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Update from Arkie

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Arks

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I've been in self-imposed exile for a couple of months, but have been lurking in the background here about 20 times/day, jotting down helpful tips every day. (THANKS!) Also thanks to Cam with whom I've been in regular e-mail contact. She's been very supportive.
I had a martini after work today and it impelled me to open my big mouth again, so here it is, the latest update from Arkansas.
STILL trying to get "my" building downtown. My offer was accepted, but the building owner canceled the "closing" on the sale. Seems she's getting a divorce and the husband's lawyer told him not to sign the papers until he has time to look them over. My lawyer tells me my signed offer acceptance is a legally binding contract, so I WILL get the 115-year-old building but it may take a while longer.
Based on this, I have the architect coming tomorrow with his crew to measure the building and start the plans.
I've decided my best hope for success is to get a Bed and Breakfast Private Club alcohol permit from the state. This Arkansas permit allows sale of beer and wine only, and only to registered guests. I'm in a dry county. NO alcohol sales allowed except at private clubs. I'm in the largest town in the county and there's no place here where you can get a glass of wine or bottle of beer. I plan to remedy that.
There are two important requirements to get an Arkansas B&B alcohol permit: must serve a cooked breakfast prepared onsite and must have an owner or manager living onsite. I feel this permit is important enough to be worth meeting these requirements since I'll never lure city folk to a dry county in the middle of nowhere otherwise.
So we're building night manager quarters into the plan, and a full kitchen (I'll be hiring a cook and helper. My brother will be night manager/bartender.).
We spent Labor Day studying the recipe section of this forum ('twas fun), and we'll be preparing one recipe a week for the next 7 weeks to taste them and work on presentation. Looking forward to that! We picked "Make Ahead Scrambled Eggs", "Asiago Bagel Breakfast Bake", "Crustless Ham and Egg Tarts", "Upside Down Banana Pecan Pancake", "Baked Eggs Benedict", "Waffle Apple Crisp", and "Easy Egg Casserole that you will use over and over". Also, "Pecan Pie Muffins" will be on the list as a side dish. We'll look for a few more. Need at least one more sweet treat in the rotation...French toast probably.
We picked things that are quick and easy to prepare, and that the forum members said were winners.
I want to offer breakfast 8:30-10:00 with one of these specials every day, in rotation, and also offer every day "2 eggs any style, bacon or sausage, and toast", or selection of hot or cold cereals, yoghurt, fruits, etc. We'll see how it goes. Folks needing an earlier breakfast will get a limited continental breakfast basket.
Walmart carries a good pre-cooked sausage that just needs to be heated, and Sysco has good pre-cooked bacon that just needs to be zapped (microwaved). I've tasted them and they're fine, quick and easy. We'll prepare enough of the daily "special" based on number of guests in-house. If some pick the eggs or cereal over the daily special, leftovers will go to the staff and to my family of five. I picture little or no waste (but I've been called clueless before
).
Since my dream from the beginning has been to have an Irish pub in my place, I'm also thinking of offering an evening pub menu. Just good but frozen stuff (like from Schwann's) that can be microwaved and served easily for folks who arrive in the evening and don't want to go out looking for a meal (not much to offer in our little town...a catfish place, a BBQ place, a steak place, 3 Chinese, 2 Mexican, McD's, Sonic, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, KFC and that's about it). I think being able to offer some wine or beer with a pub menu will be fairly easy and a nice service for the guests (and with the potential to make a nice little profit on the accompanying alcohol sales).
 

domsmom

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Hope it all goes well. I spent many a summer in Arkansas, just had guests from El Dorado. And I love the Irish Pub idea. There is a Claddaugh Irish Pub in my city that is (or was) redecorating and auctioning off many authentic Irish items, let me know if you are interested and I can give you there contact.
 

Arks

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Hope it all goes well. I spent many a summer in Arkansas, just had guests from El Dorado. And I love the Irish Pub idea. There is a Claddaugh Irish Pub in my city that is (or was) redecorating and auctioning off many authentic Irish items, let me know if you are interested and I can give you there contact..
Thanks! I'll talk to the architect regarding his Irish plans. Actually, what I want to recreate is a pub we visited in Wales in June. I fell in love with the place. Their video is good but hardly does it justice... www.youtube.com/watch
(And there'll be no open flames at my place! Dimplex all the way!)
 
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Hope it all goes well. I spent many a summer in Arkansas, just had guests from El Dorado. And I love the Irish Pub idea. There is a Claddaugh Irish Pub in my city that is (or was) redecorating and auctioning off many authentic Irish items, let me know if you are interested and I can give you there contact..
Thanks! I'll talk to the architect regarding his Irish plans. Actually, what I want to recreate is a pub we visited in Wales in June. I fell in love with the place. Their video is good but hardly does it justice... www.youtube.com/watch
(And there'll be no open flames at my place! Dimplex all the way!)
.
WOW ! now thats an elegant PUB !Mary in Bwater.
 

