Out of the corner of my eye, I see my husband, Frank, opening up his checkbook. Oh my gosh, I think, we’re really going to do this!
It’s late October and we are inside the old Far East Chinese restaurant in north central Denver, sitting at one of those old fast food tables with the swivel chairs. Across from us are “Lisa” the landlady and her son, David, a real estate agent who interprets for his mother, a native of China. A thousand bucks will hold this place and deter any other potential tenants while we round-up the deposit money and negotiate a decent price for fixtures and equipment in this tiny, more than 30-year-old neighborhood location.
I don’t want to be mean because Lisa was very nice _ nicer than I thought she would be, patting my hand and complimenting my face _ but can we talk? The Far East had seen better days. For the past 10 years she had leased it to a tenant who was burned out and didn’t care anymore, given the greasy, dirty conditions of the building. When Frank came home and told me he wanted me to check the place out, I was flabbergasted. Yes, I knew the location, but I had never been in the restaurant and never wanted to enter it. Grated bars on the window, yellowed signs, graffiti, broke-down cars in the parking lot. I couldn’t see what Frank saw.
Frank’s the visionary and so I insisted we name the restaurant Frank’s Kitchen. He sees a place where he could pursue his passion for cooking. It was affordable enough that the two of us could transform the restaurant into a warm and inviting breakfast and lunch spot that offered gourmet coffee, made-to-order omelets, smoked brisket sandwiches, burgers, dogs and vegetarian dishes. We’d continue the tradition of take-out and delivery, sending food to hospital workers, school teachers, telecommuters and other business people in the neighborhood.
We’ve worked extremely hard over the past couple of months, spent a good deal of money and we’re just about ready to open. Then we’ll work harder and spend more to turn a dream into a realty. This diary is about our journey.