Here's the quick description: I'm seeking to create a brave space worthy of the amazing Hamline Midway neighborhood. A space capable of allowing me to produce and serve any and all the vegan food creations that I can dream up. A space that promotes discussion and interaction and is a haven and destination for not only the residents of the immediate community but also for the vegan community of the greater Twin Cities metro area. A space where I can connect with the community on a very legitimate and sincere way through the ingredients, flavors, and hospitality that I offer.
Here's the long description: Eureka Compass Vegan Food is a dynamic, community focused, vegan restaurant located in the heart of the mighty Hamline Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, MN. Launched by Chef/Owner/Sole Employee Colin Anderson in April of 2017, with the goal of serving an ever changing menu of vegan dishes in a sober environment with variety of different service formats. Operating Thursday through Tuesday out of a former pizza place and serving a variety of pastries in the mornings with a prix fixe brunch on Sundays, an ever changing lunch menu inspired by street foods from around the world, and ticketed, 6 course, fine dining dinners on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Colin and his wife have lived in the Hamline Midway for over 10 years and have been motivated and inspired by the helpful and hardworking attitude of the neighborhood to continually find ways to be greater involved and engaged with the community. When Colin was first developing the Eureka Compass concept he had reached out to the owners of the pizza place that was operating out of the space in hopes of renting the location during their off hours. The location has seen numerous owners try to make a go of it as a pizza place under the name Eden Pizza for the last 8 years, and the neighborhood had developed quite a few mixed feelings about the business. It was Colin's goal to partner with the owners and to help them offer more from the location with greater hours of operation, while also launching his concept without much overhead or financial commitment up front. During the time that he was discussing the project with them, the owners decided that it was no longer their desire to operate a business in the Eden Pizza space.
Still wanting to launch his concept in the community and help bring new life to the space, Colin reached out to the building owner, Noah, a fellow resident of the community and the original proprietor of Eden Pizza. Noah was so impressed with his concept and commitment to the community that he offered Colin the spot and all the equipment for a quarter of his original asking price and also offered to forgive the rent while Colin was doing work to upgrade the facilities. The offer was beyond generous and the opportunity was to amazing to pass up. So, what began as a desire to sublet the restaurant one day and a few mornings a week, suddenly became the opportunity to completely transform the space into a fully operational, dynamic, vegan restaurant, limited only by the magnitude of Colin's creativity and the scale of his production capabilities.
Colin had already built a modest but respectable reputation for his food by partnering with the Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis on a couple of pop ups, and was able to transfer that momentum into some incredible press coverage for the brick and mortar location and his opening on Memorial Day weekend. After a whirlwind 10 days of cleaning and licensing and prepping Colin had a tremendous opening weekend where we managed to sell out of everything that he could produce. The demand and support was obviously there, now it is time to create a space worthy of serving this amazing community and capable of accommodating the magnitude and vibrancy of Colin's imagination.
It was never Colin's intention to seek outside investment or crowd source any start up funding, but the opportunity also comes with an incredible responsibility. Colin has decided to cash in a 401k and seek financial support from anyone who would love to see this dynamic, ever evolving, community focused, vegan restaurant concept take hold. Here is the list of projects, improvements, and infrastructure that need to be funded for this dream to truly become a glistening reality:
1. The cost of purchasing the existing equipment and the intellectual property of the existing business: $9000.
2. Repair an electrical problem with the ventilation system so that we are not overheating our customers or forcing our refrigeration units to work overtime: $500-$1000.
3. Add a counter top, two burner, gas range and 36' griddle to accommodate a wider variety of menu items, and make it so Colin does not have to constantly run the pizza ovens, which are basically blast furnaces: $700. This will require another fee for the plan approval from Health Dept.: $300.
4. We need to purchase dining ware, serving dishes, and cutlery for the ticketed dinners, brunches, and also to accommodate customers looking to dine in during breakfast and lunch service. Although we can offer compostable plates and such, reusable plates and utensils are much more cost effective and environmentally sound: $500.
5. We need to purchase 2 steam tables to use during lunch service, brunch, and for the dinners. This will, again, prevent us from having to rely on the pizza ovens to hold food and temp and use less gas, keep the kitchen cooler, and prevent the refrigeration units from having to work so hard: $600
6. We need a large, counter top water heater to offer hot tea and french press coffee: $235.
7. We need a 2 tap keg fridge to offer kombucha and house made soda: $700
8. We are currently using PayPal with a cellphone, but would love to upgrade to a tablet system. This will require wifi that is currently not available in the building: $600
9. We need to purchase a variety of frying pans and utensils (spatulas, dough choppers, etc.) to be able to produce a greater variety of menu items: $500.
10. We need a rice cooker to prepare grains and steam our house made fake meats and cook items such as tamales: $350.
11. Insurance for the full restaurant: $1000/year
12. New printing on the sign and repair the electrical problem that prevents it from lighting up: $1000
13. Repair the existing large refrigerator: $500
14. Upgrade the back room to accommodate dry goods storage: $3000
15. Simple menu and marketing signage (chalkboards, signage material telling our story, posters to promote the space, etc): $400
16. Salad washer for lettuce and cooking greens: $200
17. Kicktarter fees will be roughly $1500
18. Steam sanitizing dishwasher, $7000
With what already exists and with what we have purchased already, this should get us well on the road to success!
Risks and challenges
There are a great deal of risks and challenges involved in this project. The foundation concept of the project is that I am the only employee. That puts a massive amount of pressure and stress on me to produce day in and day out. A lot of this stress and pressure can be alleviated with the right tools and adequate infrastructure. Managing the scale and expectations of the business is also going to be important for keeping the day to day operations running as smoothly as possible.
There will always be a finite amount of product, when I sell out, I am closed for the day. Having the storage space and ability to prep batches of food ahead of time will help me to serve as many people as possible without overburdening myself. Although the limited quantity will create demand, it can also lead to disappointment and distrust amongst my patrons. Making sure my story and philosophy are known, and creating and curating that personal connection with the community I serve will allow empathy and understanding to flourish. Demonstrating to people that I am not out to create an empire or manage a massive operation, but am only out to create great food and share that food with the community while supplying myself with a hard earned but reasonable income, will go a long way to create a desire to support the project while tempering expectations.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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