Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

NOV 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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26 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • NOVEMBER 2018 DUAL DIVAS: EXHAUST, UTILITIES While every building is different and infrastructure needs can vary signi- cantly from concept to concept, putting new kitchens into older structures requires careful attention to a few com- mon areas. Top among them: exhaust systems and utilities, the dual divas of any commercial kitchen project and the two areas on which operators can wind up unexpectedly having to spend the most money — even before getting to the actual designing and equipping of the kitchen. "Hood ventilation systems are very problematic in older buildings," notes Joe Spinelli, president of Restaurant Consultants Inc., based in College Park, Md. Spinelli, trained as an architect and a licensed general contractor, has developed several restaurant concepts over the years and retrotted many older buildings for both client and personal projects. "Most of the counties and cities require them to be vented through the roof, so you may need to allow for design and installation of ductwork through the †oors above your tenant space. And the ceilings in many older buildings are low, making hood installation extremely difcult if not impossible. Custom solutions are often required, which means much more time and money." Meeting re safety codes, too, can be problematic, Spinelli adds. Installing a sprinkler system in an older build- ing that wasn't designed for one, for instance, is both time consuming and costly. That issue came into play when designing and building Ida B's Table, a southern-style restaurant recently opened in a historic candy box factory building in Baltimore. Constructed in 1915 and granted landmark status in 2013, the building's new kitchen had to be able to handle high-volume produc- tion for dine-in, banquet, catering and carryout business. "They put the sprinkler system in, but the equipment dealer didn't realize the compressor was going on the roof, on the top of the walk- in," Spinelli says. "And the compressor didn't t because the sprinkler system was in the way. These are problems you don't have with newer buildings where ceiling heights are higher." SSA, a foodservice design and consulting rm with ofces in Tampa, Fla., and New York, offers another example. The rm was asked to design the kitchen for a new location being developed by a San Francisco chef. The building the restaurant was going into wasn't especially old — 10 or 15 years at most. But its inherent constraints — primarily, lack of ductwork sufcient to handle the restaurant's anticipated exhaust needs — required a multilay- ered problem-solving approach. "We were going in on the ground †oor of the ofce building. When the building was constructed, someone had thought of including a restaurant on that level, and they had included a re-rated shaft going through part of the building," says Ken Schwartz, FCSI, president of SSA. "Most of the other space on the ground †oor was slated for retail, or banking or ofces. The issue was that our client took the entire ground †oor for his restaurant. As we started to get into design meet- ings, the rst thing we requested was to talk about systems. He didn't quite understand why, noting that we didn't even have a design yet. But the reality is that infrastructure and systems might control the design." Ultimately, the reality was that the existing shaft allowing for ductwork to route through and then out of the building was too small to handle the menu the chef had planned and the anticipated volume of cooking. And expanding it wasn't feasible: Doing so would have required cutting through already-occupied †oors above and installing columns, inside of which the ducts could run en route to the roof. The ultimate solution: Reverse en- gineer the restaurant's cooking systems to work around the constraints of the building's existing shaft. A 1920s art deco oce building in Chicago was recently transformed into the boutique Robey Hotel, which includes a main •oor cafe (right), second-•oor lounge (above) and roof- top lounge. Cini-Little's team installed multiple kitchens, shifting designs and layouts along the way to work around existing infrastructure. Photo by Adrian Gaut NEW KITCHENS, OLD BUILDINGS

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