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What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a Restaurant?

Recently several of my friends and acquaintances have been having babies, many of them being their first children. In every case these first time parents were showered with advice from experts, other parents, well wishing ignoramuses like myself, and thousands of books and blogs available on the subject. I’m so grateful my excited and anxious friends got the love and support they needed (whether they wanted it or not), but I have to admit that I’m a little jealous. I mean, where’s the book entitled “What to Expect When You’re Re-Opening a Restaurant?”


Personally I never expected a surprise building and fire inspection to throw a whale-sized wrench into our spring-cleaning and refurbishment plans. Who knew that the structural and safety precautions that have kept our customers and staff safe for over ten years were wildly insufficient? And just when you thought it was dead and buried, what issue came lumbering around the corner moaning for brains? The Area of Rescue Assistance. Anyone who’s been on Uli’s brewery tour is familiar with this zombie regulation that just won’t’ die. A quick recap for the uninitiated – we have to have call boxes in several locations on the second floor of our building so that, incase of emergency, anyone in a wheelchair may get to these call boxes and summon assistance. A completely reasonable requirement if our second floor was wheelchair accessible. Spoiler alert: it isn’t.


When we weren’t contorting through hoops to please domineering inspectors, we were scrambling to repair equipment and resurface 10,000 square feet of floors. I was somewhat prepared for the noxious fumes, but rushing to order more of the right shade of gray at the last minute to avoid a tie-dye dining room was definitely an unforeseen challenge. Not to mention walking around the entire building to avoid wet floor zones and the near impossible task of reconciling the painting schedule and supplies with the demanding brewery schedule. The latter circumstance resulted in the compromise of fresh beer and a half painted floor. Better luck next year!


Of course it hasn’t all been regulatory Battle Royales and toxic epoxy sieges. We’ve got some exciting new additions to our menu that our chefs have been experimenting with during our hiatus. Without USDA inspection we are really looking forward to expanding our offerings into, amongst other things, the previously prohibited province of poultry. There are some mouthwatering chicken sausage recipes in the works! And the brewers have been experimenting too! Our High Tide Juicy IPA is just coming online and so is our Kaffee Kolsch. Blending our popular OBX Kolsch with locally roasted coffee from Front Porch Café’s Kill Devil Coffee Roasters, this beer is completely different from anything we’ve ever done before and it’s absolutely fantastic!

So here we are, down to the wire. It may only have been a nine-week gestation, but it’s been uncomfortable, painful, and resulted in a lot of sleepless nights! Our due date is approaching and, inspectors permitting, there will be a happy and healthy restaurant waiting for you on March 16th!