Mother’s Day Weekend: Perfect Storm at Trestles
The account of events from Jose Espinoza, Chef Owner personal experience.
Friday Morning May 12, 2023; I walked into the kitchen at 5am. I came in with a sense of excitement knowing we were looking forward to having a great weekend and with this anticipation I was set for the preparation needed to succeed with excellence. I began to turn on all our equipment and found the 24ft kitchen exhaust system non-operational. Instantly my excited anticipation for a great weekend sank and replacing it was a frantic determination to get this fixed.
We called many companies, only a few even responded among them was Andy and Jacob Fezza with Avalanche HVAC. While Jacob worked to fix the issue, our devoted kitchen crew voluntarily worked without an exhaust system to be ready for the weekend.
The issue was discovered – the motor that powers the 24ft exhaust was fried and needed to be replaced. Was it the rain? Age of unit? Or just murphy’s law?
This began the frantic search for a replacement motor. No motor was to be found in Colorado. The only one nearby was in Oklahoma. We attempted to overnight; but they would not be able to. We asked if we could drive and come pick it up. No, they would be closed before we could get there. The best they could do was Monday afternoon.
Now, the big question, should we call our 600 reservations and cancel everything and just shut down? Or could we bring in enough fans and just make things happen for our guests and employees? This was not an easy decision to make because it came with many layered variables and each path with varied consequences.
We chose to stay open. Even now, I look back and wonder if we would have been better off just shutting down and giving up on Mother’s Day Weekend. But once the decision was made, we knew we had to put all our energy towards accomplishing what we had set ourselves to. Jacob, from Avalanche HVAC, worked hard Friday and Saturday to get our other kitchen AC units to function at high capacity to off set having no exhaust. Massive fans were purchased and positioned to give some adequate airflow and not compromise any of our dishes.
Friday we successfully completed service while cooking in extreme conditions. Saturday, we continued to press through and, to the best of our abilities, completed a second day of service in extreme conditions. Yet on Saturday we had more ‘walk ins’ than reservations and an unexpectedly busier day than planned for. Because we make everything fresh and in small batches, to ensure high quality, Saturdays higher than expected volume caused us to run out of many of our key ingredients.
Sunday morning, I came in at 4am along with our kitchen crew to get prepared for the big day. Still no exhaust system, just open doors, and massive fans. We prepared everything needed, fresh and ready by 7:30 am when we opened. We began cooking for Mother’s Day and it was full and busy. We kept up until the heat became unbearable, about 11am. One cook had to leave the kitchen and I began to feel like I was going to black out. With two cooks unable to continue and the others in a similar situation, we had to stop. We did as much as we could for as long as we could. Out of the 600 reservations this weekend we served 313 as best we could under the circumstances. And the 287 we could not serve; we are terribly sorry for cancelling your Mother’s Day celebration with us and ask your forgiveness.
As of 5:30pm yesterday the new motor is installed. We will be preparing all day today and will be back up and cooking great food Wednesday 5/17 at 7:30 am for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
To all our guests who shared words of care and encouragement with compassionate understanding we all thank you!
Jose & Mimi Espinoza
Owners, Trestles Coastal Cuisine