Well on the way now with Uchiko towards it becoming it’s own personality and likeness to it’s older sister after 9 months. The food continues to evolve, the service improves and the guests seem to be happier and happier. Good times. Each day presents a new opportunity, and ways to refine and come up with new ideas to constantly challenge ourselves and our staff. I started doing a competition at Uchi years back based on the popular TV show “chopped”, and now we’re doing it at both restaurants…with the final four staff contestants (2 from each place) competing in the final next month! I used to love the day of the competitions; i’d go to Whole foods or Central Market and pick out the 3 or 4 theme ingredients to challenge their creativity. It was such a good format to get the staff involved, challenge our cooks and bring life into the culture of our passionate staff in the front and back of the house. The last round i bought: whole chickens, white asparagus, butterscotch syrup and strawberry dried powder. (the bunny kind!).
Uchi Houston update: Looks like we’ll be open by Nov.1. So much to do before then, i’ll get to know the drive well. Thinking about a larger,heavier car with that in mind too. The space of the old Felix restaurant is now cleaned out, (it was horrible when we first went inside after being empty for almost 3 years, a couple fires and homeless living inside), but now you can really see the bones of the building and the space; very little of which we’re going to change too drastically in order to pay respect to a place that was so iconic to Houston for so many years in the past. We’ll bring new life to it, updated, and ready to serve the best Japanese food in the city. Uchi,again.
Hiring like crazy now in preparation for the opening; we’ll dilute both our ATX restaurant in order to open Houston and will need to fill those spots pro-actively in time to get everyone up to speed and trained to our standards. We’re sending our director of opps, 2 mgrs, 2 chefs, and 2 sushi chefs to Houston semi-permanently, and Phil and i will be whisking back and forth quite a bit to oversee operations. (Maybe we should film the whole thing and add it to our social media footprint too?!)