Mint Resto·Bar is Now Open

Darcy O'Neil :: July 23, 2006 12:59 PM
mint restobarIt is official, Mint became fully operational on Thursday (July 20, 2006). With any restaurant opening there was the last minute preparations, like menu’s arriving sixty minutes before opening. I spent most of the week at the restaurant prep’ing the bar, finalizing the wording of all the menu’s and just getting everything lined up and ready to go. If you have ever watched the Food Network show called Opening Soon, then you may understand what I mean by last “minute preparations,” and if not I’ll give you an idea in this post, but check out Opening Soon if you get a chance, it’s a good program.

Background:

Mint Restobar came out of the hard work of Frank Guorcio who has had over 17 years of experience in the fine dining industry. He previously worked at La Casa Ristorante and was a fixture there for many years. The reality is that Frank knows everyone and ensures that when you dine at a restaurant under his control, you will thoroughly enjoy it and feel welcomed.

Chef Adam Vaughn heads up the kitchen. He worked at La Casa before heading to England for a couple of years. He worked at the George Hotel and the Fat Duck, the number two rated restaurant in the world in 2006. He came back to London, Ontario and worked at Tru Restaurant before rejoined Frank to create Mint. The menu has Italian influences, but also has other worldly influences such as Miso Scallops with Thai Bacon and a very nice Chicken Quesadilla appetizer. Salmon is very prominent on the menu at the current time. The menu is going to be updated regularly with new and creative culinary ideas.

Mint Restobar


Night One (Thursday, July 20, 2006)

Overall the bar ran fairly smoothly, and the first night we only had a moderate sized crowd that allowed us to work out how things are going to work. Until you are actually doing the "real thing," you can plan as much as you want, but it never works out. So it was a good thing that the reservations were nicely spaced out and people were just dropping in for a drink and appetizer to check out the new restaurant. I also made the decision not to bring the cocktail menu out for the first weekend, just to give me some space to get my work routine mapped out. The cocktail choice for most was the vodka martini.

I ended up with "neuron inferno" which is when your mind can't stop thinking about the night. Basically, you go to bed and you are still at work, then you wake up and your first thought is work. This partially because I put in an 18 hour day. Yes, 18 hours of work can do odd things to ones brain.

Night Two (Friday, July 21, 2006)

On Friday things picked up quickly and it was busy. The reservations were perfectly spaced out so the pace was controlled and everything ran smoothly. The drink choices for Friday were Black Russians and Navan. I introduced a couple of people to Navan on Friday and it seems to have hit the mark. Friday went exceptionally smooth and, for me, it couldn't have been any better. The kitchen also mirrored that and had a great night.

My night ended with a nice cold Steam Whistle. But my brain was still working over time, but that's ok.

Night Three (Saturday, July 22, 2006)

The Saturday started off slow, but around 7PM things picked up, and then they just kept picking up. It became a little hectic as people would decide to have drinks at the bar first, then go to their table. This made things a little disorderly for some reason, especially when they transferred. When people sit at the bar I have to take the order, punch it in and then make the drink which eats up some time. If the guests sit at their table and order drinks, I can just focus on the drinks and not all of the "paper work." But I'm glad they take the opportunity to sit at the bar, it gives me a chance to increase their confidence in the bartender and possibly break out of the "vodka martini" habit.   The big drinks were cosmo's, vodka martini's and specialty coffee's. Navan was still popular and the bottle should be empty pretty soon.

My night ended with a pint of Guiness with my co-workers. Then I paid a visit to another bar that I worked at just to say hi.

Overall, a great first week. The food is getting great reviews, the cocktails are being very well received, when I get a chance to make them for people. The classic Singapore Sling is going over really well and once I get the cocktail menu out things should only get better and busier.


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