Kevin Sbraga of Sbraga restaurant on South Broad Street is planning his second restaurant, The Fat Ham, at 3131 Walnut St. in The Left Bank in University City.
In Part 1, he let us in on a design meeting for the space, which he hopes to open in November.
In Part 2, the rubber hits the road as he and his associates went on a road trip to explore Southern cusine.
In Part 3, Sbraga and company meet the press.
In Part 4, construction starts on the space.
In Part 5, Sbraga and crew test recipes.
The Sbraga universe needs to grow. The chef and his general manager, Ben Fileccia, must hire about 25 people for The Fat Ham, as it is now about a month from opening.
They are running into a difficult time of the year for hiring. Many restaurants have already boosted their staffs for this, the busiest quarter of the year.
The Philadelphia area also is experiencing an almost illogical surge in restaurant openings.
But hire they must. Thursday, Oct. 31, Fileccia will be holed up at Sbraga (440 S. Broad St.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to screen applicants for assorted dining room and kitchen jobs.
Meanwhile, The Fat Ham's space is still undergoing construction.
The week of Nov. 4, Sbraga says, the kitchen equipment, including the hood, will be installed.
The week of Nov. 11, the dining room will begin to take shape, and chairs will be brought out of storage.
Incidentally, Sbraga says the project is pretty much on budget ($500,000) - but the construction is about 15 percent more expensive.
Initially, the plan was to simply paint over wood. But then, workers decided to sand everything down. This created a mound of sawdust and pushed work back by about a week.
Some furniture - including dining room chairs that cost $120 to $200 each and $400 custom table tops - also were pricier than budgeted. "We want to spend more on things the guests can touch," Sbraga said.