When James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd and his team at Houston-based Underbelly Hospitality began designing their new steakhouse, Georgia James, they knew they needed shelving that was durable, long-lasting and innovative enough to keep up with their culinary ambitions and upper crust menu. The only choice was Cambro.
Underbelly Culinary Director Nick Fine had worked at a friend’s restaurant in Colorado years before that had redone their walk-in coolers with Camshelving. He knew that one of the benefits of purchasing Camshelving was that someone from the company could come out to help design it.
“That was really the big thing for us, [Cambro] knew their shelving and they know how to fit it into a space, so having them come out and help us get this all put together was a really kind of big part of it,” said Fine.
Underbelly ultimately decided to outfit both new restaurant Georgia James and its next-door sibling, 7-year-old Hay Merchant, with Camshelving to fulfill specific, different needs.
At Georgia James, the goal was to create a dry aging room in the front of the restaurant. Customers can see the gorgeous, high-grade meat in all its glory shortly after walking through the front doors.
“This is a whole new experiment for us. We’ll do all kinds of stuff that no one has ever done on [Camshelving], like we have 44 Farms export ribeye…sitting right on [Cambro] shelves,” said Fine.
Camshelving shelf plates are rust proof and permanently molded with an antimicrobial protection to inhibit the growth of mold, fungus and bacteria. Fine is so confident in the food safety associated with Camshelving that the meat is placed directly on the shelves. Another huge benefit to Camshelving is how easy it is to remove and clean its shelf plates.
“The Camshelving is awesome. I really, really like the removable shelves on it, too. It’s great,” said Fine. “We’re going to do a lot of experimenting in the dry room, so the fact that we don’t have to take apart the whole shelf, we’ll be able to move the layers up and down, is a big deal.”
Both Hay Merchant and Georgia James share a kitchen and storage areas. They were working with little storage in the back of house and decided to rent a storage pod outside of the restaurants to create more storage. Previously, their shelving lacked effectiveness and was haphazardly constructed.
“It was literally wood shelves or metal that we had bought. We had a wood and metal guy that would weld stuff for us. We just tried to get as much stuff in here as we could. It was really kind of patched together,” said Fine.
In addition to the lackluster shelving, Fine wanted to ensure they used the space they did have to the best of their ability.
“The efficiency of it is really the biggest thing. Restaurants are tight little areas, so every little nook and cranny that we can get a shelf on makes a big difference,” said Fine.
After contacting Cambro, the company sent out a representative to help Fine and his team design the most efficient plan for their storage pod. Enter: The Camshelving High Density Storage System.
“Those rolling shelves are something that [Cambro and our team] came up with together. It was really, really neat. It just utilizes that storage pod. A lot of these restaurant groups here in Houston use these rented storage pods and they are super affordable and you just store them outside.”
The High Density Storage System is made up of two stationary end units anchored to a raised floor track and multiple mobile units that sit between them. The result is a multi-unit storage rack that easily rolls on top of the track. Foodservice operators can increase their storage capacity by up to 50 percent by using High Density shelving.
Do you have a unique shelving challenge? Begin your switch to Camshelving by Contacting your local Cambro rep for a free shelving consultation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.