You can’t make this stuff up. Reality television has nothing on us right now.

Forget Restaurant: Impossible. We don’t have writers, engineered drama or a camera crew following us around, but we do the same thing across St. Louis all the time. We help restaurant owners reinvent the look of their restaurants on tight budgets and tight schedules every day. Right now we have not one, not two, but three eateries that are within a week of opening: the brand-new Three Flags Tavern, and the completed renovations of the beloved Tony’s and The Good Pie.

Tony’s, an institution whose reputation has made it a culinary landmark for years, would be the one that could give TV writers a run for the money. We were hired in mid-November, with a construction start date of early January and a construction window of only two weeks. Yes, you read that right: Two. Weeks. If you aren’t familiar with our services, we’re not just designing these places, we’re custom-fabricating, general contracting AND designing, too. We don’t just hand off our plans to the restaurant owners and say, “Good luck!” We’re responsible for every aspect of the job from beginning to end. If something goes wrong, it’s all on us.

Here’s the lowdown on that space: 10,000 square feet, three separate and distinctively-styled dining areas, a bar in desperate need of updating and some big [expensive] lighting and electrical work that has needed fixing for years. Finishes like wood veneer, wallcovering, and carpet usually have a substantial lead time: it can be anywhere from a few weeks up to several months. So from the get-go, we were very limited on what we could even select to bring in. In addition to giving the place a facelift, the Bommarito family wanted to make the restaurant more accessible to the general public. They want to attract a younger crowd while at the same time not alienating the established clientele who dined there for years. Also, the budget was strict: we could not go over it by a dime.

Challenging? Heck yes. But, this – walking a fine line between budget, materials, client preferences/wants/aspirations, and time constraints – is what we live for.

Our friends over at Feast Magazine are doing a big spread on the restaurant’s physical renovation and the new dishes that Vince Jr.’s putting on the menu, so here’s just a little sampling of what’s been happening. The bar walls have been removed, as has the carpet throughout the restaurant. The Wine Room and Cherry Room’s ceilings have been painted a rich dark brown to match the main Dining Room. Wood veneer and wallcovering is being hung in many areas throughout the restaurant, and the new tile path through the Dining Room is now complete. Here’s a sneak peek:

Tony’s reopens in a short 6 days. Can we finish in time? Check back on Tuesday to find out!