Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rest Room Study

Some rest rooms realize their full potential way before they are ever finished. The new rest rooms at JJ's in Ballantyne are shaping up nicely, but they will never, ever look this cool again. At least, I hope not.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 2013

June officially signals the arrival of the dog days of summer. Kids are out of school, pools are open and the weather ‘round here starts to get HOT. This month, we celebrate the heat with offerings that are a bit on the spicy side, taking advantage of fresh ingredients - like fresh corn, chiles and cukes - that are in abundance this time of year. Also check out our month-long Super-Hero collab. We hope you enjoy…nerds.

Dog of the Week
As part of our ongoing campaign to collaborate with other local businesses in the creation of our Dog of the Week specials, the month of June will be dedicated to superheroes.  Working with Shelton Drum (owner) and Rico Renzi (Creative Director) of ‘Heroes Aren't Hard to Find’, we've created some unbelievable dogs, beginning with The Rocketeer. Pay attention to our social media blasts every Monday to see each week's super addition. (Hint for next week: You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…)

Sausage: House Made Linguiça
For June we’ll be featuring our version of the classic Portuguese Linguiça.  We’ve had this little treat on our menu before in the form of sliders, but this time we’re giving it the royal treatment.   Like the classic version, JJ’s Linguiça will be flavored heavily with paprika, garlic, and red wine vinegar, but we change it up a bit by using an ample amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves (for a bit of a sweet spice note), as well as favoring fresh cilantro over ground coriander.  Traditionally smoked, ours will be a fresh version, letting the grill impart its summer-centric nuance.  Once amply charred, we’ll top this with our own house-made quick pickles, Weber’s mustard, and diced red onion—a great combination to add some sweetness, piquancy, and crunch.

Side: Smoked Jalapeño Creamed Corn
Summer corn is a great example of why we should eat what is in season.  It’s never sweeter than during the warm weather months, so it seemed like a no-brainer to feature it on our menu for the month of June.  We’ve opted to make a creamed corn, but with our own twist, as is our usual practice.  We incorporate house-smoked bacon and house-smoked jalapeños to create a great base flavor with just the right amount of heat to balance the sweetness of the corn.  Try this while it’s around—it won’t last long!

Beer: NoDa Jam Session Pale Ale
Are you ready for an American Pale Ale that does not sacrifice great malt and hop flavor for exceptional drinkability? If so, get ready for a Jam Session. It is Noda Brewing’s sessionable pale ale with a solid backbone provided by imported Maris Otter and Caramunich malts balanced with the pine and citrus flavors of Centennial, Simcoe, and Citra hops.

ABV 5.1% SRM 6.5 IBU 31

Getting There....

Other than looking at blueprints and 3D renderings of the restaurant, you never really know what it's going to look like. If you are lucky, you know in your head what you want it to look like, but you never really know. The entire process is about trust. In yourself, in your vision for the future and most importantly, in the partners you have chosen to build the thing.

At Ballantyne, we've again chosen RBA Architects and Bradley Construction to bring this vision to life, and things are really starting to come together nicely. Dennis Caswell, our Superintendent, who works for Bradley, is the guy on the hot seat. At the beginning of the project, I was informed that Dennis likes to build restaurants. He must enjoy the challenge, because it's not for the timid. Building restaurants (an operating them) takes a fair amount of patience, restraint, creativity and know how. There's a ton of moving parts to it. And lots of activity in a relatively small space. And you really have to love it. 

Dennis' approach goes well beyond merely managing the project. He puts himself right in the middle of the design process, often thinking three or four steps ahead and has done his level best to interpret our vision and to help us avoid pitfalls wherever possible. As I sit here, I can think of three or four major issues and three or four hundred minor issues that were avoided because of Dennis' foresight.

You will see this restaurant come to life in the next few weeks. It will look beautiful and will be much more fun to operate. We made a ton of improvements prior to construction and on the fly to maximize the guest experience, and I have Dennis to thank. He sweats the small stuff. Thanks, Dennis!

Dennis Caswell

 Dennis and Master Carpenter 'Cee-ray-lo'

 Floor Finishes


looking southwest

 looking northeast

 pipe lineup