I guess everyone has reasons for taking risks and working on making their dreams a reality. I know for Vince and I, as we are now in our mid-thirties, a day does not pass where we do not think of our children and what opportunities we may help them discover. I want the best for them. One of my concerns while taking on this endeavor has been any consequences to our family and time that we are so very accustomed to. I have been so proud of our son Mathiew, aged 9, and Ruby, aged 5 because they have adapted very well to the less than subtle intrusion of Moondance Diner in their lives. They are excited about our opening and already picture themselves sharing in the responsibilites. Beyond their ideas for the menu….they have shared their enthusiasm with friends and family. We have truly enjoyed some of their commentary and ideas to make the Diner a special place. Ruby dresses up in an apron and chef’s hat often and spouts “May I help you or what would you like to order, mam/sir?” Mathiew has often held high regards for the cashier position…. indicating he would like to be the ONE to take the money! Our nephew Tanner has come up with an item called egg on egg… look for it to be a special. I have high hopes for Tanner taking a comfortable position on the line in the kitchen. His brother Teagan takes time out of his busy day in 1st grade to market the Moondance and get everyone excited about the opening. (although the date was incorrect he certainly keeps up the interest!)This is a blessing to have their support and encouragement… yet I am aware that once we open that will be the true test! Mathiew said it best one time shopping in a department store…. several people had pulled us aside and asked about the Moondance and expressed their excitement. After about the 5th person had stopped us to chat he looked up at me and asked, “Mom do you remember the time when people didn’t know us nor about the Moondance Diner?” I thought about it and decided how significantly our lives will change.
Archive for December, 2008
Once the memories of moving Moondance from NYC to Wyoming had slightly faded, I decided it was time to ask once again that Vince become more involved with the reconstruction… (which in itself is an irony as he has put in a lot of hours helping finance this project as well as putting up with any stresses I may be having and feel he needs to be privy to). So be it; the question as to how to incorporate the original glass block into the reconstruction and our new “moon room” addition. As indicated in the Bushbaum editorial by Frederic Schwartz, “The Mechanics of Taste”, glass block was a frequent and interesting feature in many of Bushbaum’s projects. We felt it would have a welcome place in the Moondance once again and Vince came up with the idea to create a suddle separation of space using glass block. Only witnessing the process of laying glass block once by an experienced mason, he started with less confidence than he was comfortable with. The fact that he only had small sperts of time alotted by his regular job hauling water for the energy industry in La Barge, made this project seem to take longer. Yet with suprising ease he created a unique and defining atmosphere in the Diner; block by block. Our son Mathiew also devoted some of his time to assist his Dad. Once the glass block wall was complete I wasted no time in asking for a smaller version to be a support base for the Crosley Jukebox. He obliged. It is a wonderful feature and I am so proud that he stepped up to the task… he’ll have a seat reserved just for him at Moondance!
Finally we are close to the final stages of restoration and construction with the Diner and can re-direct our attention on what will probably be the most integral part of Moondance…. its employees or as we prefer to refer…. team members. We have been fortunate so far to have some excellent help with the reconstruction and the commercial kitchen addition. Once my sister Tanya Elliott joined the team last March we have been in overdrive with a variety of tasks…. probably most not included in the job description originally. She has been an assett beyond belief and has done her very best to keep this project organized and afloat. We have discussed employees and scheduling and so far we have a couple of people who have truly been patiently awaiting our word to join us. Ilene Profit, who is currently in Idaho visiting family, has literally been a part of this entire adventure from the beginning. She is a seasoned waitress and can certainly hold her own in the kitchen as well. At one point she and her husband, Mike Profit, owned an operated a restaurant right here in La Barge about 30 years ago. We are fortunate to have her assistance when we open and she will certainly be a delight to the patrons whom will find themselves returning because of her good nature and humor. Did I mention she is also my Aunt? The second person I’d like to mention is not a relative of mine (I don’t think?) but could easily fit right in with what we expect at Moondance. She is a seasoned line cook and has developed an exceptional repor with locals here. We are very excited when she can join us at Moondance; especially as many have indicated “her” kitchen at the Diner is waiting. Denise will certainly be a reason to visit us at the Diner again and again. Then… there is me. I guess I can consider myself a lot like a multiple-personality as I will wear as many hats as necessary to make what we have invested so much in a success. I am very anxious to become acquainted with Diner patrons and look forward to their visit being memorable and entertaining. We are still taking applications for all positions and are visiting with potential team members next week. For anyone with a desire to serve people in a unique and exciting environment we encourage you to contact us. Moondance Diner is merely a Diner; the magic begins with the people .
