Author Topic: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds  (Read 60044 times)

Offline Ms. Jackson

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #60 on: September 19, 2015, 09:35:49 PM »
I dislike the word 'supper' like most people dislike the word 'moist'. Makes me shudder.

Offline dssjh

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #61 on: September 19, 2015, 10:20:09 PM »
i've heard dinner as midday meal/supper (sorry, Ms. Jackson! :) ) as nighttime meal in parts of the Midwest, too.

Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #62 on: September 20, 2015, 12:05:03 AM »

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?


Our intention is to have staff in the dining room at all times that can serve guests in both English and Spanish. We're also interested in hiring staff that can serve guests in at least one of the East Asian languages. The latter is more complicated, because the several East Asian languages spoken in Jackson Heights differ from one another in both their oral and written forms.

Last week, we had a meeting with a web design company that works with some of New York's most prominent restaurants, during which it was pointed out to us that no "significant" restaurant in New York offers a bilingual web site, and that it's a costly hassle, for those maintaining a site (e.g. making menu changes), to do it. Yes, there's a cost, but the fact is that bilingual restaurant web sites, at least in their menus, are common in places like Montreal and Paris. And there's no shortage of New York menus filled with French and Italian :)

If one is offering hospitality in Jackson Heights, it seems to us that bilingual service and menus are the correct, and indeed obvious, thing to do.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 12:16:35 AM by Stew »

Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #63 on: September 20, 2015, 12:41:29 AM »
For what it's worth, I'm from an area where dinner and supper are used. Mostly, it's interchangeable. Dinner was more of a Sunday thing. You had a dinner at lunch time on Sunday. I think it was an after church thing. Families would have a big meal after church - pot roast, potatoes, roasted veggies -- the type of thing you could put in the oven before church and have a big meal at noon after services, sunday school, etc. That meal was called dinner. Every other time dinner/supper could be used interchangeably.

Love this.

In rural Newfoundland, where I have a summer home, dinner is the mid-day meal. If one is invited Monday through Saturday, it means 12:00 p.m. sharp. And yes, in rural Newfoundland one may well be invited to come by for lunch/dinner.

Everything else is supper, which is historically 5:00 p.m. sharp but is creeping closer to 7:00 p.m. due to the pernicious influence of people, like me, who are from elsewhere.

On special occasions - for example Canadian Thanksgiving - the festivities tend to start sometime between mid-afternoon and early evening.

There's some great discussion about New York eating times, and the evolution of their names, in Edwin Burrows's Gotham: A History of New York to 1898, and, if I recall correctly, there's some pretty good discussion about eating times and dinner/supper in one of Joseph Wechsberg's essays in Blue Trout and Black Truffles.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 12:59:15 AM by Stew »

Offline Ms. Jackson

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #64 on: September 20, 2015, 09:13:43 AM »

If one is offering hospitality in Jackson Heights, it seems to us that bilingual service and menus are the correct, and indeed obvious, thing to do.
[/quote]

Be the example, Stew. I think positive things will come of this [success!] and other NYC restaurants will follow.

Offline Jeffsayyes

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #65 on: September 20, 2015, 10:57:35 AM »
Regarding dinner vs supper etc, don't be afraid to educate your customers. If you write the hours, the public will get it.


And as far as languages, there are many people from south asia who can speak many languages in that area, so if you get a special person they will have you covered. For east asian, I guess youre talking about the Thai element in our neighborhood, which does not usually cross with the South asian language people. HOWEVER for both, most people who are here from those countries speak english too (and those that don't are almost definitely not going to saunter in alone) so I would not even worry about the language stuff for those countries. That being said, it's a wonderful seeing a staff of the entire rainbow - the best example Ive ever seen is at Cannelle Patisserie.

Offline CaptainFlannel

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #66 on: September 20, 2015, 11:28:54 AM »

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?


Our intention is to have staff in the dining room at all times that can serve guests in both English and Spanish...

Last week, we had a meeting with a web design company that works with some of New York's most prominent restaurants, during which it was pointed out to us that no "significant" restaurant in New York offers a bilingual web site, and that it's a costly hassle, for those maintaining a site (e.g. making menu changes), to do it.

Does that mean you are only going to hire front-of-house staff who are bilingual, or does it mean you plan on having at least one person on the floor at all times that is bilingual?

I think a bilingual menu is a great idea. My Spanish is limited to asking where the bathroom is, and there's a number of businesses in the neighborhood that only offer menus or a list of services in Spanish. I just usually avoid going there, because it seems like if they wanted English speaking customers, they'd provide a menu/list of services in English. (I'm not suggesting a business should have a menu in every language possible, but how about at least the two most used languages)

I'm gonna guess your web design company probably lacks a fluent Spanish speaker. The truth is, setting up and maintaining English and Spanish pages isn't all that complicated. It just takes a site from say 10 pages to 20. Changes made to the menu would require two pages to be updated. If the web design company is going to be responsible for proofing the copy, if they don't have someone fluent in Spanish, they may be concerned about the quality of the Spanish pages if they are relying on you to provide perfect copy. However, if you're just looking at entries like: Soup of the Day/Sopa de Dia or an explanation of the dish in English/Spanish, or your About page with copy in English and then Spanish underneath, that's even less work. It just requires the copy to be proofed by a copy editor who is fluent in both English and Spanish.


