I talked to chef and restaurateur Nick Badovinus last night, after an intense phone-stalking session spurred by rumors of an amazing sub-$5 burger and great sandwiches. His new restaurant in the Design District, Off-Site Kitchen (2226 Irving Blvd.), has been in teaser mode for weeks, and I'm ready to see if the new endeavor impresses me as much as his first three restaurants.
He's almost ready to open. Almost.
"We're in the death spasms of the creative process," he told me, adding that they're still adapting what is a completely different restaurant concept from what they're used to.
For now they're still moving furniture around, trying the coffee machine over here, trying the coffee machine over there, tweaking menus as they open up for friends and family two to three days a week to test out those tweaks.
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Badovinus' other ventures, the Neighborhood Services family of restaurants, serve only dinner. He's used to coming in mornings to prep, not to bang out egg sandwiches the second the door opens at 6:30 a.m.
"It's an entirely new business model for us -- more cash and carry," he said, comparing the new store front to his sit-down restaurants. Off-Site Kitchen will only be open for breakfast and lunch, and while there is some seating it's designed for most customers to grab their grub and go.
"We're taking it easy," he said of the slow road to open doors. But he also knows that paying rent while not turning tables is like taking a Bic to his capital. "Burn is never good."
That in mind, things are getting close. "Still about two weeks out," he said. "It's long overdue."