I acknowledge that it certainly is frustrating show up at our restaurant expecting to enjoy a particular dish, only to find that we are sold out or that it is not longer on the menu. Let me explain why this happens occasionally.

Estimations

In a small place like ours, we have to make estimations on how many items we believe we will sell on a given night. We get this number from two different sources. One, from past performance and receptivity and two, out of thin air. In October, Mac & 3 Cheese was a hit, so we prepared to sell more. Then comes a random Wednesday night when most of Lincoln got the memo about this dish and showed up all at once to enjoy it and within 45 min, almost every order was for Mac & 3 Cheese. We sold out completely.

Since we rely on our own preparation and not a Sysco product, we can’t just step back into the walk-in and grab another bag and push 4 on the microwave and meet the demand. Others can get away with this and the customer never knows the difference. I know we run the risk of disappointing you in this way, but in our business there is never a sure fire way to estimate demand.

Supply

This happens with specialty items, like our Camembert cheese that is hand crafted on a small farm northwest of town. Replenishing our supply is not akin to running to the store to grab a gallon of milk. When we run out, we run out, and have to wait for the next batch to be ready.

We have a different problem with our beer supply. We have access to purchasing extra beer, but where do we put it? If you’ve noticed, there is no back entrance to bread&cup. We don’t have a storeroom, or a basement, or a walk-in cooler or the luxury of storage space to contain extra kegs or bottles. When a keg runs dry, there is no back up, because there is no place for us to put one. This is one of those limitation we’ve had to learn to live with.

Variety

I’ve been to eat at places where I would describe the food as tired. It just didn’t look alive on the plate. This could be due to an off night in the kitchen, or it could likely be due to the number of times that dish has been plated. If the line gets bored with what they are creating, it will show up on the plate looking flaccid and uninteresting. To avoid this, we update our Early Week menu every month, serving the same entrees on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for four weeks. We feature handcrafted pizzas on Thursday, and add a new combination as well. Friday and Saturday menus are different every week. Why is this?

It all comes down to this; I don’t want anyone bored in my restaurant. I don’t want cooks on autopilot and disinterested, and I don’t want customers who grow tired of eating our food. It requires more attention and more work to do it this way, but I didn’t go into this business for the easy hours. I do it to make people happy, the kind of happiness that makes my kitchen staff feel good about the quality of their work, and the kind that makes you, the customer utter those descriptive noises instead of actual words when I come out of the kitchen and visit the table. I know what you mean.

In other news, we will soon be creating dishes from the Berkshire hog purchased from Bluff Valley Farm in Rulo, NE, raised by a 9 year old boy named Jacob. Berkshire are not a new breed, but are getting attention in the food world for their excellent flavor. High end restaurants on the east coast are buying these out of Iowa and shipping them back for use in their kitchens. How fortunate for me to find Jacob, from a Nebraska farm, who takes good care of the animal himself and is learning the value of farm work. You will get an excellent product this way without paying the high price tag.

You have 12 Mac n cheese all day…