Kickstarter restaurants face different outcomes
PRESCOTT - As you walk into The Local, a new breakfast and lunch restaurant near downtown, you get a straight-shot view of a wall covered in signatures, 117 to be exact.
Each one represents an individual who made a donation toward the restaurant becoming a reality.
On March 5, Sheryl Strong and Rob Mackey successfully raised $15,615 on the popular crowdfunding website, Kickstarter, to help fund their dream restaurant. Kickstarter took its share of about 8 percent, and the remaining $14,342 was given to the duo.
Just six weeks later, they opened their doors and began feeding the community that helped them fulfill their vision. Anyone who donated at least $25 during the campaign received meal tickets to participate in a soft opening last week.
"All those people who signed and their family and friends came through, so we already had nearly 200 people try our food within our first three days," Mackey said.
Their official grand opening was April 19.
The restaurant, located on Sheldon Street, next to Dee Thai Express and Healthy Habit Nutrition, uses mostly locally sourced meats and produce to create breakfast and lunch items made from scratch. The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day except Wednesday.
"Everywhere downtown is usually cl/osed Monday and Tuesday, so we want to be open when they're closed to give people somewhere to eat on those off days," Strong said.
Strong and Mackey are happy with how everything has panned out and are optimistic about the future of their business.
The owners of Nastee Dogs, a gourmet hot dog restaurant just south of Whiskey Row on Montezuma Street, on the other hand, are having some concerns about the survival of their business.
With the failure of their most recent Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for the installation of a hood-vent in their restaurant, Paul Moskovich and Stephen Roberts are having to come up with creative solutions on how to keep their business going.
Come fire season (typically in early May), the business partners are required to cease cooking their hot dogs outside in smokers, essentially shutting down their primary means of operation.
Officials at the fire department consider the smokers an open flame and are not being very flexible with the definition despite Roberts' and Moskovich's continued attempts to compromise.
"We're working on like plan D at this point," Moskovich said.
The duo has been trying to figure out a way to continue using their smokers outside by creating a confined environment that the fire department might be willing to approve.
Their newest finding is a fire-retardant tent manufactured in California that is also certified by the health departments and fire departments in that state. Moskovich says the tent is nationally certified, but at the moment, Prescott's fire marshal is saying it will not work.
If Moskovich cannot convince the fire marshal otherwise, he says he and Roberts will maybe resort to other means of cooking that do not live up to the standards they hold themselves to.
"There's the potential of using electric smokers, but the problem is that the product is not nearly as good," Moskovich said. "We're trying to maintain a certain level of quality and consistency."
Worst case scenario, they will have to temporarily scale down their operation, according to Moskovich.
"If push comes to shove and we have to close, we'll just be a bakery for a couple months during the fire season and sell our hot sauces and baked breads," Moskovich said.
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