#1  
Old 10-15-2007, 12:27 AM
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Location: Wisconsin
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Default Building an oven in the basement....

I'm working out a way to build the kitchen of my new Irish Pub and Eatery which is in the basement of a very old building. As far as I can tell, the "kitchen" area doesn't have a second floor, but the restaurant area does have two floors above it. I'll have to verify the lack of an upper floor over the kitchen. Anyway, I plan on building a double oven in the kitchen, and will be cooking everything in it that I would use a regular oven for normally. I currently don't see an issue with building the ovens in the kitchen, if the ceiling is open above that part of the building.

The question I have, is for the restaurant area... I plan to build a "double-scale" model of a clay oven, and use it as a fireplace for the bar/restaurant. I want it to not only provide heat from the mouth of the oven, but also to radiate heat from the sides - keeping heat in this one is not an issue - and keep my winter heating bills reasonable... the place is like 8000 sq ft total, so every little bit helps. I also have the issue of a sidewalk on the side of the building where I plan to build the oven, and two floors above mine, through which I would have to run the exhaust pipe through the roof.

Could I just run the exhaust through the wall to the kitchen, and run it with the cooking oven exhaust pipes?

How do I build my "fireplace" in a way that instead of holding heat, it gives off the maximum amount of heat in a full 360 degree radius? The whole building is stone, and it has 2' thick walls, so the stones behind the oven should reflect the heat back towards the open room.

I'll be building a brick grill to match the ovens for burgers and other grillable foods, steaks, etc., so if anyone has plans for a gas-fired - or better yet, wood-fired - stone grill, that would be awesome.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-15-2007, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

Welcome to the forum... You have lots of stuff going on here.

The question I have, is for the restaurant area... I plan to build a "double-scale" model of a clay oven, and use it as a fireplace for the bar/restaurant. I want it to not only provide heat from the mouth of the oven, but also to radiate heat from the sides - keeping heat in this one is not an issue - and keep my winter heating bills reasonable... the place is like 8000 sq ft total, so every little bit helps.
> this is do-able

I also have the issue of a sidewalk on the side of the building where I plan to build the oven, and two floors above mine, through which I would have to run the exhaust pipe through the roof.
> You lost me here what are you asking?

Could I just run the exhaust through the wall to the kitchen, and run it with the cooking oven exhaust pipes?
>Do you mean the exhaust from the "fire place oven"? are they going to be right above each other along the same wall?

How do I build my "fireplace" in a way that instead of holding heat, it gives off the maximum amount of heat in a full 360 degree radius? The whole building is stone, and it has 2' thick walls, so the stones behind the oven should reflect the heat back towards the open room.
> an uninsulated oven will act similar to a wood stove heater and the whole dome would radiate heat.
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unofornaio View Post
Welcome to the forum... You have lots of stuff going on here.
Thanks for the "warm" welcome. =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unofornaio View Post
I also have the issue of a sidewalk on the side of the building where I plan to build the oven, and two floors above mine, through which I would have to run the exhaust pipe through the roof.
> You lost me here what are you asking?
Wish I had Google Sketch-Up skills like some of the other guys here... Basically, the building is a two story brick and stone with a basement. Attached to the basement is another "room", we'll call it the hall, since that's what it will eventually be. Over the "Hall", there is no floor above it, just the roof. The kitchen will be built on the wall separating the bar from the kitchen, which is 2' thick stone and mortar. On the bar side of the wall, I want to build the "fireplace" oven, and I'm wondering if I can run the exhaust through the wall and have both cooking ovens and the fireplace oven all use the same chimney.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unofornaio View Post
Could I just run the exhaust through the wall to the kitchen, and run it with the cooking oven exhaust pipes?
>Do you mean the exhaust from the "fire place oven"? are they going to be right above each other along the same wall?
The first part of your question is addressed above... The ovens are going to be side-by-side in the kitchen, and the "fireplace" will have its back to the other two with the 2' wall separating them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unofornaio View Post
How do I build my "fireplace" in a way that instead of holding heat, it gives off the maximum amount of heat in a full 360 degree radius? The whole building is stone, and it has 2' thick walls, so the stones behind the oven should reflect the heat back towards the open room.
> an uninsulated oven will act similar to a wood stove heater and the whole dome would radiate heat.
Would I still be able to use the "fireplace" oven to cook out in the restaurant if it had say, a 60" diameter cooking surface? Basically, it would be used to cook a few things every couple hours as sort of a "show" piece on how our kitchen works, and the rest of the time, the embers would be pulled forward to act as a fireplace.

