Coquette: Construction Winding Down

“The restaurant will essentially be completed this weekend,” Kevin Jennings told me on Wednesday as he was showing off his new zinc bar (all $100,000 of it) and the folding windows that will allow special tables to sit out on mini-patios.  The red awnings across the windows are done.  That bar — and yes, you can call it the 100 Grand Bar with apologies to Nestlé — is stunning.  Banquettes will be installed on Friday, as will all other last minute touches.  Fabric will spread across the ceiling to help damper the noise. 

A lot of work still needs to be done, but as is the case with all construction, that last minute flurry of activity pulls together so many different items that it boggles the mind.  But the kitchen has been readied for cooks to begin training on Friday and Monday.  Front of the house starts their training next week.  There’s a lot to be done still, as opening day is only 11 days away.  But I sense a calm over everyone, intertwined with the excitement of what’s to come.

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10 Responses to Coquette: Construction Winding Down

  1. Robert says:

    As someone closely in touch with the restaurant and its development, I’d be curious to hear your doubts or criticisms of it, if any.

  2. Varmint says:

    I certainly don’t have any criticisms about the restaurant itself, as I’ve yet to taste the food, which is really what it’s all about. What I can say is that this concept has been thoroughly analyzed from all ends. This is the way restaurants should be created, with a comprehensive consideration of all aspects — financial, culinary, marketing, logistics, customer flow, and the like. They really haven’t missed anything from what I can tell.

    My primary doubt has nothing to do with the restaurant, but with something totally beyond their control, with that being the economy. It’s going to be some tough times ahead for all industries, but restaurants in particular are suffering.

    I also question whether breakfast will work, but so does everyone associated with the restaurant. However, they want to embrace the complete brasserie concept, which includes breakfast, so it’s certainly worth a try.

    Finally, I’m not 100% certain that Raleigh will embrace this type of cooking, but if the place fails because of that, I can only say that it would be a sad day indeed.

  3. who says:

    i second that last thought. it will be sad if a restaurant with a good concept doesn’t work just because the townfolk don’t embrace a new idea of dining…

  4. We were over there this afternoon and it looks AWESOME.

  5. susan says:

    I can’t wait to go! Will there be a soft opening – or some other exclusive opportunity for readers of this fair blog?

  6. Varmint says:

    Yes, there will be a soft opening, but it’s for known regulars of the other Urban Food Group establishments and family members. They’re having a set menu that night to make it a bit simpler on the cooks and the staff. Heck, I can’t even make it on that night, as we have plans that were made ages ago.

  7. RaleighRob says:

    Looks wonderful. Part of me thinks something like that would have fit more in line with Downtown than the ‘burbs. But I’m still excited to try it.

  8. Food Network says:

    Looks good. Smart owners. Lots of money spent on details. However, North Hills is not the place for this. Chick Fila, Starbucks, Firebirds and Five Guys all work well there, but this concept does not fit the movie theatre / Target shopping center mix. Just wait until the new expansion across the street opens. There will be several more nice restaurants to take business away from them. All of these restaurants with no culture. Nothing will feel special about an evening out to a shopping center.

    The economy sucks right now, and will continue to suffer for a while. There are simply not enough people willing to sample French wines, and pick up the $60 tabs on weeknights. Fridays and Saturdays, and special occasions yes. But good luck the other 4-5 nights per week, and 7 breakfasts and lunches per week.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Food Network,

    Have you been to Vivace on a weekday night?

  10. Food Network says:

    Yes, and I have also been to JK’s, Restaurant Savannah, and South. Even Ruth’s Chris is offering discounted items. This is just a tough time for someone to be spending $1million on a restaurant interior. It’s like a Food Court over there and they are sharing quite a bit of random diners.

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