Before we started construction, my contractors warned me that there would be a lonnnng period when my restaurant space would seemingly look the same from day to day. If you're wondering why you haven't read a Contigo update in nearly 6 weeks, that's the reason. If Contigo were a ship, she would be adrift in the doldrums. A crew of six to eight guys come on board every day for eight or so hours. They pound, bang, saw, drill, dig, heave, ho, curse, grunt, sing pirate songs (okay, I made that last bit up). The work they're performing is vital. Plumbing and gas lines have been installed; foundations laid; framing, seismic upgrades, and some roofing and HVAC (duct work for the ventilation system) work has been completed. Unfortunately for this blog, these accomplishments aren't so photogenic. How many more artsy photos of nails and drains can I expect you to tolerate?
There is one exception: the concrete pours. I already documented the first one, performed just before Christmas. Since my last "Behind the Paper" post, there have been two more pours. The exciting news is that Contigo now has floors. Woohoo! The bummer is there are still two more pours to go.
Which begs the question: "Why so many separate pours? Why not do it all in one go?"
The answer lies in the elevation of the property. If everything were on one level, one or two pours would have sufficed. Unfortunately, that's not the case. While the building that houses Contigo is all at street level, the backyard is a couple of feet higher. In order to get enough seats to make this construction worth my investment, I need to be able to use the back patio for additional restaurant seating. Nearly a third of Contigo's seating will be outdoors. The restaurant is only permitted to use the backyard if it makes the area accessible to diners who use a wheelchair. Of the two possible solutions — lowering the backyard to street level or installing a ramp to access the higher backyard — the latter proved less expensive. My architect decided to split the dining area into two tiers with two access points, one by three stairs and one by ramp.
The second pour filled in the upper dining area at the back of the restaurant, including the stairs and part of the wheelchair ramp. The bulk of the ramp and the lower dining area were filled in with the third pour at the end of last week. As I was looking at the space over the weekend, I had a thought. If this whole restaurant thing doesn't pan out, I can always turn Contigo into a skateboard park.
Next up: more HVAC work, roofing, the beginning of electrical rough in, closing up the walls. The last item is the one I'm waiting for. Then things will really start to heat up.