Thanks for your answers to my questions...
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

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Originally Posted by phoenixzorn View Post
Would I still be able to use the "fireplace" oven to cook out in the restaurant if it had say, a 60" diameter cooking surface? Basically, it would be used to cook a few things every couple hours as sort of a "show" piece on how our kitchen works, and the rest of the time, the embers would be pulled forward to act as a fireplace.
Make no mistake, a 60 inch oven is a huge, commercial sized oven. If you want a small oven in the dining area for a decorative fire and an occasional cooking demonstration, a 36 or 39 inch oven is more than enough. I'm a little alarmed by the idea of not insulating the dome in order to heat the room. It may not get up to pizza temperatures at all, while drenching your patrons with sweat. You don't want an oven that will demonstrate how to make a beige pizza.

Remember that every person in the room gives off as much heat as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Lighting gives off heat. Your kitchen gives off heat. You don't want to be air conditioning in the dead of winter.

Good luck with your project. It sounds great so far. Remember that a lot of what you can do in a building, particularly a commercial building, will be dictated by the building department. Read up on building code, and get friendly with your building inspector. You'll be spending a lot of time with him/her.
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

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Originally Posted by dmun View Post
Make no mistake, a 60 inch oven is a huge, commercial sized oven. If you want a small oven in the dining area for a decorative fire and an occasional cooking demonstration, a 36 or 39 inch oven is more than enough. I'm a little alarmed by the idea of not insulating the dome in order to heat the room. It may not get up to pizza temperatures at all, while drenching your patrons with sweat. You don't want an oven that will demonstrate how to make a beige pizza.
You make a very good point about the size of my idea... =) I think you are on to something there with the smaller oven in the restaurant, though I think an oven at least as large as the kitchen ones, as it will be necessary to have a big enough "Fireplace" effect, considering this is going to be an Irish Pub... I'll definitely reconsider the size of the oven.

As for the lack of insulation and sweaty patrons, another good point, and I think I can solve that one much easier. We're building a clay oven this weekend, no brick, just hay, clay, and rocks, and the original intent of the bar-side oven was to replicate the old clay and straw ovens. So, I think what we'll do is build the firebrick dome, insulate it, and then just build the clay dome over the actual oven for the decorative aspect of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmun View Post
Remember that every person in the room gives off as much heat as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Lighting gives off heat. Your kitchen gives off heat. You don't want to be air conditioning in the dead of winter.
Good point again, and considering I'm trying to cater to the "business people" in the area rather than the "labor crew" - nothing wrong with labor crews mind you, but there are enough "blue collar" bars in the city - I figure I'll be packing the place at least 4 nights a week (Thursday through Sunday.) That does make for a large amount of heat, with an estimated max capacity of 300 patrons...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmun View Post
Good luck with your project. It sounds great so far. Remember that a lot of what you can do in a building, particularly a commercial building, will be dictated by the building department. Read up on building code, and get friendly with your building inspector. You'll be spending a lot of time with him/her.
One of our friends is the fire marshal for the city, and I'll be talking to him in a couple days about what we can and can't build... if anything, I might end up building a retained heat furnace in the restaurant so its up to code, and put a bread oven in it so I don't have any sustained "open flame".... I dunno yet, everyone seems to love my ideas, and being an open building, I can pretty much do whatever I want with it. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

I think your place sounds really exciting. I'm curious to see how the plans develop. Perhaps when you're a bit further along you can show us some pictures and/or a floor plan of the place.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

Hey what happened to my 2nd reply? I posted a huge reply after Dmun's?? I didn't check it but I remember posting.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

Absolutely....

There's a hitch in my plans though, that just appeared yesterday... I have an interview on Friday with the local school district for their network administrator position... This throws the proverbial wrench into the gears, because if they offer me the job, I absolutely must take it for my wife's sanity. If I get the job, I know I will still dream of the day when I can open my own restaurant, but I don't know if I will have the time or opportunity to do so because of the job.

I think what I'll do is just ride it out, see what happens, keep my plans working for the restaurant, and if everything falls into place, I'll just tell the school that I'm either leaving, or working remotely from my new restaurant, which I'm more than capable of doing. This is one of those things that I just can't resist.... the job of my dreams - network administrator - in a school district so I get educator's discount on computers, control of a generally liberal staff that I can start to influence with my conservative views , and sitting around doing software testing when I'm not fixing some idiot teacher's computer...

