Two weeks in and the Wonder Bar is off and running. With zero PR or marketing we seem to be doing fairly well just opening the door and seeing who wanders in. Unfortunately, we are completely lacking a dinner crowd. Post-work happy hour crowd is ok, but they don’t order any food. The after 10pm jazz band crowd is good, and they eat a little. I’m the chef and I want to see people coming in to eat. I understand from the owners' previous experiences that the food is a tough sell opposed to beer and liquor. With this in mind I’m trudging on, dishpan hands and all.
I want to implement a bar menu and/or happy hour menu consisting of $3 bar snacks that people would buy to nibble while they drink, instead of a meal, or even a single small plate. I want to do a deviled egg, spicy nuts, marinated olives, pickled vegetables, and pita bread; nothing meant to consist of a meal, just snacks. The challenge is coordinating things with the bar staff, and a sufficient amount of signage or menus. It will happen eventually.
This week I am going to try to run a few specials on Friday and Saturday night. Simple yet sophisticated things, I’m setting a par of 15 plates, minus 2 for tasting to sell. If this happens I will be very happy. My aim right now is a grilled chicken thigh with mole, and sea scallops en pappioute with fennel, orange, and bacon. Finally some flavored sweet custard. I have a lot of eggs, and a custard is a good way to use them. These seem like simple, sellable items that are neither too boring nor too sophisticated. I will let you know how it goes.