^^^I love learning about how language evolves. Another funny thing where I'm from: green bell peppers are called mangoes (mostly by the 60+ crowd). I never really thought much of it because I don't really recall the fruit being in the grocery stores when I was a kid, but when I moved here mangoes were everywhere. I've only really begun to eat them in the last couple of years after someone showed me how to cut them up. I looked in to it, and it turns out pickled mangoes were really popular in the colonies, and then everything that was pickled was eventually just called mangoes. Turns out green peppers were a popular pickled item too (and no doubt cheaper since they could be grown in the colonies), and for some reason calling them mangoes just stuck.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 11:41:26 AM by CaptainFlannel »

Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #67 on: September 20, 2015, 06:22:42 PM »

Will all your front-of-house staff be bilingual?


Our intention is to have staff in the dining room at all times that can serve guests in both English and Spanish...

Does that mean you are only going to hire front-of-house staff who are bilingual, or does it mean you plan on having at least one person on the floor at all times that is bilingual?

My priority is to recruit a team for our dining room that will give our guests a respectful, knowledgeable and enjoyable dining experience. Fluency in English and Spanish is an important criterion, but not a condition. I won't know until we go through recruiting (which will start soon) how many members of the team will be bilingual.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 06:32:38 PM by Stew »

Offline Songodd

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #68 on: September 22, 2015, 06:14:18 PM »
Keep us updated, Stew. I am getting a new countertop too and going through the same conundrums too.

We visited the Global, Nash and Stone World yards. There's enough difference in stock that it's worth visiting a few of them. As you may know (we didn't), the way the business works only your fabricator can give you a quote. The yards won't tell you more than that stone A will be more expensive than stone B, and they won't even tell you by how much. So you write down the code for the slabs you're interested in, and the yard sends that info off to your fabricator, who will then give you a price. Fairly frustrating, actually.


Is this going to be a restaurant or a museum or both? Sounds like you are really working hard on the interiors.


And of course the lighting in the yards is all over the place, and won't match the lighting of your interior. So who knows what the stone will wind up looking like :)

I have a call in to my Vermont friend, who I'm hoping will be a big help.



Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #69 on: September 22, 2015, 08:46:42 PM »
Is this going to be a restaurant or a museum or both? Sounds like you are really working hard on the interiors.

Not a museum...

One evening a few months ago, I ran into a friend at Arunne Thai and asked whether he knew of a stage designer who might be interested in designing a restaurant. This has led to a collaboration with Paul dePoo, who is wonderful to work with and, at age 26, is not only part of the team that won the Creative Emmy last week for Live at Lincoln Center's Sweeny Todd, but is now doing the design for two Broadway bound shows. He and his young associate, Luci Alpers, are designing a wonderful space for our guests.

We're at a point where everything is in place ... except for a building permit, which despite the best efforts of us and efforts by our architect, Julie Nyman, owner with her husband of Espresso 77, and her expediter, and submission of full blueprints, the city has yet to cough up. It's now at a point where I've put a call in to Daniel Dromm's office. It's costing me a lot of money, it's delaying our opening, and given that we are doing no structural changes to the property, really minor plumbing changes and electrical work overseen by a licensed electrician, it is unconscionable.

Of course, the usual response is, "It's New York, it costs what it costs". Which is code for the fact that New York rivals Paris and Mexico City for bureaucratic inefficiency.

But we will open this fall :)


« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 09:04:36 PM by Stew »

Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #70 on: September 22, 2015, 09:42:35 PM »
To revisit the original question about stone...

Our designer's parents recently did a major renovation of their home and went with marble. They say that it was the single biggest mistake that they made and strongly urged us against it.

To make a long story short, we'll be using Caesarstone. We might have used Granite, but we want a light colour.

The stone was ordered today and will be used for the bar and all of our table tops.

If you're interested, we've now got a temporary website where people can sign up for info as we get closer to opening: http://swimtwobirds.nyc. Signing up involves a confirmation email, which helps us avoid the many bots out there sending spam, and there is an easy unsubscribe.

Stew

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Offline Songodd

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #71 on: September 24, 2015, 06:11:49 PM »
Is this going to be a restaurant or a museum or both? Sounds like you are really working hard on the interiors.

Not a museum...

One evening a few months ago, I ran into a friend at Arunne Thai and asked whether he knew of a stage designer who might be interested in designing a restaurant. This has led to a collaboration with Paul dePoo, who is wonderful to work with and, at age 26, is not only part of the team that won the Creative Emmy last week for Live at Lincoln Center's Sweeny Todd, but is now doing the design for two Broadway bound shows. He and his young associate, Luci Alpers, are designing a wonderful space for our guests.