Sat up a lot of nights as many thoughts about setting up the Moondance here in LaBarge raced through my brain. The first outside indication of the irony (taking a well-known staple from downtown NYC to an un-known tiny town in Wyoming) was expressed by an individual with the heavy responsiblity of helping fund our endeavor. This representative from this particular bank, a nationally known bank, questioned our desire to turn the well-known NYC staple into a lucrative eatery in an unknown tiny town in Wyoming. “How is a town with the population less than 500 going to support the business?” I was rather disheartened at that point as I had diligently worked on a business plan under the supervision of a Wyoming Business Association rep. My business plan included demographic research, statistics about the tourism and travel, as well as an idea of the type energy-based economy in the area. I contacted the State and included road count numbers that well exceded even my guess as to traffic along 189 through La Barge. It was strange to try and paint an accurate and substantial picture for someone states away, as to the possiblities an eatery in the La Barge area might bring. It seemed near impossible to convince this individual that with some time, money, and hard work Moondance Diner could once again hold its ground… no matter what the population. This country was built small town by small town. La Barge can certainly hold its own! We have a strong community and with the support of citizens such as former Mayor Dennis Hacklin and many others the challenges we face opening a new business are certainly less formidable.
We have been very blessed during this past year 1/2. Although there have been many challenges one of the best rewards for our efforts has been the people who have contacted us nationally and internationally about the Moondance Diner. At some point I plan to mention as many of those who have written, phoned, or e-mailed us with best wishes and a “keep on, keepin’ on” encouragement. I need to make sure they do not mind my including their names on the website. Until then I must atleast highlight one supporter whom a few months ago sent us a wonderful letter. She lives in Howard Beach NY and has been touched by our efforts in bringing Moondance Diner to life here in Wyoming. She wrote to us on Betty Boop stationary and at some point in her letter indicated she is in her 90’s now and is fond of Mayor Bloomberg. She has since sent us hand-crafted Christmas ornaments which we will proudly display for Christmas’s to come at the Moondance. She has also sent us her “Spoon Collector Buy-Trade-” card as well. We just may be the venue she’s looking for with this particular hobby. She has sent several letters and we want to thank her as well as others like her who have taken time from their own busy lives to simply tell us “best regards, good luck, take care of Moondance, we’ll be visiting…. etc… etc…” This is TRULY the best we can take from this entire experience. This is one we can check off of our list as Goal: satisfied.
Note to self…. “What to do when your commercial kitchen Hood arrives and it is bigger than the kitchen.” I have decided that when facing new challenges with this project,Moondance Diner, it is best to remember the goals we set out to satisfy. This takes some focus off of the immediate hurdle and keep those whom are necessary to the construction’s completion somewhat aloof. Somewhat similiar to the “elephant in the room” idea although ours is fairly static, stainless and without giant ears and a trunk. (This is likely my perception ONLY). All kidding aside, our commercial kitchen Hood could be the cadillac of hoods…. I guess I should have planned it first and the remaining kitchen layout second. I am learning a lot about things I never evisioned myself ever even being exposed to. Fortunately for me, all of the contractors for Team Moondance have been very flexible about the changing layout and have skillfully accomodated for the alternatives. After some re-configurations of the roof and combined ingenuity of GC Travis Elliott and HVAC from Evanston, the Hood has integrated rather nicely with the other appliances. Of course as with all other aspects of the project, meeting State regulations is at the forefront. There are a few finishing touches to make and “walla” it will be a smooth operator. Travis has considered fashioning the Hood’s additon on the kitchen roof to resemble a freight train. The possiblities for creativty are never short.