JBloggs

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Thanks for the update, I figured you were working hard behind the scenes somewhere. As you find we adjust the plans accordingly, sometimes it brings us to a better place, so we have to roll with the punches.
Quote I just read on twitter:
[FONT= 'Lucida Grande']You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. ~ Jim Rohn[/FONT]
 

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Glad to see you back and that you have been quite busy with the planning. Keep us informed while you transform.
 

Samster

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Welcome back and thanks for sharing your updated plans with the forum. Best of luck with the purchase of the building...I'm empathetic.
We were in negotiations to buy a turnkey B&B and the owner was in the process of divorcing. She was very bitter and in a bad place which prevented her from realizing that she had solid buyers. The business numbers had also declined due to the divorce and we were basically buying it as real estate. We couldn't agree on a price and her realtor even said that she was being extremely difficult. We bowed out. She ended up holding onto the property for another 3 years and selling it for way less than we offered. It's now been re-done by new owners much like we planned and is really lovely.
Life takes us in new directions all the time. Keep us posted on how your plans go!
 

One Day

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Ark..........
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
Don't get me wrong........I love processed food......frozen, canned, whatever.......great in a pinch when to worn out to actualy make dinner and or when time is short.........................or...........when in my drinking days. Go to a bar near where we parked our trucks, swimming in a bottle of Absolut
On a trip........whether it's an hours drive or a several hour plane ride.....I wouldn't be looking for frozen food.
Seen several B&B websites that do dinners......by reservation only...........perhaps explore that option.
What may work..........Paninis....wraps.....stuff like that.........they're real easy to throw together.
 

muirford

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Ark..........
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
Don't get me wrong........I love processed food......frozen, canned, whatever.......great in a pinch when to worn out to actualy make dinner and or when time is short.........................or...........when in my drinking days. Go to a bar near where we parked our trucks, swimming in a bottle of Absolut
On a trip........whether it's an hours drive or a several hour plane ride.....I wouldn't be looking for frozen food.
Seen several B&B websites that do dinners......by reservation only...........perhaps explore that option.
What may work..........Paninis....wraps.....stuff like that.........they're real easy to throw together..
One Day said:
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
I kindof agree - I think a better idea would be a gastropub, or a limited version of a gastropub. Good quality food, local ingredients, very small manageable menu, good draft beers.
 

Joey Camb

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depends on your supplier we have a big pub just near us and people rave about the food and I know for a fact that they don't have a kitchen and just microwave everything! you wouldn't be able to tell from the food.
 

Arks

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Ark..........
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
Don't get me wrong........I love processed food......frozen, canned, whatever.......great in a pinch when to worn out to actualy make dinner and or when time is short.........................or...........when in my drinking days. Go to a bar near where we parked our trucks, swimming in a bottle of Absolut
On a trip........whether it's an hours drive or a several hour plane ride.....I wouldn't be looking for frozen food.
Seen several B&B websites that do dinners......by reservation only...........perhaps explore that option.
What may work..........Paninis....wraps.....stuff like that.........they're real easy to throw together..
One Day said:
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
Oh I agree completely! A great freshly-prepared meal with fresh local ingredients would be much better. I just don't think it's possible for us. It's got to be something easy the night manager can whip up. I can't pay a real cook to sit there all evening on the outside chance that a couple of the guests will want to eat in-house.
I'm not talking "TV dinners", of course, and the food's just there if they want it and we'll be quite clear that it's not fine dining, it's just something hot and decent if they're tired and hungry and don't want to go looking for a restaurant after dark on their first evening in town.
We have a good bistro a block from us where we'll direct folks for evening meals, but they're only open for dinner THU, FRI, and SAT. I need something for the other nights.
 

JBloggs

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Pretty sure he is not advertising "Eat here for frozen food"
As much as we would like to think everything is fresh and local, you can't hide the giant sysco trucks that pull up to every restaurant and pub. Or in many cases the COSTCO food. UGH.
 

gillumhouse

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Ark..........
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
Don't get me wrong........I love processed food......frozen, canned, whatever.......great in a pinch when to worn out to actualy make dinner and or when time is short.........................or...........when in my drinking days. Go to a bar near where we parked our trucks, swimming in a bottle of Absolut
On a trip........whether it's an hours drive or a several hour plane ride.....I wouldn't be looking for frozen food.
Seen several B&B websites that do dinners......by reservation only...........perhaps explore that option.
What may work..........Paninis....wraps.....stuff like that.........they're real easy to throw together..
One Day said:
The evening pub menu....i don't know about the frozen stuff.....
Oh I agree completely! A great freshly-prepared meal with fresh local ingredients would be much better. I just don't think it's possible for us. It's got to be something easy the night manager can whip up. I can't pay a real cook to sit there all evening on the outside chance that a couple of the guests will want to eat in-house.
I'm not talking "TV dinners", of course, and the food's just there if they want it and we'll be quite clear that it's not fine dining, it's just something hot and decent if they're tired and hungry and don't want to go looking for a restaurant after dark on their first evening in town.
We have a good bistro a block from us where we'll direct folks for evening meals, but they're only open for dinner THU, FRI, and SAT. I need something for the other nights.
.
If you are hiring a cook and helper for breakfasts, you could also have a beef roast made, bake a ham, do a pan of pork chops....... Slice and package in single servings, vaccuum seal and freeze. Your poatoes could be nuker-style twice baked or whatever is available in the frozen foods, and the veggies from the freezer. Gives a "real" meal in a few minutes that will bring a fair dollar with not a lot of work from the "night manager". Keep a loaf of a good Italian bread on hand.
 

