Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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OCTOBER 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 77 The wood-fired chargrill, though, receives the most customer interest. Staff members use a wheel to raise and lower each side of the grill to cook menu items at specific temperatures. For example, they lower one side close to the hot embers for cooking the six steak options at 1,000 degrees F and above. They cook lamb and pork on this side as well. Staff members raise the other side to cook chicken and fish such as skin-on red snapper at 500 degrees F. "Each chamber has a separate fire box with its own wood, which gives the food cooked here its flavor," Egnor says. "We must pay careful attention to the entire cooking pro- cess because we don't have a consistent flame like you have on gas charbroilers," Alexander says. "We have to watch the cook- ing by eye. This is definitely a craft that must be learned." The two-basket fryers produce steak fries, Buffalo spring rolls, fried green tomatoes and calamari. "We put in a remote oil system because the restaurant doesn't have the space to store oil," Egnor says. "A company runs pipes that connect to the fryers, and once a week, in the middle of the night, their staff arrives in a truck and takes out old oil and pumps in new oil." All the food comes together at a front counter. A glass partition separates it from the dining area. Servers come to this expediting window to pick up plates of food and deliver them to guests. "There is no room in the back of the house to pick up the plates," Egnor says. The restaurant offers banquet events during breakfast and lunch hours. For off-site catered events, staff either take chilled food to the site and heat it in equipment there or arrive with hot food in transportable hot boxes. The Full-Service Bar and Sustainable Practices A full-service bar features a hammered copper counter- top, four 36-bottle wine coolers and 12 beers on tap. "We installed two levels of glass storage so staff can always get to the glassware," Egnor says. The premium liquor is stored on four levels that staff access by climbing a library ladder. Staff prepare flavored bourbons by smoking the liquor in a clear glass skull. The restaurant also creates it own signature flavored bourbons (varieties include vanilla, raspberry honey, coffee, black cherry pepper), and they are always fermenting a new barrel for all to experience. The bar also contains a backbar cooler, an underbar ice chest, an underbar blender station and an undercounter warewasher. The ice machine produces large cubes, while an- other ice machine for the restaurant menu produces standard cubes for water and soft drinks. Alexander intends to remain loyal to locally produced food, such as chicken and beef. He works with distributors to piggyback deliveries with other restaurants to minimize deliveries. He sole-sources dairy so truck drivers can restock these ingredients and make sure the restaurant receives the freshest products available. "To keep this operating efficiently and maintain the high quality, you've got to be on-site doing the work," Alexander says. "You must contribute and give staff members direction." The future promises growth and expansion. Within a year, Zientek and his team will open a catering facility located about two hours from the restaurant, which will support their outreach further into the community. FE&S Vincent Alexander, executive chef, The Woodlands Steakhouse & Bourbon Bar. Alexander joined his current position at the end of July 2017. Previously he worked at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center, the San Luis Resort in Galveston, Texas, the Four Seasons in Houston and the Houston Country Club. John Egnor, principal, JME Hospitality, The Woodlands, Texas. Egnor began working in hospitality design more than 35 years ago. JME Hospitality provides design for all segments of the hospitality industry. Two almost-opened projects include convention and resort hotels at The Gaylord Rockies in Denver and Gaylord Chula Vista in San Diego. Nathan Moore, principal and architect, NM21 Design Studio, Houston. Before starting his own firm in 2011, Moore worked with a small design-build firm in the Galleria area of Houston. NM21's 200 projects include Alta Mesa Holdings LP in The Woodlands and Houston and multiple projects for Workforce Solutions, a division of the parent company Baker Ripley. Mark Zientek, managing partner, The Refuge Steakhouse & Bourbon Bar and The Refuge Bistro & Bar. Before opening this restaurant and bar, Zientek opened The Refuge Bar & Bistro in The Woodlands in 2013. Previously he worked at Carlton Woods Country Club and The Woodlands Development Company near Houston. MEET THE PLAYERS

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