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A Restaurant is Born

It may seem a little crazy to compare building a restaurant to birth, however, surprisingly there are some similarities. Just as it takes nine months for a baby to form, it takes at least that long, and in most cases, about twice that amount of time to secure the space, get all the permits, have architectural drawings made, and then of course the actual building of the restaurant. Just as all the body's systems need time to develop, so too does that happen in a restaurant. You begin with a blank space, adding systems one on top of another. For example, all of the plumbing and air conditioning is installed in the ceiling; when you see the finished product, you can now imagine what is behind it all.

So, let's get started having a look at the brand new Earls Kitchen & Bar located in Tysons Corner, VA! My first view was from the plaza...
and here's a look at the back side, which in addition, shows a leather guy who is doing some repair work on a few of the bar stools.
Now you understand how it is situated in the bottom of a thirty story residential tower. On the bottom right is the bridge that spans the eight lane highway leading to the Metro station that I traversed multiple times in the three days I went into the city. Those stories will have to wait for another day, however, one photo I really like I took on my return to Tysons when the sun was beginning to set. This is the front door area.
What does it look line inside you ask?
Open kitchen line with gorgeous marble above it. Another direction..
And yet another direction...
The light fixtures are super great, as are the furnishings. So far you've been looking at the main dining area. Those are huge concrete beams that support the ceiling throughout the space. Adjacent to the areas above is the bar area, and more dining tables, overlooked by the art work created for the space. Remember when Bruce kicked the box because a part of the artwork was thrown out? Well, now it makes sense.....a pewter map of Washington, DC streets, times two.
The patio adjacent to the front door looks like this in the day time:
Bruce remained at work on Monday night until dark when I took this before we went to dinner.
The plaza area connects the Tysons Corner Center to the buildings, one of which is a residential tower, and one is an office building.

Tuesday night arrived and with it the opening party!! All of the glass you saw on the front of the restaurant is actually what is called a Nano wall, basically glass doors that fold like an accordion. The weather was pleasant on party night, allowing all the doors to be open when Steve (Bruce's boss) gave a little speech before the party kicked off.
I had Steve pose with Bruce for a photograph while both are breathing a sigh of relief that they've nearly made it!
Folks started pouring in, and the bar tenders started pouring as well! A good deal of the furniture was removed so folks could move around more readily to the food stations that offered bite-sized food from the menu. The chefs prepared the food on the spot.
The large piece of art on the wall you see pictured above was created by Tim who lives both in DC and California. In his younger days he actually painted on local Washington DC trains, thus the piece above. Earls is all about local. Here he is with Ellie who works out of the main office in Vancouver as part of the design team. I'm sitting across from them and both were very nice.
Sadly I did not get many photographs of the patio area which is really something, with seating for more than 100 people.
You can just see that not only are there lights on those huge umbrellas, but heaters as well! Inside here is Steve, once again, talking to Mike who was the superintendent for the general contractor. To say that he worked crazy hard is putting it mildly, seriously almost losing his mind on this job. Bruce told me he was a big guy and he sure wasn't exaggerating.
Without Mike's expertise the job would still be ongoing. Below is George who is an IT guy from Vancouver. He spent quite a few weeks on the job making sure all the systems work as they should. He's talking with a sweet young woman, whose name I've forgotten, who is an Earls manager from Calgary, here to help with the training, and the first few weeks of operation.
I told you it takes an army to build something like this, with the light fixture below as an example of that. Nearly a week of work by three men to make it happen.  Of course the carpenters first had to install the wood, following the plumbers, electricians, and ac guys work in the ceiling. Not to mention the $75,000 price tag for the fixture!
Outside, once again, the man seated on the far right is Dylan, the general manager who arrived about two months ago to begin hiring staff and coordinating training.
It really shines at night--no pun intended.
Well, the night was a success with the drinks flowing like water, evidenced by the multitude of empty glasses at our table.
The fellow on the right is Ricky, the Vancouver artist who created the pewter map, who kept telling me I reminded him of his Mother which I took as a compliment.  To say he was crazy about Bruce is putting it mildly.
People gathered around the bar. As the evening wore on, we gathered around the fire pit, and much to the Earl's folks delight, Bruce was finally having a good time.
Seated next to Bruce is Wendy, the head of design for Earls, and Jen's boss who was the designer Bruce worked with on this project. Here she's giving him a bemused look.
Yes, she is just as young as she looks! It was a long haul, but in the end, the space is gorgeous, and each and every part of the army should be very proud of their part in it, from Steve securing the space, to the guys who were washing the windows on Monday night before the party. I sure know I am proud of my darling husband. :)

And tonight, they open to the public.....

Part of the support staff,


p.s. sorry, two more photos of the small lounge area with super great furniture, and a small bar that is actually one of my favorite parts of the restaurant...
the bar...
And to think I even left stuff out...
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