When I quit my job working for someone else (the Bedford Cheese Shop) and started working on this store full time I focused on choosing the equipment for the store. For this kind of store that includes display refrigerators and storage refrigerators, sinks and their drains. I was looking for things that were sturdy and looked pretty because aesthetics are hugely important in a specialty store.
I started with the display refrigerators. I knew that the Arneg brand from Italy was gorgeous but they break a lot. At Bedford, ours leaked water repeatedly, the coils froze, the supports collapsed, and they didn’t keep the temperature very even. I found the Federal brand’s market series to be in line with my aesthetic and I asked the fish guy at Grand Central how his have held up for him. He said that he has had no trouble in ten years. Sounds great but I knew that they were not the best. Our architect recommended that I check out the Southern Fixtures brand from Alabama. They make custom “store fixtures” which was a new term to me. Hugh told me that the Grand Central Murray’s uses that brand. Here it is:
The front glass is flat and it seems sturdy. We’re going to go for them. We are getting one 8 ft. case and one corner case.
The other refrigeration units we need:
A single unit glass door refrigerator (for drinks and butters),
A matching single unit glass door freezer (for frozen sauces, pastas and gelati),
A single unit under counter glass door refrigerator (for meats and cheese storage in the front of the house),
A 27″ wide sandwich prep unit (where you keep your toppings for sandwiches),
A two unit solid door refrigerator, back of house,
A single unit solid door freezer, back of house (backstock frozen food plus par-baked breads).
All of this equipment we are getting from the TR series made by True. I looked at the Hoshizaki refrigerators for the sales area because they are more beautiful than the True models. But the TR series is the top line from True and they are one of the biggest producers in the business. Read: repairmen should know how to fix them. I liked the Hoshizaki equipment but they don’t make freezers with glass doors so I didn’t end up ordering them. Apparently they are really durable and very reliable, I was told that Burger King uses them. When I was at a Cinnabon on the New Jersey Turnpike the other day, I noticed that they had Hoshizaki equipment in the back! Maybe it’s good that we picked something different…
The other equipment we need:
Two scales with calculators and printers,
Two heavy-duty slicers (Univex was recommended to me as a machine powerful enough for slicing cheese),
A half size convection oven for finishing par-baked bread (there aren’t many European style bakers around here!),
One panini press with two pressing grills,
Two hand sinks,
One three basin sink,
One mop sink,
One food processor (for making our own spreads out of olives or pre-roasted vegetables).
Yesterday I called Sandy from Restaurant Equipment in Cambridge, MD to let her know that we need to order the Southern Fixtures ASAP. The Southern cases take about 8-10 weeks to be built which is about how long our construction is going to take. The True stuff should take about 4-6 weeks to arrive and the sinks and scales can be ready in one or two weeks.