The Final Stretch: The New 12th Ave Grill is Almost Ready for Opening

Part nine: wrapping up the inspections, sign permits and liquor license
12th Ave Grill
The view from the bar.


This will probably be the last time we check in with Kevin Hanney before 12th Ave Grill’s preview party at the end of the month.


While all the major stuff is done (electrical, plumbing), and most things are installed (booths, tables, kitchen equipment, walk-in refrigerator), the restaurant doesnt quite feel like its ready for the private parties that will start next Monday. Hanney is finding, just as with moving a home, rounding up all the little things takes just as much time as the big stuff.


“The last couple of weeks feel like theyve slowed to a crawl,” Hanney says. One of the new booths and tables in the dining room has become his office, where he double-checks equipment specs and oversees the final stretch.


“Nothings exactly how you picture it, but you learn to live with that,” he says. Though Hanney hired an architect to draw the floor plans, he undertook much of the dining room design himself. “Im kind of an interior design and architecture fanatic,” he says. “When I went to college, what I wanted to be was an architecture consultant.” So wall colors, the sleek, black leather booths, custom tables, the vintage-style lights in the main entrance—those were all picked by Hanney. Today, all the smallwares, plates, glasses, cutlery—ordered through Bargreen and Ellingson in Aiea—come in. 


12th Ave Grill
The brand new range, hood and reach-in refrigerators


This week is inspection week: health and fire inspections. Once those are done, Hanney will have his liquor license. The liquor license process has been a relatively painless one for Hanney, mostly because he hired someone else to take care of the details, which involves background checks on all the owners in the business, submitting floor plans and a tax map—including the names and addresses of everyone who lives within 500 feet of the establishment—and setting up a public hearing. (Costs: $5,000 to hire a lawyer for the paperwork, $1,300 for the liquor license)


There’s been one hitch (or, at least, the latest one): the sign. When 12th Ave Grill opens, the sign outside might still say “Victoria Inn.” A sign permit “is the hardest permit of all,” Hanney says. He was hoping to just swap out the old letters for new, but it turns out he’s going to need a whole new sign because the current one extends to the second floor of the building, which is not part of 12th Ave Grill. Apart from that one, all signs point to 12th Ave Grill looking much more polished by the October 1 grand opening.