12th Ave Grill to Move Into Former Victoria Inn Space
We’re tracking Kevin Hanney’s progress all the way until opening day. Consider this the first installment.
Photo: COURTESY OF 12TH AVE GRILL
Kevin Hanney is moving 12th Ave Grill. Not far—just around the corner and down the street, in the former Victoria Inn space. Biting Commentary's going to follow his progess on the new 12th Ave Grill all the way to opening day. Consider this the first installment in an ongoing series on the new space.
“Have I ever thought, what am I doing, is this the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life? Yes. Many times. I tell people [opening restaurants] is a disease. Once you get into it, you can’t stop,” Hanney says.
“Of course I’m nervous,” he says. “I’d be a fool not to be. Confidence is one thing. Cockiness is another. I’m confident, but I’m no fool.”
The new space is huge, relative to 12th Ave Grill. It’s 3,800 square feet, more than twice 12th Ave Grill’s 1,600 square feet and Salt’s 1,500 square feet.
While Victoria Inn was a restaurant with a full kitchen, everything was old, some things on the verge of distintegration. Hanney is gutting it and redoing it all: the plumbing, the electricity, the equipment, everything.
The estimated build out costs: $750,000.
Total estimated cost to open: About a million.
Hanney is moving 12th Ave Grill into Victoria Inn and then will open a new concept, still undetermined, into the current 12th Ave Grill.
The new kitchen will be large enough to accommodate 12th Ave’s restaurant operations, catering and Hanney’s wholesale business (a smoked ahi spread he’s been selling for 14 years). “There’s always been pressure on 12th Ave Grill to expand,” Hanney says. “It’s great to have a busy little restaurant, but it’s a tiny little restaurant. We turn down so much opportunity and just for us to grow personally and everything else. The business is there. … And it’s on 12th Avenue! I can still call [the new place] 12th Ave Grill.
“I’ve got a young family, a young mortgage and retirement someday and the reality is that those two small places (12th Ave Grill and Salt) aren’t going to take care of everything.”
But the new 12th Ave Grill is as much about expansion as it is a defensive strategy. Other parties that have looked at the space included national and Japanese chains, as well as Roy’s.
Hanney says, “If someone comes into this spot and opens an American bistro, what’s that going to do to me up here? If there’s going to be an 800 pound gorilla in this neighborhood, I want it to be me. … I can open a business complementing my restaurants rather than competing.”
Hanney hopes to open by June 2013, “if everything goes perfectly.” Follow us as we get into all the details like financing, restaurant design, permits, working with architects, contractors, and the bank, hiring and even down to the linens and plates and finally, opening day.
“Is this like a reality show?” Hanney asks when I propose this.
Sort of. Maybe minus the catfights and faux drama.