egoodell

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Pretty sure he is not advertising "Eat here for frozen food"
As much as we would like to think everything is fresh and local, you can't hide the giant sysco trucks that pull up to every restaurant and pub. Or in many cases the COSTCO food. UGH..
Joey Bloggs said:
Pretty sure he is not advertising "Eat here for frozen food"
As much as we would like to think everything is fresh and local, you can't hide the giant sysco trucks that pull up to every restaurant and pub. Or in many cases the COSTCO food. UGH.
Yep we stay away from that stuff. We don't use frozen anything unless we can't get fresh veggies at the farmers market or grocery stores. We do freeze our muffin batter to bake as needed.
One of my favorite restaurants here MAS showed Costco the door when they visited them when they opened. They even bake their own bread. WONDERFUL!
RIki
 

EmptyNest

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Pretty sure he is not advertising "Eat here for frozen food"
As much as we would like to think everything is fresh and local, you can't hide the giant sysco trucks that pull up to every restaurant and pub. Or in many cases the COSTCO food. UGH..
Yeah..our used to be "natural" restaurant...is supplied by Sysco now :-(
FUnny..on Labor Day, some guests wanted to have dinner there. Called for reservation and they were told they were closing early because they ran out of french fries and mushrooms !!! What the???? They had everything else, but were closing because someone was so dumb, they didn't even think to go down the street to WalMart and pick up some.......good grief. What a way to run a business!!
 

One Day

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Gillum's idea sounds great to me..........like having leftovers.........prefer leftovers to frozen burgers.
Ark........I understand what you intend..........it just may fly........as you say..........the arriving evening........arrive late, restuarants are not open and they didn't think to stop at McD's or B'King...........I'd be cool with that, in that scenario.........Microwave away........just not the instant microwave Mac&cheese
 

One Day

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to add............that bar I mentioned above.............they did burgers on a George Foreman grill
 

Arks

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Gillum's idea sounds great to me..........like having leftovers.........prefer leftovers to frozen burgers.
Ark........I understand what you intend..........it just may fly........as you say..........the arriving evening........arrive late, restuarants are not open and they didn't think to stop at McD's or B'King...........I'd be cool with that, in that scenario.........Microwave away........just not the instant microwave Mac&cheese.
One Day said:
...I understand what you intend..........it just may fly........
Yes and of course I can and will make adjustments as we see how it goes. My current floor plan calls for opening with 6 guest rooms, with potential to add one or two more as time goes on.
I think we could swing serving a cooked-from-scratch evening meal if a couple or two show up and want food in the evening. But I've got to be prepared for the possibility that a dozen or more could show up if the place is full for the night and everybody happens to want supper, and don't all want the same thing. Serving that many with a small staff just HAS to include some frozen foods.
Microwaves are nice, but I'm also impressed with what toaster ovens and skillets can do with some frozen foods. For instance, if you heat Schwann's frozen Mediterranean Vegetable Blend 10 minutes in a skillet with a little olive oil, until the onions blacken a bit, it's amazingly good!
 

Samster

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Pretty sure he is not advertising "Eat here for frozen food"
As much as we would like to think everything is fresh and local, you can't hide the giant sysco trucks that pull up to every restaurant and pub. Or in many cases the COSTCO food. UGH..
Yeah..our used to be "natural" restaurant...is supplied by Sysco now :-(
FUnny..on Labor Day, some guests wanted to have dinner there. Called for reservation and they were told they were closing early because they ran out of french fries and mushrooms !!! What the???? They had everything else, but were closing because someone was so dumb, they didn't even think to go down the street to WalMart and pick up some.......good grief. What a way to run a business!!
.
I'm in a much bigger city here than where you are and that kind of stuff happens all the time with the local restaurants. They may not close but they are out of an item shortly after opening for whatever meal service. I'm not talking about specials but regular menu items. Nothing fancy either. It's really odd to me. You'd think that they would get the ordering & prep under control!
For example, the local coffee shop ALWAYS runs out of eggs on Saturday morning by around 9 AM so you can't order any of their dee-lish breakfast panninis.
 

Samster

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to add............that bar I mentioned above.............they did burgers on a George Foreman grill.
My husband cooked everything he needed to with a clam shell grill, microwave, and toaster oven for 3 months before I got here. And my son, who is a really good cook, managed to cook everything with a microwave/convention oven and a 2 burner hot plate in his studio apt for about 9 months. :)
 
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