Do You Want To Know?
I spent most of the day holding my breath while various city officials inspected every nook and cranny of PJP Buttonwood. And as someone who has spent HOURS thinking about that space, negotiating that space, working in that space, and planning for the future of that space...well, watching that space be judged was stressful. Our first visitor was the City of Columbia Fire Marshal:
He showed up with an iPad and all manner of seriousness. I really just stayed out of his way while he moved about with professional decisiveness. I have no idea what else he was looking for (or alternatively, hoping not to see) but a scant 20 minutes later, he announced we passed. I scrawled my name with my finger on his iPad and all of a sudden, PJP Buttonwood is in the good book with the fire people.
Next up was the city building inspector. I don't have any pictures to share because I was hyperventilating in a corner for most of his visit. I also don't have his name because he didn't introduce himself and I worried if I spoke first, he would be all "no permit for you!" based on an obscure don't-speak-to-the-inspector-first rule and all I could think of was this, so here you go:
No-name-building-inspector guy was all over our 1,050 square foot space. At one point, he even asked for the tallest ladder that Director-of-All-Things-Construction Glenn had on his truck. And he called our HVAC subcontractor to ask all sorts of questions about the filters. Just when I thought there couldn't be anything else he could look at or ask about, he flunked us. Our understanding was that we needed GFI plugs within six feet of any water source. His understanding was that the entire kitchen needed GFI plugs. Guess who won? Also, our fancy dishwasher was plugged into a duplex outlet and the city only allows a simplex outlet. And if you are stunned by my fancy electrical lexicon, don't be...I just listen really well. In short, they don't want us to get all crazy and try to plug in a hair dryer in the same outlet as the dishwasher and so to make sure that doesn't happen, you can only have a one thing (and one thing only) outlet. If you think was perhaps the most boring paragraph you've ever read, I would have to agree. The electrician will swap out the offending outlets first thing in the morning and then No-name-building-inspector will be back by for a second look.
And the final inspection was from the City of Columbia Health Department. While I can't officially confirm this, I am pretty certain this is a picture of the comprehensive food regulations promulgated by the City of Columbia:
For all of my panic, the only action of interest was when the inspector asked Glenn to hook up our commercial dishwasher and then it has to run and when it is finished, they test the chemicals in the water to make sure they sanitize correctly. He looked around at all various items on his clipboard and just when I thought he was going to say "YOU FAIL. FIX THESE 812 ITEMS AND I'LL BE BACK AT 8 AM", he handed this over:
I know, right? No one was more surprised or elated than Glenn and I. I mean, we had done everything and then some to be prepared for the inspector's review, but I felt suspicious somehow of how it would all play out. He suggested we frame the permit but I think I'll probably just go for the case lined in 14 karat gold with 24 hour a day/7days a week anti-theft protection.
Ok, so here is the plan since all indicators point to being a legitimate business in 12 hours...we plan to open at 10:30 Thursday morning. We will have 5 inch, 9 inch, and 12 inch pies (and maybe some fun surprises depending on what our day goes like tomorrow). Lucky's will stay stocked and both locations will have a large inventory for the Easter holiday.
We hope you plan to come see us on Thursday. And if you are super nice, we might even let you get a glance at our operating permit from the health inspector...