We're at a point where everything is in place ... except for a building permit, which despite the best efforts of us and efforts by our architect, Julie Nyman, owner with her husband of Espresso 77, and her expediter, and submission of full blueprints, the city has yet to cough up. It's now at a point where I've put a call in to Daniel Dromm's office. It's costing me a lot of money, it's delaying our opening, and given that we are doing no structural changes to the property, really minor plumbing changes and electrical work overseen by a licensed electrician, it is unconscionable.

Of course, the usual response is, "It's New York, it costs what it costs". Which is code for the fact that New York rivals Paris and Mexico City for bureaucratic inefficiency.

But we will open this fall :)


Your two birds need to morph into piranhas right about now

Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #72 on: October 01, 2015, 10:38:12 PM »
As of today, I have been waiting for a building permit for about seven weeks.

I have made two appearances before the Business Committee of our Community Board, during which not a single member has offered his or her name without being directly asked.

According to the Business Committee, I am now going to be summoned to appear before the full Community Board, whenever it gets around to it.

Nobody has been able to explain the point of these meetings, except for one gentleman on the Business Committee who told me that the repeated appearances are about me demonstrating that my restaurant is "good enough" for Jackson Heights. He then proceeded to demonstrate that he had no memory whatever of our last appearance before his Committee.

Next stop is the full Committee. Here's what I want to see. Before I take my seat, I want a list of the members and a list of which members have shown up. I also want every member who speaks to identify herself or himself when he or she talks. If they don't, I fully intend to interrupt the person to ask what his or her name is and why they are speaking without identifying themselves.

These people need to learn some basic manners.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 10:44:43 PM by Stew »

Offline emliv85

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #73 on: October 02, 2015, 03:16:58 PM »
As of today, I have been waiting for a building permit for about seven weeks.


Hi Stew,

What you are describing sounds very frustrating. Do any of these meetings you are summoned to attend have agendas or outlines that are given to the attendees beforehand? I'm curious as to what specific information they are looking for, if as you say, they are trying to prove your worthiness in the neighborhood.

I absolutely agree with you -- since these seem to be informal, nonsensical meetings without any real guidelines, why don't you go in and set some up for them. I think as long as you're assertive and forthcoming yourself, asking for names and more clarification is within your right as a member of the community in which this Board is serving.

Good luck, and keep us posted! I, for one, am very much anticipating the restaurant's opening!!

Offline Stew

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #74 on: October 02, 2015, 07:33:00 PM »
Quote from: emliv85 link=topic=13527.msg66356#msg66356 date=1443813418[/quote

Hi Stew,

What you are describing sounds very frustrating. Do any of these meetings you are summoned to attend have agendas or outlines that are given to the attendees beforehand? I'm curious as to what specific information they are looking for, if as you say, they are trying to prove your worthiness in the neighborhood.

I absolutely agree with you -- since these seem to be informal, nonsensical meetings without any real guidelines, why don't you go in and set some up for them. I think as long as you're assertive and forthcoming yourself, asking for names and more clarification is within your right as a member of the community in which this Board is serving.

Good luck, and keep us posted! I, for one, am very much anticipating the restaurant's opening!!

We have appeared before the Business Committee twice in relation to our application to the NY State Liquor Authority, and the next stop is an appearance before the full Board.

There are members of the Business Committee who seem to know what their role is and members who either don't know or don't care. Among the latter are people who apparently think that they have the right to decide whether our restaurant is a good fit for Jackson Heights. I think it's a fair statement that the gentleman who expressed this view at our last meeting wouldn't know what a good restaurant is if he fell over one.

We have been given next to no advance notice of the two meetings that we have attended. On arrival, one is required to sign in, but one is not given the names of the Business Committee members much less a list of the members who are in attendance.

When one's name is called, one goes into what is supposed to be a public meeting, except that when one enters the room the door is closed, barring entrance to any member of the public and other applicants who might be interested in how the Board functions.

At the first meeting we attended, no member identified himself or herself when speaking. At the second meeting, we made a point of going up to, and shaking hands with, the members closest to us, which resulted in those people offering their names. Nobody outside our immediate range offered their hand or, when they spoke, their name.

I am hoping that when we appear before the full Board, the members will either have the courtesy to identify themselves when they speak or, if that is too much effort, have a name card in front of their unengaged head.

My sense is that the members of the Business Committee are well-intended, despite the fact that a couple of them seem to be self-appointed guardians of what they consider neighbourhood "standards".

Meanwhile, the Department of Buildings told us today that it wants an asbestos test. Perfectly reasonable, if it hadn't been done before, but the fact that it's taken them seven weeks to ask is ridiculous.


« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 07:41:39 PM by Stew »

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Re: Coming Soon: Swim Two Birds
« Reply #74 on: October 02, 2015, 07:33:00 PM »