December 11th Update
Hi all, it's been an eventful and busy stretch since my last update. Our build out is virtually complete. We just took delivery of our beautiful, Massachusetts-made Saloom chairs and stools today. Heather Chontos' gorgeous painting now hangs in a central location in our dining room, framed with birch artfully crafted by carpenter Nick Aleandro. The birch sound-insulation panels are also complete, having been constructed and framed in finished birch by carpenter Jon Courtney and overlaid with "raw" white birch (bark on) cut on a cold, clear morning by Ryan Quigley (sous chef), Ben Morley (head server, GM, sommelier), and me (thank you to the O'Briens for letting us harvest your wood!). The tabletops, crafted by Marc McCabe using wood recovered from beneath Moosehead Lake, are now mounted and more beautiful than ever. Bartender Alex Winthrop created the elegant stencil of our name in the front window and is now wrapping up work on our sign. Our expertly tailored, locally-made uniforms, by Portland Dry Goods and Seawall, will soon arrive. Sous chef Kate Whittemore joined Ryan and me in putting out several thousand snacks for our open house last Friday during the Art Walk. Of the hundreds of visitors who dropped in, virtually all expressed tremendous enthusiasm for the space and our upcoming opening.
So what comes next? Inspections are coming up next week. We feel well prepared and hope to get through without a hitch. It is, of course, a tremendously busy time, and there are a lot of loose ends we're working hard to tie off, but with a little luck, we'll do a soft opening before Christmas. And barring any major hiccups, we will have our "hard opening" on December 26th, and will soon be offering reservations, including for our New Year's Eve dinner and celebration (to be followed by a New Year's Day brunch). Please keep an eye on our recently overhauled website, www.vinland.me, where you will soon be able to make reservations. Thanks, again, to web designer Alden Robinson and photographer Katie McAlaine for their outstanding work in making our web presence as elegant as the space itself.
I am, as you know, bootstrapping all the way, and I am very grateful to have the backing of all 366 of you, along with those who have provided grants and private loans. Vinland is still in need of raising more funds, especially going into a winter opening, so if you have considered making a non-equity loan or buying credit, please let me know.
I am still holding off on scheduling the Kickstarter reward parties since we need to get fully licensed, including for liquor. We should get through this process next week, in which case you can expect that I will give you about a month's notice for the parties. Of course, if you can't make it, you will still get your herb salt (for community party backers) and pantry items (for VIP party backers) along with a balance to use as credit at Vinland.
Thanks again to all of you, and I look forward to seeing you soon!