SEATTLE, WA. — Last year saw the opening of the Boka Restaurant as part of a multi-use complex including two other restaurants and a hotel/condominium.
It features upscale American cuisine in an upscale setting: the interior was designed by Mesher Shing of Seattle; handsculpted glass art installations and paintings from Gonzalo Martin-Calero decorate the walls. It’s been praised in the pages of The New York Times and Bon Appetit magazine.
None of that success would have happened, of course, without a quality kitchen and bar area to make the hard work of the chefs, managers and waitstaff pay off. The installation of those areas was trusted to American Mechanical, a Seattle- based plumbing contractor specializing in wet-side hydronics and tile installation.
“We’ve been around for about 15 years,” says Jeff Reindel, project manager and estimator for the company. “We’ve got 20-25 plumbers and a few office staff. We do a lot of restaurants. Not so much new construction, but a lot of retrofit and TI and service.”
The company serves much of the three-county area comprising Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.
The Boka Restaurant job was a bid job that took a four-man crew from the company about three months to complete. It involved doing the buildout for all three restaurants in the complex.
“We had to get the restaurant done and the same time the building was being finished,” explains Reindel. “Kind of a race to the deadline. The remodeling, especially the tile installation is always a challenge under those kind of conditions.”
American Mechanical was able to focus on the kitchens since the water heating and distribution system was shared with the hotel/condominium area. The company priced their work in the $150,000 range. And then, a few months later, they got a call-back from the manager at Boka.
“The problem was with the grease-interceptor under the main sink,” Reindel says. “Either they weren’t maintaining it properly, or it was under-sized and couldn’t keep up with the amount of grease that was building up.”
The solutions was a retrofit installation of the Grease+Guard grease recovery device manufactured by Jay R. Smith. Traditional grease interceptors require an employee skim the grease by hand (or with very large interceptors, to have the grease vacuumed out by a professional with a vacuum truck).
The new interceptor automatically skims the fats, oils and grease into a highly visible collection device. “You can physically see the grease up there,” says Reindel, “so you don’t necessarily have to pull the top off and clean it out. You just dump the container.”
The time and trouble the new interceptor saved meant more time the kitchen staff could devote to the food and experience their customers were enjoying. And the added cash from the retrofit job was the cherry on the sundae for American Mechanical.