Right after the fire, we immediately began working on the plans to not only rebuild the restaurant but also to ensure all of our employees could continue to get paid until we reopened.
Before we could finalize the plans and submit them to the city, we found ourselves needing to have a lot of discussions with the city so we could understand their requirements. Unfortunately, we discovered that the severity of the fire, along with the city code requirements, triggered essentially a COMPLETE reworking of the building and property – from soil and foundation to the new specifications of structure, roof, exterior, sidewalks, etc., the fire meant that most everything had to be looked at and completely updated (or in some cases added for the first time), including things like the:
• ADA access (for the public AND kitchen areas)
• fire sprinkler system
• ADA sidewalks
• kitchen and back-of-house facilities
We also had to fully consider the current structural condition of the walls and roofs of the various areas, especially since the original structure is +/- 80 years old. While tearing it all down and starting from scratch would have been MUCH quicker and less expensive, we all knew that we just had to keep as much as possible.
So, what we were originally thinking could be managed like a “part renovation/remodel” became a “full renovation/rebuild.”
Since we now were going to have to basically rebuild, we wanted to take the time to really think things thru and make as many improvements in the kitchen and production areas as possible. We also wanted to include as many of your ideas as possible, ideas that came from the HUNDREDS of great Facebook suggestions, not to mention from the conversations we had with some of you over lunch.
The main goals were to 1) make work easier and more fun for our great kitchen staff, 2) guarantee that the taste and flavor of all of our food remained the same, and 3) speed up food delivery times and make our customers’ experience better than it’s ever been. We think our plans will help us hit all of our goals.
And, along with all of this, we have also been determined to make sure we designed the re-built Chris Madrid’s in such a way that we kept the same “feel” of Chris Madrid’s that we’ve all grown to know and love these past 41 years. To do that, we salvaged everything we could from the fire – repairing the iconic tile tables, dry-cleaning those autographed t-shirts, and cleaning and sorting thru all of the great memorabilia that hung on the walls all got put at the top of our to-do list.
(Note: We’re REALLY excited that Chris’ daughter Lisa has signed on to help us decorate and put everything back – she’ll be making sure that Chris Madrid’s version 2.0 feels much like her dad’s version 1.0.)
In addition to the above, we’ve had to put a lot of effort into opening and running our temporary food truck/tent operation, not to mention dealing with the many insurance, financing etc. type issues – add all of this to the above, and hopefully you’ll get the picture as to what all we’ve been up to since the fire. You’ll also hopefully see why we are so grateful for our AMAZING staff – their patience, flexibility, hard work, and encouragement along the way has made a HUGE difference.
Our team was able to accomplish all of the above in about 5 months even with all of the holidays in the mix, which is frankly pretty amazing. We submitted our plans to the city for our building permit back in April, and received our building permit about 3 weeks ago.
While we have to rebuild more than we’d hoped, we are working to do it in a way that will help it feel like it’s been here forever. I know many of you almost CAN’T WAIT for us to get back to our rebuilt restaurant. I can promise you though, that as much as you want this to happen, we want it even more. You have NO idea how excited we are going to be to have solid walls again!
In the meantime, our CM Team has been working hard over at our air conditioned food truck/tent operation across the street. They’re dedicated to serving you the same Cheddar Cheezy’s and Macho Chalupas you remember from years gone by – with love. I hope you’ll come see us there soon.
If you’ve read all of this, thanks!
And, thanks for all of the encouragement and hugs we’ve received since the fire. They’ve meant a lot.
We are doing our best with what we’ve been given, and remain fully-committed to reopening Chris Madrid’s ASAP, and in a way that will be loved by generations to come.
Richard and the CM Team