Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2014

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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e&s segment spotlight Q&A Although many would consider Murray's Restaurant in Minneapolis a steakhouse, third- generation co-owners and siblings Tim, Jill and James Murray stop short when it comes to this designation. "We consider ourselves a fne-dining restau- rant specializing in steak," says Tim Murray. Murray's opened its doors in 1946 and still operates from the same location. The restaurant is not only well-known for its aged steaks, but also a diverse secondary menu and busy bar. "During the week, we predominantly serve profession- als and those conducting business, while on the weekend, it's families celebrating birthdays and other events," Murray says. "It's a contrast between the midweek and weekend." FE&S spoke with Tim Murray about recent changes to Murray's, what makes his operation unique and how the restaurant has thrived in the competitive steakhouse segment. FE&S: Murray's has stood the test of time. What are recent changes that have been made to update your operation? TM: Last year, the restaurant underwent its frst major renovation in almost 30 years. Although the nostalgic look was preserved, the dining room layout was redesigned to be more intimate. Booth seating was added, along with 2 private dining rooms that accommodate up to 25 people each. In the last 10 to 15 years there has been an increase in customers seeking private dining op- tions. Although the addition of the private dining rooms reduced seating from 180 to 110, there is more room between tables. FE&S: Were there other changes to the décor that helped update the space? TM: We changed our color scheme. It was formerly pink, and now it is teal. Also, the booth seating pattern was changed. There's more diversity in terms of the dining room's appearance, which has more of a modern look. FE&S: Were there any changes to the back of house? TM: Although we didn't renovate the kitchen layout, we did purchase new equipment. This USDA Prime steak represents the core of the menu, and while many steakhouses offer one or two prime varieties, this is the specialty at III Forks. In addition to USDA Prime bone-in rib eye, strip and porterhouse steak, the menu in- cludes fresh seafood, regional specials and a variety of sides, including the III Forks salad, off-the-cob creamed corn and duchess whipped potatoes. III Forks also focuses on regional fare and ingredients. For example, at each location chefs identify local cheese within their markets to include in charcuterie plates. "We also discovered when serving shrimp cocktail in Florida, customers seek Key West shrimp, which are sweeter than the brown tiger shrimp served at our other locations," Watson says. In the last fve years, menus at all locations have added less costly regional fare, such as a veal porter- house in Austin and rack of lamb in Chicago. The menu also features ex- panded appetizers and bar offerings to appeal to a younger demographic. To broaden its demo- graphic even more, the concept has adapted to better cater to vegetarians. Meat-free pasta dishes include pasta primavera and ravioli with mushrooms and root vegetables. "Also, as a steakhouse, wine is important to us," Watson says. "Each location offers a broad array of primarily California cabernet wines, which pair well with our steaks." Supporting this diverse menu is a kitchen that comprises between 35 percent and 38 percent of each restaurant's square footage. Here, upright steakhouse broilers take center stage. ● ● RELIABILITY: Because the majority of high-end steakhouses are open only for dinner, any equipment downtime can be disastrous. Units must be durable and reliable to withstand the smaller windows of high-volume use. ● ● FLEXIBILITY: Because most steakhouse menus ofer a variety of other dishes, equipment is typically designated for double- or triple-duty service. ● ● STORAGE: Steakhouses typically utilize dedicated refrigerated storage for meats as well as short-term storage at the cooking line. This requires larger walk-ins as well as reach-ins and/ or refrigerated drawers for optimum speed and efciency. E&S CONSIDERATIONS Tim Murray, co-owner, Murray's Restaurant, Minneapolis As part of a dining room renovation, Murray's added booth seating. 80 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2014

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