On that note, I told them I knew how to use MacOS X, so I should probably go borrow one of those today and crash course myself the OS... =)

Of course, the bar/restaurant is also the job of my dreams, especially a SUCCESSFUL bar/restaurant in a small town that will draw people from all over because of the atmosphere and quality of service. There, I get to do whatever I want because I'm the owner, I can bartend, cook, wait tables, or just sit there and watch everyone else if I decide to hire a full staff. As it stands right now, I have a vision, at least 20 people who've said they'd be my first customer, and at least 4 people who've said they'd love to work for me, either behind the bar or in the kitchen. Plus, I have people literally volunteering to help me design and plan the layout, atmosphere, and menu...

What to do, what to do...
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

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Originally Posted by Unofornaio View Post
Hey what happened to my 2nd reply? I posted a huge reply after Dmun's?? I didn't check it but I remember posting.
I dunno... I'd love to see it though... I wasn't notified of your response, so maybe it didn't get posted.
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Building an oven in the basement....

This post isnt what my other reply was. I dont know what happend to it?

If you like please take some advice from someone who has been there and done that.

Take the job---take the Job---take the Job. Your dream of the restaurant does not have to die just take a second to the job for right now. I new restaurant venture is extremely, expensive and even more time consuming, you can use the revenue from the job to help finance it a piece at a time. Keep in mind there are thousands of dollars in support equipment for the kitchen, dinning room expenses building permits, upgrading the buildings services (water, gas, electric) putting in bathrooms or remodeling the ones that are there, handicap access, heating and cooling, insulation, initial inventory, cash on hand or a credit line so you can pay the staff for the first month more likely 2 months. Lots and lots of stuff.

Its better to start putting money aside for all of this stuff now or developing a credit relationship in anticipation of these expenses. Doing a business plan if for NO OTHER BUSINESS is essential for a good ESTIMATE of a restaurant/bar..bar don't for get your liquor license out here they are about $10,000.00 and if you are in an older neighborhood where the zone is already saturated you will have to buy an existing permit or apply for a variance which can be in the neighborhood of triple that. Since you will be doing food as well the cost drops and I don't know what your fees are there but these are what it is in CA. After you get the job (good luck) go get a program called "Business Plan Pro" or download a free one and get it all on paper...believe me this makes a world of difference. You will see the costs and the realistic steps you need to take to achieve you dream.
Quote:
"I'll just tell the school that I'm working remotely from my new restaurant, which I'm more than capable of doing."
Make no mistake getting a restaurant venture off the ground is a 12hr a day 7 day a week job you will NOT have time to do both.
Even with at full time manager on staff you still need to act as the General Manager and in the beginning you have dozens of people to deal with that all need your personal time to discuss things that need YOUR input on not that you can trust to a 3rd party you just hired regardless of their resume.

There is also menu planning and preparation once you get the menu decided on you need to see if it is going to work, not if people will like it but how the kitchen staff will be able to execute it. You need to plan prep times for certain foods which means some staff will need to come in early to do prep others need to come in later. Finding this balance can break you in and of itself and it will take several weeks to figure it out, all the while the staff is going to expect to be paid. There is also getting your ordering on a good schedule which again is a delicate balance of loss of product or running out of product. Plus many other things you will need to refine in the first several months all of this takes a tremendous amount of time.. and cannot be worked out on paper ahead of time completely. I mean you can try to forecast trends and busy times but you will not know what the actuals are until you get into it. Then there is the staff issues as well, inorder for a small place to "work" you staff need to be team players. A small wait staff of 2 or 3 can bring down a place much faster than a wait staff of 5-10 meaning that with a larger operation you have other servers that can pick up tables to make up for the weak ones when you have a small place guess who takes the extra tables.? YOU that is if you are not helping out in the kitchen, host, changing the dinning room music, dealing with an irate customer, making rounds on the floor inroducing yourself, answering the phone, helping the bartender or whatever else comes up, and believe me it comes up usually at a busy time even with the best planning something always comes up.

Running the daily operations of a good restaurtant is like combining clascial music with jazz. Clasical being all the training and preperation the Jazz being having the ability to roll with the punches using your training.

DON'T GET ME WRONG I am in NO way trying to discourage you. I dreamed of mine for years before opening. But since over the years I had worked in every position form bus boy to Food and Beverage manager I had a heads up on a lot of the back of the house operations. I took the advice of an Old Italian guy in the town I grew up in which was what I stated above. If you have a job keep it until the las min then go for it and you have to go for it 100% you cant have yourself torn between two priorities the restaurant needs your attention in the same way an infant needs their parent it will NOT flourish on auto pilot.
Or you could just hire a GM @ 60-70,000 and a manager @40-50,000 and supervise them. Which is what a lot of franchise buyers do but then again with a franchise most everything in terms of operations is worked out so you are not opening a "NEW" place that all the above comes with, its really a branch. But what fun would that be..The best part is BEING there..
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