give you the exact specs to things you will need. Get it all in writing. So...will the chef...put in some of his own money to get this done?? If not..I would be charging him big bucks to come to YOUR PLACE and get all the credit for it while you foot the bill.
Here is a link to VA rules and regs. Check out about page 77/78 for equipment
 

Morticia

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Gosh Karen it all depends on the locality, being near a more metro area you might find much more stringent reg's. Esp if your county shares with the more metro area for health dept, which many small towns do, they will be more regional.
Depending on who you are, depending on who you know, and who the chef knows will also make a difference. I hated to type that, but this is the South.
Regulations could mean toilet with sink for handwashing specifically for STAFF. It also could mean, like another innkeeper found out, a wheelchair accessible restroom for dining guests. She is in Bedford County VA and had experience in plenty of restaurants and catering and wanted to convert her place into a prix fixe restaurant and had to build a brand new building to do this in the end.
Stainless may not or may BE a reqmt. This is for BUGS AND PESTS. Also for bugs and pests is a proper grease trap. A commercial sized grease trap.
All I can say is it ain't gonna be cheap..
You're right about the accessibility issues. Especially if 'the public' is involved, which would probably be the case if there is a 'tea room' portion to this whole idea.
 

One Day

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never understood the seperate sink for hand washing?
 

seashanty

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these are the pictures of one of the places where i may rent space. just to show you the three bay sink plus the additional sink for handwashing, the cooler (fridge) and the stainless tables. just off the kitchen, there are three restrooms, one is unisex and ada compliant, the other are traditional male/female ... all three have their own sinks.
but the stove has no range hood and there is no dishwasher, requiring sterilization in one of the sinks and 'limited cooking as determined by the local health department' as far as i have been able to determine, this means i cannot cook with oil and grease on the stove. whatever the health department here tells me, i will abide by. regretfully, the intent of the space was for caterers to reheat, not to cook, so the town did not require the additionals.

you have to go with whatever health departments, etc. rule YOUr location.
interesting, back in 2007 i was told by the health inspector that the b&b's in the state were going to start having the requirement of three sinks. i don't know when that will happen, if it's happening or if it was set aside.
keep asking questions ... be cooperative and the 'powers' will usually be helpful.
 

seashanty

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it's because a person could have ecoli or other stuff on their hands that should be washed off at the handwashing sink, not where dishes and/or food prep takes place ... cooks/staff clean their hands ... then work in the kitchen
 

JBloggs

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I have a stainless three tub sink and in the am's they are ALL full of stuff when I need to wash bacon or raw eggs off my hands. So maybe I need four! But really the rqmt s/b hands free washing, oh I long for the day to have a little foot pedal to tun the water on.
 
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