Friday, October 9, 2015

The Making of The Fat Ham, Part 9: Checkout time

Need a restaurant brought up to code? You call Dave.

The Making of The Fat Ham, Part 9: Checkout time


Kevin Sbraga of Sbraga restaurant on South Broad Street is planning his second restaurant, The Fat Ham, at 3131 Walnut St. in The Left Bank in University City.

In Part 1, he let us in on a design meeting for the space, which he hopes to open in November.

In Part 2, the rubber hits the road as he and his associates went on a road trip to explore Southern cuisine.

In Part 3, Sbraga and company meet the press.

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In Part 4, construction starts on the space.

In Part 5, Sbraga and crew test recipes.

In Part 6, Sbraga hires staff.

In Part 7, the lights go in.

In Part 8, The countdown to opening.


With the opening of The Fat Ham just about a week away (Dec. 6), chef-owner Kevin Sbraga has this spreadsheet, laying out, day by day, the expected process.

Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 are so-called staff-on-staff training days, where half of the service staff plays customer and half plays waiter. The idea is to serve actual food. And to make actual food, you need the Health Department to approve your setup.

That's where Dave Grosvenor comes in. Dave is a former food-facilities inspector for the U.S. government, and his specialty is restaurant kitchens. You hire him - and guys like Stephen Starr do, routinely - and he goes through your under-construction restaurant with a critical eye toward safety and building codes. Sink improperly plumbed? He can spot that in a second.

Wednesday, Nov. 27, late afternoon, found Dave inspecting the last few issues that he had found on previous visits. It looked good. Someone has to install signs reading, "Employees must wash hands before returning to work" in the restrooms.

Friday, Nov. 29 - just before the first staff-on-staff training - Sbraga hopes to have a city health inspector visit The Fat Ham and find no violations to prevent him from opening.

Sbraga's next challenge: getting his liquor license, which attorney Ed Taraskus is trying to wrest out of Harrisburg.
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein
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